Knowledge is Power

I don’t post here every day but I share my running, training and life happenings on Instagram daily!

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They say knowledge is power. And it’s incredibly true in this case. I am grateful that I finally know what has been causing me to feel so incredibly awful the last 4-5 weeks.

Four weeks where every single run felt like a struggle. Where an 8:00 pace felt like sub-7. Where my legs were as wobbly and tired after 2 miles as they used to feel after 22 miles.

I love the feeling of being tired on a run – when it’s expected. Those day-after-hard workouts runs where everything hurts and you are running slow. But, this was different. It was week after week of feeling wiped out and not having any answers or explanations why.

It’s been a hard few weeks for me. Both physically and mentally. More than anything, I missed the feeling of enjoying a run. I felt drained. And running felt more like a chore. So I stopped. I’ve run enough to know when my body is sending signals to slow down. I ran 27 miles two weeks ago. The week before was 29. Took more rest days than run days.

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InsideTracker: Taking a Step in the Right Direction

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I don’t post every day but you can find me on Instagram sharing my running, training and everything else related to running along the way!

As I mentioned last week, I went for a whole bunch of bloodwork the day after the marathon. I received those results and spoke to and received some feedback and guidance from my physician. I knew the results would be a bit skewed the day after the marathon so I wanted to get tested again.

I had begun interacting with Jonathan – one of the leads at InsideTracker – on social media back in the fall. I had first learned about InsideTracker from Mary‘s blog – she is one of the runners whose hard work and dedication I admire. I knew it could benefit me to have the same type of bloodwork done. But between work, running, family, holidays, I kept putting it off. I have the tendency to stay super organized with things that are fresh in my mind – and completely let other things just fall off. That’s what happened with this.

Honestly, in the back of my mind, I had begun to question the need. I’ve always been a big proponent of trying to get all of my nutrients and minerals from food rather than supplements. I don’t take any sort of pill or supplement – nothing. If I’m missing something, I’d rather change my diet that take a pill.

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Boston Marathon Training – By the Numbers

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I did this kind of post in the fall with Wineglass – and loved being able to recap and rehash the 3+ months I pushed for the marathon.

This training cycle was a breakthrough for me – for a few different reasons. I will add that I consider the “cycle” to be from the start of the New Year until race day. I had been running fairly consistently through the New Year – but wasn’t following a training plan nor was I doing dedicated speedwork. It was more of the “I feel good today, let’s try this fun workout” or “I’ll go for 12-16 and see how I feel” for the long run. Most of my “long” runs were between 10-13 miles during the three months post-Wineglass with a few being a few miles higher (nothing over 16).

First, it was truly the first time where I felt my race times matched my training (not Boston, but NYC Half). I had all but come to the conclusion that I am just a fast trainer. I like doing my long runs at a good pace and my tempos are fast (for me). For other runners, those paces may indicate a certain finish time in a race, but for me, they always seemed to be slower. For a long time, I was worried that I was pushing too hard in training. But then NYC Half happened and that was all the proof I needed to know that I had been training correctly (for me).

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Get Speedy with These Four Interval Workouts

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This post first appeared on Women’s Running (It can be found here). 

One of the best ways to become faster, stronger or to increase endurance is by incorporating some speed work into your weekly routine. But it can be extremely overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the terminology or have never tried any types of speed work before.

But it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem. One of the best ways to introduce faster running into your routine (without it being so structured) is through intervals.

Intervals consist of repeated short segments of fast running separated by slow jogging or complete rest. The intervals allow you to run much faster than you usually do, adapting your body to higher demands and your leg muscles to faster turnover. Over time, you become more physiologically efficient. Intervals increase your overall speed.

Related: 6 Ways To Build Endurance and Increase Mileage

While there are structured workouts (for example: 400m or mile repeat repeats), you can do intervals in a more informal way. And you don’t even need a watch for some of these!

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Podcasts + Running Mojo is BACK + Upcoming Races!

