Sparkly Soul Coach of the Month (June) + Giveaway


I was extremely excited and honored to be chosen for the Sparkly Soul Coach of the Month for June – and realized that with moving and pregnancy, I forgot to mention it when it was first announced on the Sparkly Soul blog almost a month ago!  Thank you, Sparkly Soul, for picking me =)

If you’ve been following my blog for a little bit, then you probably have already realized my love of these headbands.  If you are a new reader, here are some of the posts that will fill you in on just how much I adore them:

First Review (Oct 11, 2011)
Second Review (Jan 12, 2012)
Christmas List for Runners
A Weekend of Sparkle
Random Things I’m Loving

Sparkly Soul has been my go-to headband since I first tried them almost a year ago.  I’ve worn Sparkly Soul Headbands on every run and for every race since the first day I’ve tried them – including the NYC Marathon and my first ultra and especially love wearing them on days when I just want to keep my hair in a ponytail (which is most days!).  The company was created by a marathoner and triathlete who wanted a headband that stayed in place during workouts without giving her a headache.  For more information on the history of the company, check out their webpage.

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    Random Things I’m Loving

    I have a lot of random thoughts going through my head lately and decided to share some of the things that I am currently LOVING!!

    – Third Trimester  – Today officially marks the start of the 3rd trimester.  Knowing that I am in the home stretch is a wonderful feeling.  I will do a pregnancy update next Wednesday as well as a 2nd trimester running update soon!!  One of the books that I utilized SO frequently during pregnancy #1 (and again this time around) is the Runner’s World Guide to Running & Pregnancy.  My favorite quote from the book:

    When I reached the 20-mile mark in my first marathon, a man on the sidelines yelled, “Congratulations! You’re halfway there.” I knew instinctively what he meant: The hardest part, the real test of my strength, lay ahead in those last 6.2 miles. And he was right.   So goes it with the last trimester of pregnancy…Running typically becomes less and less enjoyable as the weeks pass.

    Cooler Temperatures – I don’t know about you, but last week’s heat and humidity came a little too soon for me. I am fully expecting days like that in August but was not ready for them in June!!  The last few days have been blissful – A/C off and windows open in the house, long sleeve running shirts in the AM, and sweaters for early morning/late night walks with my son.  Perfect.

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      Running During Pregnancy: Monitoring Exertion

      *Note: I am NOT a healthcare professional.  This post is in response to many questions I have received in regards to my running pace during pregnancy.  The below information is what I have learned from my current OB-GYN as well as research on this topic.  Before you engage in physical activity during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about his/her recommendations and guidelines.   

      Over the last few months, I have received a number of emails, comments, and tweets regarding running during pregnancy – with the number one question being whether or not I track my heart rate (HR) as a measure of exertion during my runs.

      During pregnancy #1, my Dr advised me to keep my HR below 140 bpm during my runs and any other physical activity I was engaging in (biking, elliptical, etc).  For the first few months, I ran with my heart rate monitor and was a SLAVE to that number.  I would freak out if it was even slightly over 140.  It was extremely frustrating because it forced me to run extremely slow – sometimes I even had to walk to get my heart rate under that magic number.  It seemed that my HR jumped to 140 without almost no effort the first few months.  As my pregnancy continued, I became a little more relaxed when it came to that number – I would check my HRM (heart rate monitor) every few minutes to ensure it was within reason.  But I was still pretty cautious to keep it close to 140 bpm.

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        Best. Decision. Ever.

        aj and nat

        When my husband and I began our house hunting, we were focused on Central Jersey.  We wanted a big house with lots of land.  After 12+ years of living away from home, I was willing to sacrifice proximity to my family to have the house of my dreams.

        Last spring, my mom’s wonderfully generous cousins offered up their 2-BR apartment for us to save some money.  It was too good to pass up.  The best part was that the apartment was right next door to my mom’s home.

        After just a few short weeks, settling on Staten Island became a possibility.  After another few weeks, Staten Island became our only choice.  We saw how wonderful it was to be so close to family.  We saw how amazing it was for AJ to be surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  We now were willing to sacrifice the two things that initially were the most important to us in order to be a short drive from family.

