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!). read more

Training Update: Good Intentions

photo (64)

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 Continue Reading →

Dreaming Big: Runner’s World Cover Contest

RW contest

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}. read more

Training Catch Up + Fall Marathon Plans

photo (54)

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. read more

National Running Day + Adding Fun into Training

IMG_6662

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! Continue Reading →

Fast is a State Of Mind

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 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 →

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 →

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 more

NJ Marathon – Take 2

me and boys

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 →

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 →

LA Marathon Weekend + Goals

ryan hall

In less than 48 hours, I will be on my way to warm, sunny LA to participate in the Asics Blogger Challenge. The forecast for the weekend looks absolutely amazing – a little warm (for my taste) for running a marathon, but after the crazy weather we’ve been dealing with here, the 75+ degree days will be a welcome break. I fly out early Friday morning and am thrilled to be on the same flight (and sitting next to) my friend Jess who is also participating in the challenge. YAY! And then I get to spend the weekend with her and other long-distance running buddies like Kristin, Monica, Mark and Brian and will get to meet a handful of other running bloggers who I’ve interacted with virtually for the past few years. I am really looking forward to the mini-vacation and all of the fun things Asics has planned for us – a VIP party Friday night, a shakeout run and breakfast with elites including Ryan Hall and Deena and Coach Kastor on Saturday morning and some fun stuff post-race on Sunday. And then the obvious part of soaking up some sun and warmth for a few days! read more

My Favorite Home Workout DVDs

pilates

After making the commitment a few weeks ago to get back into the habit of doing core and strength work on a more regular basis, I decided to purchase a few workout DVDs to help me stay on track. I have some regular exercises that I enjoy doing, but have heard amazing things about barre classes and wanted to do more Pilates and felt that a little structure would be the best for me. After mentioning the DVDs to a couple of friends and then on twitter, I saw that there were quite a number of people interested, so I figured I’d share them here. *Note: These DVDs were purchased by me – I am not affiliated with the companies or with Amazon.com. Pilates Abs Workout (with Ana Caban) I first purchased this DVD over TEN years ago. I remember doing the 30-minute DVD on a fairly regular basis when I was a 2LT living in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Each morning, I would head to the gym for my cardio and then return home to complete either a yoga or Pilates DVD.  Unfortunately, the DVD was lost at some point so I haven’t done this workout in years but was ecstatic Continue Reading →

Getting Faster by Getting Stronger

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not do enough core or strengthening exercises. At the start of every training cycle, I vow to myself that I will make it a habit to do both (like I did back in Jan 2012!), but that usually only lasts a week or two and then it all starts to go downhill. I used to be SO diligent about core/strength work. When I was running with the Ft Hood Army 10 miler team back in 2007, I would have practice at 5am and then immediately head to the gym to do 30-45 of weights, abs, cross-training or strength work before showering and heading to work. I followed the same plan when I was deployed to Iraq later that year and I remember feeling strong – not just running strong – but a complete body strong that made me a stronger, fitter runner. A few months after that deployment I ran the Boston Marathon (where I ran my PR time of 3:21). I had never seen or run Heartbreak Hill prior to race day. I didn’t even know that I had just crested the top until I saw a sign that said Continue Reading →

Miles for Meg + The Beauty of Flexibility

photo (28)

Another week of training for the LA Marathon is complete. It was a good week of running and I was able to get in all my planned runs while also hitting my highest mileage (of this training cycle) – 64! Monday: 10 treadmill miles (8:06 pace). Nothing exciting about this except that I finished watching Homeland – holy WOW. That is all I will say (I was super late to the Homeland party and started watching the show a few weeks ago). Side note: My last position in the military was division lethal targeting officer. I was in charge of the Intelligence for my division while we were stationed in Baghdad and in some ways, it was similar to things Carrie does in the show (I did not run assets or go out on my own or anything like that!) It was the best, most rewarding, exciting job I had during my six years in the Army. Tuesday: 8 treadmill miles with a 2×2 mi tempo in the middle. Splits of 6:53, 6:48 for the first set and 6:47, 6:40 for the second (with 3 min active recovery in between). I am really happy with how this workout went. Faster paces are starting Continue Reading →