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After feeling “off” for almost three weeks, I was over-the-moon when I started running Saturday morning and realized that I felt GOOD. So good, in fact, that I would have kept running had my sons not had soccer that morning.

I decided to leave my garmin at home so I could just run and not worry or be distracted by pace. Even though I ran a bit last week, I felt like I was going through the motions. Every step just felt “blah’ and my legs felt heavy.

I officially jumped on the podcast while running train Saturday. I’ll be the first to admit that I was so hesitant to give this a try. I love listening to music when I run and didn’t know how I would stay motivated to keep moving only hearing an interview or someone speaking.

But because I didn’t have set mileage or pace on Saturday, I figured it was the perfect time to do it. One of the reasons I was excited to give it a try was because Lindsey was interviewing my good friend, Ashley – and I wanted to listen to the interview anyway – so figured I might as well try it while running! Lindsey started her I’ll have Another podcast a few weeks ago and has had nothing but amazing, fun women on her show. (If you are into the podcast thing, definitely give her a listen!)

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2016 Boston Marathon Recap!

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I don’t post here every day but I share my running and other daily happenings on instagram!

I have so much to say about the entire weekend, but will try to focus just on the race here and save the rest of the weekend for another post!

Nutrition
My nutrition stayed the same for most of the week. I tried to not deviate too much from it – so I ate the same, had popcorn and wine at night and snacked like I normally do – when I felt like it.

I started increasing carbs Friday night – pasta and a baked potato and then over Saturday and Sunday increased it a bit more (bagels as snacks, pasta for dinner Sunday evening, etc).

I also took more rest days this week than I ever have before. I talked about how I felt off in my last post – and so I tried to take as much time off and focus on sleep and nutrition so that I could feel good on race day.

But I think the increase in carbs coupled with the decrease in running made me feel really tired and lethargic as the weekend went on. I had spent 4 months of running almost every day – and I think going from that to virtually no running for 8 days was not the best decision. I’ve already made a mental note to not do either as much as I did this cycle.

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2016 Boston Marathon: Celebrating a Breakthrough Cycle

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Monday was my third Boston and the 14th marathon finish line I’ve crossed. It was the most prepared and in shape I have ever been before even though the results don’t necessarily show that.

I finished in 3:25:53. I positive split like a champ. 1:33:17 through the half. And 1:52:xx the 2nd half.

Of course I am disappointed. I didn’t bust my butt for months to run 13+ min slower than I did in the fall. But, some days, you’ve got it. And some days you don’t. And there’s no way to plan it so that you race on the days you have it.

But like I have said the last few weeks – this training cycle was a huge success – regardless of what the finish line clock says when I cross it – and I still believe that to be true. It was truly a breakthrough cycle for me and I’m grateful and excited for what I was able to do the last few months. And regardless of anything else, it’s a pretty darn good day when I can finish a marathon!

I plan to do a full recap later this week. My husband, mom and I returned home almost immediately after the race (I went back to hotel, took a bath and then we were on the road by 3:15pm). I took off on Tuesday but I stayed off my computer and social media and spent the day with my little guys – lunch, Barnes & Noble, basketball and soccer in yard and then dinner. So no time has been spent writing down my thoughts yet.

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BOSTON Marathon Tracking!

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4-15-13 #BostonStrong

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EEEEH! Race weekend is so close to being here! I will consider it “race weekend” when I log out of work and am walking out. Work has been INSANE this week so I haven’t had much time to think (aka obsess) over this weekend or Monday. It’s definitely a blessing in disguise!

My mom and I will be heading up to Boston early tomorrow morning and will be stopping at the expo before we check in or do anything else. So we hope to be up there around 1:30/2pm! If anyone will be at the expo during that time, please let me know!

I’m looking forward to a relaxing couple of days up in Boston – visiting with friends, keeping my legs up, hydrating and enjoying the company of my mom (and husband who arrives Sunday afternoon).

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Tracking Details

I am bib 8743!

