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2012 Race Calendar

27 Nov

With only one month left of 2011, I finally had the opportunity to sit and write down all the races I’ve mentally signed up to run for 2012.  I’m not sure if it’s too ambitious. I haven’t done an Ironman (IM) before, so I don’t know what toll the training and race itself will take on my body. The priority and focus for 2012 is definitely the IM, so if I need to cancel a race or two because I haven’t fully recovered from the IM or need more training time before the race, I definitely will. .


The race calendar is not finalized yet – I still have to register for a few of the races and there are a few shorter races I’d like to add – but it’s a general idea of what I will be training for in the next 12 months!


Jan – Mar: my focus will be on running.  I am going to cross train with swimming and biking in preparation for the spring and summer triathlon events, but my priority will be working on my speed to decrease my marathon time.  My husband also plans to run this marathon and will be shooting for sub 3:05 so we will be able to do some training together! 
Ocean Drive Marathon – Cape May County, NJ – Mar 25, 2012
– Goal: Sub-3:10


Mar – Jun: Immediately after the marathon, my focus will shift to biking and swimming.  I hope to maintain the running shape I will be in and will begin adding to my endurance in the other 2 events. 
Rev 3 Quassy Half-Ironman – Middlebury, CT – Jun 3, 2012
– Goals: Sub-5:30 (Swim – 50 min, Bike – 3:00, Run – 1:40); Become comfortable competing in longer distance triathlons to prepare me for the full Ironman in August.


Jun – Aug: Based on the results of the Half Ironman, I will have an idea of which event(s) need(s) more attention.  The focus from June until Aug will be on getting my body used to swimming for 1:45, biking for 6:00, and running for 4:00.  Hopefully, my recent experience with ultras will help me since I will be running the marathon portion on tired legs. 
NYC Ironman – NYC, NY – Aug 11, 2012 (registered)
– Goals: Complete the race; Finish in under 12:30


Aug – Nov: After a rest and recovery period following the Ironman, my focus will shift back to running in preparation for the ultra I hope to do in November.   
JFK 50-miler – Boonsboro, MD – Nov 17, 2012 (registration opens in the spring)
– Goal: Sub-8:00 (based on this year’s results, that would place me 80th out of 941 finishers and 13th female)


*I’m throwing around the idea of the Army Ten-Miler on Oct 21st (my birthday).  I had decided this year that I would try to run my age on my birthdays from now on, so doing this race would prevent me from this.  I did a “30 for 30” run this year (you can read about my 30 mile birthday run in a couple of posts I wrote: Live, Ran, and Learned and Pacing Lessons). 


I also want to do a couple of 5k and 10k races throughout the year.  I usually don’t bother to sign up and run such short races, but hope that doing so will help me continually work on speedwork rather than just long distance.


I’m trying to achieve 3 of my goals this year (for a list of my lifetime goals, click here): marathon sub-3:10 in the marathon, 50m, IM.  I’m trying to cross off as many as I can before I become pregnant with baby #2 (hope to get pregnant right after the JFK 50-miler).  I know that my free time will decrease after each child – so I’m hopeful that I can use this 11-12 months to achieve some of my goals! 


Any recommendations on local 5k or 10ks?  I don’t want to drive more than an hour from Staten Island, NY and definitely do not want to spend a lot of $ on race registration.  And they need to be between January and June or September and November. 

Sparkly Soul Headband Giveaway (CLOSED)

10 Nov

I did a product review on Sparkly Soul last month.  Here it is in case you missed it!!

I would consider myself to be a (fairly) serious runner.  My running shoes, clothes, and accessories need to be functional.  No matter how cute that running skirt is, I’ll never justify wearing it if I’m going to be pulling it down every quarter of a mile (or worried that I’m showing more than I should be!!).  I’ve worn the same brand/model of shoes, socks, and shorts for the last 5 years.  Once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it.  
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t feel or look like a girl when I’m out running.  I admit – I put on mascara, I wear diamond stud earrings, and I color coordinate my outfit (down to matching hair ties and sports bras).  Doing these things do not take away from my running abilities.  


