Boston: 11 days to go – Plans, Goals and News!


Check out the RXBar giveaway I’m hosting on Instagram this week!


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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    Having a Short Term Memory with Failed Workouts


    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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      Warming up during a run + NYC Half on Sunday


      Hello, hello!

      Happy St. Paddy’s Day!! Our house had a little visitor last night!

      This week has been a tough one. I find it odd since the previous two weeks were much more demanding at work and I was running higher mileage. This has been a bit of a taper (because of NYC Half on Sunday) and work has been more normal hours, but I’ve felt tired and just not thrilled with waking up early to run.

      I’ve learned that Sunday evening into Monday sets the condition for the rest of the week. When I start the week off on not enough sleep, the rest of the week is tough because there’s no chance of making up the sleep until the following weekend. It’s like starting a marathon without being fully charged and rested.

      The result was sleeping in on Tuesday (I reset the alarm to give me an two extra hours) and putting off a workout until Tuesday evening – which turned into a mostly easy run because I was just feeling too tired and “blah” after a day at work.

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        Staying on Track with Resolutions

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        This post is part of an ongoing sponsorship with Meta. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


        A couple of weeks ago, I shared what my top goals are for the year. It’s all fine and good to sit down at the end of each year and come up with goals for the next 365 days. And it’s likely that for the first few weeks of the year, the motivation and excitement are high enough to keep you marching ahead towards your goal without faltering.

        But once the energy of the new year wears off and the dreariness of winter hits, that willpower may start to dwindle.

        I’ve been there MANY times. It seems to happen to me on a yearly basis.

        So this year, I decided to be more proactive in an attempt to combat the broken resolutions.

        Don’t Go It Alone. It’s so much easier to make it to an early morning run, stick to a strength workout regime or focus on core work when you have a training buddy – virtual or in-person – to hold you accountable. I have a friend who lives hundreds of miles away that I kind of report to – and she to me – on a weekly basis. We plan to keep this up for as long as the strength routine becomes second-nature to us.

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          2015 Goals – Focusing on the Process

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          It’s that time of year again when we all come up with goals (or resolutions or dreams or whatever you call them!) for the new year.

          In recent years, I came up with a whole laundry list of goals. I admit that some of it was blog filler – two years ago, I shared my 13 goals for 2013 . While it was fun to come up with all those goals, the reality is that I didn’t follow through on most of them. There were too many and too varied for me to really focus on ALL of them during the year – and most of them didn’t really mean that much to me.

          This year, I am changing my approach. Instead of having very detailed endstate goals (like run 3:10 in the marathon or sub-1:30 for the half – which I still REALLY want to do), I am focusing on the process. The endstate is still to PR, but I believe that it will come naturally as a result of sticking to these goals/resolutions.

          1. Embrace Winter. Each winter I run (no pun intended) to the treadmill at the first signs of cold, crappy weather. And while I know that you can definitely get a good workout in on the treadmill, I always feel strongest in the fall after a summer on the roads.

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            Honolulu Marathon Recap + Review


            The Honolulu Marathon was the most special, emotional finish line I’ve ever crossed. Running 26.2 miles side by side with my sister is a memory that I will cherish forever and I am so grateful to Saucony and Competitor for the opportunity to experience it in Hawaii with 16 other amazing females.

            The race and race weekend were…interesting. I had no idea prior to race weekend that over half the field is made up of runners from Japan. It was amazing to feel like we were part of something international. But it was strange, too – at time I felt like we were overseas! The expo, race packet, start line instructions were all in English as well as Japanese and there were two national anthems at the start.

            Race Morning

            To minimize the heat of the Hawaiian sun, the race began at 5am, which meant a 2:30am wakeup for Nicole and I. It wasn’t too terrible for us since we were still on east coast time. We met the other teams in the lobby at 4am and walked to the start area which was 1.5 miles away.

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              Recovery + Speedwork + Honolulu Marathon

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              Early morning miles with Jacqueline!

              The Potomac River Run Marathon was just over three weeks ago and I just had my first real speedwork. I took a few days off from running (and any sort of physical activity) after the marathon but started back up with short, easy runs mid-week. Since then, I’ve gradually increased mileage while keeping virtually all running to a super easy pace (I didn’t wear a Garmin at all for the first two weeks of running).

              The mileage looked like this:
              – 1 week post-marathon: 4 days of running – 22 miles
              – 2 weeks post-marathon: 6 days of running – 47.5 miles (including 10 miles with 10 x 1:00 on, 1:00 off -> no set pace)
              – 3 weeks post-marathon: 6 days of running – 47 miles (including 8 miler with 4 mile progression -> no set pace)

              I think there are multiple ways to recover from a goal race. I used to be of the mindset that I HAD to take an entire week off from running after a marathon and a few days off after a half marathon. My coach is of a different mindset, and believes in more of an active recovery. It was a change for me to run the day after a half marathon – even when I was a bit sore. But a short 3-4 miler and then a string of easy runs can work just as good, if not better, than complete rest.

