NYC Marathon Training Highlights

13-miler

This is the first marathon training cycle since I’ve been blogging where I didn’t really blog and post updates of my weekly training. It was a busy fall and blogging was at the bottom of the priority list. So this will be a once over of the training cycle with some key workouts and breakthroughs that helped me run a PR at the NYC Marathon. (I try to post all of my runs and workouts on Instagram!)

But before I get into the training cycle, I feel it warrants a brief discussion on what I was doing over the summer. The 2-3 months after Boston were not fun (as I’ve discussed before). Each time I tried to build my mileage up or increase intensity again, I would almost immediately begin to feel drained and exhausted (which would last a week or two). I remember one run in particular – I had made it maybe 2 miles before stopping because I was out of breath and just not feeling right. I walked and ran the 1 mile back to my house and questioned if I would ever have the energy to run double digits again, let alone race a marathon. Sometime around mid-July, I started to feel like myself again and the mileage started creeping up.

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    2016 NYC Marathon: 3:07:01

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    I don’t even know where to begin. I will definitely write a full recap of yesterday because there is SO much to say. I woke up this morning still in utter disbelief with how yesterday went down. It feels like a dream to finally break 3:10 – and not just break it but to crush it. To finally feel like everything came together (and the weather cooperated). And to negative split a marathon.

    But I wanted to drop in and just say a huge thank you. Thank you for all of the good luck wishes, tracking and cheering from afar, cheers during the race, congratulatory messages and comments post-race. My heart is literally bursting with happiness and gratitude. I loved the NYC Marathon before yesterday but after yesterday’s race, it is, without question, my favorite race in the world. There is nothing like running through the streets of your hometown and seeing familiar face after familiar face and hearing your name called hundreds and hundreds of times. Whenever I started to think about how much pain I was in or question how I was going to keep moving forward, I moved myself along the edge of the course and let the spectators push me forward. The cheers, high-fives and smiles literally gave me the energy to keep going. THIS is why I love big marathons. THIS is what makes NYC so very special and why I’ll keep coming back despite the hills, wind and tough course.

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      Life Lessons Learned From My First Ironman

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      Three years ago, today, I became an Ironman. This morning while I drank my coffee in the pre-dawn hours before my run, I spent some time on Facebook and Timehop. All the emotions of that day came roaring back as I looked at friends’ posts on my wall, the comments from friends and family and the amazing photos that my awesome sister uploaded in order to keep everyone updated.

      July 28, 2013 was one of the best days of my life – for so many reasons. Obviously being able to call myself an “Ironman” (and have it in my bio ) is a pretty sweet reward. But that day was so much more to me. I know I’m three years removed, but I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned from that experience.

      Wait for the fire. There was a marked moment when an Ironman went from being something fun to watch on TV to a fire in my stomach and something I wanted to do. For years, I would watch Kona on TV with my husband and talk about how cool it would be to do one one day. But that was it. A couple of days after the Ironman would air, doing one would be out of sight, out of mind. It was one of those “lifetime goals” that didn’t have any weight to it.

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        My Son’s First 5k + Age and Distance for Kids?

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        On Sunday, my five year old ran his first race – the Staten Island Father’s Day 5k. I honestly had no intention of him or me running this race. Just recently, he has shown an interest in running – and we’ve begun doing some short runs together here and there when he’s up for it or asks me. Most runs are anywhere from 1-2 miles with some short walk breaks in the middle.

        The Father’s Day 5k race has become one of my favorite local races. It’s as local as you can get. We live less than a block from the main road on Staten Island – and the race is an out and back on that main road with the start/finish being one block away from our house (inside an area called Mt. Loretto). It’s that close. It’s well organized, a fun, but challenging route and the logistics make it just too easy to pass up.

        I had casually asked him earlier in the week if he wanted to do the race with me but he said he wanted to next year when he was older. So I left it at that. I won’t push either of my boys into anything that they don’t 100% want to do.

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          Syncing Your Mind and Body

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          Only a few hours left to enter the RnR Philly Half VIP Giveaway!

