Boston: 11 days to go – Plans, Goals and News!

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Check out the RXBar giveaway I’m hosting on Instagram this week!

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We are just a days away from race week. The Boston Marathon is less than 12 days away. It’s getting real.

I am not only starting to get anxious and excited for the race itself, but for the entire race weekend experience. I know a TON of other runners who will be racing and I’m looking forward to spending some time with them next weekend. There’s also a handful of other running friends who I’m excited to finally meet after years of following each other on social media!

My mom and I are heading up to Boston bright and early on Saturday morning. I’m BEYOND thrilled that she will be able to share this special weekend with me. My husband will be coming up Sunday afternoon – so two of the most important people in my life will be close to the finish line waiting for me. We will be returning home shortly after the race on Monday (I will likely go to hotel to take a bath/shower and then we will return home).

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    Trip to DICK’s Sporting Goods + Giveaway!!

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    This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and DICK’s Sporting Goods. All opinions are my own. 

    I do a lot of online shopping these days. The thought of taking my two little guys into a cramped store to (attempt to) do some shopping for them or me makes my heart race. I often have two choices: bring the stroller (either double or single) which helps increase the attention I can put on what I’m shopping for. The downside is that a lot of stores are not designed for strollers; they have small aisles that often aren’t even wide enough for the stroller. The other option is to go in with them sans stroller (which is often the case) but I inevitably end up spending most of the time trying to keep them close to me. 

    Last week, my boys and I made our way to DICK’s Sporting Goods to check out the new women’s department and remodeling of the entire store.

    It was pretty impressive. The aisles are wide (and VERY stroller friendly). The lighting is bright and it feels spacious and welcoming. 

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      Things I’m Loving + Exciting News

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      There’s been a few things I’ve been meaning to share, but they haven’t worked themselves into other posts, so I wanted to include them in a roundup here.

      First, I am excited to share that I am featured on Runner’s Connect today! My super speedy friend, Tina, interviewed me a couple of weeks ago for the weekly podcast series. You can find the whole interview here!

      I’m also super excited to share that I have joined the Generation UCAN team as an ambassador. For those that have read here for a bit, you know I am pretty serious about brands I partner with – they have to be ones I believe in and provide products I use on a regular basis. And so, it made sense to team with Generation UCAN. I’ve been using the Superstarch Drink Mix for several years now – it has become my go-to before long training runs and races. And I’ve begun using their UCAN Hydrate (electrolyte replacement drink), snack bars and protein-enhanced mixes to supplement my meals and water consumption.

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        Training Highlights + Garmin Forerunner 225 Giveaway!

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        Hello from Alaska!! We are two weeks into our three week vacation and having an absolute blast. The last 15 days have been filled with nothing but outdoor adventures, delicious food, beautiful weather and time with family.

        Running and training have gone exceptionally well, especially given that we are on vacation. I’m always cautious about training during vacation. It’s definitely a fine line – I want to maximize time with family but I also want to maintain my fitness and momentum with training.

        I’m thankful that my husband and in-laws are supportive and encouraging of my running. Out of the 15 days we’ve been here, I’ve run 13 – the two missed days were because of jet lag (the 2nd day) and a packed day of hiking and driving last week. But several of the runs have been cut short – by 1-3 miles – because of shortage of time or just lack of interest to be gone for 70+ minutes at a time when the weather is nice and there are fun activities to do. And I mostly have eliminated core and strength work and cross training for the time being.

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          NOW® Immersion Event + Giveaway!!

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          Last week, I had the privilege of attending an immersion event with 10 other bloggers at NOW® Foods in Bloomgindale, IL.  I cannot even begin to explain how excited I have been about this event. A few weeks ago, I briefly touched on some of the changes my family has been making in our home, in our food and in the products we use. NOW® Foods not only has the products to help support these changes, but their entire mission is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives.

          When I was first invited to this event, I didn’t realize the extent of products NOW® provides. I was very familiar with the supplement line but I don’t take supplements regularly – and so I didn’t really see how I would be a good fit for the program. But, after spending some time on the NOW website, I realized how wrong I was. NOW has four distinct product categories – supplements, sports nutrition, foods and personal care.