If you want to track me on Sunday, you can do so in several ways:

  • Text alerts: Simply text RUNNER to 234567 using you cell phone. You will then receive a text response with instructions on how to submit a runner’s bib number (mine is 8743). I think you receive start, 10k, 15k, half, 25k, 30k, 35k, finish (or something like that!)
  • Download app (details here)

Hope you all have a great weekend. Good luck to anyone racing on Monday! Let’s keep praying that the temps decide to go down a bit

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Can You Really Balance Family, Work and Running?

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For years, I remember seeing women who juggled successful careers, families and running and thought they had the kind of balance I hoped to one day have.

I returned to work full-time this past fall after almost five years of being home with my two children. I’ve learned that (for me) there is no balance.

I don’t know if it can ever be balanced. There will never be enough time in the day. And I believe the phrase “doing it all” is misleading.

I would love to spend every possible moment with my boys and not miss a school pickup or a soccer practice on Wednesdays.

I would love to not feel heartache when I am at work late finishing a project for a deadline. Or feel that I should have stayed longer at work rather than rushing home to see my boys.

I would love to have more time to cross-train, stretch and recover properly from the miles I do run.

And I would really love to sleep more.

But I have found a balance in the imbalance. And here’s what I learned:

I can’t give 100 percent of myself to everything all the time.
But I can still give 100 percent all the time. It’s just that the 100% is now divided.
And I can focus 100 percent on what I’m doing THAT moment, whether it’s work, housework, family or running.
I have to be okay with “good enough” rather than perfection.
Priorities can shift from one month or week or day to the next. The closer I get to the Boston Marathon, the more important my workouts are. I’ll choose a run over folding laundry or vacuuming the house. Offseason? Running isn’t as high a priority as to other aspects of my life.
I have to be kind to myself.
Sleep is always a priority.
Sometimes, it’s best to do what will make me happiest, even if it may be viewed as selfish.

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Fueling: Long Runs, Workouts, Post-Work Runs

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Back in the fall I discussed some changes I made to fueling during long runs and overall nutrition.

But other than saying that I was fueling, I didn’t go into specifics of how I’m fueling for these runs. I’ve received a few questions on either Instagram, Facebook or recent posts, so I wanted to address the ways I fuel myself for long runs, workouts and post-work runs.

Long Runs
I typically do not eat anything before my long runs (Note: I drink a cup of coffee with creamer). It’s not that I am trying to start on an empty stomach, but I’m often doing these runs early on Saturday morning (5-5:30am) and in order for me to eat something and allow time for it to digest, I would have to set my alarm for 4am – or earlier – something I’m not willing to do on a Saturday morning.

I started experimenting more with Generation UCAN that last few months. Prior to this cycle, I really only used Gen UCAN for races. But I found that it was the perfect solution to wanting something in my stomach for the long run but not having to worry about waiting around for it to digest.

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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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Learning to Trust the Process

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If you receive Women’s Running (and you should!), check out page 8 of the magazine! I’m beyond excited to share the ads that I got to be a part of in February! There will be another ad or two in the coming months and the two 3-minute videos from the photo shoot should be released soon!

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#Trusttheprocess has been one of my favorite hashtags to use on Instagram and twitter the last few months.

I honestly don’t remember where I first heard or saw this phrase, but it struck a chord and has become one of the mantras I repeat to myself when things are tough or I’m questioning why I’m going to do a workout.

Trusting the process.

But what is the process?

The process is the training. The recovery. The racing. The (seemingly) little things. The doing.

It’s a process to get where you want to go. It won’t happen overnight so sometimes the best thing you can do is just chip away a little bit at a time. Sub-3:10 has been a big goal of mine for years. I stopped trying to do it all at once (because it wasn’t working) and started focusing on just training hard and letting paces, times and everything else fall into place when they are ready. I’ve chipped away the last two marathons and am hopeful that I’ve set myself up to achieve this goal in two weeks.

