Transitioning to Ultras -> Tips from an Ultra Runner

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I periodically receive questions about ultra running – how to make the transition into longer distances, nutrition, training, etc. I’ve run a big ‘ole one ultra – a 60k a couple of years ago and while I loved it and definitely plan to run more ultras in the future, I know I am not the person that should be offering advice on races more than 26.2 miles. I think there is the misperception that you need to run a ton of miles more each week to transition to ultras. Or that you need to walk away from road races and marathons completely…you can easily transition to longer distances by piggybacking on your marathon training and can mix both into your racing calendar for the year. And so while most readers here are probably running the marathon distance {or less}, I thought it might be beneficial to have an post on longer distances in case you were toying with the idea of giving it a try. I reached out to my friend, Claire, to see if she would be willing to provide some information.  I shared Claire’s story about 18 months ago – right after she became the youngest female (EVER) to finish Continue Reading →

The Line Between Dedicated and Obsessed

I was pretty beat up after my fall marathon (hindsight: I am pretty darn happy with how I did – it was one of my fastest marathons I’ve ever run). As most people do after a missed goal, I tried to pinpoint some areas that needed improvement. But even more importantly was trying to figure out why I was so devastated – missing my goal felt like my world had just ended (not exaggerating here). I moped for several weeks, whined in this post and then after some feedback, told myself to buck up and move on. Six months removed from the race and I can 100% say that I focused too much on that one race, that it meant too much to me. I had become obsessed with a single goal and it completely controlled my life. I have a very “all or nothing”, somewhat OCD personality (I’m not diagnosed OCD – just have some OCD tendencies). I feel that if I can’t dedicate myself 100% to any goal I set – whether it’s running, cleaning the house or blogging –  then it’s not worth the time. I love setting goals, coming up with a plan and then doing x, y and Continue Reading →

Running Catch Up + Sparkly Soul Winners

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. —————— 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 Continue Reading →

Saucony Shoes + BOMF Entry Giveaway Winners

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. read moreTweet

Mother’s Day Weekend + Vitamix S30 Winner

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. ——————– 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). read moreTweet

Mamalete Day 2014

Just a reminder – there are four giveaways (in honor of Mother’s Day) right now (Vitamix S30 Blender + Entry into in24 Philly Race + Pair of Saucony Shoes + Sparkly Soul Headbands) I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a special Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!!! ———————— Truth: There are many days where I feel overwhelmed with being a parent. My boys are at ages where they are SO impressionable – I feel like they soak every single thing in (for better or worse) that my husband and I say or do (I learned this the hard way after my oldest started repeating a phrase I yelled at him a handful of times – no curse words, but it wasn’t what I wanted him saying outside the house).  And so we are trying to be the best example we can be. We are trying to lay the foundation for things like a love for school and learning (which I remember my mom instilled in me from the youngest age), a healthy relationship with food, good manners and an active lifestyle. read moreTweet

Sparkly Soul Headband Giveaway

You can never have too much sparkle =)

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: read moreTweet

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 Continue Reading →

Back on My Feet in24 Philadelphia Entry Giveaway

I figured most of you don’t want to read about my first week of recovery post-marathon (lots of eating, laziness and cuddling with the boys…and then handful of runs I have done have been easy-paced and short). And so instead of boring you with those details, I am working on having a bunch of giveaways for you this week! Plus, it’s a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. =) In 2010, I began training for what I planned to be my first ultra – the Back on My Feet in24 Philadelphia Race. There are a slew of different distances, but I had registered for the 24-hour one. My plan was to train for and run 50 miles and then call it a day. My family planned on traveling to Philly to cheer and since the course was an 8.4 mile loop on paved roads, they could get some chairs, relax and see me run by 6 or 7 times. Seemed like an awesome first ultra. I was a couple of months into my training and had just completed my first 30 mile training run when I found out I was pregnant. Best surprise but it meant no race that summer.  Continue Reading →

Vitamix S30 Review and Giveaway

Over the holidays, our blender broke (totally my fault since I put the glass container within reach of the boys). My husband and I used the blender on a fairly regular basis to make smoothies and shakes and were looking for a good sale on a new one. About the same time, I was asked if I wanted to test out the new Vitamix S30, the personal blender, and obviously jumped at the opportunity. Perfect timing! So first, let’s talk about the Vitamix S30: First personal-sized blender created by Vitamix Allows you to create individual servings and small family meals 20-oz container (fits in most cup holders) turns into a travel cup with a flip-top lid and handle 40-oz container blends small batches of soups, sauces, frozen deserts and more Small size (20.3 x 8 x 9 in – h x w x h) takes up little room on your counter Variable Speed Control to achieve textures from coarse to smooth Pulse Feature – chops quickly for easy ingredient prep Dishwasher safe (containers, lids, and blade) Comes with a cookbook FULL of recipes for beverages, dips/spreads, dressings, soups, sauces and desserts 5 year warranty I’ve tried a few of the recipes from Continue Reading →

