Life Lately, News, Updates and More!

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I realized the other day that I started blogging five years ago. Holy cow…that’s a long time. I also realized that I haven’t blogged in two months – the longest I have gone during my five years of oversharing (ha!).

The truth is, the lack of blogging wasn’t initially an intentional action. It first started simply b/c I didn’t have time to write some updates or share some of the recent races I had run. The summer was hectic and the start of fall proved to be even more so. The boys started school (both full-time) which initially seemed like it would make life easier, but that’s not the case. Our sitter got a full-time job and so between my husband and I we are juggling full-time work with dropoffs, pickups, homework and all the after-school activities they participate in (note: my mom and dad help out a ton as well!). They both have soccer clinic on Saturday mornings. AJ has baseball 2-3x/week and soccer (on his school’s team) 2x/week. Basically every day includes some sort of post-school activity. Between their activities, schoolwork, house work (we do not have a cleaning woman so all the heavy cleaning, laundry, etc is done on the weekends), running and just living, blogging moved from the “have to” list to the “nice to do” list and eventually to the “not necessary” list.

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    2015 NYC Trail Festival 25k

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    For weeks, I envisioned myself setting a 5k PR this past weekend. I had found a great, flat 5k course relatively close to my home and with a few 4 and 5 mile tempo runs (during Wineglass training) that were pretty close to my 5k pace (~12 seconds/mile), felt that with the shorter distance, fresh legs and flat course, a 5k PR was well within grasp.

    But a couple of weeks ago, the desire to race a 5k started to disappear. The logistics of the race were not as easy as I had anticipated plus I realized it fell on the same weekend as the NYC Trail Festival, a local trail race that I participated in four years ago. I LOVED the race, course and entire experience when I ran it in 2011 – and each year, keep it as a possibility on my race/training calendar. Two years ago, I was making a silly attempt at a marathon PR (in Rehoboth) the same weekend. Last year, my husband and I planned to run the 25k together, but the forecast called for rain the day before and on race day – and since neither of us spend a lot of time on the trails, we were both worried about the slippery leaves and the likely chance of an injury for one or both of us.

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      2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap – Saucony 26 Strong

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      I had the honor of running side by side next to Ruth for 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago on Sunday as she ran her first marathon. It was part of the Saucony 26 Strong program where Saucony partnered 13 “veteran” marathoners with 13 first-time marathoners – for coaching, advice and support over the last six months – with it culminating with the Chicago Marathon this past weekend.

      I am so inspired, impressed and motivated by Ruth. She decided only a few years ago that she wanted to run a marathon (I actually think that it was at the 2013 NYC Marathon when I met her for the first time!). She was a relatively new runner at the time and spent the last few years working on increasing her mileage. She ran her first half marathon last spring and then began the training for 26.2. I love that her age, situation (she’s a grandma!) or lack of running background dissuaded her from chasing down her goals. She set her eyes on the marathon finish line and trained her butt off the entire summer through the brutal heat and humidity – and even through a fall and stitches on her chin a few weeks ago! And I’m so proud to have been with her as she accomplished her dream on Sunday!

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        13.1 Ways You Know You Are A Runner (Women’s Running)

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        This post originally appeared on Women’s Running!

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        I love these kinds of posts. I’ve seen so many over the years and they always make me laugh while nodding my head in agreement. So here is my list.

        You Know You Are A Runner If…

        1. After a long, stressful day of work, school or being home with the kids, a run is the one thing you need.
        2. When you go on vacation, half of your suitcase is filled with running clothes, shoes and gear.
        3. You immediately think of race distances when you see the numbers “31, 62, 131, 262”.
        4. You consider it normal (and acceptable!) to spend Friday night carb-loading, drinking water and heading to bed before 9pm.
        5. You break down the year into racing seasons/cycles, not astronomical seasons.
        6. Losing a toenail is a regular occurrence in your life.
        7. Your idea of “me” time is running in peace and quiet by yourself.
        8. When you sort through your laundry, more than half is running-related.
        9. You’ve been stuck in traffic and thought, “I could get there faster if I ran.”
        10. You know the exact crack in the road that is one mile from your front door (and two miles and three miles…).
        11. You have a drawer devoted to just running socks (as well as others for running shorts and running shirts).
        12. When you hear names like “Kara, Shalane or Deena” you think of Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan or Deena Kastor.
        13. The first thing that goes in your day planner each month are races and important runs. Everything else gets planned around those.