Up until recently, I had yet to find a headband that I was satisfied with.  I need a headband that:
– keeps my hair/bangs out of my face
– is tight enough to stay in place during a long run
– doesn’t give me a headache by the end of a run
– retains it’s elasticity over time


Of course, I would love a headband that did all of the above while also looking cute!  I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on headbands that never measured up to my expectations.  

My pile of failed headbands


And then I found Sparkly Soul.


Sparkly Soul  was created by a marathoner and triathlete who was facing the same frustration as myself and many other female athletes.


Finally, a headband that keeps my hair out of my face, doesn’t give me a headache, doesn’t rip my hair when I take it off, and doesn’t move (it didn’t budge at all on my 22 mile training run or the half-marathon I just raced).  


But, best of all,  Sparkly Soul headbands look AMAZING while being functional.  
Sparkly Soul headbands have 360 degrees of  sparkle.  They come in 10 great colors – so it’s easy to color coordinate with the rest of my running outfit.  And they come in a thick and thin band – I prefer the wider ones because I feel that they keep my shorter hair around my face in place better.

Needless to say, I am hooked – I have worn Sparkly Soul on EVERY single run since the day I tried them almost three months ago.  And I don’t plan on wearing any other brand again!!
 For more information or to purchase a Sparkly Soul headband, please visit: http://sparklysoul.com/




In honor of Veteran’s Day, I will be giving away TWO thin Sparkly Soul headbands – one blue and one red to a nycrunningmama follower!!  Below are the official entry rules!  Good luck to everyone!!

By entering your name and comment below you are agreeing to the Official Rules” of the sweepstakes.

Official Rules – CLOSED!
  • “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY”
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must be a U.S. resident
  • Giveaway will run from Nov 11, 2011 until Nov 17, 2011.  You must enter by 11:59pm EST on Nov 17, 2011
  • Winner will be chosen Nov 18, 2011
  • Entry procedures – Comment on the form below with when you would wear Sparkly Soul Headbands! Additional entries:
    • Subscribe to  nycrunningmama and  tell me with an additional comment
    • Follow me on twitter (nycrunningmama) and tweet me and tell  me with an additional comment!
    • Follow SparklySoul on twitter and tell me with an additional comment
  • Winner will receive 2x thin Sparkly Soul headbands (valued at $30)
  • The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning
  • If duplicate entries are received, each duplicate entry will be deleted
  • If there are technical difficulties, the contest will be void and will restart the following week (more information will be posted if this happens)
  • Winner will be chosen randomly on Nov 18, 2011.  The winner will be contacted via email and has 4x days to respond and claim their prize.  If the winner does not receive an email within 4x days please contact me directly!
  • Entrants must submit their name and email address when making a comment in order to contact the winner
  • The winner’s name will be made public to viewers of the blog
  • If winner does not claim the prize, a second name will be chosen at random.  
  • Sponsored by Michele Gonzalez – http://nycrunningmama.blogspot.com/
  • Legal venue – NY state
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW

Lived, Ran, and Learned

23 Oct

My second attempt at my furthest distance to date went off (almost) without a hitch.  I plan on writing subsequent blogs on specific aspects of the long run (fueling and pacing), so this blog is more of a brief recap. 


I started the run @ 520am.  It was around 48 degrees so I decided to wear shorts, a tank top, arm warmers, and gloves.  If you dress to be comfortable and warm for the start of the run, you will be hurting yourself for a few reasons:
– The more clothes you put on your body, the more weight you will be carrying.  Doesn’t sound like much – but if you are doing a long run, an extra pound or two of clothes can – and will – make a difference
– If you start before the sun comes up, the sunrise will only make it seem warmer (even if the actual temperature doesn’t increase)
– Once you start running, your body will warm up on it’s own (usually about 10-15 min into a run).  If you are overdressed, you will quickly overheat and sweat more than you should be – which will lead to dehydration issues
So although I was cold the first 20 min, I warmed up and was completely comfortable for the remainder of the run.
* If you are unsure of what to wear on a long run, feel free to ask me!!  Or check out Runner’s World “What to Wear” tool that allows you to input the weather conditions and your comfort level for the cold – and will give you an idea of the appropriate level of laying:
http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/whattowear/0,7152,s6-240-325-330-0,00.html



