More Recovery + Serendipitous Boston Weekend

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I think the tendency is to not talk much about recovery because let’s face it, it’s not too exciting. But a good recovery can set you up for a strong and successful training cycle. And a shortened or ignored recovery period can derail your next training cycle – or even worse – cause injuries. Boston was 15 days ago. My longest run since Boston has been 8 miles. I’ve run a whooping 40 miles in 14 days. 9 miles the first week. 31 miles last week. And probably 40-45 miles this week. Almost all garmin-free. All easy effort. And all honoring the purpose of the recovery. I’m darn proud of these miles (or lack there of). After hating me for the better part of the week post-Boston, my body is happy again. I feel rested, recovered (almost) and excited to jump back into training (but not quite yet – still have another week of easy running). If all goes well, my long run this weekend will be double digits – maybe 10-12 miles. Speedwork is tomorrow – it’s 10 x 1 min just to get my legs moving again. But nothing too hard or taxing because my body is still Continue Reading →

Recovery + Weekend Fun

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This past week was wonderful. No running, sleeping in (well, until the boys wook up at 5:45/6am), drinking wine every night and eating whatever I had a hankering for (which seemed to be a lot of chocolate and french fries). I woke up incredibly sore on Tuesday – more sore than I ever remember being post-marathon. Tuesday and Wednesday were just painful – the stairs mocked me each time I was on them. But it was a happy kind of pain – I still don’t think the smile has left since last Monday! I didn’t do much moving at all on Tuesday (which was necessary!). Wednesday, the boys and I went to the zoo for a few hours. It felt good (yet still a bit painful) to walk around – but it was too gorgeous of a day to keep them inside! I got on the bike on Thursday and Friday and did 30 min of easy spinning (didn’t even break a sweat) just to get my legs moving. No core work. No strength work. No running. Saturday was my first run. 4 achy, not-so-great miles. No garmin but I think it was about 9-9:15 pace. My quads still felt Continue Reading →

2015 Boston Marathon Race Recap

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Until Monday, my PR has been 3:21:22 – for six years. That’s a long time. Especially considering I’ve spent the last two years training for a PR.  Running a PR became my own elusive unicorn – something that until Monday, I wasn’t 100% sure would ever happen based on recent races. Maybe I just needed to go back to Boston. My two fastest marathons – ever – have been run in Boston. The previous two springs (2013 and 2014) I chose the NJ Marathon over Boston because I was focused on that PR and assumed picking a flat course over the hilly and challenging Boston course would mean an automatic PR for me. But NJ chewed me up and spit me out both years. But not Boston. For whatever reason, I run well in Boston. Maybe it’s the rolling course and it’s ability for me to break the course up into easily manageable segments. Maybe it’s the crowd and spectator support (I really feed off the energy). Maybe it’s because I respect the course so I go out more conservatively than I would for flatter and supposed “easier” marathons. Maybe I am a better hill climber than I give myself Continue Reading →

26Strong: Looking for a Female Wannabe Marathoner!!

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If you’ve been reading here for a bit, you may remember that I participated in the 2013 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign. I had a blast – and especially loved mentoring and coaching my “cadet”, Hallie, as she trained for her first marathon. I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the 2014 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign last year and got to share the journey with my youngest sister, Nicole. Saucony sent us to Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon and it was truly an experience of a lifetime! Running 26.2 miles by her side and being with her as she crossed her first finish line was so incredibly special.   I’m SO SO excited to share that I have been asked to participate in Saucony’s 26 Strong program again!! This year, Saucony and Competitor are once again putting together a team of 13 “veteran” marathoners and 13 “cadets”. But this time, the goal race is the 2015 Chicago Marathon! SO, that’s where you come in. I am looking for a wannabe marathoner to run side-by-side with me for the 2015 Chicago Marathon!!!! I will run your pace, grab your water, hold your gels, be your cheerleader and support you as Continue Reading →

3:15 -> Long Time Coming!!

