NYC Marathon Training Highlights

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This is the first marathon training cycle since I’ve been blogging where I didn’t really blog and post updates of my weekly training. It was a busy fall and blogging was at the bottom of the priority list. So this will be a once over of the training cycle with some key workouts and breakthroughs that helped me run a PR at the NYC Marathon. (I try to post all of my runs and workouts on Instagram!)

But before I get into the training cycle, I feel it warrants a brief discussion on what I was doing over the summer. The 2-3 months after Boston were not fun (as I’ve discussed before). Each time I tried to build my mileage up or increase intensity again, I would almost immediately begin to feel drained and exhausted (which would last a week or two). I remember one run in particular – I had made it maybe 2 miles before stopping because I was out of breath and just not feeling right. I walked and ran the 1 mile back to my house and questioned if I would ever have the energy to run double digits again, let alone race a marathon. Sometime around mid-July, I started to feel like myself again and the mileage started creeping up.

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    Life Lately, News, Updates and More!

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    I realized the other day that I started blogging five years ago. Holy cow…that’s a long time. I also realized that I haven’t blogged in two months – the longest I have gone during my five years of oversharing (ha!).

    The truth is, the lack of blogging wasn’t initially an intentional action. It first started simply b/c I didn’t have time to write some updates or share some of the recent races I had run. The summer was hectic and the start of fall proved to be even more so. The boys started school (both full-time) which initially seemed like it would make life easier, but that’s not the case. Our sitter got a full-time job and so between my husband and I we are juggling full-time work with dropoffs, pickups, homework and all the after-school activities they participate in (note: my mom and dad help out a ton as well!). They both have soccer clinic on Saturday mornings. AJ has baseball 2-3x/week and soccer (on his school’s team) 2x/week. Basically every day includes some sort of post-school activity. Between their activities, schoolwork, house work (we do not have a cleaning woman so all the heavy cleaning, laundry, etc is done on the weekends), running and just living, blogging moved from the “have to” list to the “nice to do” list and eventually to the “not necessary” list.

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      Race Recap: 2016 Air France 8k: PR + Age Group Win!

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      This recap is a bit delayed…my blogging always goes hand in hand with how busy I am at work and with life! It’s been a great, but busy couple of weeks, and so finding the time to write about this race was at the bottom of the priority list!

      Last Sunday was the Air France Run in Central Park organized by NYRR. In an effort to get out of my comfort zone and race shorter distances more often, I signed up for the 8k several weeks ago – knowing full well that the 5 mile course included all the lovely hills of Central Park. And by “lovely”, I mean “why do I do this to myself?”. By mile 3, I was cursing my decision and swearing off short races in Central Park once again. It’s hard enough to race hard for 5 miles. When you throw in the Harlem hills, it becomes a major sufferfest.

      When I lived in the city, I ran in Central Park almost every day. Shorts runs, long runs, speed workouts. Those hills were part of my routine. As much as I try to run hills these days, I’m limited. The route that is safest for me to run is rolling – but nothing like the hills in the park. The hills I would love to run daily are part of a stretch of road that is more desolate – no homes and the woods on both sides. So I won’t venture there until it’s getting light out – which means no time to run them in the AM. Now that I’m so removed from the park, I am reminded each time I race there that it’s no joke.

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        Things I’m Loving (and Not Loving) Lately

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        Hello, hello! Hope you are having a good week so far!

        I received some questions/feedback on InsideTracker, so I wanted to discuss a couple of things here.

        First, I had mentioned that I went to my wellness doctor/nurse (I call her “doctor” but she’s a certified nurse) prior to getting my bloodwork done with InsideTracker. She’s a close family friend who delivered my godson and has a great practice on Staten Island. I visited her the day after Boston because I felt like something was off – I didn’t know if it was nutrition or something else. I didn’t openly talk about it, but the morning of Boston while I was in Athlete’s Village, I started bleeding. This was pretty concerning to me because my period is extremely regular. I get my period every 28 days. I was 11 days early so it made no sense. Jess and I went to the medical tent and I spoke to the doctor – without going to the hospital for tests, there was really no way to tell what it could be. She said it was likely one of three things: an irregular period, pregnancy or a miscarriage – none of which would be affected by my running that morning.

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          2016 Boston Marathon Training (T-12, T-11)

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          Well, after a solid week of training (T-12), last week was the training week that wasn’t. My whole family got hit with the Norovirus. It knocked us on our backs for days. And it wasn’t until Friday where I felt ready to run again.

          My husband and I started having symptoms at almost the same time on Monday. He was working from home, I was at work in the city when we started texting each other. We both felt off from the early morning (I actually had dressed and intended to run. Ran to the end of my block and realized something wasn’t right, so came home), but attributed it to what we ate the day before. By lunch-time, my husband wasn’t keeping anything down.

