Back in NYC: Photo Shoot Details

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Eight of the members of the team + our awesome photographer Nils!

The last couple of days have been so amazing and special – I feel like the photos and words truly don’t do the trip any justice. The photo shoot aspect was incredible but even more so was the opportunity to meet and get to know some of the other girls participating in the 2015 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign.

I landed in San Diego late Monday morning and after making my way to the hotel in La Jolla (Estancia La Jolla), went for a short 5 mile recovery/shakeout run in the area. There was NOTHING easy or flat about this run but it was incredibly gorgeous – and the type of run where you just want to keep running.

After a shower and freshening up, I met up with Ruth, who had just landed, and we made our way to dinner to meet the other girls as well as Erin and Allison (reps from Competitor) and Nils (our amazing photographer). The food was delicious -but even more amazing was how fast we all just clicked – by the end of dinner, it felt like we were old friends getting together for a girls weekend.

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    How To Prepare For A Hilly Race

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    Iraq10

    View of some of the palaces on one of my long runs!

    Six years ago, I was training for my first Boston Marathon. I was incorporating tempos, intervals and long runs into my 40-50 mile weeks (I peaked at 55 miles). The only missing component were the hills. At the time, I was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq – and while I was fortunate enough to be on the largest American base in the country (which afforded me miles and miles of road to run on!), it was flat as a pancake.

    There was one hill (man-made) called “Signal Hill” which US forces used for all the long-range signal equipment. Signal Hill had a paved road that was roughly .3 miles uphill (steep uphill!). And at two points going up the hill, there were paved roads around the hill.

    This hill became my best friend. Rather than do hill repeats once a week, I made it a point to run up that hill at least once each run – and most runs 2-3x. It didn’t matter if it was an easy run, recovery run or long run – I was running up and down that hill.

    Fast forward to the 2009 Boston Marathon. My husband was running beside me around mile 19-20. I had never seen Heartbreak Hill in person nor did I know the exact point it comes in the race. We had just finished a bit of climbing and I saw a sign that indicated we had crested Heartbreak. I looked at my husband and asked in disbelief – and with the biggest grin EVER – “That was Heartbreak Hill?”.

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      Boston Marathon Training (T-9)

      valentine's day

      I feel like my motivation to run in the cold is dwindling. I think it’s easier to suck it up and run in sub-0 temps when you know it’s just one or two days. But, for the last week, it’s been mostly sub-0 in the AM – and the 7 day forecast doesn’t look any better.

      Too funny not to share…and kind of what I have been feeling!

      Last week included a bunch of treadmill runs. Monday’s mid-week long run, Wednesday’s tempo, Saturday’s long tempo, Sunday’s recovery – all happened on the treadmill. Wednesday and Saturday I opted for the treadmill because the real-feel was single digits and my coach and I both felt that it was okay this week to use the treadmill to get the workout in (I would have had to adjust my paces significantly if I did them outside to account for the cold temps). Tuesday and Thursday were early morning runs outside (small victories).

      Monday
      Planned: 10-11 miles with 6-8x :20 strides

      Actual: 11 miles with 8x :20 strides

      I followed the same plan as last week’s run and incorporated a lot of 1:00 spurts of climbing. This week was 20x 1:00 at 4.5% incline. The remaining time was at 0% to give my achilles a break. Changing up the incline and / or pace are the only way I can get through a treadmill run these days. Although this run was almost 90 minutes, it went by surprisingly fast since I was playing with the incline every 1-3 minutes!

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        Training Update: Good Intentions

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        Old picture of the hill I used for repeats

        Just a reminder to get your daily vote in for the Runner’s World Cover Contest!

        Prior to our trip to Alaska, I hadn’t taken a day off from running in weeks. My new coach has me running seven days a week right now – often one long run, one or two workouts and the remainder easy/recovery runs (8 miles each)- with one of those being lower mileage (5-6 miles). It’s definitely out of my comfort zone and I’ve always been a big proponent of having one full rest day, but I’ve put my faith in my experienced coach and will follow what he prescribes.

        It’s been a while (= weeks) since I’ve given any type of training updates, so before I get into my running in Alaska, let me rewind a bit more.