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          My mind and body are at odds right now.  My mind is convinced I can ran at a certain pace.  Paces that I was running in the spring. Mile repeats? 6-6:15.  Tempo runs? 6:30-6:45. I’ve run those paces before. But my body hasn’t gotten the memo yet.  Apparently it’s not ready to get on the speed train.

          Each time I receive a workout from my coach – which includes mileage and pace – my first thought has been that the paces seem a bit SLOW.  Example: Mile repeats this week. Goal pace 6:50 -> 6:45.  I was up to 5x mile repeats in the spring. The last workout I ran them all between 6:05-6:15. So my coach has me running them over 30 seconds slower.  6:45 is a slower pace than what I was averaging on my tempo days in April.  Slower than I did a 10 mile steady state run in the spring. (**I know paces on the treadmill are easier to hit than outside but I still managed 10 consecutive miles at well under a 7 min pace**)

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            Ironman Lake Placid: Tracking Details

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            Crossing finish line of 2013 Mossman Half Ironman

            I’ve been asked a lot over the last week by friends and family about how they can track me on race day, so I wanted to share all the details here!

            Race Day: Sunday, July 28, 2013

            Start Time: Pros start at 6:30am; waves will begin a few minutes after that based on projected finish times.  I should enter the water sometime around 6:45-6:50am.

            Bib #: 604

            Finish Time: Anywhere between 7:15pm and midnight (7:15 is hoping that things go amazingly well on race day!)

            Ways to Track Me:

            • Ironman.com website: The “results” page should be updated on race morning to have live athlete tracking. There will be a TON of splits that will be given (start, loops, transition)
            • TwitterMy sister, Danielle, will be tweeting the splits from the website as soon as they are updated.  Additionally, she will tweet any pics/updates that my family gets “in-person” from me as they will be at the race
            • Instagram: Danielle will also be posting any pictures they are able to take to my IG account throughout the day!
            • Got Chocolate Milk: I am representing Team Refuel this weekend and they will be posting/sharing pics and details of the race on their Twitter page!

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              Tired is JUST a State of Mind

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              Tired

              Tuesday’s swim workout was tough.  It was 2,800 LONG yards.  It wasn’t a terribly hard workout on paper, but my arms were still {really} tired from Sunday evening’s 2 mile swim.  I felt fatigued during the warm-up on Tuesday morning.  The WARM-UP!!  Not what you want to feel when you have 8x100yd repeats and then 4×200 yd repeats in the set. I can’t even describe to you {how close} I was to calling it a day after the warm up.

              You always hear about how tired you will be when you train for an Ironman.  But I never fully understood just how tired.  It’s not the tired that I’m used to when I am training for a marathon and am mostly focused on running.  Yes, my legs are tired, but they actually aren’t as tired as they are after a hard mile repeat workout or 20+ mile run.

              This is a different kind of tired.  My whole body is tired.  It’s more of a general fatigue and flat out exhaustion.  Ironman training is a new ballgame for me.  One day it’s a hard swim.  The next it’s a tough bike ride.  The day after that, it’s an hour run with 800m repeats tossed in the middle for fun (ps. there’s NOTHING fun about that).  The next it’s a steady state brick.  And those are just the weekday workouts.  The weekend ones are even more intense.

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                NJ Marathon Info!

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                Hey everyone!! I have SO much to share with you regarding my week in Atlanta with Mizuno.

                We are on our way home after a fun, exciting week but my mind is focused on one thing – the NJ Marathon on Sunday.  After months and months of planning, training, and imagining this race, it is finally here!

                First, the race details.

                • Date: Sunday, May 5th
                • Start time: 8am
                • Route:  It’s a mix between out and back and a loop.  The race starts by Monmouth Race track, heads north for a bit, over to the coastline by mile 10, then south for 8 miles with the turnaround just after mile 18 and heads back north for the final 8 miles.  

                • Elevation: Virtually pancake flat (after my last few races have been in Central Park, this makes me VERY happy!)

                The weather forecast looks almost too good to be true.  I’m still not celebrating because I know it can still change.  But right now, race day weather looks to be cool (~45-50 at race start), calm, and sunny.  One of my biggest worries leading up to this race has been the wind.  Before moving last summer, we had lived less than a mile from the SI boardwalk, so almost all of my runs would take place right on the coastline.  Most early mornings were calm, but the wind would often pick up (>15-20 mph winds) by mid-morning.  So far, race morning looks like it will have very little wind (~ 5 mph winds).