          You can read about these categories and the 1,400 natural products (!!) they offer here.

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            Jonathan Adler + Garmin (Review + Giveaway!)

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            I’ve had my Garmin trackers (both the Vivofit 2 and Vivosmart) for over four months. I wear one of them pretty much every single day – and when I don’t, my wrist feels bare and naked and I spend the day feeling like something is missing. There have been plenty of times where I have opted for a bare wrist and thus, no data (gasp! =) ) in lieu of fashion. For example, two weeks ago, my husband and I went to a wedding – we were all dressed up and the black band just looked out of place. It’s not that it looked bad – but it looked like what it was – a fitness tracker. The rest of me was covered in jewlery – and the band stuck out.

            Needless to say, I am so excited to help launch Garmin’s newest product line! Garmin has teamed up with renowned potter and designer, Jonathan Adler, to offer a collection of chic, pattern-printed accessory bands for the Vivofit 2 (as well as the Vivofit!).

            “Jonathan Adler + Garmin combines fashion with purpose-built wearables, so users never have to choose between personal style and trusted technology.” – Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales

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              North Face Mountain Athletics Gear + $500 North Face Gift Card Giveaway!

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              This post brought to you by The North Face . The content and opinions expressed below are that of NYC Running Mama.

              The Mountain Athletics Gear is an activewear line released by North Face targeted at individuals who run, lift, do yoga or strength train. I was recently given the opportunity to test out some of this gear!

              From their website:

              The Mountain Athletics line by North Face is technical training apparel, footwear and technology that is designed to help various levels of athletes have longer days and more fun times outdoors doing the activities they love…built to help elite, experienced athletes train for their sports activities. 

              The clothes are extremely comfortable and functional for workouts as well as pre- and post-workout.

              Some of the features of the Mountain Athletics Line:

              • Utilizes exclusive active stretch fabric that provides an unparalleled durability and strength
              • Allows a range of motion and performance to help athletes strive in training outdoors
              • Uses FlashDryXD, a technology that keeps you dry and won’t snag, pill or pull
              • Engineered materials that stretch, flex and move with your most rigorous workout

              There is a wide range of gear available – casual, relaxed pieces that you can wear to the gym or to run errands. But there’s also amazing gear you can rock while you are working out. And there’s some really fun, bright colors across the line.

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                Garmin Vivofit Winner + You Can Still Win a Vivofit!

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                I announced the winner of the Garmin Vivosmart Instagram giveaway on Thursday – congratulations to Kelly!!

                The winner of the Garmin Vivofit giveaway is: Sarah Evans!

                A couple of ladies participating in the #Pathtofit campaign with Garmin and Whole Foods are/will be giving away a Garmin Vivofit (as well as gift card to Whole Foods!). If you didn’t win one here, go check out their blogs for a chance to win!! Dorothy, Christine, Lindsay.

                  Garmin Fitness Trackers + Garmin Vivofit Giveaway!

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                  Garmin has released two models in their activity tracker line – the Vivosmart and the Vivofit. The Vivosmart is the higher model – but both have several awesome capabilities (review of the Vivosmart coming soon!). Below is a chart outlying the differences:

                  I’ve hosted a bunch of Garmin giveaways lately. The 910xt and the Vivofit were/are not sponsored by Garmin (or anyone else for that matter). One of the perks of this blog and being on social media is getting awesome swag – both of these fall into that category. I already have a 910xt and knew I was getting the Vivosmart (plus my Garmin Forerunner 10 tracks steps and mileage) – so I certainly don’t need another activity tracker. I feel wrong for selling them since I didn’t spend my own money on them in the first place. So I decided to give them away as a thank you for everyone who reads, comments or supports me and my running journey.

                  The Garmin Vivosmart that I’m giving away on Instagram right now (go check it out!) is sponsored by Garmin. They had reached out to me several weeks ago to participate in a campaign they are holding ICW Whole Foods. I would have loved to participate, but unfortunately, the nearest Whole Foods is 45+ min away – and I couldn’t justify a weekly trip that far to buy my groceries, so I had to opt out. My contact at Garmin offered to send me a Vivosmart to review – as well as one to give away!

