#MilesofShame – the Super Edition

PavementRunner and I decided to team up again for a Super Edition of #MilesofShame.

If you are unfamiliar with the rules, here is how it works (shamelessly taken directly from PavementRunner’s post):

Pick a team. If your team loses, you have to run the point differential in miles.

49ers beat the Ravens 34-28. Loser would have to run 6 miles.
Ravens beat the 49ers 21-17. Loser would have to run 4 miles.

Mile Limit:
We know that not everyone can go out and run a bunch of miles in the case of a blowout, but it does HAVE to be challenge. We’ve limited the MAX miles to be 20. If that many miles still seems too high, we still want you to be part of it and you can cap your “bet” at 10.

To be run by:
Miles must be run within a week (Sunday, 2/10). It can be broken up into multiple runs, but this is meant to be a challenge so try not to break it up into more then 2 separate runs.

Prove it:
Loser has to tweet out (or Instagarm) an AFTER photo with their Garmin or treadmill (or whatever you use to track) and tag it with #MilesOfShame

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    PR Spotlight: Steve L

    Going Green track Meet 2012 - Photo by Ken Trombatore

    I’m excited for this post for many reasons.  The first is that it should be a welcome change for all (5?) of my male readers!  The second is that the runner is crazy fast and dropped 30+ min off his marathon PR time from his spring marathon to his fall marathon – he went from a 3:36 to a 3:05:06.  And although he missed qualifying for Boston by SIX SECONDS, he is extremely upbeat, positive, and anxious to qualify the next time he runs the distance.

    Name: Steven Leibowitz  
    Age: 29 
    Hometown: Jersey, the north half  
    Blog: runnerontheright.wordpress.com  
    Twitter: @steverunner21

    How long have you been running? Competitively, I have been running since sophomore year of high school. My small school had just started its cross country program, but I really did not want to join. I was involved in other sports and this did not seem like something particularly fun. Running had, until that point, been a means to stay active. The day of the team’s first meet my best friend persuaded me to come try it out. After convincing our athletic director that I was in good enough shape and (probably) would survive the 5k race, she agreed to let me participate. Not only did I finish, but I came in second for our team. I stuck with it initially as a great way to get in shape for basketball, my main high school sport, but running became much more than a last minute teenage whim.

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      Be Your Own Runner

      My boys

      Yesterday’s workout didn’t happen until 6pm.  I guilted my husband into taking yesterday off (a rarity for him) after his hockey weekend (his team lost in the semi-finals btw).  When he’s home, my desire to run disappears because I’d rather spend time with him and the boys.

      Between his being home, our contractor beginning work on the moulding in our house (YAY!), and my mom and niece coming over for a few hours, the day totally slipped away from me.

      I knew that if I waited until after the boys went to sleep for the night, I would 100% NOT be running.  And I would 100% regret it.  So at 6pm, I nursed the little guy and then headed downstairs for a planned easy 6-7 miler.  I took Sunday off – not because I was tired or sore but because my heart wasn’t in it. Ever have days like that?  I just didn’t want to think about running or goals or the marathon.  Just a day sans running.

      Yesterday’s run was exactly what I needed.  I started off slow and easy – 8:27 pace and kept increasing the pace.  I kept telling myself that I would stop picking up the pace at the end of that mile, but I felt comfortable at the end of each one, so I kept speeding up.  7 miles in 52:12 – 7:27 pace:

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        Hot Chocolate 10k Race Recap

        Awesome coffee mug!

        As I said yesterday, I’m not going to sit here and blame the freezing temperatures or the ice / slush on the ground as the reason I did not reach my goal.  I signed up for a race in the winter in NYC, so ice/snow/freezing temperature kind of goes along with the territory.  Do I think the conditions caused me to go a bit slower than I would have if things were warmer/drier?  Yes. Definitely.  Do I think they caused me to run 94 seconds slower (~15 sec/mile) than I needed to?  That may be a stretch.  And I can’t sit here today and “blame” the elements for that substantial of a time difference.

