My Army Days


My army days were some of the most memorable and meaningful in my life.  For those reading that don’t know my background, I attended West Point from 1999-2003 and then served on active duty until July 2009. Ten amazing years, three deployments, countless lifelong friends and finding my husband were all because of serving.

I didn’t even know West Point existed until my sophomore year of high school. No one in my family had gone nor served in the military, so it wasn’t until my older sister started receiving college brochures that it appeared on my radar. I was instantly interested and began researching and looking into the requirements to attend. The summer going into senior year, I was accepted in early admissions, pending a physical fitness test, physical, congressional appointment and successful completion of my senior year.

I almost didn’t attend because I was medically disqualified for two reasons. First, my vision is pretty bad and I was told that it was not able to be corrected to 20/20 vision, even with glasses. Second, I had/have a heart murmur that “could limit” my physical fitness and ability. Thankfully, I went to follow-up doctors and was able to show that I could see 20/20 with glasses and that my heart murmur was benign and would not impact my physical ability.

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    Feature on ESPNW + Family Priorities


    A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Gina, a photographer for ESPN-W. She was interested in my Army story and potentially wanted to include me in a Veteran’s Day piece ESPN-W was putting together.

    Everything worked out and I’m incredibly honored to have been included in this story, even more-so after reading about the other seven female Veterans that ESPN-W chose.

    The photo shoot was so incredibly fun. We got to shoot in the rain (you can see the rain if you look closely!) on my favorite trail by my home. Then returned home for some still shots and filmed interview. The hardest part was not smiling and trying to keep a straight face – I am a super smiley person so to force a straight, serious face was not easy for me!

    Click here for the article.

    Also wanted to wish all the veterans out there a Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you for keeping my family safe!


    I’ve taken it easy the last few days in regards to running and training. I woke up incredibly tired on Monday, chalked it up to a jam-packed weekend which resulted in little sleep and went out and ran. By Monday afternoon, I had the chills and felt like I had been hit on the head. Tuesday was even worse (so much so that I didn’t even go to work) and still wasn’t feeling great on Wednesday or Thursday mornings – so no running or working out of any kind. I find that the more I run, the more in tune I am with my body. I know when something is brewing and when I need some time off to prevent sickness, overtraining or trying to do too much.

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      Highs and Lows


      Some of my closest girlfriends!

      This weekend was {this} close to being an absolutely perfect one.  Friday afternoon, I said goodbye to the boys (who were being watched by my sweet sister!) and picked up three of my college girlfriends from the airport/their apartment in NJ enroute to our 10 year college reunion at West Point. Friday night was an organized dinner where we got to catch up with all of our classmates who had come for the reunion. We had decided to go sans significant others/kids so that we could have some girl time – we haven’t all been together in years.

      We didn’t make it to bed until 2am – WAY past my normal bedtime but totally worth the exhaustion we all felt at 6am the next morning when it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Saturday consisted of watching the pre-game parade (first parade I have seen since I graduated):

       Having lunch in the mess hall (cafeteria):

      Hanging out in North Area (location where we had formation 2x/day):

      Touring the gym:

      and lastly, attending the football game:

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        No Greater Sacrifice


        After four years at West Point and over six years serving on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army, I have seen my share of death.  The number of friends, classmates, and coworkers that have been casualties of the war on terror is too high for me to begin to count.

        I think there might be the perception that you expect death or become almost immune to it if you are in or around the military.  Yes,  death is always a possibility when you deploy but I think most service men and women would tell you that they expect to return home to their loved ones.  You know there is an inherent risk when you join the military, but the desire to serve your country is greater then any fear you may have.

        And let me tell you.  It doesn’t get easier. In fact, I would argue that it gets harder.  You get so tired of having to say goodbye to friends and coworkers, of good people losing their lives way too soon, and of seeing happy families torn apart and changed forever.  You get frustrated because things seem to stay the same despite their giving of their life.  And you get annoyed when other trivial stories get more press than your friend’s passing.

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          Push-ups for Patriots

          After 6 years in the US Army and 3 deployments to Iraq, I have had to say goodbye to many friends, classmates, and colleagues.   I’m not sure what an accurate number would be – but suffice to say it’s a lot.  Too many. 

