Soccer Game tonight + Link to my 1st Video!!!

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Hope you are all having a wonderful week – I am incredibly thankful that this is a short week!

So first, head over to Instagram to enter an awesome giveaway I am hosting for some RX Bars (my favorite bars – EVER).

My husband is a huge soccer fan (played D1 at West Point) and both of my boys are absolutely loving the sport. They play in a clinic/league twice/week and most afternoons are spent in the yard playing against one another. When they aren’t playing, they are asking my husband to put soccer on TV. SO, you can imagine my reaction when I was offered the opportunity to attend a NYCFC game tonight – with a pre-game on-field experience – at Yankee stadium! So we are obviously all going!! Should be a fun, amazing night for all of us!

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I’m incredibly excited to share the links to the video series that I was honored to be a part of. In the fall, I was contacted by reps from Competitor – asking me if I wanted to participate in a photo shoot / ad campaign for Choose Cherries. As I mentioned a few months ago, I had heard of the benefit of tart cherries / cherry juice but had never tried it before. I didn’t want to say yes b/c it seemed dishonest to be a spokesperson for something that I wasn’t full backing. So I asked if I could try it for a few months and then make my decision. I spent late fall/ early winter drinking cherry juice and eating tart cherries on a regular basis and loved how I felt, so decided to participate.

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    First Speedwork in 7 Weeks + Some Exciting News!

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    Happy Friday!! I am pumped to be working from home today. We had a big release yesterday evening and unfortunately, I had to do some testing from 11pm-2am. But I was able to sleep in a bit and not worry about commuting into the city!

    I have a few exciting updates to share:

    First, I am taking over Women’s Running Instagram account on Monday. Memorial Day means a lot to my husband and I – we’ve lost a lot of friends due to the war on terror and so Monday is always a tough day for us. I’m racing a 4 miler with “racing” being a loose term since I’m just getting my legs back after weeks of little to no running and zero speed. BUT, I’m going to give it my best shot – and at the very least, it will give me a starting point for the rest of the summer.

    Anyway, make sure you follow Women’s Running (and me while you are at it!) on Instagram so you can follow along on Memorial Day.

    PS. I mentioned this last year, but wanted to share again: If you are planning on running this weekend, consider participating in the Wear Blue: Run to Remember.

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      13.1 Ways You Know You Are A Runner (Women’s Running)

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      This post originally appeared on Women’s Running!

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      I love these kinds of posts. I’ve seen so many over the years and they always make me laugh while nodding my head in agreement. So here is my list.

      You Know You Are A Runner If…

      1. After a long, stressful day of work, school or being home with the kids, a run is the one thing you need.
      2. When you go on vacation, half of your suitcase is filled with running clothes, shoes and gear.
      3. You immediately think of race distances when you see the numbers “31, 62, 131, 262”.
      4. You consider it normal (and acceptable!) to spend Friday night carb-loading, drinking water and heading to bed before 9pm.
      5. You break down the year into racing seasons/cycles, not astronomical seasons.
      6. Losing a toenail is a regular occurrence in your life.
      7. Your idea of “me” time is running in peace and quiet by yourself.
      8. When you sort through your laundry, more than half is running-related.
      9. You’ve been stuck in traffic and thought, “I could get there faster if I ran.”
      10. You know the exact crack in the road that is one mile from your front door (and two miles and three miles…).
      11. You have a drawer devoted to just running socks (as well as others for running shorts and running shirts).
      12. When you hear names like “Kara, Shalane or Deena” you think of Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan or Deena Kastor.
      13. The first thing that goes in your day planner each month are races and important runs. Everything else gets planned around those.

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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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          One Boston Day + Women’s Running Instagram Takeover

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          4-15-13. The Boston Marathon bombings occurred two years ago today. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years already since that horrific day.

          “A moment of silence, a call for kindness and the pealing of the city’s church bells will be the hallmarks of Boston’s events noting the two-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon on Wednesday”  This will occur at 2:49pm EST (at the time when the first bomb exploded). “Mayor Marty Walsh has declared April 15 One Boston Day, beginning a tradition that organizers say is about “resiliency, generosity, and strength of the people that make Boston the great city it is.” Click here for the entire story.

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          One of my favorite parts of sharing my training here and on social media is the interaction that occurs. I read every single comment I receive and bookmark the ones that hold special meaning to me.