Although the forecast called for winds around 12mph (which is tough along the boardwalk b/c it’s a headwind in one direction), when I got to the boardwalk, it was actually MUCH windier.  The weather app on my phone said it was at times 25mph (sustained) gusting up to 30mph.  My initial plan was to run on the boardwalk and into and through Fort Wadsworth a few times, but b/c of the strong winds, I actually decided to stay on the boardwalk.  This may seem counter-intuitive.  But, it actually worked out in my favor.  Each time I was running into the wind (which was really not fun), I kept telling myself I only needed to push to the end of the boardwalk (about 2.5 miles long).  Once I got to the end of the boardwalk, the ensuing 2.5 miles back north was a break for me.  I was able to relax and enjoy the wind at my back.  So while it was probably more demanding physically, it helped my mind stay off the notion that I had 25, 20, 15 miles left – it broke up the run into manageable 5 mile segments.  


I had planned on utilizing the numerous water fountains along the boardwalk as my method of hydration, however, I had a change of heart at 5am and decided to bring my camelbak.  This allowed me to forego the need to come to a complete stop every couple of miles and instead, drink on the run.  If I had not brought my camelbak, there was no way I could have completed the 30 miles – I found out at mile 25 (when I ran out of water in my camelbak) that the fountains have been turned off for the season.  My takeaway is that I should always plan to be self-sufficient on long runs – relying on outside sources for hydration, fueling, etc is a bad idea. 


My next blog will focus solely on pacing – but just a quick recap:  
– I completed the 30 miles in 4:17:30 – which is an 8:34 pace
– My first 5 miles were the slowest 5 mile segment
– I felt the best (and ran the fastest) during miles 18-25


For all of my splits, please go to:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/embed/123207178

Live, Run & Learn

16 Oct


My attempted 30 miler today did not go as planned.  I ran just over 16 miles before I decided to call it a day.  I am trying to remain positive and use my failed attempt as a learning tool for future long runs.
The whole day started out on the wrong foot.  I had a 645am photoshoot with the Daily News in Central Park – my plan was to start my run immediately upon finishing.  Unfortunately, although I was promised it would only take 15 min, the shoot actually lasted almost 2 hours – and about an hour of it consisted of me running up and down a hill – over and over and over again.  Because of the delay, I didn’t actually start my run until 945 – after being up over 5 hours and having only eaten a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter.  In addition, there were refueling issues, major crowding in the park due to a breast cancer walk, and strong winds – which only added to my lack of motivation to finish the run.  Here are my key takeaways from today:

1. Don’t leave things to the last minute.  I realized last night that I had run out of power gels (my energy refueling option).  I decided to put it off until this morning – and planned to stop at a pharmacy on our way into the city.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot until we were already in the city and getting ready to head out the door.  Paul ran to 3 local stores – the only option were vitamin chews (that I had never tried before) – but I figured that it was better than nothing.  This leads to my next lesson…

2. Never try something new on a long run. Assuming the vitamin chews would meet my energy requirements was foolish.  I took the first at mile 8 and never felt any energy boost like I usually do with the caffeinated power gels I rely on.  About 10 minutes after taking the second at mile 13, my stomach started to cramp and I felt as though I was going to be sick.  I hoped it would fade away, but after a mile, I realized I would not be able to run another 13+ miles with the vitamin chews as my only source of energy.

3. Always bring extra food with you. My pre-long run ritual is simple.  I eat one piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter about 45 min before I begin.  I assumed the photoshoot would take 15-30 min, so I ate in the car into the city.  Big mistake.  If I had packed an extra sandwich, I could have just repeated the ritual after the photoshoot ended.  Instead, I had to rely on food that I ate 3 hours prior to starting the run.

4. Never run in Central Park after 10am on the weekend.  This is a lesson that I thought I thought I had learned the hard way numerous times.  Central Park is a beautiful, amazing, quiet place to run – as long as you are running before the hordes of tourists are out.  There was also a breast cancer walk going on at 9am which attracted thousands of walkers.  Combine the walkers with the tourists and the result was an overcrowded park – so packed that at times there was no room to run – I had to weave in and out of the crowds.   This was my own fault.  I know better and should have made sure I was running long before the event started and the tourists were out sightseeing.  The “stop and go” running only added to my building frustration and was another factor of why I wanted to stop.

