Why YOU should apply for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge

FL5BC

Last summer, I applied for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge (FL5BC).  I didn’t think I would be selected so figured there was no harm in applying – I did it on a whim without even telling my husband or family members…A few weeks later, I found out that I made it through the first round of applications and had a phone interview with several members of NYRR and Foot Locker as part of round 2.  A week later I was sitting in Foot Locker’s headquarters in NYC for a face-to-face interview (final round of applications).  Then, sometime in early August, I got a phone call and was told I was selected to represent my home borough – Staten Island. Participating in the FL5BC was the highlight of my running career – I’m not sure if anything is even going to come close to comparing to my whole experience.  If you are a resident of NYC and planning/training to run within the window of time (3:30 – 4:00), I would seriously recommend applying to participate this year –  you will NOT regret it. read more

Why You Want ME

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Before I explain to you why I would be a great addition to your team, let me give you a brief background of how I ended up where I am today. Exactly three years ago, I was getting ready to return from Iraq after my third deployment with the US Army as a Captain in the Military Intelligence Branch.  I had spent the last 15 months tracking, analyzing, and targeting the enemy networks in Baghdad.  It was the most rewarding job I had ever had.  I had made the decision to leave the military upon my return from Iraq – I wanted to settle down, start a family, secure a high-paying job in the business world, and be physically close to my sisters and parents after 10 years of living far away. Shortly after, I began my new life with a great-paying job in NYC, I was living on the Upper West Side in a gorgeous apartment with my sister, and I had the freedom and luxury to run whenever and wherever I wanted. Fast forward to today. I am a happy stay at home mom to my 1 year old son, AJ.  Shortly after he was born, I made Continue Reading →

How did you do in 2011?

Photo Credit - visitfortwayne.com

With only a few days left in 2011, it’s normal to reflect upon the past 12 months – smile with the good, hope to learn from the bad, and decide upon some goals for the upcoming year. After reading [and loving!] a similar post from Miss Zippy, a fellow blogger and FitFluential Ambassador, I decided to share these questions [and my answers] with all of you. Best race experience? NYC Marathon! I participated in the 5 Borough Challenge with 4 other runners. We got to start the marathon an hour before the rest of the field, and run the course on empty streets.  The best part was having my son and husband standing at the finish line waiting for me to run through the tape – I’m not sure any future racing experiences will ever top that! Best run? A one-mile run five days after my son was born. It felt SO good to run with considerably less weight (~20 pounds) than on my previous run (one day prior to his birth).  I felt like I was flying! Best new piece of gear? Saucony Run Vibe beanie - keeps my whole head warm on early morning winter runs. Best piece of running advice you received? If you aren’t in pain Continue Reading →

NYC Marathon – Experience of a Lifetime (Part 3) The Race within a Race

Before I go into a detailed race report for the NYC Marathon last Sunday, there are are a couple of things to say: 1. I am a very competitive person when it comes to running.  But NOT with other people.  I never show up to a race and look around and say, “I want to beat her and her and him” or “I want to finish in the top 10.”  I look at myself in the mirror before a race and say “I am going to beat YOU”. I am competitive with myself.  I think it’s fair to say that any serious runner has to be – you train for a race, sometimes for weeks or months, with one primary goal in your head…you want to PR (*for those not familiar with the jargon: a PR is a personal record).  You want to beat yourself.  You want to beat the effects of age, pregnancy, childbirth, sickness, stress, or whatever challenge you have faced or are overcoming.  You are stepping up to the start line telling yourself, “I am going to run faster than I ever have before.” 2. I had waivered months ago about whether or not I should even Continue Reading →