                For everyone that has asked…if you want to track me, here is the link to sign up to receive alerts (you can get text, email, twitter updates).  My bib is #1023 in case you need it. There’s a part of me that is excited to know that all of my friends will be able to track me on Sunday, but a large part of me is starting to freak out about it. HA. 

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                  #BostonStrongSI + Taper Begins

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                  The #BostonStrong runs are being held tonight.  After I wrote about the one being organized in NYC, I made the decision to organize one in my hometown:

                  The FB event page is located here.  We have over 100 people running or walking in support of Boston tonight.  PowerBar is sponsoring us so there will be gels, blasts, recovery bars, and other yummy treats for pre/post run fuel.  Other runners from my hometown have arranged for local news stations to be present, newspaper stories to be written, and water to be provided.  SO, if you are in the NYC / SI area, please come out to Clove Lakes tonight at 6:30pm to show your support.

                  *As of Sunday evening, there are 112 cities participating in this GLOBAL event. It is truly amazing.

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                  I am officially tapering!! Still feels weird for me to say that.  I feel like the marathon crept up on me (so much so that I didn’t remember to book a hotel room and now they are all sold out!).  For so long I felt like the marathon was still off in the distance…and then I blinked and, boom.  It’s two weeks away.

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                    My Heart is Heavy for Boston + BostonStrongNYC

                    It’s been a few days since the events occurred in Boston. I have yet to write anything here because, frankly, I still am having a hard time expressing what I feel. Heartbroken. Sad. Angry.  I can’t even begin to imagine what Bostonians and the runners and spectators who experienced it firsthand must be going through.

                    When I first heard of the news, I was sitting on the couch, nursing my youngest son.  I had picked up my phone to check out twitter for the 10 min or so he was busy nursing.  I saw a tweet from a runner from NYC that said something about bombs at the finish line.  I first thought she meant it in the context of bonking along the course but then my home phone started ringing. Once I saw it was my mom calling, I knew something horrible had happened. I turned on the news to see the photos that have become all too familiar to us now.

                    Having been deployed to Iraq numerous times, I am all too familiar with seeing innocent civilians attacked.  One of the most disturbing aspects of Monday, for me, was that if you took off the news banners on the screen, took away the signs that it was the Boston Marathon, the footage could have come from Baghdad – Shi’ites attacking Sunnis and vice versa.  These ruthless attacks were often at large, joyous gatherings and the targets were always the innocent bystanders.  It is ALL too familiar for me, and I’m sure any of my brothers and sisters in arms who spent time overseas.

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                      Two Weeks Off From Running + Scotland 10k this weekend

                      First ride in the wagon!

                      I loved reading all your comments on yesterday’s post – glad to know that my husband and I are not the only ones who struggle with both fitting in working out daily.

                      Ever have a day where everything seems to go your way?  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  Started with an amazing ~20 miles of the Lake Placid Ironman Course  on the trainer.

                      This DVD is amazing.  I am so thankful that Amanda recommended it to me.  My plan is to use parts of the DVD for at least one bike ride a week so that I can become intimately familiar with the course.  The bike course at LP is 2 56-mile loops.  This DVD takes you through one complete loop with Coach Troy with pointers and tips for the course along the way.

                      Both boys slept later than usual (6am for the oldest and 8am for the youngest) AND had joint naps (for a little bit) which allowed me to shower, work on training plans, respond to some emails, do  laundry, and clean the house.

                      Then I had a few deliveries.  First Fedex dropped two huge boxes off containing this:

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                        Race Calendar + Ironman Lake Placid Training

                        Hello friends!

                        One of my good friends pointed out to me that my race calendar was severely outdated…so I took a few minutes and updated it.  (The calendar can be found here.)  The big/long races are definites.   The smaller/shorter ones are still up in the air (5 miler on 4th of July, RW races, etc).  I made the decision on a fall marathon…the Wineglass Marathon!  SUPER excited about this one. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and I’m loving the elevation chart for the race:

                        I’m also looking for a triathlon to do before the ironman in July.  There is the Rev3 Quassy in June that I would LOVE to do but not sure we will be able to swing it financially (registration alone is over $250…then we will need hotel for 1-2 nights, etc).  Anyone want to sponsor me? (I’m only half kidding).

