The Fastest Mile of My Life!

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I went outside my comfort zone yesterday and raced a mile (for the first time ever!). The Forest Avenue Mile (on Staten Island) has been a race that I have planned to run the last few years, but when the time comes, I wimp out or make excuses as to why it’s not the right time (usually because it’s smack dab in the middle of spring marathon training). My coach and I decided about two months ago that this would be one of the two races I ran prior to Boston Marathon. Period. Boston training has gone really well (knock on wood) and I felt like a “down” week in mileage (both total and long run) might be a good thing before the last final push prior Marathon Monday. I did a mini-taper for this race. Regular speedwork on Wednesday, normal planned mileage for Thursday and then reduced mileage for Friday (6-7 miles) and Saturday (4-5 miles). So, onto the race. It started at 12:10pm which made it a bit tricky for me in regards to fueling beforehand. I ate my usual breakfast early (3 eggs with brussel sprouts, onions and tomatoes) and then a banana with almond butter late Continue Reading →

The Treadmill Incline Debate

The winter months usually go hand in hand with the treadmill incline debate. A lot of runners training for spring races are forced to their treadmills because of snow, ice or freezing temperatures – and understandably, begin questioning the ability of the treadmill to train them properly for their goal race. There are so many schools of thought on the treadmill incline. I know plenty of successful, strong runners who use either 0%, .5% or 1% (or more) when they are on the treadmill. But which is correct and what works best? Short answer – I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. I think you need to find what works for you and what you are comfortable with. Each has perfectly reasonable arguments – both for and against. And I have tried all three – when I first started running, I never used the incline. A couple of years ago, I started using .5% incline for all of my runs and then after Potomac in November, I bumped it up to 1%. I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about the incline I use for treadmill running (especially for my workouts) so wanted to share both my reasoning for Continue Reading →

Boston Marathon Training (T-10)

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Another successful week of Boston training is behind me…just 10 short weeks until Marathon Monday. Last week was my first 60+ mile week in over three months! The last time I was at/over 60 miles was October 20-26! After that week began a small taper for NYC Marathon, recovery from Marathon (~1 week), taper for Potomac River Run Marathon, recovery from marathon (2-3 weeks), taper for Honolulu, flu and tooth problems. I also hit 18 miles for the long run – longest long run in training since October 25. I’m definitely at the point in the training cycle where I feel like there is some good momentum behind me. I’ve had some kick-a$$ speed workouts and long runs have been (knock on wood) enjoyable and strong. As I mentioned in the post last week about mile repeats, my husband was away for work from Sunday through Thursday night. My parents are usually around and willing to watch the boys so I can sneak a run in outside – but my dad is visiting his mom down in Florida and my mom has had her hands full with my great-aunt who needed surgery. So understandably, I was on my own for Continue Reading →

Winter Running

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It was 15 degrees (with windchill) for this past weekend’s “long run” (12 miles) which may make it the coldest weather I’ve ever run in. I realize that many runners routinely run in temperatures most colder, but passing up the treadmill for the cold is something fairly new to me. In years past, anything under 25 would be a no-brainer treadmill run. I don’t know if it is a mental shift, a change in clothes from previous years, my weaning motivation to run on the treadmill or a combination of all of the above. But, I’m pretty pleased with the minimal amount of treadmill running I’ve done the last few weeks (note: I haven’t run that much to begin with, but when I have run, most of the time I’ve been outside).And it’s been more than just getting the runs in outside – I’ve actually been enjoying them along the way – which has been the most surprising part of the whole thing. Since the only really tangible change I’ve made is my clothing, I wanted to share what I’ve done in case you are looking to run more in the cold or need some ideas for winter running clothing Continue Reading →

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

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I ran six straight days last week. I feel like I need to celebrate in some way – you’d have to go back all the way to the beginning of December to find a stretch of running that long. The last few weeks have been frustrating. I returned from Hawaii and the Honolulu Marathon on top of the world. It was a whirlwind few days and I came home ready for Christmas, my in-laws visiting and some hard training – something I hadn’t done since before Potomac a month prior. Running felt WAY better post-marathon (Potomac Marathon) than I ever remember it feeling. But then I missed 8 straight days of running because of the flu (what my surgeon now thinks was actually the start of the infection in my gums). Not the end of the world. I’ve missed some longer stretches of running before and know that it doesn’t really make a noticeable difference. After a few runs, I felt like I was getting my mojo back. And then I missed another 7 straight days of running from the tooth/gum infection. read more

What Strength Exercises Should Runners Do?