          I wanted to share a comment I received on one of the posts from last week. I have read this comment no less than 10x already and plan to print it out and carry it with me to the start line in Hopkington. I had the pleasure of meeting Judith (the author) about 18 months ago while my husband was competing in a half Ironman in Maryland. She is an incredible runner, mother and friend and I’m so thankful she shared her experiences with me.

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

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            This was published on Women’sRunning.com last week!

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            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 dayWhen 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 I didn’t want to. Convinced myself I wasn’t serious about training or that I wasn’t a real runner. I would end up not running and feeling like crap the rest of the day. It’s silly because I was training hard.

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              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?

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              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 year, before you decide to make the jump to marathons.
              • Training Program: There are tons of great, free training plans for you that will get you ready for 26.2 miles without overtraining. Find one that starts off with your current fitness level (base mileage/number of days per week) as well as one that doesn’t stretch you too thin by the end. For example: if work, family, other commitments or even desire prohibit you from running more than three to four days/week, do not select one that has six days of running!
              • The Right Shoes: The more mileage you are logging, the more important the shoes on your feet become. Read this post for the top-5 shoe buying tips for runners.
              • Pre- and Mid-Run Fuel: All of your runs up until this point may have been completed without mid-run fuel – or even worrying about pre-run fuel. However, once your mileage begins increasing, fueling becomes more and more important. There is a wide variety of gels, chomps, beans, etc. Give a few a try over the course of your training to find what works best for you.
              • Time: The core of marathon training is the long run – which may be just 6-8 miles when you begin but will build up to 20 miles at the peak of training. You’ll need a solid block of time at some point during the week (doesn’t need to be on the weekend) to get those miles in (at least 3-4 hours is a reasonable estimate).
              • Your Goal Race: Again, an obvious one…but when it comes down to it, picking your first marathon can be a bit overwhelming. Before you begin the training plan, you’ll want to have a race and date selected so you can ensure that you have enough time to get those long runs in! (Not sure how to go about finding the ideal marathon for you? Check back next week for tips on how to select your first marathon!)

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                Does Running Ever Get Easier? (Women’s Running Post)

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                This is a post that was written for Women’s Running several weeks ago:

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                I ran the Honolulu Marathon last month with my youngest sister. It was her first marathon and without question, the most memorable, special 26.2 miles I’ve ever run. We finished hand-in-hand, smiling and crying happy tears. But it was a tough race for her from the start, due to stomach problems beginning at mile 4. Later that evening, as we were falling asleep in our room, she asked me: “Does running ever get easier?”

                It’s not an easy question to answer. I know I’ve had the same feelings and questions. There have been countless times I’ve thought about a speedier-than-me runner while completing a tough workout and wondered how easy their tempo runs or long runs must feel. Or thought about how easy it must be for them to be that fast.

                In my opinion, some aspects get easier. But others are just as hard, if not harder, as they were when I first started running marathons 10+ years ago. I think running truly never gets easy (especially if you are training for a time or goal or PR). It just changes over time.

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                  9 Ways to Prevent Running From Breaking the Bank (Women’s Running Post)

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                  My first half marathon in 2007 – Danskin pants and a North Face half zip (not meant for running)

                  I wrote this post for Women’s Running a few weeks ago and wanted to share it here as well.

                  At it’s core, running is an inexpensive sport. All you really need is a good pair of sneakers — and I’m sure some would argue against even that!

                  However, I feel like every time I blink, there is a new gadget, accessory or piece of clothing that is on the market. Don’t get me wrong – I own a lot of these things, and I think a good number of them have their uses to make running more enjoyable. But, the reality is they aren’t necessary. If you are new to the sport of running, it can be overwhelming to see nothing but dollar signs all the time.

                  Here are some ways to keep the costs associated with running down:

                  Buy the previous shoe model: It’s always fun to own the shoes that were just released, but you will be paying the full cost for that pair. If you wait until the next model comes out, you can often get them for up to 50% off the retail price. They are still unused, new shoes, just last year, last month or even last week’s model. Not everything needs to be wicking/running-brand: For years, my running pants were cheap leggings, my outer gear was a fleece half zip and my gloves were from the 99 cent store. And you know what? They worked fine. 8-12 years ago, I ran both my first half marathon and first marathon in that type of gear. Now, I will admit that the thicker and better quality gear keep me warm for the long, wet or cold runs in the winter months. But for day-to-day short runs, it may not be necessary to spend a ton of money.

                • Shop end of season clearance: The worst time to buy a running jacket, tights or gloves is in the weeks leading up to winter or smack dab in the middle of the cold months. Use what you have this year. Then buy the necessities when the large brands begin selling their spring/summer gear. Typically, clothes will go on sale/clearance but if you wait a few weeks, they’ll be a deal to save an additional 25-50% off those prices.