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Last Long Tempo – The Run That Almost Wasn’t

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Last week was a pretty off week. Crappy, actually. What should have been close to a 70 mile week ended with 50 which included one unplanned rest day, an extra “easy” day and a 4.5 mile day instead of 8 miles. Not the biggest deal but after a string of days where running didn’t feel good, the little doubt demons started to enter. I initially chalked it up to not enough sleep, but after waking up Saturday morning (after a decent night’s sleep) feeling worse than I had all week, I began to worry that maybe I was bordering on overtraining.

My alarm went off at 4:30am with the plan to be out running by 5:15 or so. I knew this run was going to be tough and I just wanted to get up and get it over with. Plus, the forecast was calling for the winds and rain to pick up as the day went on. Not ideal for a long tempo.

At 5am, I was pretty close to pulling the plug on the long tempo. My head hurt and I just didn’t feel “right”. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch under the covers. As a last resort, I decided to just down a ton of water and see if that helped. I knew I had drank much less water than usual this week but I assumed what I had consumed was enough.

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Having a Short Term Memory with Failed Workouts

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Tuesday morning I had an 8 mile wave tempo (11-12 total miles). I was pumped for the workout because I LOVE wave tempos (more on these workouts in a coming post!). But after the 2 mile warm-up and then the first 2 mile wave, I didn’t feel great and decided to pull the plug.

After a crappy workout or one where it gets cancelled, I try to spend a few minutes to determine what the root cause could be. These are the questions I ask myself:

Have I drank enough water?
Have I gotten enough sleep?
Did I fuel properly yesterday/today for this run?

95% of the time, it’s one of those three things for me. If it’s not one of those, than it could be a sign of overtraining or your body needing a day off.

But after those few minutes, I forget about the workout. I move on.

Bad workouts happen. Period.

I shared this photo on Instagram yesterday and was blown away by the positive response I got.

The reality is that I often talk about feeling tired and pushing through or not having a great workout but still finishing. And that is what happens sometimes. BUT, there are days, like yesterday, where my mind wins and my body just does not want to do the workout. I wanted to share what happened because nobody will ever nail every workout and it’s misleading to only share the good.

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The Pendulum of Priorities during Marathon Training

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I don’t post here every day, but I try to share my training, thoughts and tips on Instagram daily!

The Boston Marathon will be my first marathon (in seven years) that I’ve trained for while working full time. I’ve learned a lot this cycle. I’ve become a better at time management. I’ve really learned the importance of sleep. I’ve learned that I need to be constantly monitoring my body for signs of over training or exhaustion.

And I’ve learned about the swinging pendulum of priorities during a cycle. I think it’s a bit unrealistic to assume that your priorities will remain constant over the 3-4 months that you are training. Priorities will shift as the training cycle progresses. The closer you get to race day, the more important some of the key workouts and runs will be, and thus, the higher on the priority list that workout goes.

Back in November, I blogged about how I was having a hard time finding the motivation to do long runs with my new schedule. I didn’t want to get up early again on Saturday after waking up early Monday through Friday. But, if I didn’t set an alarm, I had no motivation to run after my boys were awake and we were enjoying a relaxing morning drinking coffee/chocolate milk and playing games.

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Learning to Race Well + Post-Boston Racing Plans + RnR Coupon Code!

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I don’t post here every day, but you can find my daily running, thoughts and tips on Instagram!

It’s no secret that the more you do something, the better at it you become. Want to swim better? Get in the pool and start swimming. Want to perfect a dish? Keep cooking it and making small improvements.

And so, in order to race well, the best thing to do is to jump in and race.

The reality is, no matter how hard and well you train, if you are a poor racer, you may never see the results of your work. Things like fueling improperly, going out too fast, overdressing, not being comfortable with the taper and letting the negative thoughts come into your mind can all be honed by racing.

I don’t know if I would call myself a great racer, but I’ve made a lot of progress the last couple of years and can confidently say that I am a light years ahead of where I was two or three years ago.

The more you race, the more you can take away from each experience. Find what works well. What things you need to improve upon. A bad race, while unfortunate in the short-term, will provide you a lot of insight into things you probably don’t want to do again. And can be a great tool to use in the long-term. Use it as a learning experience – write those nuggets of wisdom you learned down – and then move on.