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I will write a full recap (or two) later this week but wanted to pop in and give a quick update on the 2015 Boston Marathon. I am on cloud nine. The race could not have gone any better for me – fueling before and during was better than it’s ever been, I ran 100% by feel (I saw total time on my watch and only received the mile split notifications), Heartbreak did NOT break me, I ENJOYED every single mile, I high-fived the amazing spectators from the start until the finish and most importantly, did not let fear, doubt or pain get in the way of the race I knew I could run. The weather was less than ideal but not as bad as I was expecting based on some of the forecasts I had seen.  The rain wasn’t a factor for me – I don’t even remember it coming down for most of the race (I think having some long runs in the rain and snow helped). The wind was there and you could definitely sense it slowing you down a bit (especially when the wind gusts came) but it seemed more of a crosswind for the first 20 Continue Reading →

2015 Boston Marathon -> One Week to Go

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A week from today I’ll be running my 11th marathon – the 2015 Boston Marathon. After about 4-5 weeks of subpar runs and workouts, I’m more than thrilled to finally start to feel strong again. Runs are more enjoyable, my stride feels more natural and relaxed and I (finally) had a great workout last week. Workout: 2 mile warmup, 8 mile AT tempo, 2 mile cooldown. Goal pace 6:55-7:05 for 8 miles. I decided to start on the slower end and see how I felt. The week prior’s workout of 4 x 2 didn’t leave me with a lot of confidence since even 7:00 pace felt difficult and uncomfortable. I was on the treadmill for this workout again (husband was away). Incline was at 1% for entire run with occasional jumps (every 6-8 minutes) to 2% for 30 seconds at a time. Splits: 7:08, 7:03, 6:58, 6:58, 6:55, 6:53, 6:48, 6:35. Average pace of 6:55.  The run was definitely not easy but I hit the paces and felt stronger as the workout went on. So that’s a victory in my book. ——– read more

Mentally Training for Boston

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(Some of the below was part of a post I wrote for Women’s Running) If you have been following me on social media or reading here for a bit, you probably know that I am not the strongest racer. It’s been a frustrating couple of years for me. I have these strong, successful training cycles (and yes, they ARE successful cycles even if I didn’t reach my goal on race day). I work my butt off during the cycle, but there was always something missing as each race began— and as a result, I came up well short of my goal. The mental strength was missing. I had spent months strengthening my body— nailing workouts, completing long runs. But I paid zero attention to the mental side of running. As a result, I was not prepared to quiet the negative thoughts when they started creeping in during the later miles of the marathons. My mind would quit long before my body was ready to. Once the mind gives up, the body doesn’t stand a chance. Learn to use your mind or your mind will use you. Actions follow our thoughts and images. Don’t look where you don’t want to go. Continue Reading →

Boston Marathon Training (T-9)

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I feel like my motivation to run in the cold is dwindling. I think it’s easier to suck it up and run in sub-0 temps when you know it’s just one or two days. But, for the last week, it’s been mostly sub-0 in the AM – and the 7 day forecast doesn’t look any better. Too funny not to share…and kind of what I have been feeling! Last week included a bunch of treadmill runs. Monday’s mid-week long run, Wednesday’s tempo, Saturday’s long tempo, Sunday’s recovery – all happened on the treadmill. Wednesday and Saturday I opted for the treadmill because the real-feel was single digits and my coach and I both felt that it was okay this week to use the treadmill to get the workout in (I would have had to adjust my paces significantly if I did them outside to account for the cold temps). Tuesday and Thursday were early morning runs outside (small victories). Monday Planned: 10-11 miles with 6-8x :20 strides Actual: 11 miles with 8x :20 strides I followed the same plan as last week’s run and incorporated a lot of 1:00 spurts of climbing. This week was 20x 1:00 at 4.5% incline. Continue Reading →

What Do You Need To Run Your First Marathon (Women’s Running Post)

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Happy Wednesday! Hope you are having a great week! I shared my thoughts on the necessities of running your first 26.2 miles on Women’s Running several weeks ago. What are your thoughts? What’s really necessary and what can you forget about? ———————- Is 2015 the year of your first marathon? Or maybe you are itching to give the marathon a try but not sure if you are ready to make the jump? Whatever the case may be, the decision to run your first marathon is a big one – and can certainly be intimidating. There’s no shortage of information out there for advice, gear and training plans. But what is really necessary (and what can you skip) for your first 26.2? The Necessities Desire: This may seem obvious, but it’s important that you 100% are committed to the distance for your own reasons. If you are signing up for the marathon for anyone except yourself, you may end up quitting when things get tough. Running Base: You don’t need to be logging 40 miles a week to be ready to run a marathon. But having a solid base is imperative. You should be running about three times/week, ideally for about a Continue Reading →