                • Use old/used gear as base layers: I usually wear last year’s gear as my base layer during the winter so I keep the newer gear in better condition for the warmer months. Nobody will see what’s underneath your jacket or long-sleeve shirt anyway, so save a few shirts with stains or holes in them for that very purpose.
                • Focus on local races: Local races are typically much more inexpensive. Most of the short local races are between $25-30 while the longer distance ones are still well under $100. I would love to run my favorite races (NYC Marathon, NYC Half to name a few!) each year but I simply can’t afford to do so because of the high entry fees.
                • But if you really want to do a large one – sign up early: If you have a larger, more expensive race on your bucket list, sign up as early as you can. A lot of races offer reduce pricing if you register 9-12 months in advance, and then the price continues to climb as you get closer to race day.
                • Buy in bulk: Gus, chomps and gels can be incredibly expensive if you buy 1-2 at a time. I always buy them by the case. I know I will use them and I end up paying 50% of the cost of single packs. If you don’t think you’ll go through that many, find a friend or two and split the box!
                • GPS: I think this is a personal decision. I know plenty of runners who don’t use a GPS or who rely on their iPhone. (There are some great apps out there that can track your pace/mileage/etc.) There are just as many runners who feel their GPS watch was their best purchase. I am okay with spending some money on a GPS because it’s something I use almost every single run (just like a good pair of shoes). I find it keeps me on track when I am training for a specific distance. If you are inclined to purchase one, I’d recommend doing some research online before you head to the nearest store. There is always a sale somewhere, and you can often save a lot of money if you wait until the next model comes out (much like shoes and gear!)
                • Utilize online retailers: I check out sites such as Zulily, The Clymb, Rue La La, 6pm and HauteLook (FYI: some of these are referral links) for deals on running-related gear. They are free to join and have different brands on a daily basis that are usually sold for 3-4 days at a time. You have to be diligent and check these sites fairly often, but you can get some awesome deals on gear when they are listed!
                • Any other money-saving tips to share? 

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                    Another Week Off From Running + Support New Runners

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                    I haven’t run since Saturday. This marks the 2nd longest non-running streak I have had in the last several years (with the longest being just a few weeks ago from the flu). I’m on a roll lately – just not rolling the way I would like.

                    I was starting to regain my energy in the days after the flu, but the whole next week, was back to how I felt the week before. I was running a low fever for much of the week and could barely drag myself out of bed at 7am (big difference from normal 4:30am wakeups) despite going to bed by 10pm. Most of my runs were at night because I felt better as the day went on.

                    Saturday was much the same and after postponing the long run until the afternoon, managed just 3.5 miles before I called it quits and stopped at my sister’s house. I felt so tired despite running over 35+ seconds (per mile) slower than usual for my long run pace.

                    I was in the car Sunday morning with my husband and boys when my tooth literally popped out of my mouth. It was from a tooth that had root canal last year – so the cap, plate and screw – all came out.

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                      Women’s Running: Race Bibs and Medals

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                      This post originally appeared on Women’s Running!

                      I am a packrat. I dislike throwing away things that have even the smallest bit of meaning to me. Everything gets put into chronologically-labeled shoeboxes and packed away for a rainy day when I’m feel nostalgic.

                      Race bibs and medals are no different and for years, I kept everything to do with my running in those shoeboxes. Last spring, I reviewed a medal sign and after hanging it up, went through my old boxes and pulled out all my medals I could find. Then, over the summer, I had the idea to pull out my old bibs and create a wall behind my treadmill.  It’s been a source of inspiration for me to physically see the races I have competed in when I go down my basement to run or work out.

                      With another racing season coming to an end, you may be left with a pile of bibs and medals and not sure what to do with them. Whether you are a runner who is newer to the sport or a seasoned veteran, it’s never too early – or late – to do something fun with your running mementos.  Or maybe you are looking for a fun holiday gift for that running friend of yours. Either way, below are some ideas for ways to display bibs and medals:

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                        Women’s Running Blogger Series + It’s Good To Be Back

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                        Hi and Happy Wednesday!! I started this on Sunday with the intent of posting it Monday morning so I decided to just finish it up and post today while I had some time…better late than never, I guess.