Best part of the NYC Marathon

In the weeks leading up the NYC Marathon, two of the questions I was asked the most were What motivates you to run? and What will you be thinking about while you are running to the finish line?  Both answers were the same – I looked forward to my 10 month old son, AJ, and my husband, Paul waiting for me at the finish line. Waiting for me at the finish line was more of a metaphor.  I knew they weren’t actually going to be at the finish line of the NYC Marathon – the largest marathon in the world.  The number of celebrities, media personnel and VIPs are astronomical and security to even get somewhat close is extremely tight.  But, I knew they would be close by – somewhere in the general area of the finish line and that I would eventually get to see them soon after I finished. The best part of running and competing in the 2011 NYC Marathon had absolutely nothing to do with running across the Verrazano Bridge with only 4 other runners or having spectators cheer for me as though I were an elite runner.  It had nothing to do with winning the Foot Locker 5 Continue Reading →

NYC Marathon – the Experience of a Lifetime (part 1)

I plan on writing a few posts about the NYC Marathon on Sunday, Nov 6.  The first couple will be about the events before and after the marathon, one will deal with running the marathon (splits, how I felt, etc), and another will be a recap of the experience of participating in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge. I don’t think I will ever experience a day quite like yesterday.  Winning the challenge is extremely gratifying but it pales in comparison to the day my family and I shared together.   I guess the best place to start is at the beginning of the day… My supporters were in full force for the day – Paul, AJ, my mom, dad, 2 of my sisters, their significant others, and my niece!  Unfortunately, my sister who lives in the city could not make it to the start or finish as she was setting up and preparing for the after party she hosted for me in her apt (which is only 2 avenues away from the finish!!). In order to be at the entrance of Fort Wadsworth at 630am, we had to leave by 6am – which I can’t complain too much about Continue Reading →

Fun Run with Ryan Hall, Bobby Curtis, and Bart Yasso!

One of the coolest things about running marathons is that you run the same course as Olympians and elite athletes.  You have the same start line.  You cross the same finish line.  Spectators along the course cheer just as loud for us as they do for the elites that passed already. Nothing is different. Well, except the time it takes us, mere mortals, to get to the finish!  No other sport allows you to basically run elbow-to-elbow (if you can keep up, of course) with the world’s best. From the few elite runners I have previously met, there is a sense of normalcy to them.  They are everyday people.  There isn’t the superstar mentality that you often get with other sports.  So it was no surprise to me that the 3 individuals I got the chance to meet and chat with last night were down-to-earth and extremely friendly! Last night was a Fun Run hosted by Run by Foot Locker at their Union Square store.  The 70 or so runners that showed up to participate varied in age, running background, and whether or not they were running the NYC marathon on Sunday.  After Ryan, Bobby, and Bart showed up, we all went Continue Reading →

Media Day

Today was such a fun, exciting day!  For almost 3 hours, my mom, my son, AJ, and I were able to experience what it (almost) feels like to be an elite runner or a VIP running the marathon during race week. The other individuals participating in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge (FL5BC) and I were invited to the NYC Media Center – a bustling hub of reporters, camera crews, and workers.  We were to meet with the media, take some photos, receive our race-day credentials, and go over last minute details for Sunday. After a brief summary of this year’s FL5BC theme, the other 4 runners and I were introduced to members of the media and asked to discuss why we were selected to represent our respective borough. (Here are our stories) Next, we were asked to do one-on-one interviews with any media outlet that may have wanted to ask us specific questions or take photos of us running. While Mommy was being interviewed, AJ was having a blast exploring every inch of the tent! After a few hours of interviews and running I was exhausted!!  I’m amazed that celebrities and/or elite athletes do this so often. I was honored Continue Reading →

NYC Marathon next Sunday!