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          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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            Wear Blue, Memorial 4 miler + Competitor Photo Shoot!!

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            Shopping and an early dinner!

            If you are planning on running this weekend, consider participating in the Wear Blue: Run to Remember.

            wear blue pauses to remember the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have answered the call to defend our country’s freedoms. Our goal is to honor those who have sacrificed their lives by reaching over 10,000 runners in blue.

            All details can be found here.

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            This Monday is the Memorial Day 4 miler on Staten Island (I talked about it a couple of weeks ago). I am still hoping to participate in the race but due to some hamstring pain, I’m waiting until after tomorrow’s run to make the call.

            I woke up Sunday and felt some discomfort in my left hamstring. It wasn’t pain but more of a tight hamstring. My husband and I went on a 5 mile recovery run (my little guys slept over my sister’s home the night prior so we were taking advantage of some child-free time).

            My hamstring didn’t hurt – but it was still tight and I felt like I was overcompensating with my stride. I stretched and rolled later that night.

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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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                Saucony 26 Strong Project Video #1

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                As I I mentioned a few months ago, I was selected to be a member of the Saucony 26 Strong Project organized by Saucony, Competitor Group and Women’s Running.

                Over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to mentor and know Hallie, my “cadet” for the Philadelphia Marathon.  Her whole story can be found here. 

                It’s been a wonderful experience and I am really grateful for the opportunity we have been given. More than the gear and cool perks, it’s been so inspiring to work with someone who is training for their first marathon. You only cross the finish line of your first marathon once and it’s a special, magical moment.  I am honored that I was able to work with Hallie to help get her to the start line physically and mentally ready.

                But as if that wasn’t cool enough, we found out that we were one of two teams that would be filmed as part of a mini-series documenting our journey. In September, a film crew from Competitor Group came out to NYC for a few days of filming with Hallie and I.  We spent some time in Central Park, by my home, on my favorite running trail and on the boardwalk on Staten Island.

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                  Scotland 10k Race Recap

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                  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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                    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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                      Saucony Virrata Review

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                      Over the years, I have dabbled with zero-drop shoes on more occasions than I can remember.  I SO wanted to wear a lightweight, more natural shoe.  But each time I have had to sadly return to my previous training shoe because my foot felt too naked, too unsupported for anything more than a mile or two. They just didn’t feel right on my foot and I couldn’t get used to the feeling of having NO support from the pavement.

                      So, understandably, I was intrigued when I heard about the new Saucony shoe – the Virrata.

                      The Virrata is Saucony’s lightest and most flexible training shoe which allows your foot to move naturally.  But Saucony did something different with this shoe – something I hadn’t seen in other natural 0mm drop shoes. Rather than completely strip down the shoe and leave a 0mm drop shoe with no support or cushioning, they ADDED 18mm of cushion at the bottom. GENIUS. 

                      I loved this concept because it addressed my biggest issue with lightweight, 0mm drop shoes – the lack of protection and support. 