        At the end of the day,  I’ll really never know.  There’s no way to rewind that race, that one moment in time and do it again with better conditions.  So rather than dwell on what I didn’t accomplish and be pissed off at the external factors, I’m going to chalk it up as a great training run (and lesson) for my bigger goal this spring – sub-3:10 at the NJ Marathon.

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          Thanks, Mother Nature!

          Yesterday’s 10k race didn’t go as planned…partially due to Mother Nature.  She decided to give us about an inch or so of snow Friday night.  It wouldn’t have been a problem had it not been well below freezing overnight and all day yesterday.  The race started at 8am and despite an amazing job by the NYCRuns crew, there were still large areas along the course that were extremely slushy and some areas that had bits of ice.

          Lots of ice/snow/slush/yuckiness:

          I finished in 43:34 (7:02 pace) with some very uneven splits (full recap to come tomorrow) – it’s really obvious those areas that were clear (and in the sun) and the ones that I had to slow down.  I don’t really know if I could have been able to run sub-42 if the conditions were better.  I’d like to think I could have, but I’m not going to blame the weather for not reaching my goal.  Just will use it as a learning point for my next wintry-mix race (maybe wear shoes with better traction?).

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            Helpful Distraction

            Color Wheel

            Yesterday’s workout – last hard run before Saturday’s 10k:

            • 1 mile warmup: 8:41 pace
            • 5k tempo: 6:40 pace (20:43)
            • 1/2 mile cooldown: 8:17 pace

            I wanted to do a 5k today to practice running on tired legs to replicate what the second half of the 10k on Saturday will feel like.  My legs were definitely tired – they were starting to burn and feel extremely heavy by the second mile, but I managed negative splits (6:51, 6:42, 6:30) and never felt like I was all-out pushing it until the very end of the 5k.  Yesterday’s tempo and Tuesday’s speed workouts were HUGE confidence boosters for me.


            In case you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I shared a photo of this AWESOME new app (Countdown+ Lite)  that I found out about from Jocelyn! Totally loving it!!

            Now I just need to get some better pictures to correspond to each race rather than just self portraits =)


            When we bought this home last year, it was brand new – no one had ever lived in it before.  I loved it because it was all one color and would be really easy to paint.  My plan was to have the whole house painted before we moved in (or shortly after).  But between being really pregnant, having a new baby, time just getting away from us and not having the money to pay for painting (and all the accompanying upgrades we want), very few rooms have been finished (oldest son’s bedroom, our bedroom, and playroom are the three finished rooms in the house).

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              It’s Racing Time


              This Saturday is my first race (where I’ll actually be racing for time) since I found out I was pregnant a year ago. I’m getting anxious, nervous, excited to race again.  I’m running the Hot Chocolate 10k in Prospect Park.  If I run a sub-42, I can apply for the Saucony Hurricane Team.  I haven’t raced a 10k in years – the last one was in 2008 when I was deployed to Iraq.  I’ve never trained for a 10k.  So I’m not totally familiar with how I should be running this week, tapering (if, at all), and resting.

              Love this quote:

              I reached out to my friend, Mike, late last week to get his opinion on what type of run I should do this past Saturday.  My marathon training plan called for 16 miles.  I wasn’t sure if that would be too much on me before this weekend’s race and whether I should switch the workout to a longer tempo or progression run instead.  Mike recommended that I stick to the training plan and then focus on shorter distances during my speed workout this week.

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                Battle of the Sexes – Household Bragging Rights

                photo 4

                Mondays Workout: Rest Day – Giving my legs an extra rest day this week since I have a BIG 10k this weekend (more details later this week)!

                Fact: I am a competitive person with just about everything in life (sometimes over the silliest things).

                Like last weekend: My husband and I were putting together Thomas puzzles with (for) my son.  There were four of them.  After putting the first two together, he said he would do one and I could do the other.  So, of course, it became a competition for me.  He didn’t need me to say it to know that I was suddenly racing to beat him.  (In case you were dying to know…I won.  Bazinga (totally obsessed with The Big Bang Theory at the moment).)

                Or growing up: My sisters and I would compete to see who could get the best grades in school.  Okay.  Maybe they didn’t compete with me.  But I was definitely competing with them. =)

                Or with military-related things:  My husband went to more schools then I did in the military (he’s a Ranger, Airborne, and Air Assault qualified while I am only Airborne).  But I deployed more times (and for more time) than he did.

