Winter Running Necessities: What to Splurge and What to Save


Running clothes and gear are not cheap. It can be a bit overwhelming if you are newer to the sport, and see all the expensive gear that comes out season after season. Winter running is no different. Between jackets, vest, hats, gloves, mittens, pants and so on, you can easily go for broke if you jump at every piece of gear that you see advertised. But dressing for winter running takes some finesse. You need to wear enough layers to stay warm, but not too much where it’s cumbersome or weighs you down. (I shared my clothing tips for winter running ). The truth is you don’t need to spend a lot of money to run through the winter, but you do need to ensure you have the necessities. So where should you spend your money and where/how should you save?  Below are my recommendations. (Keep in mind that I live/run in NYC so my winter may be different from yours!) Splurge Gloves/Mittens: I started long distance running when I was stationed in Texas and deployed to Iraq. My first winter back in NYC was a huge shock for me. I ran a 15k in Central Park one winter day Continue Reading →

Winter Running Necessities


Last year was the first winter where I can say that I truly ran through the entire winter season. In years past, I start out with the goal of running on the roads, but typically end up doing most of the sub-freezing runs on the treadmill. I strongly dislike cold weather – give me an 85 degree day over 0 any day of the week. But after a few spring marathons where I finished not feeling as good as I wanted or running the times I thought I was capable of, I made a promise to myself to try to learn to love (or at least accept) the colder weather. I wanted Boston to be a strong race and I knew that in order for that to happen, I needed to focus on more running on the roads, regardless of wind, cold, rain or snow. And so, in the Boston trainup, I did just that. With the exception of one tempo long run, every long run was outside. And virtually all of my easy or recovery days were outside as well. The speed days were a tossup – I chose the treadmill when I was worried about footing or visibility Continue Reading →

Returning to Work + Juggling Training


So, I returned to full-time work (out of the house) three weeks ago. I haven’t worked outside the home in almost FIVE years. I realized I never really talked about what I did before I became a mom and began blogging, so here is the full story. I attended West Point for four years and then spent six amazing years in the Army. They were truly some of the most rewarding and exciting years of my life (I don’t know if there is any interest in what I did while I was in the military – please let me know if there is and I’ll talk about it in a separate post!). After leaving the Army and returning home to NYC, I felt pulled in two directions. Part of me wanted to continue what I had been doing for the previous six years in the Army. I had all this intelligence experience and absolutely loved my last position (Lethal Targeting Officer for the Division). And so that was what I initially pursued. I applied for and was offered a job as a DEA analyst in NYC. But during the pre-employment process, a private company approached me and offered me an amazing job. Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-3) + Returning to Work!


LESS than 3 weeks until it’s time to lay it all out there – getting close!!! I feel like the last 4-6 weeks flew by – just like the end of the summer. School started for my little guys on Monday – Pre-K 4 and Pre-K 3! I’m also happy to share that I got another job offer this week – and will be accepting! Everything about this job and position feels right to me and I’m over the moon ecstatic to return to work. Most days will be close to 13 hours out of the house (it’s in Midtown East so the commute will be 60+ min in AM and 90+ min in PM) and I know running will have to take a backseat. Not sure what I’m going to do yet in regards with training and racing – I think decisions will be made as we go along and I see how much running I’m able to fit in. But I feel ready to shift around priorities and cut back where I need to. So, Wineglass is rapidly approaching. We are down to 19 days. 19!!! Thankfully, I had a pretty solid week of training last week. I felt great, Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training (T-5) + RnR Virginia Beach!

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So, this was a tough week of training. Physically, I am feeling fine – the pain in my foot disappeared as quickly as it appeared and I have been running pain-free all week. But mentally, it was a challenging week. I flew out to SF on Friday morning for one of my college gf’s weddings, so coach and I adjusted the plan so I would get my long run in on Thursday. Realistically, there was ZERO chance (or desire) of me running long while I was in SF – my focus was on spending as much time with my West Point girls as possible – and a 21 miler did not fit into the plan. So we decided to shift the week and do the long run on Thursday. Unfortunately, I woke up Thursday and just didn’t have the motivation to run for almost 3 hours. I made it 5 miles and called it a day. The thought of another 16 miles – alone and mostly in the dark – sounded miserable to me. So the plan changed to me running at 4am on Friday. I’ve never run that early before but I needed to be on my way to the Continue Reading →