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As I mentioned in my goal post a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been incorporating some strength work into my weekly routine for about 6-7 weeks now. I feel a difference – in literally every single run. Speedwork has been faster, long runs feel more comfortable and easy runs have been effortless (I have been running garmin-free for these so not sure about paces). It’s likely due to a few factors (reducing processed foods and sweets) but one of them is definitely the strength work that is now a regular addition to my weekly training plan. Below are a few of my favorite moves – I will preface this all by saying that I am not an expert, certified trainer or anything along those lines. So there may be more efficient moves that I can be doing or maybe I should be doing more reps, less weight – but these seem to be working for me. I tried to explain them as best I could as well! I’ve also been hesitant to share them because regardless of how I feel in training, the true test of whether strength work is paying off will come on race day. But I don’t Continue Reading →

Another Week Off From Running + Support New Runners

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I haven’t run since Saturday. This marks the 2nd longest non-running streak I have had in the last several years (with the longest being just a few weeks ago from the flu). I’m on a roll lately – just not rolling the way I would like. I was starting to regain my energy in the days after the flu, but the whole next week, was back to how I felt the week before. I was running a low fever for much of the week and could barely drag myself out of bed at 7am (big difference from normal 4:30am wakeups) despite going to bed by 10pm. Most of my runs were at night because I felt better as the day went on. Saturday was much the same and after postponing the long run until the afternoon, managed just 3.5 miles before I called it quits and stopped at my sister’s house. I felt so tired despite running over 35+ seconds (per mile) slower than usual for my long run pace. I was in the car Sunday morning with my husband and boys when my tooth literally popped out of my mouth. It was from a tooth that had root canal last Continue Reading →

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 Continue Reading →

When You DON’T Regret Skipping a Run

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I’m hosting an awesome giveaway for a Garmin Vivosmart – courtesy of Garmin – on Instagram! ——————————— After returning from Honolulu and running the marathon with my sister, I was ready to jump back into training. I took the following day off (which was a complete travel day) and began running on Tuesday (4 miles). I continued with nothing but easy-paced 8 milers the rest of the week – one day had 10×1 min on, 1 min off pickups in the middle. I went to bed Friday night excited and to resume long runs – coach had 19-20 on the training plan for me and physically, I felt ready. I woke up Saturday morning and from the moment my eyes opened, knew something was off. My head was aching and I felt like I was coming down with something. After a cup of coffee, I still didn’t feel any better and made the decision to skip the run for the day. Part of me wanted to just suck it up and go. I kept hearing various phrases and inspirational images that are often thrown around social media: The only run you regret is the one you don’t go on I never Continue Reading →

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 Continue Reading →

2014 NYC Marathon Race Recap

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On Sunday, I completed my 8th marathon. It wasn’t a PR or goal race but it was one of the most amazing, exciting and humbling experiences of my running “career”. The importance of the day had nothing to do with me or my running goals, but rather, who I was there for – my friend, John. Helping a friend run the race he trained for, made the race, the day and the overall experience a million times more meaningful and special than a PR could ever do. The days leading up to the 2014 NYC Marathon were stressful. I hadn’t planned on much of a taper since my coach and I were treating the race like an extra-long training run. But, my body had other plans. I made Thursday and Saturday complete rest days (unplanned) – I felt feverish, my body ached and had a pounding headache most of Wednesday and Saturday. I began panicking Saturday afternoon (after spending a good portion of the day in bed) about how I was going to run a marathon the next day. Thankfully, I woke up Sunday morning feeling much better! read more

Birthday #33 + Finding My Rhythm

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Last week was a solid week of training. I feel like I have found my rhythm – I’m working hard during the workouts, running easy on the easy runs and feel recovered and energized through it all. I ran a total of 73 miles, did core work 4x, strength work 3x, cross trained 2x (30 min each on trainer) – and did most of it while single parenting for the week. My husband has been traveling a lot for work lately and I was worried about how I would fit in all of these miles either with the stroller or on the treadmill. I’ve learned that there will be always be an excuse if you let yourself have one. If you really want something, you will always find a way. I also know that there are plenty of people busier than me – either at home with their kids, working full time or managing full time work and being a parent. Anytime I start to make an excuse, I think of these people and how they make their training work…and suddenly my busy week seems a bit easier. 73 miles, 7 runs, 3 workouts. Highlights are below: read more

NYC Marathon Hydration Tips

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The NYC Marathon is rapidly approaching – can you believe we are down to single digits already? I’m incredibly excited to be running the NYC Marathon for the 3rd time this year. There’s something so special about running through the streets of my hometown, having family and friends scattered throughout the course and finishing up in Central Park, the place I ran every day while I lived in the city. As the Official Bottled Water of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon, this fall, Poland Spring® brand 100% natural spring water kicked off their “Poland Spring Cheers” campaign in an effort to thank the millions of New Yorkers who helped make local spring water from Maine the #1 beverage brand in New York City. I’ve partnered up with Poland Springs to share some of my hydration tips for the days leading up to a marathon. 1. Keep water with you. I do this on a regular basis but I pay even more attention to it during race week. I always have a bottle of water with me regardless of where I’m going or how long I will be gone – places like the store, the marathon expo or commuting Continue Reading →

Marathon Madness + Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge (again!)