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                Potomac River Run Marathon Race Recap

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                When I first started this blog, I had “only” run three marathons – all of which had been PRs and great experiences. The next handful of marathons I ran (after sharing my training here) were a bust – DNF, starting too fast or being incredibly unhappy with the results. I found I was putting too much pressure on myself and was focused on running a specific time at that moment. I wasn’t looking ahead nor was I viewing racing marathons as a process. Instead it was a kind of “do or die” mentality each time I got ready to race. It can be extremely disheartening if you are focused on just one race and things don’t go as planned.

                Overall, Sunday was a success. I enjoyed the entire experience and was excited and anxious to race as race day approached rather than having that fear and stress that previous races brought me. I executed a lot of things well on Sunday – fueling, pacing, running without music – but I would be lying if I didn’t share that there is a part of me that is slightly disappointed. I trained hard for several months and both my coach and I feel I was trained for a faster marathon than the results show.

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                  2014 Staten Island Half Marathon Race Recap

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                  si half

                  Happy Monday! I keep forgetting that today is a holiday. My oldest is off from school but my husband has work – so it doesn’t feel like an actual holiday!

                  Yesterday was the Staten Island Half Marathon. It was the 4th time I ran this race. Other than the first year, I can’t say that I’ve had a good experience with the race. Here’s a quick run-down:

                  – 2010: 2:00:15 – 6 months pregnant. Ran it with my husband and good friend from college. Had a blast!

                  – 2011: 1:38:57 – Ran it as a tuneup 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon. Was shooting for sub-1:35 but started way too fast and had a rough 2nd half.

                  – 2013: DNF – Ran it as a tuneup before the Philly Marathon 5 weeks later. Started fast and started feeling hamstring pain around mile 8 so stopped at mile 9.

                  I really was focused on a strong race and effort, regardless of the finish time – but I also was looking to get a big course PR and try to get an overall PR.

                  For some reason this course is considered a fast course – but I really don’t know many runners who will agree with that statement. So who is spreading these rumors about it being fast? In my opinion, there’s three things that make it a tougher course than it appears:

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                    5k PR -> 1st Sub-20!

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                    Good Morning, Philly!

                    I showed up to the start of the RnR Philly 5k with no expectations. With the exception of a tough, tired interval workout this past week (that didn’t leave me feeling very optimistic), I hadn’t done formal speedwork in weeks (July 29th to be exact) and so didn’t have a good feel for how the race might go.

                    My one goal was to run strong and consistent – to not go out too fast and finished satisfied with my effort and execution. Races like this turn out the best for me. No stress or pressure. Just the excitement of being at a race atmosphere (which I LOVE).

                    The course was touted as being flat and fast – but just looking at the start and finish, I knew it wasn’t completely true (the finish had a very steep, short hill right at mile 3 – heartbreaker!). And the first mile was a very gradual decline (so mile 3 is a gradual incline). My garmin shows about 130 ft of gain (mapmyrun shows 110) – not anything huge – but even the smallest hill in a 5k feels like a mountain!

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                      The Long Run: Finding Myself Again

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                      One of my biggest issues this past summer was focusing too much on pace for my long runs. I was comparing my current times with last fall and either pushing too hard too soon in the run (and then totally bonking), quitting because I wasn’t hitting paces I was last fall or just stressing out entirely too much for a training run.

                      The long run has been this cloud over my head. I used to love the long run – it was always my favorite run of the week. It used to be two to three hours of getting to zone out and just run while enjoying my surroundings and being alone with my thoughts. It has turned into a run where all I do is stare at my garmin and worry about pace while counting down the miles and minutes until it is over.

                      Truth -> Training for a marathon is really tough and not enjoyable when you don’t look forward to the staple workout of the training plan. The last couple of months made me question my desire and ability to run marathons.

                      So I decided to take some time off from following a rigid training plan. Run hard when I wanted. Run some miles with the double stroller. Take a few extra rest days. Not force any long runs. Just destress and reset. And maybe when it was all said and done, I wouldn’t race a marathon this fall – and I was okay with that.

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                        My Son’s First “Race” and Long Run Success


                        Pre-race…LOVE that every child was “#1”!

