1st Birthday + 8 weeks to go

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My youngest son turned one last week. Hard to believe that it’s been that long already, right? I feel like it was just yesterday that he came into this world. It’s been a fun year (sometimes crazy at times!) with a 2nd child and I could not have asked for a sweeter, happier little guy. My boys and I celebrated on Thursday (his actual birthday) with presents and cake. And continued the celebration with a fun birthday party on Saturday with family and friends from the neighborhood. Can we take a moment and discuss this cake? It was beautiful and SO SO yummy (white cake with cannoli cream.) One of my good friends from high school made this beauty!! She has made cakes for my boys’ special events the past few years and they could not be prettier or more delicious. (She’s VERY reasonable and is based on Staten Island. Her website is here!) ——————– For the first time this training cycle, I felt like I had a wonderful week of running from start to finish. I nailed both my stress workouts (3×2 and long run) and felt so strong despite racing a half marathon last Sunday. The Philly Marathon is just Continue Reading →

Things I’m Loving

erica sara

So I had my first stress workout on Monday.  Plan called for 2 miles warmup, 2 x 2 mile tempo interval (with 3 min active recovery in between each), 2 mile cooldown. Goal pace was 7:00->6:55. I hit the paces (6:54-> 6:52, 6:58-> 6:53), but it was a lot tougher than I would have liked.   The first set was manageable, but I was exhausted by the mile part of the second set. I don’t think it should have felt that hard.  UGH. Truth is, I am trying really hard to not get down on my speed just yet.  Ironman training put me in the best shape of my life – my fitness level is higher than it’s ever been.  But, my run speed suffered. Something had to take a backseat…and for me, that was running.  So although I can run 20 miles the day after a 100 mile bike ride, I cannot hold a speedy pace on a tempo run.  My worry (fear?) is that my spring marathon goal is not feasible right now.  My plan is to just focus on each speed workout, each long run the best I can and see how my body responds.  I have Continue Reading →

Pregnancy #2 vs. Pregnancy #1

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently these days is if my second pregnancy is any different from the first.  They could NOT be any MORE different!  Although I feel and look different this time around, the major change is my overall outlook on my pregnancy. Breaking the news to my husband and family.  When I found out I was pregnant with our first child two years ago, I told my husband, parents, and sisters (with the exception of one) in person.  I had my husband come home from work (I told a small white lie) because I wanted to share the news immediately and wanted it to be face-to-face!  This time, other than my mom (who I was with when I took the pregnancy test) and my sister who lives next door, I broke the news to everyone over the phone – even to my husband who was at work! Books, websites, resources. Hours after telling my husband two years ago, we were in Barnes and Noble buying a handful of pregnancy books.  These (along with a few key websites and an awesome day-by-day pregnancy guide-book that a girlfriend sent me) were my bibles for the next 5-6 Continue Reading →

Chobani Champions Review + Giveaway

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My son is at the age (13 mo) where he wants EVERYTHING that mommy and daddy eat and drink.  Thankfully, we eat healthy about 95% of the time, so some of our good habits have already rubbed off on him (I will not go into detail about the other 5% of the time!).  My husband and I are huge Chobani fans, and I’m happy to say that my son has been eating Chobani Greek Yogurt since he was about 10 months old. The grocery store we shop at has a limited variety of children’s yogurt – I had never seen or heard of Chobani Champions yogurt before – UNTIL I received an email from a representative at Chobani.  She offered to send some samples of the two new flavors – Vanilla Chocolate Chunk and Orange Vanilla. Talk about knowing exactly how to get to my heart: sending me free samples of a product for me makes me happy but sending me samples for my little man puts me over the moon! What is Chobani Champions yogurt?? – First greek yogurt made for kids – Contains 20% of Daily Vitamin D and 10% of Daily calcium – Comes in pre-portioned, 3.5oz cups Continue Reading →

What’s better than two PRs in one day?