Juggling Family, Work And Life With Long Distance Running


This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (it can be found here). Training for long distance races (half marathon, marathon, ultras) is difficult in and of itself. It becomes a whole other challenge when you factor in all the responsibilities many of us have–being a spouse, having children, owning or maintaining a home and/or working a full or part time job. I had more flexibility with my time before I was married and had kids. It was fairly typical for me to spend a couple of hours each day working out or at the gym. I’d run (with no set training plan–just however far I felt like running that day), cross-train and do some strength or core work. These days it is a delicate balance to juggle my responsibilities with my training. My “free” time is limited. I no longer have the luxury of running whenever and however far I like. And so, my training has to be adjusted a few ways. Make each mile count. Gone are the days where I just head out to run with no idea of how long or far I will be out. I’ve been forced to get smarter with my training. I Continue Reading →

Wineglass Training Update – T-6: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


Last week was another solid week of training for Wineglass. Through Saturday, I had run 61 miles over 6 days with intentions of 5 recovery miles on Sunday – which would have made it my highest mileage week this cycle (66). But I woke up Sunday and my left foot was hurting. The pain was on the top part of my foot – towards the middle to outside part. It didn’t hurt to the touch nor was it swollen. But there was this sharp pain that came and went throughout the day. My plan was to just let it be for a couple of hours and then try my run, but the pain had not subsided by 11am, so it became an unplanned rest day and panic started to set in. I don’t run through pain. On a day-to-day basis, nothing hurts when I run – nor before or after. So anytime there is even a small amount of pain or even something that just feels “off”, I don’t run. It’s just not worth it to me. I woke up Monday and the pain was still there – not nearly as strong, but enough where I felt it was not Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-9)

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I started this post Sunday evening in the midst of one of those “can’t stop eating” days of marathon training. Last week was the longest long run and highest mileage week since Boston training…and it capped off the 2nd highest mileage month ever for me (have to go back to October 2014 for highest). So my insatiable appetite is understandable and expected. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being a completely successful week), I’d classify last week as a 9 – it would have been a perfect week of running had Wednesday’s tempo gone better. But, instead, I quit after 2 of the 4 tempo miles and turned the remainder of the miles into “easy”. I’d love to blame the heat and humidity, but I think it was just a result of a lot of things. And I refuse to complain about this weather because no matter how hot it is, it still beats the 0 degree weather we were dealing with in the winter. My husband was away from Mon-Thurs evening – and I was able to run all of my training runs outside and solo (except one treadmill run). I’m lucky enough to have a Continue Reading →

Wineglass Training Update (T-10) + Slowing Down


After months of falling off the early morning running wagon, I am happy to be back on! Last week was a pretty successful week of getting up when my alarm went off – most days around 5am (two days as early as 4:30am) – and finishing my runs before 7/8am. My weekly mileage is slowly starting to rise again – I had back-to-back 60+ mile weeks and came out feeling rested and ready for more training. I think a HUGE part of that is how much easier I am taking easy runs these days. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like a lightbulb finally went off in my head. And if there was a way to smack my younger self upside the head, I would. Looking back on the last several years of training, I know that I was running too fast on my easy days. I can remember coming back from an easy/recovery run and feeling wiped. Ummm…you shouldn’t be wiped after an easy run. Lately, I’m focusing on heart rate or just perceived effort and I wear no watch most days (if I want the HR data, I wear it). I can tell you that it’s Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training (T-12)


I am getting into the swing of marathon training so I wanted to bring back the weekly updates in case you were interested in my training leading up to Wineglass! But first, I want to rewind a moment. Before I tell you what I’m doing right now, it’s fair to give a brief overview of what has been going on the last few month. It’s been almost three months since Boston. I still feel like it was yesterday (and yes, STILL riding that PR and race high). Since the race, my focus has been on a few things: Recovery: This preoccupied most of the first four to five weeks post Boston. I ran four or five days post-Boston but kept all runs short and easy for a few weeks before starting any type of “faster” running. Some light core work but no strength work. My legs were pretty trashed from the hills so I decided to use only cycling and easy-paced running during the important recovery and regeneration phase. Consistency and base building: Last training cycle, I took a rest day the day after my long runs (some weeks I would cycle easy, but 75% of time, it was a complete rest Continue Reading →

Fall Marathon Plans + Back Home!