                        A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent my husband and I the website for a local kids race, the Kids Running Obstacle Course (ROC). The youngest category was 4-5 years old, so we decided to sign our oldest son up up (he’ll be 4 in January). He has shown an interest in running and he’s a big fan of climbing, jumping, rolling, etc (like any young child!) so it seemed like a perfect first race for him.

                        The race not disappoint. My son never stopped smiling throughout the entire 10-15 minutes it took to run over, under or through the obstacles.

                        Some he was able to maneuver on his own and then either myself or Jenn (who was with her daughter) were there to help him over those that were a bit outside his comfort zone.

                        I’ve wanted to sign him up for several kids races earlier this year, but I’ve been hesitant b/c I never want running to be something I force on him. My husband and I decided that the obstacle course aspect of it would be a good introduction into racing/running.

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                          New Fall Marathon + How To Run A Faster Marathon

                          10 miler

                          So not so great news to share…I have deferred my entry for the Wineglass Marathon until next year. Life, family and circumstances sometimes get in the way of our big plans and goals and as much as I was looking forward to racing in a few short weeks, ultimately, it really was the best decision for me, my training and my family. (Not trying to be vague but also not sharing all the details here.)

                          I hope to still race a marathon sometime in November – just haven’t registered for one yet. My short-list (right now) includes: Philly, Richmond and Potomac River Run. Have you raced any of these? Thoughts?


                          I wanted to share my thoughts on how to run a faster marathon. Let me preface this all by saying that after taking a considerable amount of time off from my first to second marathons, I’ve mostly stayed at the same finish time (I’m working on improving that time right now and will obviously update this as necessary when I do!).

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                            Training Update: Good Intentions

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                            Old picture of the hill I used for repeats

                            Just a reminder to get your daily vote in for the Runner’s World Cover Contest!

                            Prior to our trip to Alaska, I hadn’t taken a day off from running in weeks. My new coach has me running seven days a week right now – often one long run, one or two workouts and the remainder easy/recovery runs (8 miles each)- with one of those being lower mileage (5-6 miles). It’s definitely out of my comfort zone and I’ve always been a big proponent of having one full rest day, but I’ve put my faith in my experienced coach and will follow what he prescribes.

                            It’s been a while (= weeks) since I’ve given any type of training updates, so before I get into my running in Alaska, let me rewind a bit more.

                            Week Prior to Vacation: 7 runs, 2 workouts, 59 miles

                            • Workout #1: 10 miles w/ 5x mile repeats with 1/4 mile recovery (roughly 2:15-2:30). Splits: 6:35, 6:33, 6:34, 6:37, 6:39. Positive splits were the name of the game. It was 81 degrees + 62 dew point = 143 suck factor. I knew I should adjust the target paces but my body doesn’t always follow what my mind thinks. I started too fast and paid for it by the end.
                            • Workout #2: 15 miles. 7:35 average pace with 600 ft of elevation gain. I’ve mentioned recently how I’m trying to focus on taking harder routes (more hills) in training to help me become a stronger runner. After my normal 1.5 miles out and back (I run south to the end of the island), I decided to run north 6 miles – a route that I often shy away from b/c of some of the big hills. I was surprised to see the splits I was hitting on the way out and when I turned around, realized I had a pretty strong tailwind, so despite feeling like I was taking it easier, my paces began to drop. This was a great run for me and I walked away feeling like I was starting to get my legs back. Splits: 7:58, 7:48, 7:46, 7:43, 7:47, 7:39, 7:40, 7:35, 7:39, 7:30, 7:35, 7:29, 7:25, 7:17, 6:59. 

                            Two weeks ago: 6 runs, 2 workouts (1 missed workout), 59 miles

                            Workout #1: 9 miles with 10 x 400m hill repeats. Coach wanted me to find a hill with 3-5% slope. I have never done hill repeats outside before so ran to the biggest and longest hill I could think of – it’s just about 1/4 mile long. I began the repeats. By the 3rd one, my legs were shot and the splits I had planned on trying to hit were a distance memory. As it turns out, the hill was a 9% grade – soway steeper than planned! I don’t remember the last time my legs burned so much during a run!

                          • Workout #2 – 16 miles (below)
                          • I had a lot of good intentions during our vacation, but I didn’t want running to be the most important thing I did while we were gone and therefore, there were a couple of missed days of running.  On our travel day out to Alaska, we had an early wakeup (4am) in order to make our 7am flight. I very briefly thought about waking up at 2am to get my 8 miles in but logic and my husband telling me I was crazy won out and I planned to run after we arrived in Alaska. After 18+ hours of travel, we arrived at my in-laws home just after 6pm (10pm east-coast time) and the LAST thing I wanted to do was head out and run. I hadn’t seen my in-laws since January and realized it would be quite rude to leave to run.  So I chalked it up to an unplanned rest day.