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                  Am I Holding Myself Back?

                  16 miler

                  Erin O had a question from the previous post (Cold Weather Running).  Does anyone have an answer for her? =)


                  I have a goal pace (GP) that I try to stick to for all of my long runs.  These  GPs change week to week based on how I felt the week prior as well as what McMillan’s calculator says I should be running. I aim for my first 2-3 miles to be a bit slower than that pace, the last 1-2 to be faster…and all the others to be in that range.  

                  My first few long runs after my son was born was in the 8:20-8:30 range.  Since then, I’ve been trying to stay around 8:10-8:15.  I’m back up to distances that I haven’t hit since before I was pregnant (Jan 2012) so I’ve tried really hard to be cautious about not expecting too much and running a smart long run (for me that means not starting too fast).  

                  I ran 16 miles this past Saturday.  My goal was to average somewhere between 8:10.  First four miles were right where I wanted them to be:

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                    Cold Weather Running

                    My pre-run ritual in the winter

                    Wednesday’s Workout – 5 easy recovery miles (8:27 pace) on the treadmill: 3.8 miles while both boys napped and another 1.2 after I went to get little guy from his crib (he sleeps 9-10 hours straight at night but only likes 30 minute cat naps during the day).  This was my view for the second part of the run – my own cheering section =)

                    Thursday’s Workout: 3 mi at half-marathon GP and 2 mi at 10k GP (with a 2 min rest in between).  Note: These are my goal paces – these are certainly NOT the pace that I can currently run a half marathon OR 10k.

                    • Mile 1: Warm-up (8:47 pace)
                    • Mile 2: 7:05
                    • Mile 3: 7:00
                    • Mile 4: 6:55
                    • Mile 5: 6:40
                    • Mile 6: 6:28
                    I love workouts like this – I get lots of speedy miles in without pushing myself for 5 straight miles. —————————————–

                    After a couple of brutal summers in Iraq and Texas (think blowdryer hot), I learned to deal with super high temperatures.  My first winter back in NYC was a HUGE wake-up call for me.  I avoided the cold weather at all costs – and when I had to run – my hatred for the cold was only further deepened because I was always freezing.

                    Fast forward a few years and I now am pretty okay with running most days in the cold.  Don’t get me wrong.  Give me the choice of freezing cold or heat and humidity and I’ll happily choose the heat any day of the week. But I don’t hate the cold as much as I used to.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned about cold weather running:

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                      Runner’s Wager – #MilesofShame

                      Last year, Pavement Runner and I started a friendly wager when the NY Giants played the SF 49ers in the NFC Championship.  We did it again when the Giants played the Patriots in the Superbowl (GO GIANTS!!).  There were over 110 participate in the SuperBowl Challenge and we received a lot of positive feedback  – SO we have decided to do it again this year!!

                      Sadly, my NY Giants are not in the playoffs (Pavement Runner’s 49ers are!), but that doesn’t mean I was gong to let an opportunity for some friendly competition pass me by.

                      Below are the details if you are interested (taken from Pavement Runner’s post):

                      If your team loses, you have to run the point differential in miles (#milesofshame).

                      49ers beat the Packers 45-31. Loser would have to run 14 miles.
                      Ravens beat the Broncos 38-35. Loser would have to run 3 miles.

                      Mile Limit:
                      We know that not everyone can go out and run a bunch of miles in the case of a blowout, but it does HAVE to be challenge. We’ve limited the MAX miles to be 20. If that many miles still seems too high, we still want you to be part of it and you can cap your “bet” at 10.

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                        Speed Work Post-Baby

                        Embrace the Pain

                        Confession: the last time I did speedwork outside was years ago (like 3 or 4).  When I was in Iraq, it was impossible for me to find an area on the base where I could run without worrying about hummvees, tanks, or even indirect fire, so I began to do my speedwork on the treadmill.  I guess when you are left with no choice, you learn to love the only option you have.  I have stuck with the treadmill for the past few years.

                        After Saturday’s 6 mile progression run, I realized I needed to suck it up and start doing the speedwork outside.  While the treadmill can give me a great workout, I find that I push myself much harder when I am outside.