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                        I realized it’s been a while since I gave any sort of update with how training is going in prep for IM Lake Placid.  I post a lot of pictures on my Instagram account {NYCRunningMama} with training updates, but don’t really blog about how things are going.  So here goes:

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                          NYC Half Race Recap

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                          I am still smiling from the 2013 NYC Half.  I don’t think I have EVER run such a steady, smart, even-paced race in my life.

                          It was a frigid morning.  Temps were hovering around 30 at race start, but with the windchill, it felt like about 20 degrees.  I wasn’t concerned with anything except my hands.  My body warms up within 5 minutes of running but my hands never seem to warm up.  On long runs, I often opt for mittens but I wanted to have better use of my hands for water and fueling.

                          Like I said yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to do the warm-up I wanted and was worried that the 1/4 mile I jogged from the interview location to the start corral would not be enough of a warm-up for me.  I was also concerned with how long I (we) would have to wait in the corrals not moving (about 30 minutes).

                          This post is pretty long…I tried to cut it down but there was just too much going on in my head during those 13.32 miles.

                          *The splits below are based on my Garmin.  I ran a bit longer than the 13.1 miles so my pace is faster than my finish time suggests (more on this later!)

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                            Pre-NYC Half

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                            The NYC Half Race Recap will be up tomorrow but I’ll save the suspense…I PR’d by over 2 min!!! I didn’t get my sub-1:32 but I was darn close (1:32:23) and could NOT be happier with how the whole race went.  I don’t think the smile has left my face since I crossed the finish line.

                            And want to know one of the best parts about the weekend?  I am not the only one who PR’d…SO many friends set massive PRs this weekend:

                            • Kristin ran the LA Marathon in 3:20
                            • Ashley ran a 1:43 at the NYC Half -> PR by over 2 min
                            • Jess took 10 min off her half and ran the Rock N Roll Half in 1:33
                            • Gia got her BQ at the LA Marathon after missing it by 10 sec in the fall – she ran a 3:32
                            • Theodora ran a 5 min PR in 1:50 at the Rock N Roll DC Half
                            • Erica got her sub-2 half at the NYC Half
                            • Lindsey crushed her previous marathon PR with a 3:13 at the Shamrock Marathon
                            • Ashley ran a 2:05 to crush her PR that she’s had for 5 years at the NYC Half

                            On the Run Interview

                            I am so happy and honored to have been featured in their coverage leading up to the NYC Half. In case you missed it on WABC or on their website, here is the video:

                            Saturday Expo + Shopping

                            I headed to the NYC Half expo Saturday morning to get my race bib (with the coolest # ever – 1234!).  It couldn’t be located so I had to be given a replacement one (#1900).  Kind of bummed because 1234 sounded fast but I forced myself to not something as trivial as a race # pysch me out.

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                              Race Week: NYC Half

                              2010 NYC Half

                              The NYC Half is Sunday.

                              I’m anxious, excited and nervous as all heck.  Anxious to put the last 10 weeks of hard training to the test.  Excited to be racing again.  Nervous because I have some pretty BIG goals for this race.  

                              There’s a huge part of me that wants to keep my goals hidden.  It’ll be a lot easier on Sunday if I come up short if I didn’t share what my goals were here.  I won’t have to publicly admit defeat like I had to do in January when I missed the qualifying time for the Saucony Hurricane Team.  

                              But, I share my training – the good and bad…so feel that sharing my goals is a continuation of that.  I try to openly share my goals – all of them – on here, twitter, facebook, IG.

                              And what is the worst that could happen?  That I fail?  I have failed at SO many things I’ve set out to do in my life…so what’s one more?  Failing makes me stronger.  Failing no longer scares me.

                              All I can do on Saturday is race with my heart and my head – my body will follow. 

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                                Strengthening Your Mind

                                Baptism

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                                Last Day to Enter the PRO Compression Giveaway here!