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                    Strut Your Stuff Sign Co: Medal Holder Review + Giveaway

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                    I never thought I would be a runner who wanted to display my bibs, medals and trophies, but after my husband and I set up our home gym in our basement, I realized that I kind of loved the idea of being able to see all my running-related paraphernalia when I worked out.

                    I’m incredibly excited about the two medal holders I received from Strut Your Stuff Sign Co.

                    Here’s what I loved:

                    • Design: There is a wide variety of designs (200+) and paint colors (12) that you can choose from – or you can have one personalized with our logo or favorite mantra/quote! 
                    • Hooks: Easy access to add/remove medals
                    • Capacity: There are 13 (or 9 on the smaller ones) hooks – but they are sturdy enough to hold multiple medals on each one (up to 10!) so you can easily store over 100 medals on one sign!
                    • Handmade and Made To Order
                    • Easy to Assemble/Hang: The medal holder comes with pre-drilled holes in the front (for the hooks) as well as keyhole slots on the back for a flush wall mount

                    The holder is made with ecofriendly MDF, silver L hooks and computerized text.

                    Strut Your Stuff Sign Company can be found on:
                    – Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StrutYourStuffSignCo
                    – Instagram: @strutyourstuffsignco

                    I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram – giving away the two race medal holders (shown below) to TWO winners (one per winner)! All the details can be found below. Giveaway ends on 12/8 at 11:59pm EST.

                    If you don’t win and still want one (or want to purchase one for a holiday gift!), use NYCRUNNINGMAMA for 10% off your entire order!

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                      Meta Effect Memphis Sweepstakes

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                      Small changes can lead to big results. Whether it is taking the stairs instead of the elevator or playing a quick game of tag outside with the kids before heading indoors, getting active can start with one small step.

                      Earlier this month, Meta began a year-long partnership with the city of Memphis, America’s “unhealthiest” city (ACSM AFI 2014). Meta is encouraging Memphians to make a change and implement personal health and wellness goals. For more information on Meta Memphis Project and what Meta is doing within the city, click here.

                      To experience the “Meta Effect” – the idea that one small change can lead to good things — Meta is hosting a sweepstakes on their Facebook page.

                      Two First Prize Winners Will Each Receive:
                      – A Premium Tablet
                      – Wearable Fitness Tracker
                      – Meta Products
                      – Gift Card For Athletic Apparel

                      Grand Prize Winner Will Receive: 
                      – 3 Day/2 Night Stay In NYC
                      – Personal Training Session With Michael Strahan’s Personal Trainer Latreal “La” Mitchell In NYC
                      – Tickets to a TV taping to see Michael Strahan in action
                      – Gift Card For Athletic Apparel
                      – A Premium Tablet
                      – Wearable Fitness Tracker
                      – Meta Products

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                        2014 Rivertown StrollerDerby + Entry Giveaway

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                        I enjoy running with the boys in the stroller although I don’t do it as frequently as I would like since I’m focused on marathon training (and would prefer to run the prescribed pace and distance). I’ve run one race (fun run) with the stroller and LOVED it. I would definitely do more races with a stroller if they were allowed – but a lot of the races I’ve signed up for often prohibit the use of strollers (which is understandable if the course is tight).

                        And I’ve never participated in an event where there was a special stroller division (although I know some races have these). Which is why I love what my friend Lindsay is organizing! Enter the Rivertown Strollerderby! Not only are strollers allowed at this race, but they take center stage with the chance to win up to $1,000 (top three finishers w/ strollers win $). Highlights from the website:

                        • Date: Sunday, September 21 at 9am
                        • Location: Hastings on Hudson (just 29 miles north of Grand Central)
                        • What: A unique race event designed to encourage moms and dads to keep pushing after baby.
                        • Who can participate: All runners and walkers are encouraged to participate (even if you don’t have children or a stroller!)
                        • Prizes: Stroller runners take center stage here, with an opportunity to win cash prizes up to $1,000.
                        • Proceeds: All proceeds from the event will be donated to the national non-profit, Family-to-Family, to launch a fitness/running program for disadvantaged mothers in the New York area.
                        • Post-Race: A family fitness festival will take place immediately post-race and will include a post-run yoga cool-down by Rivertown Mamas, a bounce house, trampolines, family-fitness demonstrations,  face-painting, health food vendors and more family fun.