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I realized last week that I am running three marathons in the next 8 weeks. I mean, I’ve known that I was running these three for a few weeks now, but I never sat down and thought about running THREE. It both excites and frightens me. I’ve run back-to-back-to-back marathons (+) once before – three years ago – when I was training for my first ultra and really enjoyed the experience. But, I am not racing all three marathons – there’s no way I could do this physically nor would it be smart to try to ask that much of my body. Below outlines the timing and purpose of each: – NYC Marathon – Nov 2 (12 days): I mentioned on social media already that I am running the NYC Marathon for a 3rd time this year. This was a late addition to my calendar – but a no brainer and honestly, trumps my own goal race two weeks later. I am honored for the opportunity to guide my good friend, John, for the race. John is participating in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge and is representing Staten Island – just like I did three years ago. (Side Note: If you have Continue Reading →

2014 Staten Island Half Marathon Race Recap

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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 Continue Reading →

PR Spotlight: How To PR Every Race Distance in 12 Months

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It’s been a while since I featured a runner here. I am trying to get back into a better routine with blogging – and part of that is this feature which I think can help a lot of other runners! I’m excited to share the store of Joe, a local runner from Staten Island, who I have had the absolute pleasure of coaching for the last year. Joe reached out to me last summer after running a handful of races including the Brooklyn Half Marathon and Scotland 10k. He was looking to improve his running – no specific times or goals – just wanted to improve. He is now a few weeks away from his first marathon – the NYC Marathon! And he has set some pretty amazing PR’s along the way: – Mile: 8:11 —> 7:22 – 5 miler: 49:31 (9:55 pace) —> 44:37 (8:56 pace) – 10k: 1:01:59 (10:00 pace) —> 59:07 (9:32 pace) – 10 miler: 1:42:12 (10:14 pace) —> 1:35:48 (9:35 pace) – Half Marathon: 2:18:05 (10:33 pace) —> 2:08 (9:51 pace) read more

71 Miles + 6 Weeks To Go!

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It feels like I’m getting into a good rhythm with training. I ran 71 purposeful miles last week including a 5 mile tempo, mid-week long run (12 miles) and a 21 miler – all sandwiched between easy/recovery runs. I’ve hit 70+ miles in a week numerous times before, but I don’t remember feeling recovered and ready for another high mileage week; too often, I do too much in one week only to need an extra recovery day or two the following week. The Potomac River Run Marathon is just six weeks away – I’m kind of amazed at how fast it has crept up. I think it’s a good thing that I recently put it on the calendar (last 4 weeks) – it hasn’t been this looming race for months and months. And knowing that I have just a handful of long runs left makes them feel exciting and manageable. So here’s how the week broke down: 7 runs with 3 workouts for a total of 71 miles. The highlights are below: Monday Planned:11-12 miles with 8×30 sec surges Actual: 12 miles with 8×30 sec surges at 7:49 pace. I started off this run entirely too fast – as I was making Continue Reading →

RnR Philly Half Recap + Heat Exhaustion in Cold Weather

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Subscribe to receive NYCRunningMama delivered to your inbox!! If you follow me on social media, you probably saw the pictures and chatter in the days leading up to last Sunday – my sister’s first half marathon! The weekend started off smashingly – 5k PR for me, a YUMMY lunch at a historic deli close to our hotel, fun time at the expo visiting our friends at Sparkly Soul and listening to Chris chat on stage and then meeting up with the rest of our family who arrived in Philly around 2pm. We hung out in the hotel for a bit before heading to an early dinner at an Italian restaurant. Dinner was delicious, the company was even better and the excitement was immeasurable. My sister and I left the hotel at 6:30am and walked the mile to the start area. While she hung out and relaxed in our corral, I did a short 2.5 mile warmup. My legs felt really tight (not sore) from the 5k the day prior and I wanted to make sure I stretched and warmed up before asking my legs to run another 13.1 miles. read more

Stroller Running Tips

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Note: This post originally was posted on Women’s Running.  After my first child was born, I was so excited to enter the ranks of the stroller running moms. I had visions of a smiling child and happy mom logging endless miles together. But the reality was oh-so-different. My oldest son was not a fan of the stroller (or really anything that impeded his movement) for the first 18 months of his life. He would last maybe 10-15 minutes before the crying began. It was a frustrating situation. I’m sure other running mamas have been in my position before. First you are annoyed with your child and their inability to sit still for more than 10 minutes. Then you question your parenting and worry you are doing something wrong. And then you wonder if maybe stroller running moms are an urban legend. They do exist and I can now say that I am mom of two little boys who not only tolerate, but LIKE, being in the stroller, and are content to stay more than 2-3 miles at a time. We sporadically ran over the summer, but it wasn’t consistent or much more than a few miles due to the warm Continue Reading →

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 Continue Reading →