          By 4pm, I had gotten sick at work and was on my way home. I was hoping that I would be in the clear for a window of time. Unfortunately, that window only lasted about 45 minutes. I got sick on the packed bus, which will likely remain on my list of embarrassing life moments (thankful my coworker handed me a garbage bag as I was heading home). We spent the next 36 hours in bed, with the most intense stomach pains I’ve ever experienced.

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            Boston Marathon 2016 Training (T-16)

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            Now that I’m formally training for Boston, I figured it was time to bring back my weekly training updates. I like typing them out here. It helps keep me accountable and affords me the opportunity to look back on my training – highlighting the good and bad – as a cycle comes to an end and then again, after the race. I take note of what worked so that I can repeat it and what didn’t work so I make some changes.

            After about two months of “coaching” myself, I made the decision to return to Coach Mark Hadley. I had great success with his coaching the last 12 months. He helped me lower my marathon PR to 3:12 – and I know that I have a faster time in me – so I’m hopeful that with his guidance, I can get there.

            We are 15+ weeks out from Boston Monday – still a load of time. But I also know how fast these weeks can start to fly by. My focus for the next few weeks is to find what is sustainable. I am so appreciative of all the feedback I received from last week’s post. I read every comment and email – and had some really great suggestions and ideas. In the end, I’ve decided to try the Friday long run for the time being. That, coupled with an optional rest day on Wednesdays and I’m hopeful that the plan is feasible.

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              Should You Hire a Running Coach?

              Over the last year (and especially the last few months), I’ve been asked a lot about my experience with having a coach – what the benefits are, what I get out of it and whether I would recommend a coach to another runner.

              Let me preface this whole post by saying that this is not meant to be a sales pitch for me. Yes, I coach. But I truly believe that you have to find the right coach for you. And I know that just because you read here or follow me on social media, doesn’t mean I am the right one for you!

              I think the benefits to having a coach are extremely specific for each runner. You might be looking for a coach to:

              – push you out of your comfort zone to run faster
              – help increase your weekly mileage in a safe and healthy way
              – tell you to slow down
              – help you become a stronger racer
              – work on nutrition and fueling
              – lose weight or reach a more optimal racing weight
              – hold you accountable to your training plan
              – help determine a realistic goal for a race – and the best pacing plan to hit that goal

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                2015 Brooklyn Half Marathon: Race Recap

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                The only thing better than running a PR at the Brooklyn Half on Saturday was helping a good friend run one.

                As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I had decided to forego racing on Saturday. My coach and I both felt it was a bit too close after Boston – my first speed work was this past week (8 miles with 4 at tempo) and I am still in the regeneration stage. I also felt that I was mentally not ready. Training for – and racing – a marathon takes a lot out of me and I didn’t feel like I could wrap my head around running all out for 13.1 miles so soon.

                I reached out to my dear friend, Jen, and offered to pace her. I’ve been coaching her for a while and knew that she wanted to run sub-2. It seemed like the perfect option – I could use it as a shorter long run, still get to run and experience the Brooklyn course/race and help a friend achieve her goals.

                Before I get into the details of the entire morning, I wanted to talk about some of the pros and cons of the race (this is just my opinion).

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                  Women’s Running Magazine Feature

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                  A couple of months ago, I received an email from one of the editors at Women’s Running asking if we could schedule a quick phone call for a story she was working on. My family and I were on vacation (work-cation for my husband!) in Florida and the boys and I had driven to my grandmother’s home (she lives about 90 min away from where we were staying) for the day.

                  Of course I said yes and we spent about 20 min chatting about running, kids and fitting in training with a family. I was pretty excited – I assumed I would be quoted in a story – either for the magazine or for an online article. Either way, it was a pretty big deal for me.

                  So you can imagine my surprise when the magazine got delivered a couple of weeks ago and I saw that it was way more than just a quote. I’m extremely honored to be even be mentioned in the same section with the likes of Deena Kastor, Alysia Montano and Paula Radcliffe – all mother runners who have been such an incredible source of inspiration and strength for me through the years.

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                    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 in the recovery stage.

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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 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. Four full days was enough for me.

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                          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 the chance to apply for the FL5BC next year, don’t hesitate – it was the most amazing experience of my running career.)  And I get the opportunity to experience it all again this year – but only better because I’ll be guiding John!

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                            It’s More Than Just Running

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                            Two quick things. First, check back on Monday – I am super excited to be hosting a VITAMIX giveaway!! One person will win a Vitamix S30 (retails for $500).

                            Second, the boys and I are in the May 2014 issue of Fitness Magazine!! It was a special Mother’s Day edition of #motivationmoment!!

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                            Each marathon teaches me a ton about myself and my approach to the distance. A PR or great finish time is exciting and kind of the point of a dedicated training cycle, but I’d argue that it’s not the the most important thing. If you are like me, there will mostly likely be another marathon in the next season. And so the real key is figuring out what worked and didn’t work so that the next training cycle can be stronger and more successful.