                        I had every intention of participating in and supporting this awesome event, but was already signed up for the RnR Philly Half Marathon (same day).

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                          Saucony Kinvara 5 Giveaway Winner

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                          Hope everyone had a great weekend!

                          The winner of the Saucony Kinvara 5 Giveaway (on Instagram) is: Sauceyjill! Congratulations! Please email me at nycrunningmama@gmail.com and I’ll get the code over to you ASAP! =)

                          Follow me on Instagram so you can stay in the loop with other giveaways!

                          And, check out the Last Chance gear on Saucony.com – you can get 25% off all the shoes/gear that is already marked down (use code “EXTRA25” at checkout!

                          And, just a reminder: you can vote once/day for the Runner’s World Cover Contest – I would really appreciate your vote and any sharing of the link! Thank you! =)

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                          I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

                          For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

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                            Life Lately + PRO Compression Winner

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                            Hope you are having a great week! I planned to write a couple of posts this week but as is the case lately, time got away from me. It was perfect pool weather most of the week and the boys and I took advantage and spent almost every afternoon in our yard enjoying the warm weather!

                            I always forget how exhausting just being in the sun and heat is – I felt completely wiped all week from our afternoon excitement!

                            The heat/humidity finally broke this morning and I was able to enjoy an amazing 7 mile run with my youngest sister after a fun, sleepover filled with dinner, time with the boys and pilates last night!

                            What are your weekend plans? Any races? The Grandma Marathon is this weekend – good luck to everyone racing!!

                            I’m looking forward to a nice, long run tomorrow morning and then an evening out with my handsome husband to celebrate our anniversary! My mom offered to have the boys spend the night and following day at her house so we could go out to dinner and then get things ready for our 2-week trip to Alaska (we leave Wednesday!). Should be a relaxing weekend!

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                              PRO Compression Giveaway!

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                              Post-long run

                              I find that the more miles I run, the better I need to be with recovery. My recovery regimen after workouts or long runs has really improved over the last year. I used to be awful about recovery – I would finish a run, shower and then go about my day. These days, I try to have some sort of recovery shake, stretch, sometimes take an ice bath (followed by shower) and then I put PRO Compression sleeves or marathon socks on for the next few hours.

                              I am recovering faster and better which makes me able to have an enjoyable recovery run the next day and continue on with my training plan.

                              But PRO Compression socks/sleeves aren’t just meant for recovery. I have been wearing them for most workouts and long runs as well. And I’ve been racing in them – I wore them for the the NJ Marathon in May. I feel like they give me the support my legs need during tough runs.

                              “PRO Compression socks are designed specifically to deliver both maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood.  The moment you put these socks on your feet and incorporate them into your game, you will feel and understand the difference.”

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                                Running Catch Up + Sparkly Soul Winners

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                                I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I flew to Charleston, SC on Thursday afternoon for one of my college (/Army) girlfriend’s bachelorette celebrations with my closest classmates. I stayed up late, did some drinking, danced and laughed harder than I have in years, saw some sights and tried delicious local cuisine. And as I write this, I still feel like I need a few days to recover. So definitely a successful weekend.

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                                I wrapped up my first week training post-marathon with a total of 56 miles spread over 7 runs. Here’s how the mileage broke down:

                                – Monday: 8 miles on a new route by my home + drills. I got into the habit of doing almost the same route for the majority of my training runs in the fall and winter. Does anyone else do that? One of my goals this training cycle is to find different routes so that my body doesn’t get used to the same little hills and so that I work different muscles each day. I found a 4(ish) mile loop with 3 long climbs and a ton of small rollers on Monday’s run – not a route I will use for intervals or tempos, but will be good for recovery/easy/long runs. Splits: 8:05, 8:01, 7:55, 7:59, 8:03, 7:59, 7:50, 7:58. Average pace: 7:59.