        Week Prior to Vacation: 7 runs, 2 workouts, 59 miles

        • Workout #1: 10 miles w/ 5x mile repeats with 1/4 mile recovery (roughly 2:15-2:30). Splits: 6:35, 6:33, 6:34, 6:37, 6:39. Positive splits were the name of the game. It was 81 degrees + 62 dew point = 143 suck factor. I knew I should adjust the target paces but my body doesn’t always follow what my mind thinks. I started too fast and paid for it by the end.
        • Workout #2: 15 miles. 7:35 average pace with 600 ft of elevation gain. I’ve mentioned recently how I’m trying to focus on taking harder routes (more hills) in training to help me become a stronger runner. After my normal 1.5 miles out and back (I run south to the end of the island), I decided to run north 6 miles – a route that I often shy away from b/c of some of the big hills. I was surprised to see the splits I was hitting on the way out and when I turned around, realized I had a pretty strong tailwind, so despite feeling like I was taking it easier, my paces began to drop. This was a great run for me and I walked away feeling like I was starting to get my legs back. Splits: 7:58, 7:48, 7:46, 7:43, 7:47, 7:39, 7:40, 7:35, 7:39, 7:30, 7:35, 7:29, 7:25, 7:17, 6:59. 

        Two weeks ago: 6 runs, 2 workouts (1 missed workout), 59 miles

        Workout #1: 9 miles with 10 x 400m hill repeats. Coach wanted me to find a hill with 3-5% slope. I have never done hill repeats outside before so ran to the biggest and longest hill I could think of – it’s just about 1/4 mile long. I began the repeats. By the 3rd one, my legs were shot and the splits I had planned on trying to hit were a distance memory. As it turns out, the hill was a 9% grade – soway steeper than planned! I don’t remember the last time my legs burned so much during a run!

      • Workout #2 – 16 miles (below)
      • I had a lot of good intentions during our vacation, but I didn’t want running to be the most important thing I did while we were gone and therefore, there were a couple of missed days of running.  On our travel day out to Alaska, we had an early wakeup (4am) in order to make our 7am flight. I very briefly thought about waking up at 2am to get my 8 miles in but logic and my husband telling me I was crazy won out and I planned to run after we arrived in Alaska. After 18+ hours of travel, we arrived at my in-laws home just after 6pm (10pm east-coast time) and the LAST thing I wanted to do was head out and run. I hadn’t seen my in-laws since January and realized it would be quite rude to leave to run.  So I chalked it up to an unplanned rest day.

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          Scotland 10k Race Recap

          Race outfit

          I got up early Saturday AM (5am) and did my usual pre-race routine: Drank my coffee, nursed the little guy who had just woken up (and decided not to go back to sleep), ate a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, drank some Nuun, packed my bag and was out of the house by 6:30am.  

          I picked up my friend, Leticia (and her friend), and we made our way to the UWS.  After leaving the car in a garage by my sister’s building, I ran to the park and continued doing short out and backs from the start corrals as part of my 2-mile warmup.

          I got into the start corrals by 7:45 (the race started at 8am) and tried to stay loose and warm. Despite beautiful weather this week, it was a chilly morning in NYC – with the windchill, it felt like it was in the upper 20s.  My race outfit changed about 10x during the previous 24 hours.  I went with Nike shorts, PRO Compression Socks, Saucony Guide 6s, Lululemon tank, Saucony long-sleeved shirt, and Saucony gloves.  {this is post-race but the only clothes picture I have!}

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            NYC Half Race Recap

            post race

            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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              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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                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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                  Race Report: Cold Feet 10k

                  Cold Feet 10k

                  Saturday morning was the Cold Feet 10k, a local trail race through the Greenbelt on Staten Island.  Even though I’ve lived on Staten Island a good part of my life, I always seem to forget how expansive the trail network is here – there’s over 2800 acres of trails, parks, and natural areas.  It’s amazing!

                  It was the first trail race I’ve done since this 25k last year and only the second time I’ve been on the trails in over a year.  For a long time, I was only focused on big(ger) races – mostly those organized by NYRR.  I don’t really know why I was shying away from smaller races for so long – the last two I have run have been smaller (with under 200 runners) and I have LOVED them.

                  I woke up to huge snowflakes falling outside.  Not exactly the weather conditions I was hoping for…but snow is 100x better than freezing rain.  With a 10am start time and the race only being about 15 minutes away, I was able to stay home until 9:15! No early wakeups or leaving in the dark. Score.

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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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