                        There isn’t a local track that I can go to so I will be doing my repeats on an area close to my home that has just under a mile of flat pavement (the last .1 or so is a bit of an uphill).  It’s definitely not ideal – I have to keep an eye out for traffic since I’m going through a bunch of intersections, but it could definitely be worse.  Trying to be optimistic – HA =)

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                          Progression Run + Explosion of Thomas the Train

                          Thomas the Train

                          This past weekend was a cut-back long week.  I follow the “build, build, build, easy” concept when it comes to my long runs.  The last three weekends had been 10, 12, and 14…Saturday was supposed to be 8, but I decided to make it a speedy 6 and leave some extra miles for Sunday since I knew the weather was going to be unseasonably mild:

                          I’ve been doing all of my speedwork and tempo runs on the treadmill, so I wanted to see how it felt to push the pace a bit outside and decided to do a progression run:

                          • Mile 1: 7:47 (warm-up)
                          • Mile 2: 7:19
                          • Mile 3: 7:17
                          • Mile 4: 7:14
                          • Mile 5: 7:09
                          • Mile 6: 6:59
                          • 6 miles: 43:50
                          • Average Pace: 7:17
                          The last mile was tough – I wanted my watch to say sub-7 SO badly.  I miscalculated and was at 5.85 when I reached my home (such a kick in the pants to have to run by my home).  6:59 is the first sub-7 minute mile outside that I have had since I found out I was pregnant last Jan =)

                          Progression runs are hands down my favorite type of run.  I often incorporate them onlong runs, tempo runs, and even easy days.

                          A progression run is simply a run in which you finish faster than you start.  There are a TON of different ways you can do progression runs:

                          • Miles: This is how I prefer to do my progression runs.  Basically, my goal is to run each mile faster than the previous mile.  I start super slow and end super fast (for me).
                          • Thirds: Separate your run into three equal parts.  The first 1/3 should be the slowest, the middle 1/3 should be faster and the final 1/3 should be your fastest
                          • End Fast: I do this on a lot of my easy runs.  I always try to make the last mile or two my fastest – not super fast, but aiming to be close to my half or marathon goal pace.

                          Progression runs:

                          • Force me to start slow.  I know I won’t be able to run the full progression run correctly if I start too fast
                          • Are a great way to do a short tempo run or speedwork without devoting a ton of miles to it (the last 1-2 miles are usually at a pretty fast pace for me)
                          • Satiate my competitive nature.  I am basically competing against myself when I do a progression run – I have to beat my previous mile time.  Nobody wants to lose to themself. HA.
                          • Make the miles go by quickly.  I only focus on the current mile and concentrate on running that one faster than the previous
                          • Are a HUGE confidence booster.  There is nothing as satisfying as finishing a run (regardless of distance) super fast – and feeling strong and in control

                          If you want to learn more about progression runs, check out these articles by McMillan Running and Runners World.


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                            Hills Are My Friend

                            Photo Courtesy of Michelle: elleroos.wordpress.com

                            Photo Courtesy of Michelle

                            If you are like me, then you know that hills suck when you are doing them.  But they pay dividends on race day.

                            My target race this spring is the NJ Marathon. Even though it’s a pancake flat course, I am incorporating some hill-specific workouts as well as general hill training into my training plan. Knowing that I’ve done hill training is a huge mental boost for me when I’m racing. I feel stronger knowing I’ve done those hill repeats.

                            There are a few ways that I incorporate some hill work into my training:

                            – Choose the route with hills.  If you have the choice between a totally flat course and one with some rolling hills (during training runs), go for the hills.  Your splits won’t be as fast, but it will pay off in the end.  I was confronted with this choice the last two Saturdays on my 12 and 14 mile runs.  If I run south from where I live, it’s almost entirely flat.  I decided to run north which has three back-to-back hills that would each rival cat hill in central park.