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                                  Saucony Shoes + BOMF Entry Giveaway Winners

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                                  After two weeks of recovery after the NJ Marathon, I am ready – physically and mentally – to begin training again. Not marathon training per-say (still have to finalize a fall goal race) but really any sort of training feeds into marathon training (if done correctly). I am focusing on consistency, building a solid foundation (mileage, strength/core work) and improving on speed in the shorter distances (<10k). I am actually racing my first 5k in a couple of weeks (I ran a 5k with the double stroller last summer) – kind of excited and freaking out about it all at the same time. Anyway, more to come on my plans for the next couple of months as well as some details about my new coach (yay!).

                                  So now onto the fun stuff – winners of some of the giveaways! Please email me at nycrunningmama@gmail.com so we can get the prizes sent over to you ASAP!

                                  Back on My Feet – Shannon C.

                                  Saucony shoes – Katrina P.

                                  Congratulations to both ladies!! The winners will have one week to contact me (I will also email you) before a backup winner is selected.

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                                    Mother’s Day Weekend + Vitamix S30 Winner

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                                    Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and if you were celebrating, had a wonderful Mother’s Day. After the crummy winter and fairly cold spring thus-far, mother nature delivered an absolutely perfect weekend for us in the northeast (and seems to be continuing the trend because today is gorgeous as well!).

                                    We had my nephew / godson’s 1st birthday party on Saturday at my sister’s home. Seriously, isn’t he the cutest? =)

                                    My family continued our Mother’s Day tradition (which we started 5 years ago) on Sunday: brunch at a local restaurant and coffee/cake/drinks at one of our homes. The day could not have been more fun – brunch was delicious and then the rest of the day was spent at our house relaxing and playing in the yard.

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                                    The winner of the Vitamix S30 giveaway is Adrienne!! Please email me at nycrunningmama@gmail.com ASAP so we can get your new blender sent over!

                                    Thank you to everyone who participated!  If you didn’t win, you can still enter one of the other Mother’s Day week giveaways I’m hosting: Entry into in24 Philly Race + Pair of Saucony Shoes + Sparkly Soul Headbands).

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                                      Sparkly Soul Headband Giveaway

                                      You can never have too much sparkle =)
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                                      Don’t forget to enter the other Mother’s Day celebration Giveaways from this week (Vitamix S30 Blender Entry into in24 Philly Race + Pair of Saucony Shoes)

                                      Sparkly Soul has been my go-to headband since I first tried them almost three years ago. I’ve worn Sparkly Soul headbands on virtually every single run and for every race since that time – including marathons, my first ultra, even my first Ironman:

                                      I had been looking for a headband that kept my hair out of my face, didn’t give me a headache, didn’t rip my hair when I took it off, and didn’t move when I worked out. Sparkly Soul was the answer to all of these. It also didn’t hurt that they have 360 degrees of sparkle and make me feel girly while I’m working hard.

                                      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.

                                      If you are a new(er) reader, you can check out some of the reviews I’ve done of Sparkly Soul:

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                                        26Strong + Saucony Shoe Giveaway!

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                                        Don’t forget to enter the other giveaways I’m hosting this week in honor of Mother’s Day (Vitamix S30 Blender + Entry into in24 Philly Race).

                                        If you’ve been reading here for a bit, you may remember that I participated in the 2013 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign in the fall. I had a blast – and especially loved mentoring and coaching my “cadet”, Hallie, as she trained for her first marathon.

                                        So I was extremely excited when Saucony reached out to me this past winter to see if I would be interested in participating in the 2014 Campaign.

                                        Saucony and Competitor have teamed up to put together a team of 26 females – 13 “veteran” marathoners and 13 first-time marathoners. The coaches are some pretty amazing (and speedy!) women, many of whom I have the honor and privilege of calling my friends (Dorothy, Jess, Katherine, Jenny to name a few).

                                        Saucony left it up to the coaches to select our “cadet”. I knew I wanted to pick someone local – someone that I could train with occasionally and meet for coffee/dinner/training catchups whenever we wanted. Once I narrowed down what I was looking for, it became an easy decision. I’m excited to announce that I will be coaching my younger sister, Nicole (this is her Instagram account -> follow her!!)! She’s run throughout most of her life but recently lost over 30 pounds and started training for her first half marathon now that nursing school and her nursing exam is over (yay!).

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