If there’s one thing I’ve learned about planning your racing calendar out, it’s that it’s not set in stone…not even your goal race. Last fall, I had my eyes on the Wineglass Marathon in October, but after a few weeks during the late summer where I wasn’t feeling great and wasn’t up to long runs, I decided to forego Wineglass and chose the Potomac River Run Marathon in November – which gave me an extra 5-6 weeks of training. Earlier this year, I signed up for Wineglass again. I wanted that to be my goal race this fall, but after Saucony reached out to me to be part of the 26 Strong program again, I decided, once again, to forego Wineglass and choose a later marathon. I had entry to NYC Marathon, so decided that would be my goal race with the Chicago Marathon with Ruth (as part of 26 strong) as a long training run. But there’s been this nagging feeling in my stomach about the fall that I couldn’t shake. My worry is that running 26.2 miles in Chicago with Ruth could jeopardize NYC three weeks later. I’m not the type of runner who can run 26.2 miles and Continue Reading →

Training Highlights + Garmin Forerunner 225 Giveaway!


Hello from Alaska!! We are two weeks into our three week vacation and having an absolute blast. The last 15 days have been filled with nothing but outdoor adventures, delicious food, beautiful weather and time with family. Running and training have gone exceptionally well, especially given that we are on vacation. I’m always cautious about training during vacation. It’s definitely a fine line – I want to maximize time with family but I also want to maintain my fitness and momentum with training. I’m thankful that my husband and in-laws are supportive and encouraging of my running. Out of the 15 days we’ve been here, I’ve run 13 – the two missed days were because of jet lag (the 2nd day) and a packed day of hiking and driving last week. But several of the runs have been cut short – by 1-3 miles – because of shortage of time or just lack of interest to be gone for 70+ minutes at a time when the weather is nice and there are fun activities to do. And I mostly have eliminated core and strength work and cross training for the time being. read more

Hydration Help + Stopping During Long Runs


I always blog a lot less when I’m in between training cycles. I guess I just feel like there isn’t much exciting training to share, so why bother sharing anything? But I also know it’s helpful to share all the details of training – not just when things are going great or I’m logging 20 mile runs. I’m still in the building stage from Boston. I’m up to about 45-50 miles/week and have been enjoying the fewer miles, shorter long runs and lazy mornings. But NYC is rapidly approaching and training will really start to pick up soon, so I’m trying to get back into routine of early morning running as well as core and strength work regularly. I had been planning to run the Memorial Day 4 miler for months. After a few days off for my hamstring pain, I was ready to give Monday a go. But, my coach and I made the call Saturday afternoon to scrap the race. I felt no hamstring pain – and hadn’t for several days / runs. But there were points where it felt tight – and my gut was telling me not to chance things on a race that wasn’t even Continue Reading →

North Face Mountain Athletic Training App


This post brought to you by The North Face. The content and opinions expressed below are that of NYC Running Mama. The Mountain Athletics line by The North Face isn’t just about gear. There is also an app that provides access to expert created, 6-week strength and conditioning training programs specific to outdoor sports including running, skiing, climbing and mountaineering.  Features of the Mountain Athletics App include: Monitored Progress Detailed session calendars Workout Schedules Coaching Messages Tutorials After downloading the free App (for iOS), users can choose between the various 6-week training programs. I (obviously!!) chose running. The running program alternates between Strength & Core (mix of upper/lower/core workouts) 2 mile assessment (every 2 weeks) Running Speed and Power Workout Recovery/Rest day I think this app is a great tool for runners who are looking to get faster and stronger. The speed days are 400m sprints with a short warmup and cooldown. (Note: if you are training for longer distances, you can use the “Running Speed and Power” day as your speed day. You can add on some additional miles before/after to make it a longer run. And then you can follow your normal running plan the other days. 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 →