My afternoon run today took me through Fort Wadsworth.  Fort Wadsworth is located directly underneath the Verrazanno Narrows Bridge and is one of the oldest military sites in the US.  From various points on the installation, you have a direct view of NYC and her harbor – consequently, the fort guarded NYC for almost 200 years. Today, it is no longer an active military installation – it is open to the public as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area and is managed by the National Parks Services.  View of NYC from Fort Wadsworth On most days, I am greeted with quiet, desolate roads that I have come to love and look forward to.  Not today.  Instead, there were hundreds (maybe thousands?) of port-o-potties, rows of tents, fences, tables, and floodlights, and piles of sandbags occupying the streets and fields of grass.  For those who have run / are running the NYC marathon, Fort Wadsworth is known for one thing – the start!!There may not have been anyone standing in line waiting to use the port-o-potties or huddling under the tents trying to stay warm, but I immediately felt the excitement and anticipation of next Sunday. read more

Workouts before a Marathon

I’m definitely not an expert at marathoning and racing.  But, from previous races and long runs, I’ve learned what works best for me and my body before a marathon.  Below are my workouts for the last week as well as what I will be doing the week prior to NYC Marathon.- Friday, Oct 21 – 30 miles – 8:34 pace- Saturday, Oct 22 – Rest - Sunday, Oct 23 – Rest- Monday, Oct 24 – 5 miles (44 min) – 8:45 pace- Tuesday, Oct 25 miles – 7 miles (59 min)- 2 mile warmup (8:45 pace), 5 miles @ 8:15 pace- Wednesday, Oct 26 – 5 miles (39 min) – 7:48 pace- Thursday, Oct 27 – Rest- Friday, Oct 28 – 7 miles (56 min)- 1x mile warm-up and cool-down – 8:45, 8:25, 7:57, 7:45, 7:42, 7:29, 7:52 - Saturday, Oct 29 – Rest – 60 min sport massage in the afternoon- Sunday, Oct 30 – Poland Spring Marathon Kick-off 5 miler (may run an additional 5 miles after)- Monday, Oct 31 - 5 mile easy run – 8:30-8:45 pace (2x miles @ marathon pace) read more

Christmas came early for me!

I received an early Christmas present in the mail this morning!  It was a box containing an Asics gym bag…FILLED to the top with Asics running clothes! The most exciting is what I will be wearing on marathon morning in just 10 days – a striped Foot Locker tank top and Foot Locker branded shorts.   I received the package because I am participating in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge during the NYC Marathon on Nov 6.  Other items in the bag included (some of which are branded with the “Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge” logo): – 2 long-sleeved shirts – 2 short-sleeved shirts – half-zip, long-sleeve shirt – 2 pairs of shorts – sports bra – visor – running shoes – warm-up outfit Thank you to Foot Locker an Asics for providing me with such an awesome gift!  

What are your goals?

I have a long list of races that I want to complete.  Certain times that I want to run the marathon and half-marathon in.  Distances I want to run.  Yet, I have never told them to anyone - including my husband, family and closest friends.  Why have I not shared these lifetime goals with anyone?    I think the answer is that I am scared of failing and not living up to the expectations I create if they are said aloud.  If I don’t say them, then I’m not accountable to anyone.  And if I don’t meet them, I could easily convince myself I never was serious about them – so I didn’t actual fail.  On this morning’s run, I realized I can’t go through life worried that I may not reach a certain goal.  I’ll never reach them if I don’t at least try.  Saying my goals aloud not only makes them real, but it will gain me support from friends and family.  For me, having support is necessary - whether it’s a call or text from a friend, a reply on a blog, my mom watching my son so I can go on a 3 hour run, or my husband Continue Reading →

Rookie Mistake!