                            In the week following any race, I try to replay it in my mind so that I can pinpoint things to improve upon. I made some changes after the 2013 NJ Marathon and then made more tweaks after Philly and again after LA (including some things I did differently during the taper which I already discussed in Wednesday’s post).

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                              PRO Compression + Sick Again + Treadmill Running

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                              I’m pretty excited to share that I have been selected as a PRO Compression Ambassador. =) I have been wearing PRO Compression socks for over a year – often after long runs or stress workouts as recovery but also for several races.

                              I did a full review of them last year that you can read here. Anyway, I’m excited to work with this amazing company and to share some deals and giveaways (!!) with you guys!

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                              Each week I vow to update on here a little bit more and then each week it seems like something else pops up that wins out over blogging.  Anyway, let’s catch up. I was finally starting to feel like I was getting into a good rhythm again after my little knee troubles a few weeks ago – successfully did a couple of speed workouts and got a few more longish runs in.

                              • Monday: Rest Day (full rest day -> no cross training, core, etc)
                              • Tuesday: 8 treadmill miles (8:10 pace) + core + strength work
                              • Wednesday: 10 miles including 6 progression tempo miles (6:53, 6:51, 6:48, 6:46, 6:43, 6:39) + pilates + core
                              • Thursday: 10 miles -> at night which was not ideal but at least I got the miles in

                              My plan was to run 6-8 miles on Friday, 20-22 on Saturday and then run some recovery miles with my husband in Central Park on Sunday morning (we were spending the night in the city!).

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                                Falling Off the Early Morning Workout Train

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                                I’ve always been an early morning riser – I can remember being in grade school and waking up early each morning so that I could shower, have breakfast and watch TV – all while the rest of my family was still sleeping. The Army and I got along great because I enjoyed the super early wakeups for physical training (PT) or other drills. When running entered my life, it immediately occupied my “first-thing in the morning” space and I’ve never really looked back. I feel more productive throughout the day, I tend to make better choices about food and I’m more committed to getting my workout in when it is first thing in the morning.

                                After Philly and Rehoboth, I gave my body a break from early morning wakeups and slept in a lot. It was glorious. After months of really early workouts for Philly and Lake Placid, it was amazing to not have to rush out the door at 5am to ensure I’d be back in time for my husband to go to work. Some days I was able to run while the boys napped, other days the naps didn’t work out so I didn’t run – which was a-ok with me since I was in recovery/easy mode.

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                                  Life and Running Lately

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                                  Life at home with the boys lately has been wonderful but crazy. I continually think that the next stage of their little lives will be easier and give me more “me” time during the day, but there’s always something else that takes it away. I’m finding myself more of a referee these days – they are playing more independently (yay!) AND together, which completely makes my heart ache with happiness, but a 3 y/o and 16 m/o’s idea of playing is slightly different. My oldest wants to build huge block towers and play with his trains and my youngest wants to knock it all down and throw things around.  These difference of opinions lead to little fights that have seem to become a constant occurrence (which I know is normal between siblings!). Add to that their napping is nonexistent or at the least, short and sporadic, so I no longer have that dedicated chunk of time in the afternoon to blog, respond to emails, or run on the treadmill like I had grown accustomed to.  

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                                    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!

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                                      Highs and Lows

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                                      Some of my closest girlfriends!

                                      This weekend was {this} close to being an absolutely perfect one.  Friday afternoon, I said goodbye to the boys (who were being watched by my sweet sister!) and picked up three of my college girlfriends from the airport/their apartment in NJ enroute to our 10 year college reunion at West Point. Friday night was an organized dinner where we got to catch up with all of our classmates who had come for the reunion. We had decided to go sans significant others/kids so that we could have some girl time – we haven’t all been together in years.

                                      We didn’t make it to bed until 2am – WAY past my normal bedtime but totally worth the exhaustion we all felt at 6am the next morning when it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Saturday consisted of watching the pre-game parade (first parade I have seen since I graduated):

                                       Having lunch in the mess hall (cafeteria):

                                      Hanging out in North Area (location where we had formation 2x/day):

                                      Touring the gym:

                                      and lastly, attending the football game:

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                                        BIG Weekend + Training Catchup

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                                        Guess what’s happening this weekend!?! It’s my husband’s first Half-Ironman!!! I think I’m more excited and nervous than he is!! I finally am getting to experience what it feels like to be on the other side.

                                        I am so proud of my husband for putting in all the training the last few months for this race.  Lately, he’s been the one getting up at 415-430am to get his workout in, then return home to shower and then I head out while he gets dressed and ready for work (while watching the boys). The mornings are a blur for us between the hours of 5-8 and we don’t get a ton of time together…but we’ve managed to both train for big races at the same time (first time we’ve been able to juggle both).

                                        It’s the Rev3 Half Full Triathlon in Ellicot City, Maryland. We are heading down tomorrow afternoon with the littlest guy while the oldest gets a fun day/night/sleepover with Grandma! If you are in the area, come out and cheer (and keep me company!!) =)  And please send him good race vibes!! YAY!

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