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year!!! After a string of some wonderful days of running, I woke up on New Year’s Eve with a headache, congestion and general body aching that always indicates the start of something more serious. Stupidly, I forced myself through my first brick workout in months – 45 min on the trainer followed by an easy 5 mile run. It felt good to bike again, but I felt like crap. UGH. Later that afternoon, we all went to my sister’s where we rang in the New Year. Despite still feeling awful, I had a blast staying up late (2am for me) and playing Just Dance” (my first time) with my sisters and parents. As much as I wanted to start the new year off running, my body was not having it – I did not run Wednesday or Thursday. I was/am disappointed but decided it was better to be smart and take a few days off rather than push my body more than I had already. My husband was off both days and we spent most of the last few days rearranging various rooms in our house <- This is what I do when I can’t run! First up Continue Reading →

Bring On The Offseason

HUGE congrats to everyone who raced this weekend. From what I saw on twitter, there were a ton of PRs and amazing races!! So, in case you didn’t see on Instagram, I gave the marathon another shot this past weekend – I participated in the Rehoboth Beach Marathon. I alluded to the fact that I was going to do a “redemption” race a few times but decided to not openly blog or talk about the race on social media. I’ve learned that I put entirely too much pressure on myself and wanted to see if it would be less stressful if things weren’t so public. (Side note: I didn’t enjoy hiding what I was doing – I felt kind of sneaky not talking about things.) I was excited to head down to Rehoboth because I finally got to meet and hang out with Jess and Elizabeth! We went to dinner Friday night and hung out pre-race in their hotel room (trying to stay warm because it was cold and windy). They BOTH ran amazing half marathons – Jess set a huge PR and Elizabeth ran a strong first race back after not running for months! read more

The Dichotomy of Running

Why is it always that the things that make us the happiest also have the ability to make us the saddest? These past few weeks have been a perfect example of this. During my most private moments, I find myself wanting to cry over the disappointment from Philly. When I let my mind wander, it immediately goes back to moments from the race when things started to take a turn for the worse. To say I’m devastated is an understatement. I invested myself 100% in this race. I did not miss one workout. I pushed my body harder than I had before. And although I was thrilled with the journey to get to the start line, I was still looking forward to setting a huge PR. And when I didn’t even come close, I felt like a part of my world disappeared.  There have been plenty of moments the last few weeks where I have had ZERO desire to push myself – or even run – of wanting to sleep more than usual and of eating more than I should have been. It’s gotten better as the days have gone by, but I know I’m still not over the sting of Continue Reading →

Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap

mile 13

So first some GREAT news! I was selected as one of the 20 Inspirational Runners in the US by Dailyburn! The people on this list are amazing runners and people and I’m incredibly honored to be put in the same category as them. ——————- These things are much easier and fun to write when it’s about a great day.  Part of me doesn’t want to write it at all because it would be much easier to just try to forget last Sunday, but I know I learn a lot from reflecting on a race and I’m hoping it adds some sort of closure that I haven’t found yet…so here goes. Last Sunday was not the race I had imagined it would be. Some things went well. Other things not so well. I can sit here and try to find what exactly caused my having to walk and finish >10 min slower than I had set out to run. But, the truth is, I can’t blame anyone or anything except myself. Regardless of whether it was my diet, my pacing, my salty sweating or my ambitious goal time…it was MY doing. I own up to everything that happened that day and Continue Reading →

2013 Philadelphia Marathon – Lesson in Not Quitting

IMG_0477

First, I just want to give a HUGE congrats to Hallie, my “cadet” from the Saucony 26 strong team who is a marathoner!! Congratulations, Hallie!! =) This isn’t the post I had planned on writing. I ran a 3:23:02 yesterday – almost 90 seconds slower than my PR was not how the day was supposed to unfold. I know some runners would be more than happy with this time and I am not trying to minimize the time or sound like a spoiled child who isn’t satisfied – I know it’s a good time and that it qualifies me for Boston. But, I wasn’t trained for a 3:23. I was trained for a significantly faster time. I spent the last 3 months getting up at 4am to do tempo, interval workouts or long runs so that I could smash my PR yesterday. The last few weeks, my mind played out the marathon with a wide range of outcomes: hitting my goal time, hitting my “dream big” time, and PR’ing were all there. 3:23 was not an outcome I anticipated.  Every long training run was at a faster pace than I finished yesterday, including a 24.4 miler (over 10 seconds faster per Continue Reading →