        Fast forward to today.  We actually found the home (with the property) that we had planned on buying in Jersey IN Staten Island.  And the best part?  My parents and youngest sister are a 20-25 minute car ride away.  And my older sister and her husband and daughter are a 2 minute drive.

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          Mizuno Running Shoes Giveaway WINNER!


          Hey friends – I apologize for not posting this earlier!!

          Thank you to everyone who participated.   I loved reading about all of the brilliant runs that you have experienced!

          The winner is Megan D!  Megan – please email me at ASAP so we can get you into the Mezamashii Project!!  If you do not contact me by Sunday, June 24, a follow-up winner will be selected.

          For more information on the Mezamashii Run Project, click here.

          Don’t forget to Follow NYC Running Mama on:
          Twitter: @nycrunningmama
          Facebook: NYCRunningMama
          Pinterest: NYCRunningMama

            Happy Bump Day! (27 weeks)


            Holy Moly. I have one week left until I am in the 3rd trimester – the home stretch!!

            Overall, I feel great.  There are definitely those days where I really feel like I’m pregnant, but for the most part, I am able to do most things I was doing prior to pregnancy.

            Running – Running has continued to be one of the highlights of my day (on the days I run!).  I’ve had some absolutely amazing runs the last couple of weeks and am still maintaining an 8:30-8:45 pace on the majority of them.  My weekly mileage is ranging anywhere from 20-35 miles/week with runs between 4-10 miles.  I ran 10 this past Saturday and felt that I could easily have run further.  But I’m really trying to not overdo it with high mileage since I have my son to return home to and take care of.  I had the luxury of only worrying about myself during pregnancy #1 and so if I was exhausted from a long run, I could kick my feet up and nap for the rest of the afternoon.  Having a 17 month old toddler makes that difficult!!  So the mileage is not as high as I would have wanted but I’m beyond ecstatic with my pace.  I ran the Mini 10k (6.2 miles) at a 7:51 pace at 25 weeks and the 10 miler at an 8:33 pace (26 weeks pregnant).

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              How Do You Get Through a Long Run?

              The tweets, facebook updates, and blog posts have begun – all discussing fall marathons and the initial couple of weeks of training for these races. That means weekly long runs are starting – by mid-summer, there’ll be plenty of 20+ mile runs being completed in preparation for the upcoming races.

              One question I’ve been asked repeatedly is how I get through long runs – week in and week out – without getting burned out.  When I was training for the NYC Marathon and the Knickerbocker 60k (concurrently), I had successful training runs up to 30 miles.

              Long runs during marathon training are just as much based on mental strength as they are on physical strength (if not more).  So how do you mentally survive running 14+ miles every weekend for a few months??  Here are some things I do to get me through my long runs:

              • Break up the run.  Once the run begins, I try not to think about the total distance I have left to run until it’s well under half.  Being at mile 2 of a 22 mile run is a bit intimidating and can easily throw off your concentration.  When I ran 30 miles on my 30th birthday, I broke the run up into 6 – 5 mile increments.  I focused on 5 miles at a time (which coincided with a 5 mile loop that I was running on). Each time I finished five miles, I told myself that I only had to make it through the next 5 miles.  5 miles is totally manageable.
              • Concentrate on one mile at a time.  Focusing on just one mile and the pace I want to hit makes my goal pace seem more manageable. I tell myself that I have to run the next mile at x:xx pace – as soon as the mile clicks on my Garmin, I start working on the next mile.
              • DON’T be a slave to your Garmin.  Constantly looking at your pace and distance will make the miles drag on. One of my recent tricks is to keep my Garmin on the main display so all I see is the current time.  I get a vibrating notification when I finish a mile – that’s the only time I see my pace.  This may not work if you are trying to hit very specific times during your long run, but since I am running based on how I feel rather than pace, it doesn’t hinder my run.
              • Pick a new route.  I always enjoy runs where I am exploring or covering new terrain, so I often try to leave certain routes or areas alone during the week and save them for the weekend long run.  Just this past weekend, I ran a point-to-point route that I had yet to run – the miles FLEW by because I was enjoying my new surroundings.
              • Let your mind wander. Think about the rest of your day,  what you are going to eat/drink when the run is over, maybe an upcoming vacation or trip – whatever will keep your mind distracted.   When I was training for my first ultra, I had about 5 miles left of a 28 mile trail run – I was tired – and starting to get hungry (for real food – not just gels).  My husband was my roving support on his bike and told me that he would get me one of my favorite indulgent foods when we got back – KFC!!  That was all I needed to hear.  I spent the last few miles thinking about fried chicken, potato wedges, and biscuits.
              • Listen to Music. As I’ve discussed previously, I am a huge fan of having music on my runs.  It keeps my mind occupied and makes me happy.  For me, there is nothing better than when one of my favorite songs come on my IPOD and I get pumped up and pick up the pace during mile 20 of that long run.
              • Envision success.  Picture yourself running the last few miles of the marathon you are training for.  When I was training for the NYC Marathon, I did a few runs in Central Park to get used to the hills.  I ran the same route that the last few miles of NYC Marathon follows.  I envisioned myself coming into the park,  I saw and heard the crowds, I actually could feel the adrenaline of race day!  And would immediately get a boost of energy and excitement.
              • Allow time in your plan for rest/recovery/low mileage days. I follow the hard, hard, hard, easy rule for long runs.  For example, I’ll run 16, 18, 20 miles three weeks in a row followed by an easy or off week where I’ll run 10-12 miles.  The following week I’ll run 20, 22, 24 miles.  Knowing that I get that easy long run day helps me push myself through the current run.  Going back to my previous high mileage also gives me a buffer week in case I am sick, scheduling conflicts arise, or just need a week off from the long run.