It’s More Than Just Running

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Two quick things. First, check back on Monday – I am super excited to be hosting a VITAMIX giveaway!! One person will win a Vitamix S30 (retails for $500). Second, the boys and I are in the May 2014 issue of Fitness Magazine!! It was a special Mother’s Day edition of #motivationmoment!! ——————- Each marathon teaches me a ton about myself and my approach to the distance. A PR or great finish time is exciting and kind of the point of a dedicated training cycle, but I’d argue that it’s not the the most important thing. If you are like me, there will mostly likely be another marathon in the next season. And so the real key is figuring out what worked and didn’t work so that the next training cycle can be stronger and more successful. In the week following any race, I try to replay it in my mind so that I can pinpoint things to improve upon. I made some changes after the 2013 NJ Marathon and then made more tweaks after Philly and again after LA (including some things I did differently during the taper which I already discussed in Wednesday’s post). read moreTweet

2014 New Jersey Marathon Recap

The pain that is Mile 26 of  a marathon

Sunday was a great day – and so close to being perfect (had I run just 27 seconds faster, I’d have a shiny new PR…so close, yet so far!). It was great for so many reasons – I ran smart. I didn’t bonk(!!).  I walked away with lessons learned, things to maintain and a couple of things to work on. And most importantly, I had fun. The more I race, the more I understand that a great race doesn’t always mean the fastest time on the clock. It’s about looking back on the race with ZERO regrets or saying I should have or could have done this. This was one of those races for me – something I haven’t experienced in the marathon since 2011. It gave me back confidence about myself, my ability to pace properly, to push hard when things got hard and to not give up. Race Week Before I get into the details of the race, I want to share some of what went on in the days leading up to the marathon. I did several things differently and plan to continue these for the next goal race: read moreTweet

2014 New Jersey Marathon

Hi everyone! This isn’t the full recap of the 2014 New Jersey Marathon (I have LOTS to say) but wanted to give you a cliff notes version of the day in case you didn’t get my updates on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook =) I followed the plan I had talked about last week – ran mostly blind for the whole race (my watch beeped with the mile splits but I couldn’t see my pace during each mile) and focused on running smart and in control.  I initially started out with the 3:15 pace group but after some fast splits (7:21 and 7:13), I knew it was in my best interest to let them go and run my own race.  When I felt like I could go faster the first 18 miles, I held back – something I never have done during a marathon.  I crossed the half in 1:38 which was right around where I thought I could be. And then I hit the turnaround and met the wind. Oye vey. It was a sustained 16-17 mph headwind but there were some serious gusts that made me feel like I was running into a wall at times. Miles 19-26 were Continue Reading →

NJ Marathon – Take 2

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Sunday will be my second attempt at the NJ Marathon. After last year’s bonking and DNF’ing (ugh), I thought I would never want to give this marathon another shot. I guess time makes the sting go away a bit because here I am…two days out from running the NJ Marathon. I have some times in mind that I’d like to run Sunday, but similar to the LA Marathon, I am really looking to just have a steady race.  Truth is, I am not totally sure what I am capable of running. I ran a lot of miles on the treadmill this winter. I wimped out a bunch during the brutal winter and then had to rely on the treadmill more than I wanted the last couple of months with my husband’s work schedule (he was gone for lengthy trips a handful of times). But rather than dwell on the “what ifs” or what I didn’t do, I’m focusing on what I DID these last 7 weeks (since the LA Marathon): 2 x 20 milers, 2x 18 milers (including an 18 miler with lots of miles at goal pace) First 80+ mile week Changed up some workouts – did a few tough Continue Reading →

Boston Marathon Highlights

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Monday morning started at the ungodly hour of 345am; I was out of the house at 4:30am enroute to pickup my sister, Nicole, on Staten Island and then Leticia in Brooklyn. Thankfully, we hit virtually zero traffic during our 200+ mile trip north. After getting turned around a few times (due to road closures), we managed to snag the last spot in the shuttle bus parking lot – SCORE!  As we were getting online to get screened, we ran into Katherine who I met at the Runner’s World Festival in 2012!! She was calm and smiling and looked ready to take on 26.2 miles! The shuttle was a quick 5 minute ride that dropped us off at the end of the corrals. Easy peasy. We heard the introductions and gun go off for the elite females as we were walking up (BOO!!) but managed to make our way to the start area for the elite men’s and wave 1. Seeing the Start Line and marathon signs literally gave me goosebumps. {Photo credit to Leticia for the next two pictures!} To be honest, on the drive up, I had told my sister and Leticia that I had no intention of running Boston Continue Reading →

My First 80+ Mile Week + Fitness Magazine News!