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                              Dreaming Big: Runner’s World Cover Contest

                              RW contest
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                              So Runner’s World is having a contest to find a male and female runner to be on the cover of an upcoming issue. It’s a TOTAL long shot (I’ve read the bios of a handful of the applications already and there are some pretty amazing people) but I’ve decided to give it a shot and enter…it doesn’t hurt to try, right?

                              Based on the judges’ criteria and total number of votes, five male and five female runners will be chosen for a round of interviews  with the editors. So while the number of votes isn’t paramount, the votes will help the applicant move on to the next round. Which is why I need your help!

                              You can vote daily from now until August 15 (I promise to not bug you every single day!) and takes less than 10 seconds to vote (you don’t need to create an account or anything!)!

                              Thank you for your help and support!


                              I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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                                Training Catch Up + Fall Marathon Plans

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                                I’m honored to have been selected as one of the 10 Fittest People You Aren’t Following on Instagram. I’m in some pretty amazing company, too.


                                It’s been a bit since I updated you on training. So here is a quick overview of the last few weeks…I’m a couple of weeks into training again post-NJ Marathon and am beginning to see signs of the leg turnover returning. The first couple of workouts were painful – I wasn’t hitting paces I had hit in the fall nor did I get into a rhythm during the workouts. And they just felt like “blah”.

                                It’s hard to stay positive after workouts like these – but I have been reminding myself that this training cycle is long and my target race isn’t until October – so I have months to work hard and improve. It’s about patience and focusing on the small steps we take each week that will add up to the huge jumps we are hoping for on race day.

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                                  National Running Day + Adding Fun into Training


                                  Happy National Running Day! I’m sure you’ve been inundated with information about events and deals…so here’s just a quick recap if you haven’t heard yet:

                                  • Westin Hotels: If you are in NYC today, come by Westin Grand Central at 10:30 for a chance to win some free gear, meet NY Yankees pitcher David Roberston and go on a 5k run!
                                  • Timex: Use hashtag #IMARUNNER on Twitter and Instagram to celebrate the day. For every use of #IMARUNNER on National Running Day, Timex will donate $5, up to $20,000, towards the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s Team Boomer program.  Individuals who contribute content via the hashtag #IMARUNNER will also be qualified to win Timex® IRONMAN® watches.
                                  • Sparkly Soul Giveaway: Enter to win one of three 5-packs of headbands
                                  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Races/Festival: Register today and save $20 on all US races (today only), learn about the new Running Festival at 5 locations across US
                                  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun Runs: 21 locations across US and Canada are hosting fun runs
                                  • I Run This Body gear: All shirts are on sale (today only!)
                                  • NYRR events: Fun runs, giveaways and/or water stations will be set up at various locations across NYC.
                                  • Women’s Running Magazine: Subscribe today for only $1 an issue!


                                  I’ve mentioned a few times already that I am trying to keep the stress level down this training cycle. In the past, I had the mindset that I couldn’t have fun or do things less than 100% because it would mean I wasn’t completely dedicated. And I was always so envious of other runners who could train hard but also make time for things that seemed to bring them so much joy. And so I am making a conscious effort to do things that bring me happiness – even if they don’t technically “add” to my training. Things like running with my sister 1-2 times/week and running with friends when our schedule permits. In the past, I’ve been so determined to follow a training plan that I wasn’t willing to run easier/slower than I typically do on easy days or deviate at all from a training plan.

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                                    Fast is a State Of Mind

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                                    My Beast platoon! (I’m in front row – 2nd from left!)

                                    For years when I was younger, I viewed myself as fast – I was point guard on my high school basketball team and remember being able to chase down almost anyone on the court to steal the ball away.

                                    Then West Point and our basic training (aka Beast Barracks) began. On our 1st morning, we took a physical fitness test which concluded with a 2 mile run. Each morning, the 1,000 or so of my classmates would do exercises with our companies and then we’d split off into run groups based on the run times from the PT test. My ego took a hit when I learned that my run time (16:02 for 2 miles) put me in the Red Group – the slowest group of runners.

                                    I was no slower than I had been the previous couple of years, but for the first time in my life, I felt slow. And I remember being so envious of some of my girlfriends who could effortlessly run sub-13:00 times and wonder how they were SO fast. Running those paces seemed unfathomable to me.

                                    Over the course of my four years at West Point and first few years as an officer in the Army, my run times improved to 15:30 and 14:30, respectively. But I still felt slow. 

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                                      The Line Between Dedicated and Obsessed


                                      Smiling for the camera post-Philly Marathon (2013)

                                      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 z to accomplish them.

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                                        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. 

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