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                                This past weekend was my son’s Baptism. It was a perfect day –  wonderful ceremony, good food, and our family and neighbors to share the day with us.  I’m extremely sentimental and wanted my boys to wear the same christening outfit – just like my sisters and I did when we were all baptized. We had a small party at our home afterwards catered from a yummy place on Staten Island.

                                All dressed up for a change!

                                I love little boy clothes:

                                My mom and sisters:

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                                This is one of my favorite mantras to say to myself during a tough run:

                                I have many moments of doubt and even more moments of wanting to just quit when I’m doing during tempo and speed workouts.

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                                  Ava & Liam Motivational Sign Giveaway

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                                  Happy Tuesday!!  I am BEYOND excited to share this giveaway with you today!

                                  I am a visual person.  Seeing things – words, numbers, whatever – helps me focus and stay on track.  Which is why I LOVE these motivational signs created by Ava & Liam.

                                  Ava & Liam is a small business that makes gifts and home decor – they are made to order and totally customizable.

                                  The sign I have – which will be hung down our basement on the wall next to the treadmill and stationery bike – is approximately 12″ x 12″.  It is handpainted on wood and distressed to look vintage.

                                  One of the coolest things about it is these signs is that the bottom half is a chalkboard.  So you can write your next goal and then erase it and write the next one when that race/event passes.  This is what my sign currently looks like:

                                  I was chatting with Nicole, the shop owner, about what sign I wanted.  After deciding on the one pictured above, I mentioned that my 2nd option would have been something with my favorite mantra – Go Big or Go Home.  She surprised me by creating a mini-sign (measures 6″ x 3.5″):

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                                    Long Run Mental Toughness

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                                    Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for an awesome and fun giveaway!! =) =)

                                    Since I haven’t blogged since this post, I figured I’d share my workouts from last week with you.

                                    Monday: 30 min bike (9.3 mi) + 5.5 mi speed workout.

                                    • 1/2 mile warm-up
                                    • 2 miles: 12:28
                                    • 2 x 1 mile: 6:07, 5:59 (1st sub-6 mile post-baby!)
                                    • 1/2 mile cool-down

                                    Tuesday: 900 yd swim + 60 min bike (17.85 mi)

                                    Wednesday: 900 yd swim + 5 mi tempo run. Swim went great – swam back-to-back days and arms felt totally fine.  Run: warmed up for the first mile (7:30 – started at 8:15 pace and was down to 6:30 for the last minute), stopped the treadmill, stretched one last time, caught my breath and began the workout.  My goal was 6:30 4 miles (No starting slow and speeding up). My legs were exhausted from back-to-back cycling and swim days but didn’t quit despite wanting to about 4010839302 times.

                                    Thursday: 3 mile recovery run (7:50 pace).  Tested out the new Saucony Virrata shoes – initial impression is that I really like them…but I want to wear them a few more times before I do a review on them.

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                                      PR Spotlight – Beka K

                                      Brandon Half Marathon - Dec 2012
                                      I love stories of people who have been inspired to run/race after seeing a marathon for the first time.  That is what happened to Beka in November 2011.  She ran her first 5k a month later and tackled her first half marathon less than three months after that!.  Her first half-marathon time?  2:17!  AND just became part of the sub-2 club when she knocked over 12 minutes off her half-marathon time!  Beka know holds a 1:54 half-marathon PR and is anxiously awaiting for training to begin this summer for her first full marathon.  Did I mention that she’s only been running about 14 months?? =)  I think she is going to be setting some pretty nice PRs this year due to her natural speed + incredible dedication. Name: Rebecca (Beka) Kelley Age: 28 Hometown: Memphis, TN – now live in Tampa, FL Blog: www.rebeccaroams.com Twitter: @rebeccaroams How long have you been running? 1 year & 2 months Why did you start running? In November 2011, I tagged along with my boyfriend to his first marathon (which I thought he was nuts for even doing). While he ran, I grabbed a big fatty breakfast at Denny’s, lounged around, and waited at my spots to see him a couple of times throughout the race. It wasn’t until the runners began crossing the finish line that I started to feel incredibly guilty about that breakfast, but so incredibly inspired! Watching so many different kinds of people meeting life long goals and seeing their emotions ranging from tears to huge smiles, and even a few blood stained shirts or knees. I was absolutely enamored with what they felt with that accomplishment and made it a goal on the spot to start distance running. Even if that meant just starting with 1 small mile (which I could not do at this point). One month later in December, I completed my first very painful 5k,  three months later, my first half marathon and I haven’t looked back! Favorite Race Distance/Why? So far, the half marathon. It requires endurance and speed. Tests you in both areas (although I’m not as speedy as Michele!)
                                      PRs 5k: 25:57 10k: 56:28 Half: 1:54 Marathon: (tba in October!)
                                      First Half Marathon time/when: Gasparilla Half (March 2012) – 2:17. Still not even knowing what a “pace” was, or even how long a half marathon “really was”, I decided to challenge myself and see just how far I could make it. I had only run 7 really hard miles prior. I never stopped running! I slowed significantly and at one point was so angry at myself for putting myself in this much pain, but all that anger and pain disappeared (momentarily) as soon as I saw the finish chute and I was given my medal. I was in complete and utter amazement at how the body can complete such a huge task! I immediately started signing up for more races as soon as I got home.