Boston Marathon Training (T-11)

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Well, apparently we have another six weeks of winter to look forward to. Way to go, Punxsutawney Phil. I remember saying a few weeks ago that I felt like winter had been fairly mild. Yes, we had some cold days. But we hadn’t had any snow or any days where it was just plain miserable to be out running. Well, all that changed rather quickly and last week was a another week of horrendous weather (that much of the country has been dealing with). I managed to run outside three times – and was forced to the treadmill the other three (once because of the blizzard and twice because of ice on the ground). Monday Planned: 8-9 miles with 6×20 sec strides Actual: 10 miles – no strides I did this run as the snow was starting to fall Monday morning – I knew that at least two days would likely be on treadmill so I wanted to save my I’m going to lose my mind cards for later in the week when it was 100% necessary. It was actually quite beautiful to be out while the snow was starting to fall but I opted out of the strides because the roads were pretty Continue Reading →

Running Links and Highlights (#2)

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Happy Monday and Happy February! Hope you all had a great weekend! Here is this week’s roundup of the best reads from the internet! Let me know if there was anything you read that caught your eye! My friend, Ashley, is holding an auction on her blog right now. There are some really great prizes that are up for grabs. All proceeds from the auction will go towards Every Mother Counts. Go check it out here! 10 Runners Complete 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days: Runners participating in the World Marathon Challenge run 7 marathons (or 7 half marathons – their choice!) on 7 continents in 7 days. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Only downside is the cost – $36,000 a person to participate! Yikes! Matthew McConaughey to start in ‘Born to Run’: ‘Born to Run’ is one of my all-time favorite books – I had NO idea that there was a movie in the works! No detail as to other actors nor when the movie will start filming – but love that Matthew McConaughey will be a part of it! read more

Honolulu Marathon Recap + Review

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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. read more

Honolulu Marathon Weekend

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I’ve wanted to share the details of this past weekend since I returned early Tuesday morning but my focus for the last few days was on spending as much time as possible with the boys and my in-laws (who arrived Wednesday AM from Alaska!).  My heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity to participate in this program with Saucony and Competitor, happiness for my sister and the other first-time marathoners who dealt with high winds and a tough course on Sunday and love for the other ladies who I was lucky enough to share three days with. It felt like a girls weekend in Hawaii – with a 26.2 mile run thrown in for fun. The selfish part of me wishes my sister and I could have stayed longer – but for many reasons (work for her, my in-laws arriving from Alaska for me), we were on the first flight out of Honolulu Monday morning (630am – which was painfully early after 26.2 miles the day before). But I was glad to be going home. I always look forward to having some adult time away from the boys, but I miss them like crazy when I’m away from them. Continue Reading →

Recovery + Speedwork + Honolulu Marathon

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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 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 →

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 →

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

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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. read more

New Fall Marathon + How To Run A Faster Marathon

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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

2014 New Jersey Marathon Recap

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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

2014 New Jersey Marathon

Hi everyone! This isn’t the full recap of the 2014 New Jersey Marathon (I have LOTS to say) but wanted to give you a cliff notes version of the day in case you didn’t get my updates on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook =) I followed the plan I had talked about last week – ran mostly blind for the whole race (my watch beeped with the mile splits but I couldn’t see my pace during each mile) and focused on running smart and in control.  I initially started out with the 3:15 pace group but after some fast splits (7:21 and 7:13), I knew it was in my best interest to let them go and run my own race.  When I felt like I could go faster the first 18 miles, I held back – something I never have done during a marathon.  I crossed the half in 1:38 which was right around where I thought I could be. And then I hit the turnaround and met the wind. Oye vey. It was a sustained 16-17 mph headwind but there were some serious gusts that made me feel like I was running into a wall at times. Miles 19-26 were Continue Reading →