              In the end, do the things that you enjoy – if you prefer music over running “naked”, bring your IPOD; if you enjoy running alone vs with a group, then make it a solo run.  Make the run as enjoyable as possible for yourself !!

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                10 Mile Progression Run, Wedding and Father’s Day

                Perfect way to start a beautiful weekend!

                I am amazed at how packed our weekends seem to get in the blink of an eye!  I have all these little jobs around the house for my husband to do (that I can’t do b/c I’m a) not handy and/or b) are almost 6 months pregnant) on the weekends, but lately our weekends have been jam-packed with activities, weddings, parties – and the next few weeks don’t show any signs of stopping.

                Last weekend was the  Mini 10k and my sister’s gorgeous wedding.

                This weekend started with a 10 mile progression run-commute for me, a drive down to Annapolis for a friend’s wedding, and Father’s Day back on Staten Island on Sunday.

                Let’s rewind: My younger sister who lives in NYC was coming to Staten Island Saturday night to keep my mom company at our house while she babysat our son.  There is no public transportation that would get her reasonably close to our house (with the exception of a slow bus), so the plan was to leave a car at my mom’s (who lives about 25 minutes north of us and close to the train stop) for her to drive when she arrived.

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                  4am Wakeups? No, Thank You.

                  Good Morning!!!

                  I typically don’t post a ton about parenting because I try to keep this blog to running-related topics, but since my son’s sleep habits were affecting my running, I have decided to talk about it.

                  Little background on my son:

                  • 17 months old
                  • Sleeping through the night since an early age
                  • We are outside quite a bit each day – going on walks, running around the backyard – so he gets plenty of fresh air and exercise
                  • Has NEVER been the type of child that will go back to sleep if he wakes up early and I bring him into bed with us OR try to put him back to sleep (he thinks it’s play time) -> When he gets up, he’s up for the day
                  • Typically sleeps 9-10 hours a night and has slept 12 hours straight once in his life (on my 30th birthday!)

                  About 6 months ago, my son slowly started getting up earlier in the AM.  He was a 6am (or so) riser for a while, but started rising in the 5s.  Before we knew it, 5am was a typical morning wakeup for him (and therefore my husband and I).  It was early, but since we are early risers anyway, we were mostly okay with this.

                  Then, about six-eight weeks ago, 5am started becoming a late morning for him…more and more 4s were becoming the norm.  Most mornings, he was up at 430am (if not earlier).  But he wasn’t tired or cranky. He was happy and bright eyed and bushy tailed.

                  5am is early.  4-430am is just plain ridiculous.  

                  So I did what most moms would do. I researched, read books, spoke to friends and family and for the month or so, have tried a handful of different things:

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                    The Mezamashii Project + Giveaway for Mizuno Running Shoes


                    Mizuno has launched a campaign called the Mezamashii Project:

                    This is an excerpt from the invitation I received in the mail:


                    You have been chosen as a founding member of the Mezamashii Project. 