                                      Previous Half Marathon PR/when: Women’s Half Marathon November 2012 2:06:58 – This was another total shocker for me. I had just gotten out of physical therapy thanks to a “learn my lesson about recovery and cross training” injury (hip) and really just wanted to finish. I was extremely nervous leading up to the race. I listened to my body and ran a smart race without giving up and without re-injuring myself! It paid off!

                                      What did you do differently in your training to drop so much time off from your last half marathon? I made a plan and I stuck to it – I trained hard – didn’t miss ONE WORKOUT (not even a cross training workout -i.e yoga or weights) – even if my plan was for only 5 weeks. I made the time, woke up early, stayed up late, put in the effort, and it made the biggest difference!

                                      What do you attribute the most to you PR’ing? Consistent weekly, hard tempo runs! A supportive boyfriend who also runs, and an amazing pacer – Meghann! If you have an opportunity for a speedy friend to help you meet your goal – accept it. Having her next to me made me feel accountable, and because of that I pushed myself to get that PR!
                                      What is your next race/goal? I have a few more races (5k, 10k, halfs) scheduled through April, and really want to get a huge PR in my 10k since I’ve only run one before! In June I’ll begin training for my biggest goal of the year – Marine Corps Marathon (held in Oct). I am raising money for a wonderful charity- The Little Things for Cancer. I’m also planning to run along side one of my Marine Wounded Warrior friends. While in Afghanistan, he lost a leg and function in an arm and is doing everything in his power to rebuild his strength and be able to run this race with me! (you can read the full story here)

                                      What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to PR? Train (consistently) well, recover better, and find running buddies to challenge you and hold you accountable. Definitely look toward those friends or the  blogger/social media healthy living and fitness community for the days you just don’t feel like getting out for that run. It is full of so many inspiring athletes! I know I have aimed higher and set higher goals because of them! Challenge yourself!

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                                        Milestones

                                        My home for the next ~6 months

                                        My youngest son will be 5 months old next week.  He’s been scooting around in on his belly his crib for a few weeks now, but just last week really started moving (law-crawling) ALL over the place.  It seems like the idea of getting from point a to point b has clicked in his head.  He no longer wants to lay around and play with his baby toys.  He’d rather go after his older brother’s toys (especially his puzzle pieces) which has already started to cause some frustration for my oldest son.

                                        As much as I’m thrilled for him to have gained this wonderful motor skill, it has made my life exponentially more difficult.  No longer can I leave him places without worry.  I have to constantly check to make sure there are no small toys lying around (choking hazard) and nothing that he can get his hands into.  Easier said than done when there is a 2-yr old in the house.  I’m learning why life is tougher with two.  With one – you only have to concern yourself with where you put things.  With 2+, there are now little hands that are constantly dropping non-chewable toys / choking hazards throughout the whole house.  Thankfully, he seems to really enjoy two toys that keep him in place – his jumperoo and walk-around.  Double “yays” because my oldest is enjoying playing with him while he is in them:

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