Spectating the NYC Marathon

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First, I just want to give a HUGE congrats to everyone who raced Sunday at the NYC Marathon. Conditions were not ideal (15 mph headwind for 20 miles makes me legs hurt just thinking about it) but there were so many amazing PRs, first time finishers and perseverance in spite of the poor conditions. Special shout-out to two girls I coach (Jen and Leticia) and some friends: Veronika, Theodora, Sarah, Monica, Jess, Maggie, Beth, Pamela…and probably a ton more that I am forgetting. I’m embarrassed to admit it but this is the first time that I have actually spectated at the NYC Marathon. When I really began to get into running, I was in the military living in Texas so spectating was not really an option. The last few years have been tough with the boys and family plans that always seem to fall on the same weekend. This year I told my husband well over a month in advance about my intentions to head into the city (alone!) and cheer. It was one of the most magical, memorable days. There’s nothing quite as exciting as running the NYC Marathon, but I’d argue that it is pretty darn exciting to Continue Reading →

PR Spotlight: Pamela

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I’m excited to begin the new series on NYC Running Mama – the PR spotlight.  The PR spotlight will feature runners who have recently PR’d.  It could be on the treadmill, track, or on the roads.  The purpose of the feature will be to discuss what was done differently – whether it was pacing, fueling, hydration, training, mental preparation, etc. One of the things I love most about running is that I’m constantly learning – I learn just as much from the 4:30 marathoner as I do from the 2:45 marathoner. Hopefully this feature become a tool in which we all learn from each other. ———————————————- Meet Pamela:  Not only is she my best friend (we’ve known each other since we were 13!), but she is the social media expert behind Sparkly Soul headbands.  Although she has run a good number of marathons, Pamela was stuck at the 5-hour mark for most of them.  This past spring, she revamped her training and began seeing immediate results.  The first time I really became aware of how much faster she had become was at the NYC Half Marathon in March.  I was used to Pamela being a 10+ min per mile runner so when Continue Reading →

How to Run Back to Back Marathons

Breaking the tape at the 2011 NYC Marathon

In the fall of 2011, I ran a 30 miler, the NYC Marathon, and the Knickerbocker 60k within a 5 week window.  I showed up to the start line of each race feeling rested, energized, and ready to run. 30 mile training run:  (8:34 pace) NYC Marathon: 3:46:49 (8:40 pace) including a 15 min negative split and 8:01 pace for second half – won the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge Knickerbocker 60k: 5:41:28 (9:10 pace) – 8th place female It seems like running back to back marathons in a short period of time (~2 weeks) is becoming more and more popular.   Here are some of the things I did to ensure I was ready for each: Let your body dictate when to run again.  There is no golden window for when you should return to running post-marathon.  There are so many outside variables that go into how long your body needs to recover – How hard did you run?  Was the course hilly?  How is your body reacting to the 26.2 miles? I found that I needed almost no time to recover from the 30 miler.  Why?  It was a long, slow run – not a race.  I ran a steady pace for the whole 30 miles Continue Reading →

Why YOU should apply for the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge

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

ING NYC Marathon Opening Day

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One of the perks of participating in the 2011 Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge (FL5BC) was (and still is!) getting VIP access to some of the events organized by NYRR.   I received an email last week from Gabi, my favorite Foot Locker representative, asking if I would consider attending the ING NYC Marathon Opening Day to say a few words to the crowd about my experience with the FL5BC.  Since I love everything about the NYC Marathon and FL5BC, I said yes!  (PS. Blog post coming soon on an overview of this challenge and why YOU should consider applying!) The following pictures are a glimpse of what the day was like!  There were a few elite runners present (Ryan Hall and Kim Smith) who officially announced their intentions to run the marathon this year, as well as a handful of celebrities and professional athletes (including Amani Toomer, former NY Giants WR, and James Blake, professional tennis player and NYC native) helping give out entries and gifts to a few lucky people in the crowd. One of the highlights of the day was FINALLY getting to meeting Erica (from Erica Sara Designs) – she is even sweeter and more awesome than I could have imagined!! Continue Reading →

Running with music does NOT make me slower

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I’m a huge believer that while running can be a group activity, it is extremely personal.  What works for one runner may not work for someone else.  Through trial and error, we find what works best for us. For example, I take a day off before a long run and prefer to do a shakeout run after a long run.  I am rested for my long run and recover well from the back-to-back runs.  However, I know many runners who train the opposite way.  Sure, you can you argue all day about the benefits / drawbacks of each, but in the end, you do what you feel most comfortable doing. Another example – I wear a Garmin when I go on my “quality” runs (long, speed, and tempo runs) but I prefer to not use one on easy days because I want my body to dictate the pace – without being consumed with my pace.  I don’t judge those runners who will never run a mile without their Garmin or those who would never come within 5 feet of one.  Again, it’s a personal decision. I run with music.  Almost. Every. Single. Run.  I’m not ashamed to admit this.  I am a music Continue Reading →

Post-Pregnancy Goal

NYC Marathon

I am always amazed when I hear stories of how resilient women’s bodies are - Kara Goucher placing 2nd and running a 1:14:02 at the Arizona Half Marathon only 4 months after giving birth to her son…or the story below… Anna Bretan won the Oakland Marathon in 2011 with a time of 2:53:19.  She wanted to run it again this year and used it as a way to stay in shape during her pregnancy.  She maintained high mileage weeks (40-miles up until delivery) and even ran 5 miles the DAY she gave birth. The story only gets more amazing.  Within a week after giving birth, she was back to running high mileage and ran the Oakland Marathon again this past weekend – it was only SIX WEEKS after she gave birth.  And not only did she run the distance, she won – again! And her time – 2:57:33. (Source: SF Chronicle) Crazy?  Many would argue yes.  But aren’t all marathon runners just a little bit crazy? A much less known story is about a former Army CPT, Jessica Jacobs, now a professional triathlete, who raced the Kona Ironman, only TEN weeks after giving birth to her daughter.  While successfully breastfeeding her daughter, Continue Reading →

Is borrowing (or selling) a race bib wrong?