                    In Japanese the word Mezamashii means brilliant

                    We are on a quest to deliver more mezamashii – more ecstatic, electric, wind-in-your-heart running.  More brilliant running. 

                    So instead of spending millions of dollars on advertising to talk about our shoes, we’re putting our money where your feet are – by giving you a free pair. 

                    To learn more about the Mezamashii Project, click here.

                    Every temple has its steeples. 

                    I’ve been a loyal customer of Mizuno shoes since I was first fitted for a pair in May 2007.  I had just made the Fort Hood Army Ten-Miler Team and wanted to ensure that I was wearing the “right” running shoe.  I’d say 98-99% of my miles since then have been run in Mizuno Wave Alchemy’s.  I’ve had no injuries or issues so wasn’t able to justify trying a different pair of running shoe.

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                      NYRR Mini 10k and a Beautiful Wedding = Perfect Weekend

                      My stunning mom with my little guy!

                      I started off the busy weekend bright and early in NYC with 6,000+ other females running the NYRR Mini 10k in Central Park.  It was a humid, muggy morning and I was thankful that it stayed overcast for the race otherwise it would have been uncomfortable.

                      I had no expectations going into this race.  Not wearing a Garmin allows me to run at a pace that feels comfortable without worry, concern, or care about how fast (or slow) I am going – so I had no idea how fast I was going until I got to each mile marker.  My number (389) meant I could have started in the first corral, but I moved back to the second in order to prevent any temptation to keep up with the women in the front.

                      I reached the 1st mile marker at 7:40 – which meant that my first mile was about 7:30. It was a lot faster than I have been doing my daily runs, but I felt good.  I wasn’t out of breath and was enjoying pushing the pace for a change.  The first mile is the ONLY FLAT section of the course and I knew that my pace would naturally slow down – especially since I hadn’t run this fast in months.

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                        Happy Bump Day! (25 weeks)


                        Happy Hump Bump Day!

                        My life has been a whirlwind since my last update THREE weeks ago!  We are finally all moved into our new/first home.  By “all moved in” I mean that everything we own is under one roof – but we still have a long way to go before we are completely settled.   Thankfully, I have about 3 1/2 or so months until Pumpkin makes his/her arrival, so plenty of time to take it slow and get it all done.

                        The 22 week fetal anatomy appointment went great!  Pumpkin is healthy and on track for size.  The technician was able to get a TON of awesome pictures of Pumpkin – he/she was super cooperative during the ultrasound (much more than my son EVER was during these!).

                        Running – I’ve really enjoyed running the last few weeks.  I cut back on the number of days/frequency of runs last week (didn’t really run at all!!) because I was so busy with packing, cleaning, and moving.  It felt good to rest my body for an extended period of time.  My pace has definitely slowed down a bit – Most of my runs are now between 8:40-8:50 pace and if I try to get to anything below 8:15 or so, I feel exhausted and out of breath almost immediately. The pace really doesn’t bother me – I don’t wear my Garmin because I don’t want to dwell on the slower pace – I’m more focused on total time/distance running these days.   I’m scheduled to run the NYRR Mini 10k this weekend in Central Park.  I’m psyched to be running again in the Park and even more, am excited for the post-race brunch with some of my favorite NYC bloggers!!

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                          me and aj

                          Earlier in the year, I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Carla from MizFitOnline.  For a few weeks after reading her awesome post, I saw tweets and FB updates from her with the phrase “Living my priorities”.  I loved what she was doing, but at the time, didn’t really connect it to anything in my life.

                          Since I started blogging 8 months ago, I’ve been blessed with many wonderful opportunities – FitFluential Ambassador, RRCA certified running coach, soon-to-be pre/post natal exercise specialist (waiting on my certification!), and PowerBar Team Elite Member.  While I am loving all of these additions, my life has become 100x more hectic, busy, and crazy!

                          I am a stay-at-home mom.  In order to find the time for all the above opportunities, my priorities started shifting.  My focus each day was no longer my son.  Instead, it was social media.  I started relying heavily on TV, videos, and other mindless outlets to occupy him so I could finish my blog, read other blogs, and stay up-to-date on twitter and facebook.

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