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                        Race Report: Cold Feet 10k

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                        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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                          What I’m Loving

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                          Happy Valentine’s Day!!!  Hope you all indulge in a little chocolate / sweet treats today =)

                          Workout yesterday: 700 yd swim (following the 0to1650 plan) + 5 mile progression run on gym’s treadmill.  My arms felt tired from the first stroke in the pool yesterday…I have one more pool workout on Friday and then off until Monday (yay!).  The progression run was totally unplanned – intention was 4-5 miles at an easy pace but everything felt too good to go slow.  Ordinarily, I would have followed the training plan, but since I haven’t done any long or hard runs this week, I decided a few miles at a good pace wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

                          Splits:

                          • Mile 1: 8:20
                          • Mile 2: 7:44
                          • Mile 3: 7:16
                          • Mile 4: 6:56
                          • Mile 5: 6:28

                          I didn’t get up early this AM to run.  The last few days of swimming coupled with my youngest son’s recent sleeping habits (he has reverted to waking up 2-4x / night to nurse) made for one tired mama this morning.  But I got the BEST present from both boys today.  Little guy woke up only once (3am) to nurse and both boys slept til almost 630am!

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                            Intervals

                            Please keep my beautiful friend, Sarah, and her family in your prayers.  Her adorable 4 month old son, Jack, is undergoing surgery today.  You can read about her son and what he’s going through here.

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                            If you look at my marathon training plan, it’s a mix between being extremely detailed and very vague.  The long runs, types of workouts each week, and target weekly mileage is pretty black and white.  I know what I want to get done each week and I try hard not to deviate from that.  I run six days a week with three of those being quality days – long, 2x speed (either intervals, tempo, SS, LT) – and the other three being easy/recovery days. The workouts for the speed days are left blank.

                            I don’t believe that I have to do the same speed workout every single week.  It’s boring.  I like the variety of changing it up every week (or every few weeks). Intervals and tempo one week.  Intervals and steady state another week.  I typically decide what my plan is for the week after my long run (based on how I’m feeling) but have changed my mind the night before or even the morning of the workout.  However, I often do one interval workout a week.

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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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                                  The Wind Against My Wings

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                                  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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                                    Busy as a Bee and Winner of Saucony Shoe Giveaway!!!

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                                    Multi-tasking - My husband taping (in prep for painting) while occupying our son!

                                    Hey friends!

                                    I know I’ve been MIA the last week – with my blog, Facebook, Twitter…basically all forms of social media!   Everything is great here – just super super busy.  Since late last week, I have spent ~12 hours / day at our new house – cleaning, unpacking, watering the newly laid sod (seriously hours a day), and letting my son get acquainted with our new home before the big move.   I don’t want the huge transition to be too difficult for him – we are going from a 2 BR apartment to a 4-BR, 3,000+ sq foot home.  So, we spend all day in the house and head back at his bedtime.  Once he’s sleeping, I have been focusing on packing up things here before going to bed passing out for the night.

                                    It’s been a major challenge to not overdo it.  And to be honest, I’m not doing such a great job.  It’s so hard to force myself to take breaks – even if it means just putting my feet up.  When my son is napping, I get a second wind and try to get as much accomplished as I can.  I know I should be resting or even relaxing when he naps.

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                                      Saucony Shoe Giveaway!!

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                                      If you are a regular reader of my blog then you probably know what a HUGE Saucony fan I am.    Love their clothes. Love their gear.  Love their shoes.  I have some lofty goals, post-baby, this fall that include running a qualifying 10k time so I can apply to be a member of the 2013 Saucony Hurricane Team (fingers crossed!).  And, I am still trying to convince Saucony HQ to make some maternity running clothes (there’s still time for this pregnancy!).

                                      I’ve also blogged about how much I am loving Saucony’s recent campaign – Find Your Strong Project.

                                      So what does Find Your Strong mean?

                                      Strong can be found in every runner.  Personal.  Powerful.  Insanely motivating.  We find strong in others.  We find it in ourselves, and when we share it, we all get stronger.

                                      Saucony’s Find Your Strong video:

                                      For the past (almost) two months, Saucony has held weekly contests on their website with some amazing prizes including Kinvara 3s, Guide 5s, and running gear.  This week’s theme is: My Running Food.   To enter, visit http://community.saucony.com/findyourstrongproject/ and follow the on-screen instructions.

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