Life Lately + Entering Taper


Hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Easter! We started off the day with baskets, an egg hunt and lots of candy and chocolate. Shortly after the festivities, I headed out for my last long run – 18 miles. I can’t say it was a great run. It was incredibly windy (weather app said ~20 mph winds) but it seemed to be gusting MUCH stronger for a lot of the run. And it never seemed to be at my back. It was just one of those runs where you just want it to be over. Lately, I’ve been feeling really bored and lonely for the longer runs and would love to have a friend to chat with and keep the miles easy and relaxed. The plan for yesterday’s run was 14 moderate pace and then 4 fast finish. Well, the fast finish didn’t happen. I guess technically it did happen because I pushed harder those last 4 miles, but I didn’t come even remotely close to the paces that my coach had scheduled for me. I’m chalking it up to the crappy wind. 18 total miles – 7:52 pace. Ran blind for the first 14 and then spent Continue Reading →

22 Miler: Try, Try Again


This week’s long run ended on a high note. I got the mileage in that was on the training calendar – but more importantly, walked away with some confidence (physical and mental) that hopefully will help me in three short weeks. But it was pretty close to being a wash. My plan was a 22 mile dress rehearsal. Practice eating beforehand. Practice fueling and water during run. Wear clothing I plan to wear for race day. Basically do everything I can to simulate race morning – to see how I feel and make sure the food choices don’t upset my stomach. The morning started off great – some coffee and a quick stop at the local bagel store. It was 16 degrees (with windchill) and I’m still battling a hacking cough, congestion and cold so I decided it was going to be a treadmill run. Plus, I’m over winter and the thought of 3+ hours in the freezing cold (and wind) sounded absolutely awful to me. By 9:30am, I was on the treadmill ready to watch the Hunger Games while mindlessly logging the miles. My legs were shot though. I did a lower-body strength workout on Friday and could barely Continue Reading →

Remaining Optimistic


Well, it’s been a while since I did a training update. The #1 reason is because there hasn’t been a whole lot of training going on. I feel like I jinxed myself when I was talking about how great training was going. No less than two weeks ago, I started thinking about how I haven’t missed a single long run this training cycle – something that has actually never happened before. And then it happened. #ugh But I’m getting ahead of myself. I wrote on Tuesday that I was feeling a hundred times better and ready to jump back into training. Monday’s run was great – 12 miles with lots of hill repeats. I woke up Tuesday and felt a bit achy and just blah so I put off my run until the afternoon. It was warm (55) but windy as heck – 25-30 mph winds. I ran 8 miles and almost immediately upon finishing, knew that something was wrong. I had a pounding headache and just felt fatigued – not the way I normally feel after 8 easy-paced miles. My husband left on a business trip for the week shortly after I returned from that run and I welcomed Continue Reading →

How To Prepare For A Hilly Race

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Six years ago, I was training for my first Boston Marathon. I was incorporating tempos, intervals and long runs into my 40-50 mile weeks (I peaked at 55 miles). The only missing component were the hills. At the time, I was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq – and while I was fortunate enough to be on the largest American base in the country (which afforded me miles and miles of road to run on!), it was flat as a pancake. There was one hill (man-made) called “Signal Hill” which US forces used for all the long-range signal equipment. Signal Hill had a paved road that was roughly .3 miles uphill (steep uphill!). And at two points going up the hill, there were paved roads around the hill. This hill became my best friend. Rather than do hill repeats once a week, I made it a point to run up that hill at least once each run – and most runs 2-3x. It didn’t matter if it was an easy run, recovery run or long run – I was running up and down that hill. Fast forward to the 2009 Boston Marathon. My husband was running beside me around mile 19-20. I had Continue Reading →

It’s Okay to Not Want to Run Every Day – Women’s Running Post

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This was published on Women’ last week! —————– I’m just under eight weeks out from my 2nd Boston Marathon and have had a strong couple of months of training. On paper, everything looks great – I’m nailing workouts, getting my long runs in and consistently running high weekly mileage (for me). But, that’s only part of the truth. The truth is, there are some days where I wake up not wanting to run. I would say 4-5 of the 6 days a week I run, I’m pretty quick to pop up when the alarm goes off. There is virtually no hesitation on those mornings. But it’s a fight to get me out the door on the other days. I want to go back to sleep or just sit on the floor with my children while I drink my coffee in my comfy pjs rather than deal with the below freezing temperatures outside or get on the treadmill again. The truth is, it’s okay (and normal) to not want to run every single day. When you are following a training plan, there will be days where you may not want to get up and run. I used to berate myself every time Continue Reading →