The SI Half Marathon couldn’t have been on a more beautiful day…temps in the low 60s, sunny skies, and a light wind.  Combine that with the 2 days off I decided to take before the race as well as this being my first race in about 18 months.What do you get?Me starting entirely WAY too fast.Being patient in a race has never been my strong point.  I usually get frustrated with the huge crowds at the startline and consequently spend the first mile or so weaving in and out of the smallest gaps  between other runners I could find.  My fear during a race is that I start too slow the first few miles and then have to play catch up the rest of the race to get my pace down to what I want it to be.  So the result is that I usually overcompensate and go out faster than I should.Yesterday was no exception.  I ran the first 3 miles in 7:07, 6:57, and 7:08, and the average for the first 6 miles was 7:13 – about 15-20 seconds faster per mile than my goal.  Also take into account that while the course is fairly flat, there are a few Continue Reading →

Staten Island Half-Marathon

Even though I’m only racing a half-marathon tomorrow, I find myself getting more and more antsy as the night hours dwindle away.  I realized earlier today that this is the first real race I’m going to be competing in since March 2010.  While I did several races while I was pregnant, I had to keep my heart rate at a specified level as per my Dr’s guidance – I was not allowed to get too out of breath! There’s a certain excitement in knowing that you will be pushing yourself as hard as you can the next day. No more time for training.  No more time for worrying.  The only things left for me to do is make sure I drink enough water and get a good night’s sleep. I don’t expect to PR tomorrow; while I’ve put in enough miles to feel strong over the 13.1 miles, I know that I haven’t done enough speed or tempo work to PR.  But, if nothing else, it will show me where I am at, and hopefully I can adapt and focus on what I need to in time for the marathon. read more

Who or what inspires you to run?

As part of the 5 Borough Challenge, my fellow participants and I were asked “Who or what inspires me to run?”.   At first I thought this would be an easy question to answer…I decided to use this morning’s run as time to think about my answer. Each morning that my alarm goes off, there is something different pulling me out the door.  My inspiration to run each day changes – depending on the day, the week, or my current life situation.  For example, when I was pregnant, my motivation was that I wanted to remain in running shape.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get back into running if I took months off during my pregnancy.  Knowing that running even a few miles each day (regardless of how slow I was moving) was a success and an accomplishment, was all the motivation I needed to head out for my run.  After I gave birth to my son, my inspiration quickly became to get back to my previous weight and running ability.   My motivation to run (and push myself when I’m already out running) increases when I am signed up for a big race; I find Continue Reading →

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: http://www.nycmarathon.org/entrantinfo/5_boro_runners.htm 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!

Finally broke 20!

Due to poor weather forecasted for Saturday morning and plans on Sunday, I decided to shift my long run day to Friday to ensure I finally got a long run in.The weather was perfect – low 50s and a light wind to start the morning.  The first hour of my run was before the sun came up – the darkness and low winds were extremely calming.  My plan was to maintain an 8:30-8:45 pace for the run but I was finding it difficult to not speed up early in the run.  My tendency is to go out too fast (usually b/c I’m running on rested legs)  and then I often pay for it later. By the second hour, the boardwalk was quickly becoming populated.  The majority of my morning runs are along the boardwalk in Midland/South Beach and into and through Fort Wadsworth, so I am pretty familiar with the early-morning walkers/runners/bikers. The nods of recognition, small hand waves, and smiles helped make the second hour go by extremely fast. It also helped distract me from the strong winds that had seemed to appear out of nowhere! read more

Learning to love my flexible running plan

AJ enjoying bath time!

Up until a year ago, running was the most important part of my day.  If I were able to complete the run that my self-imposed training plan had scheduled for me, then the day was great – I was happy, cheerful, and relaxed.  If I happened to wake up late, hit snooze too many times, or just not have the time or energy to head out the door for a run, then anyone who spent time around me, knew to steer clear!  I would be irritable, impatient, and often times, a complete (insert expletive) to everyone, including (and especially) my family. Fast forward to today.  The NYC Marathon is only 6 weeks away – my longest runs to date are a 20, 18, and a few 16 milers (none with impressive or satisfying times).  I haven’t gone on a long run in 3 weeks.  My weekly mileage is about 20% less then what I wanted it to be.  Yet, despite all of that, I couldn’t be happier.  I was blessed with a happy and healthy baby boy 8 1/2 months ago and quickly learned that following my training plan (or even getting out the door to run) is no longer Continue Reading →