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I started writing this post earlier in the week but between another stint of single parenting, Easter preparations and a few nights of poor sleep for the boys (which = me), I just didn’t have the time or energy to finish it. Peak Week has come and gone. It wasn’t a typical week since my long run fell (again) on Monday rather than over the weekend. My husband was in Atlantic City for a hockey tournament from Friday through Sunday and I didn’t want to ask my mom, dad or sister to watch the boys for 3 hours while I ran, so I pushed my last long run to Monday. I hit either 83 or 81.5 miles for the week (depending on which days you count towards peak week) and 101.5 miles for 8 days of running. My previous high was 75 (last training cycle), so regardless of which you consider, it was my highest weekly mileage ever.  I’m thrilled with how the week went, how I felt on all of the runs and most importantly, how I’m feeling this week. This is how the week and workouts broke down: read moreTweet

What is Glycogen Depletion Training?

After I mentioned that I did not fuel or drink water during the 20 miler last weekend, I got a few questions about the reasoning behind it, so I wanted to share my thoughts (and in more than a sentence or two on IG or twitter). Let me preface this post with a few things. I did have some fuel in me during the 20 miler. I drank 16 oz of water mixed with one packet of Generation UCAN – an energy drink that slowly releases glucose without the spike and crash you get from sugar. So technically it wasn’t really a glycogen depleted run. I do not do this on every single long run. I feel much more tired after a run like this and so I limit them to a few a training cycle. I am not saying that everyone should try or do this – if you are a newer marathon runner, this is probably not necessary. I’ve had some issues with bonking during my last few marathons and so I’m hopeful that a bit of glycogen depletion training will help. I didn’t feel the need to drink water because it was very mild out (35 degrees)  and Continue Reading →

Weekend Happenings and Training Catch Up

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Happy Monday!! I started off this morning with a 20+ mile run. Truth be told, I had initially planned on getting this run in yesterday but after a jam packed, fun and exhausting weekend, I made the decision to postpone it one day. I felt that it was better to get more sleep and recover from the weekend’s festivities before I put my body through any more stress. I wanted the run to be outside which meant that the run had to happen before my husband had to go to work…which meant starting before 5am. That’s still a bit too early and dark to be running alone (for my liking) so I did the first 7 on the treadmill and then layered up (it was 38 degrees this morning!) and ran another 13.3 outside. I’m really happy with how consistent the splits were – 7:42 pace inside and 7:38 pace outside and with the exception of the first two miles of each, all miles were between 7:28-7:44. The 20 miles also capped off a great week of training and a great weekend with family and friends: read moreTweet

Training Update + LA Marathon Race Review

I called last week my “ease back into training” week. I didn’t want to immediately jump back into tempo runs or 20 milers, so I focused on lower mileage, easier running, some core work and time on the trainer. Here’s how the week went – there was more treadmill running than I wanted but with my husband away for business all week, I was grateful to just get the miles in! The boys have been really great with staying occupied while I run on the treadmill so I was able to do the running while they were awake: Monday: 8 miles outside (8:07 pace) – strength and core at night Tuesday: 8 miles on treadmill (7:55 pace) – 5 easy, 3 progression (7:30, 7:17, 7:00) followed by 30 min on trainer Wednesday: 10 miles (7:38 pace) – which included the descending ladder workout I talked about last week. Thursday: Rest Day Friday: 10 miles (7:31 pace) with a descending interval workout. In 2007, I was a member of the FT Hood Army 10 miler team. We had weekly track practice (which I loved – which I had access to a track!) and our coach had us build up to 3 sets Continue Reading →

Spring Racing and 2014 Plans

This post is a long time coming. And just plain long. I apologize in advance if it seems like a bunch of random thoughts thrown out. But there are a lot of factors going into my plans for the year and I want to try to explain them all so that my decision makes sense (even if just to me). After making the announcement of my goal of qualifying for the Ironman World championships (one day) back in October, I began filling my race calendar with triathlons – 70.3 Eagleman in June, 70.3 Princeton in September, Ironman Florida in November. Every ounce of my competitive self wanted to train my butt off and focus as much time and energy as I could to start the road to (hopefully  one day) qualify for Kona. (*Note: the only race I am currently signed up for is Eagleman; I held off on Princeton and it is now sold out; I was going to run IM Florida with Team Refuel again so no entry was necessary.) I don’t remember the exact moment or day, but at some point in December / January I kind of had that “aha” moment and realized there was a Continue Reading →