          When you live and breathe the Army and the overseas campaigns, it’s easy to keep those who paid the ultimate sacrifice close in heart and mind.  However, I will be the first to admit that since I’ve returned home from Iraq (Feb 2009) and been honorably discharged (summer of 2009), it becomes easy to push them to the back of my mind.  My mind is on my son, my family, the daily chores (laundry, cooking) and unfortunately, I tend to forget.

          It’s easy to remember on holidays such as Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day – but what about the other 363 days of the year?  I’m sure their families don’t let a day go by without a thought or memory of their loved one.

          For the next 28 days, I’ve decided to participate in the Push-ups for Patriots Challenge.  It’s organized by two fellow FitFluential Ambassadors – @Kymberly and @Alexandra.  You can read more about their challenge and how it came to be on their blog ->

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            Hardest part of being deployed

            What’s the hardest part of being deployed?

            This is almost always one of the first questions asked of me when I bring up my military background. As a Captain in the US Army who deployed three times to Iraq, it is a fairly easy answer: the last few weeks prior to departing the US.

            I would get to the point where I just wanted to deploy – it always seemed like time stood still the last few weeks I was home and I felt like I was living on borrowed time.  The quicker I left and arrived in Iraq, the quicker the clock would start counting down to my return.  Emotionally, I found myself pulling away from those I was closest with as d-day got closer.  I think I subconsciously believed it would be easier if I didn’t feel as close to my family.  The goodbyes were the worst part – that last conversation with my husband, mom, dad, sisters while I was on “American” soil – knowing that the next time I spoke to them I would be in “harm’s way”.

            Once the goodbyes were over, it often took upwards of two to three weeks to get from our base in the US to Iraq. The flight over was not direct and often took upwards of 20 hours – we stopped in Maine and Ireland on our way to Kuwait which was the forward staging area prior to our flight into Iraq – basically the last time to check weapons, equipment, and go over last minute guidelines.  My time in Kuwait varied each time [from a few days to a few weeks], but I’d eventually make the bumpy, hot flight up to Iraq. [I was stationed at three different bases for each of my deployments – Tikrit, Taji, and Baghdad.]

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              Running in Freedom

              Christmas Dinner - Iraq style

              On Nov 11, 2008, I was heading out for my daily afternoon run.  I was building my base for training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. I ate my pre-run snack of whole wheat bread and peanut butter about 90 min before I left.  I laced up my Mizuno Wave Alchemy sneakers.  I turned on my Garmin.  It sounds like what I do before most long runs.  But that’s where the similarities end.

              I was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I was almost finished with my 12th month on a 15 month deployment. Although the end was in sight, it was an extremely hard time for me and most of the other soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division.  We were approaching the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and what would be the 2nd holiday season in a row that we would be away from our family and loved ones.

              Three years ago, I didn’t get to pick out my running clothes – I had to wear the issued physical training (PT) shorts and shirt every day.  I couldn’t run with my IPOD.  I couldn’t zone out during my run (I often ran along the inner perimeter of the base and there was always a chance of an indirect fire attack). I couldn’t wear my hair in a ponytail (had to be in a bun). I couldn’t relax after runs – I had to shower and rush back to my desk where I was working 15+ hour days.  I didn’t have a day off for 15 months.  I couldn’t go back to my room at the end of the day and have complete privacy (I shared a 10×10 trailer with Becky, another female Captain – thankfully, she was awesome!!).

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                Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge!!

                I recently found out that I was chosen to represent Staten Island in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge at the 2011 NYC Marathon.  Each year, 5 runners (one from each borough) are selected to participate in the challenge – they are to run the first half of the marathon together and then race against one another in the second half.

                Each year the challenge has a different “theme”.  The theme of this year’s challenge  is overcoming challenges.  If you are interested in reading about the other 4 runners (who have amazing stories!), please go to:

                I am so excited for this amazing opportunity.  Not only do we get VIP treatment at the start and finish and great clothes to wear during the marathon, but we actually get to start the marathon before all of the other runners!  I am already getting goosebumps when I think of  running across the Verrazano with just 4 other runners!