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                              Birthday Celebration + PowerBar Giveaway Winners

                              Family picture

                              I’m still on cloud 9 from this morning’s workout.  As I’ve mentioned (repeatedly) on here before, I’m aiming for a sub-42 10k in a few weeks in order to apply for the Saucony Hurricane Team.  I woke up this morning with the desire to do a tempo run instead of my planned hill workout.  I didn’t really have a set plan of pace or distance, but figured I’d shoot for 4 miles around a 7 min pace.  I finished the 4 miles in 27:33 which comes out to about a 6:53 pace.  Mile repeats are definitely paying off – I felt much stronger and in control than I did when I tried this about a month ago (ran 4 miles at a 7:05 pace).  I needed this run to give me a boost after this weekend’s long run in the wind where I felt like I was barely moving.

                              My oldest son turned two yesterday.  Where did the last TWO years go??  It seems cliche to say that time is moving too fast – but it is  – and I feel like it’s multiplied when you have little ones.  There’s so many huge milestones crammed into such a short amount of time for them.

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                                The Wind Against My Wings

                                8:12 pace

                                I’ll run in the heat, rain, cold, or snow with no very little complaining.  The one element that I despise and will avoid at all costs is the wind.  I hate it.  For me, there’s nothing as depressing as pushing yourself and feeling like you are barely moving.

                                I always check wind speed before a run – and especially before a long run.  If the wind is anything close to 20 mph, I always choose the treadmill. The forecast for Saturday’s long run called for chilly temps (28) with winds sustained around 17-18 mph (and gusts up to 30 mph).  It was going to feel like 15 degrees with the windchill.

                                If I were further along in my marathon training, I easily would have chosen the treadmill.  I’ve done distances up to 20 miles before on it.  But I felt that I wasn’t mentally prepared enough for 14 miles on the treadmill yet – I hadn’t run that distance since late spring (about 9 months) and was worried that I would wimp out and hit “stop” when I got tired the last few miles.  The only option was to run outside.

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                                  Running Book for Kids: Pellie Runs a Marathon

                                  Pellie Runs A Marathon

                                  My husband bought me the cutest kids book a few months after our oldest son was born in 2011 – Pellie Runs a Marathon (by Michele Bredice Craemer):

                                  One of the things I am MOST grateful to my parents is my exposure to sports from a young age.  They didn’t force a sport on my sisters and I.  Instead, we were given and shown a wide range of sports from when we were first old enough to understand them.  Basketball, softball, football, running, golf, bowling, soccer, dancing…We played/did them all.  Basketball was my first love and lasted until sophomore year of college.  It wasn’t until that point – and then even more-so during my time in the military and deployments – that my love for running began.

                                  My husband and I are not going to push running, or any other sport for that matter, onto either of our boys.  But, just as both our parents did with us, we’ve already begun introducing a handful of sports to our oldest whether through activity outside with his bat and ball, watching football on the couch with daddy, or reading a book about marathons.

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                                    #Lucky13 Fitness Goals

                                    Run this Year Challenge

                                    Happy New Year!!

                                    I love the start of the New Year.  There is something so exciting and invigorating about setting goals for the next 365 days and hearing about all the goals others have set.

                                    13 has always been a lucky number for me (it was my high school basketball number for a few years), I decided to create my #Lucky13 Fitness Goals.  Some of them are the same goals as I had for 2012…I found out I was pregnant only a few weeks into 2012 and so almost all of my fitness-related goals had to be postponed until post-baby.

                                    1. Complete 50 miler: JFK 50 miler (Nov 16)  This was one of my 2012 goals but pregnancy put it on hold.  The JFK 50 miler is the largest 50 miler in the world (over 1,000 finishers) and I have heard nothing but amazing things about the entire race experience. I ran my first ultra distance in 2010 and my first ultra race in 2011 and have been itching to do another one.  Current distance PR: 60k (37.2 miles) in 5:41 (Knickerbocker 60k, 2011)

                                    2. Sub-3:10 MarathonNJ Marathon (May 5)  I was able to defer this race last year when I found out I was pregnant.  Taking 11 minutes off my previous PR may seem a bit of a stretch – but I haven’t actually “raced” a marathon since 2009 – between training for my first ultra, two pregnancies/childbirths, and the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge, racing a marathon never seemed to be in the cards for me.  Current PR: 3:21:32 (Boston, 2009)

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