                        Hope you all had a great weekend! Did anyone race? It seemed like there were a bunch of big races – SF Marathon/Half Marathon and Eugene Marathon/Half as well as some Ironman races including Lake Placid! I had a ton of flashbacks all weekend – doing a lot of “one year ago from right now, I was doing this…”. It still feels surreal that it was already one year ago. As much as I wanted to relive the whole experience, I am pretty happy with my decision to step back from Ironman training for the next few years.

                        I shared on Facebook and Instagram already, but I’m happy to to announce that I am participating in the Women’s Running Blogger Series. Women’s Running contacted me about a month ago to see if I was interested in blogging for them once/week on their site. I’m honored to be among four other really amazing bloggers, including two of my friends Janae and Dorothy. There will be one new post every day (from Monday-Friday) from one of us so make sure you check out Women’s Running daily!

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                          Happy National Running Day: Deals, Giveaways and Events

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                          Happy National Running Day!! I am not sure who started this “National” holiday, but every year, it seems more and more companies are jumping on board to help celebrate the fun day.  It also helps that it’s only TWO days before National Donut Day (which is Friday!) – I don’t think this is a coincidence! HA =)

                          Below are some of the awesome deals, giveaways, and events going on today!!  Do you know any other ones that are worth mentioning? Please share if you do =)

                          Timex

                          Tweet or post a photo showing your running story to Instagram with #IMARUNNER to enter to win 1 of 60 Timex Ironman Watches.  You can also enter by submitting a photo or story directly on the Timex Sports Facebook page “#IMARUNNER Tab”.  Winners will be selected at random and official rules are located here: http://bit.ly/147ilKy.

                          Additionally, for every photo submitted, Timex will donate $5, up to $15,000, toward One Fund Boston which helps those individuals most affected by the tragic events of April 15, 2013.

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                            Race For Recovery 5k/10k Virtual Run Update

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                            Men's Health

                            HUGE thank you to everyone who has donated, supported, and helped spread word about the Race for Recovery.  There are over 225 people who will be running – and even more importantly – we’ve raised almost $9,000.

                            I’m so thankful and amazed with the amount of support that I have received in spreading the word about this race.  In the process, a few things were checked off my bucket list!! =)

                            Men’s Health: highlighted the Race for Recovery as one of the TOP TEN winter races in America!!!

                            Runner’s World: Posted the race info on their Facebook page (and caused my website to subsequently crash because of the unprecedented high traffic that ensued -> there are much worse things in life!)

                            The Staten Island Advance: Article (print and online) about the Race for Recovery on Dec 5, 2012

                            Women’s Running Magazine: Talked about the Race for Recovery on their blog on Nov 13, 2012.

                            Fitness Magazine: Mentioned the race in their Holiday Fit Links:

                             FitFluential: Included information on their blog and monthly newsletter:

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                              Race for Recovery 5k/10k

                              Tunnel to Towers Foundation

                              After watching my Facebook page fill with status updates and photos of my fellow Staten Islanders as well as friends in NYC helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy last week, I knew that I needed to find a way to help.  Logistically, it’s difficult for me to physically help – having an (almost) 2 year old and 7 week old (who doesn’t yet take the bottle) force me to stay home most of the time.

                              This past weekend, I had the idea of starting a virtual race.  I emailed a bunch of running gear companies that I have had contact with in the past (and some I haven’t) as well as several friends who pulled some strings for me and several friends who have their own businesses.  The response has been overwhelming.  As of this morning, there are 40 prizes that can be won – worth over $2,500.

                              All updates will be posted to this page.

                              **NEW** For whoever donates (and/or collects on their own to donate here) the most amount of money, Runner’s World will award you with a Fantasy Day.  Details are below! 

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                                Women’s Running: Blogger on the Run + a Great Week of Pregnant Running (23 weeks)

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                                I’m excited and honored to announce that I am featured on Women’s Running today as their Blogger on the Run.  I’ve been a fan of Women’s Running for a long time and am loving their new blog and especially their 50 days of giveaways.   Today is Day 23 – readers who comment on today’s post will be entered to win 1 of 8 headbands from Bondi Band!  So head over to their site, check out my article, and enter to win a new headband!

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                                After last weekend’s Brooklyn Half Marathon DNS, I decided to focus on getting more sleep.  Going to bed after 11pm and trying to get up at 415am to run is not a recipe for success.  This week, I have forced myself to bed by 9pm – regardless of what I’m in the middle of…and guess what?  Getting up to the alarm at 415 is slowly getting easier and easier.  I have more energy, I am focused, and my belly/baby cooperate for early morning runs:

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