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The Magic of the Taper

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*Starting today, Instagram is “letting an algorithm decide what’s most relevant to show you, instead of a time-ordered selection from the people you’ve chosen to follow.” Think of it like Facebook. You won’t necessarily see someone’s IG post now – unless it’s someone you interact with regularly. More information can be found here.

I’ll still be updating on a regular basis – sharing my runs, thoughts, tips and more! You can find me here.

For YEARS, I had no idea what I was during the taper. I dreaded it because I felt forced to run less – which makes me crabby. If I willingly take a rest day or two, I’m fine with it. But when I feel like I’m being forced, I get irrationally annoyed and anxious.

The taper was also a time when I second guessed my goals. My confidence, which was usually fairly high, dropped and as a result, I did MANY things that ended up working against me on race day (running too much, going too fast, cross training, etc).

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Treadmill Running Tips + Workouts to Make the Time Fly

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This post originally appeared on Women’s Running.

Whether it’s the dark mornings, the below freezing weather or the icy roads, many of us may be forced into treadmill workouts over the next few months as training for spring races begins to pick up.

Treadmill running has a stigma of being boring and monotonous – and it definitely can be – but there are ways to make the time on the “hamster wheel” challenging and even fun! Below are some tips to help you get through your treadmill runs followed by a great hill workout and a handful of butt-kicking workouts from a few of the Saucony 26 Strong coaches. These speedy ladies have all logged their share of miles on treadmills and are pros at making the time pass quickly while getting an awesome workout in. I also post a bunch of workouts I complete on the treadmill – you can find me here.

Variation: I try to mimic running on the roads when I am on the treadmill. I never run on a flat terrain and/or the exact same pace for more than a few minutes. Play around with the incline and/or the pace, even if it’s just picking up or slowing down the pace by a few seconds. This does two things: it keeps me distracted and it helps change up the muscles I am using.

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Running By Effort – and Why It’s Working For Me

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I don’t post every day, but you can find me sharing my daily running and thoughts on Instagram!

I shared in my race recap that I ran Sunday mostly by feel – and not by pace. But how do I do this and what does it really mean?

So, I still race with my Garmin and GPS on – mostly because I want the data post-race but also because it does keep me honest about going out too fast. My Garmin will provide me my mile splits – if I want to see them, I just need to glance down when I feel the vibration. As I’m racing, I can only see the total time I’ve run. (On Sunday, I forgot to do this before the race, but was able to change the view so I only saw the current time.)

I did this for the first time two years ago for the NJ Marathon. After a series of sub-par marathons, I did some serious self evaluation and came to the conclusion that I was letting the pace dictate the race. Race goals and paces were controlling me during the race. I would spend almost the entire race staring at my watch, obsessing over the pace. I was forcing the pace rather than letting it come naturally. And if/when I started to see the paces slow down, it would psych me out.

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2016 NYC Half Marathon Race Recap: 1:28:10

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Sunday’s race was truly one of the best racing experiences of my life. Of course a part of that is obviously because I PR’d (and set unofficial PRs in the 10k, 15k and 10 miles enroute). But a large part of it is because I followed the race plan and was able to negative split – for the first time ever! I was patient in the beginning of the race and then still had energy to fight hard the last few miles.

THESE are the races you dream of having. Not the ones where it feels like a death march the last few miles. But instead, where you are tired but still have that little bit of fight left. That last gear that you’ve been saving to shift to when it’s the right moment.

For me, that is the definition of a successful race. Paces won’t always be there. You can’t control weather. But having the strength (mentally) to keep fighting and pushing when you are getting tired is the way I dream about racing.

Race Morning
Sunday started off at 4am for my husband and I. He and the boys were dropping me off at the start and then after breakfast would be at the finish! The NYC Half is a point to point race – starting in Central Park and then after a loop, heading south through Times Square then over to the West Side Highway all the way to downtown NYC.

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