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This past weekend was the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas.  Initial runner-up Kolin Styles was declared the winner of the 26.2-mile race when Scott Downard was disqualified because he crossed the finish line with another person’s number and failed to register for the race.(Read more here) Many of us have been in this situation before: You paid a good deal of money for entry into a race, but in the days leading up to the race, an obligation pops up, you get injured, you are sick, etc. The race is sold out.  You have a friend who really wanted to run the race but didn’t register in time.  What do you do? Do you illegally give them your bib?  Or do you accept it as a forfeited $ while both you and friend watch on the sidelines? Many (if not most) races these days list the following terms and conditions when signing up for a race: “Once you have entered a race, your entry fees are non-refundable, non-exhangeable, and non-transferable under any and all circumstances, including, but not limited to, cancellation of the event or of your participation.”                          - Continue Reading →

The “core” of my marathon training

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This was a conversation between me and my husband two weeks after I ran my first ultra in November: Me: I don’t think I’m in very good shape right now. Hubby (with a look of bewilderment): You just ran a 37.2 mile race and finished with a 9:10 pace.  I would say you are in pretty good shape. Me: Ok. Let me rephrase.  I’m in “running shape.”  But my overall fitness level is not where it needs to be.  My legs are strong, but the rest of my body is not. Have you ever said this to yourself?   How did I let this happen? I got into a very bad habit of just running in August…I stopped doing core work on a frequent basis because my concentration was on increasing my miles for the NYC Marathon and the Knickerbocker 60k (both in November).  At the time, we didn’t have a treadmill, so I would run either early in the morning (5am) or during one of my son’s naps if a family member was able to babysit. (Note: I would LOVE to do more stroller ruins with my little guy, but he has never enjoyed just sitting in the stroller.)  I would run Continue Reading →

Pushing the pace on long runs?

When I was training for the NYC Marathon and my first ultra this summer/fall, I completed all my long runs at an easy pace.  NYC would be my first marathon after giving birth and since I hadn’t completed long runs consistently in over a year, my goal was to get the miles in without worrying about what my Garmin 610 was telling me.  I got very comfortable with doing my long runs at an 8:30 pace.  I was happy with that pace.  I didn’t feel the need to push myself any harder on my long runs – as long as I ran 20, 25, 30 miles, I was satisfied. I competed in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge [FL5BC] as part of the NYC Marathon in November.  After separating from the other 4 runners at the halfway point (we had to run the first 13.1 miles together), I immediately tried to speed up to hit my target pace of 7:45.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get my pace any faster than 7:50-8:00.  And it wasn’t that my legs were tired – they actually felt surprisingly good.  I just couldn’t pick up the pace without getting out of breath. Continue Reading →

NYC Marathon – the Experience of a Lifetime (part 2)

Once we started running on the Verrazano Bridge, the nervousness and doubt I had been struggling with the last few days quickly gave way to excitement for what we were getting ready to experience.   Running across the bridge with just 4 other people was one of the most surreal moments in my life.  As a native Staten Islander, I’ve driven across the Verrazano Bridge hundreds of times before, run up to and under her countless times on my morning runs, and even had the joy of running across her once before in the 2007 NYC Marathon.  But those occurrences could never have prepared me emotionally for what I felt on Sunday.  It was eerily quiet and peaceful.  There wasn’t the expected sound of thousands of  feet hitting the pavement.  There wasn’t heavy breathing from the first mile incline.  There wasn’t the usual jockeying to pass other runners in the early miles. IT WAS JUST US.  At one point, I turned around to look behind me – I had a clear view all the way back to the start line – it was truly amazing.  When we exited the bridge in Brooklyn, I was happily greeted by my King family Continue Reading →

Best part of the NYC Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

Media Day

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

NYC Marathon next Sunday!

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

Workouts before a Marathon

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

Christmas came early for me!

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

What are your goals?

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

Pacing lessons

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’ve always had a problem with not pacing myself correctly on long runs or races.  I start too fast and then pay for it heavily at the end.  I had always believed that I could start fast and gain some “extra time” so that when I slow down towards the end, I’ll finish at the pace I want.  I am thankful to say that I have finally realized my theory is completely wrong.  After the SI Half a couple of weeks ago, it clicked that I REALLY need to slow down and pace myself (discussed in Rookie Mistake).  =&0=& to complete (not including 5x that I had to stop – once to fix my socks which had slipped beneath the back of my heel (I need to find socks that do not do this!), twice to pull out power gels that were in my camelbak, once to call Paul to tell him I needed more water, and once to drink the water/powerade that Paul had for me – the total time of “stopped time” was about 7 min) – Overall pace was 8:34 – I ran negative splits - the first 15 miwere covered in 129:13 (8:36 Continue Reading →