Me and my son

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I started doing speedwork again (Here is my post in case you missed it).  As of Christmas week, there is a treadmill in our apartment.  It prevents me from making excuses.  There’s nothing getting in my way of what I’m supposed to do now except me. So, for the last 3 weeks, I’ve forced myself to do speed sessions once a week. During preseason basketball at West Point, we were timed running miles on the track – my miles were always around 7:00.  When I was on the Fort Hood Army 10-miler Team, we did track workouts 1x/week – my miles dropped to 6:15-6:25.  I got my miles down to 6:10 when I was deployed to Iraq in 2007-2009. That’s been my personal record (PR) until last week. I ran my fastest mile ever last Thursday (5:59). This week, I planned to run 5x mile repeats. I woke up tired, sore, and not in the mood to do miles on the  treadmill.  I debated doing them right up until the moment I stepped on the treadmill – I secretly wanted to crawl back into bed for the next hour. But I know myself and Continue Reading →

Sometimes getting out of bed is the hardest part of my run

Ever have a day when you just don’t want to run?  Either too tired from being up late, or legs are sore from a few days of hard running? Or you just aren’t in the mood to run? I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have days like that.  I like to think that I wake up every morning eager to go on my run, but there are definitely many mornings when I need to push myself to leave.  This morning was one of those days.  My alarm went off and I rolled out of bed with ZERO desire to head out the door.  My legs were a little sore from not taking any time off after Sunday’s 16 miler and I just felt exhausted! It didn’t help that it was pouring rain out.  Usually a good excuse for me to crawl back into bed.  But knowing that the marathon is only 17 days away (but who’s counting?) and that my first ultra is just 30 days away, I forced myself to get out the door. It’s funny what some wind and rain will do to what was supposed to an “easy” 8 miler that was on the schedule.  My Continue Reading →

Staten Island Half-Marathon

Even though I’m only racing a half-marathon tomorrow, I find myself getting more and more antsy as the night hours dwindle away.  I realized earlier today that this is the first real race I’m going to be competing in since March 2010.  While I did several races while I was pregnant, I had to keep my heart rate at a specified level as per my Dr’s guidance – I was not allowed to get too out of breath! There’s a certain excitement in knowing that you will be pushing yourself as hard as you can the next day. No more time for training.  No more time for worrying.  The only things left for me to do is make sure I drink enough water and get a good night’s sleep. I don’t expect to PR tomorrow; while I’ve put in enough miles to feel strong over the 13.1 miles, I know that I haven’t done enough speed or tempo work to PR.  But, if nothing else, it will show me where I am at, and hopefully I can adapt and focus on what I need to in time for the marathon. read more

Who or what inspires you to run?

As part of the 5 Borough Challenge, my fellow participants and I were asked “Who or what inspires me to run?”.   At first I thought this would be an easy question to answer…I decided to use this morning’s run as time to think about my answer. Each morning that my alarm goes off, there is something different pulling me out the door.  My inspiration to run each day changes – depending on the day, the week, or my current life situation.  For example, when I was pregnant, my motivation was that I wanted to remain in running shape.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get back into running if I took months off during my pregnancy.  Knowing that running even a few miles each day (regardless of how slow I was moving) was a success and an accomplishment, was all the motivation I needed to head out for my run.  After I gave birth to my son, my inspiration quickly became to get back to my previous weight and running ability.   My motivation to run (and push myself when I’m already out running) increases when I am signed up for a big race; I find Continue Reading →

Learning to love my flexible running plan

AJ enjoying bath time!

Up until a year ago, running was the most important part of my day.  If I were able to complete the run that my self-imposed training plan had scheduled for me, then the day was great – I was happy, cheerful, and relaxed.  If I happened to wake up late, hit snooze too many times, or just not have the time or energy to head out the door for a run, then anyone who spent time around me, knew to steer clear!  I would be irritable, impatient, and often times, a complete (insert expletive) to everyone, including (and especially) my family. Fast forward to today.  The NYC Marathon is only 6 weeks away – my longest runs to date are a 20, 18, and a few 16 milers (none with impressive or satisfying times).  I haven’t gone on a long run in 3 weeks.  My weekly mileage is about 20% less then what I wanted it to be.  Yet, despite all of that, I couldn’t be happier.  I was blessed with a happy and healthy baby boy 8 1/2 months ago and quickly learned that following my training plan (or even getting out the door to run) is no longer Continue Reading →