5. When trying my longest run ever, pick a flatter, easier course.  I shouldn’t have been so ambitious with wanting to do my 30 miler in Central Park (my favorite place in the world to run).  I should have planned a route that included more flat, even terrain.  After a few 30+ milers under my belt, then I should attempt a tougher course.

Taking all of these lessons into account, I have decided to give the 30-miler another try this Friday (on my actual birthday).  I plan on doing the course along the SI boardwalk and into Fort Wadsworth (which has a few hills- should be a nice break from the flat boardwalk) first thing in the morning (5am).  If all goes as planned, I should be finished before 930 and still have the whole day to spend with Paul and AJ!!!

 Keep your fingers crossed!

30 for 30

13 Oct

I am turning 30 next Friday.  Surprisingly, I am not having any anxiety or trepidation about this supposed momentous event in my life.  I think a lot has to do with the realization that I’m completely happy with my life and the family and friends I surround myself with these days.  I haven’t accomplished everything I thought I would by this age – I’m not holding down a powerful, high-paying job (I’m a stay-at-home mom), my family is not living in a huge house (we are in a 2-BR apt to save some $ to buy a home – hopefully in the next few months), and I often struggle to find the time and energy to head out the door each day to get a 45 min run in (nothing near my plans to have completed several ultras by this point)…But despite all of these “shortcomings”, I’ve never been so happy.  
I’ve decided to celebrate my 30th birthday by doing what else?  Running!!  What better way to start the new year – and new decade – then running?  And since 30 is a special year, I have decided to run my age in miles!!  
I’m going to be doing the 30 miles this weekend (about a week before my birthday) since I don’t want to put in such high mileage only 2 weeks before the NYC Marathon.  Plus, I plan to spend my actual birthday with my husband and son (which easily beats out running any day!!).
“After 30, a body has a mind of its own.”
~ Bette Midler
So bring it on, 30th year!!  =)

Who or what inspires you to run?

6 Oct

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 that knowing there is a race marked on the calendar gives me that little extra motivation to push myself those last few miles or last 30 seconds of mile repeats.
Of course, there are mornings when the motivation to head out the door is simply that I probably shouldn’t have eaten that 3rd piece of pizza and most certainly shouldn’t have eaten the 4th the night before, or that I started – and finished – a pint of LaRocca’s Italian Ice.  Or it’s because later on that day we are going over my mom’s house for Sunday dinner with all of my sisters and their families/significant others.  In most families, this is a normal meal.  However, going over my mom’s for “Sunday macaroni” really equates to the average Thanksgiving dinner.  And that’s not even touching on the amount of dessert that inevitably appears (seemingly out of thin air)  on the table (see photo below – this was at a recent family get-together).  So my run in the morning is more of a precautionary measure for my waistline – and it allows me to eat all day guilt-free!!
However, there are always two constants that serve as my inspiration – my newest and greatest is my son, AJ.   I want to be healthy and strong for him as he grows up; I want him to look at me and be proud that I ran while I was pregnant with him; I want him to come to races and be proud as he sees me cross the finish line…I want him to grow up seeing that daily running/exercise is normal and healthy.  My husband, Paul, and I already are astonished that at 9 months he is repeating things he sees us doing and we know that it’s only going to get more pronounced as he gets older.  We want him to look to us for examples of a healthy, active lifestyle.
And second, at the very core of my inspiration to run is the simple fact that I love to run.  Running is who I am and who I will always be (God-willing that I’m physically capable!).  I have always enjoyed starting my day off with a run – no matter how short, easy, or slow that run is.  During these runs, I  think about the day – what chores  I need to get done, who I need to call or email, and what I am making for dinner.  It helps create order in my life and allows me to return home with an organized plan for the day.

Finally broke 20!

30 Sep


Due to poor weather forecasted for Saturday morning and plans on Sunday, I decided to shift my long run day to Friday to ensure I finally got a long run in.


The weather was perfect – low 50s and a light wind to start the morning.  The first hour of my run was before the sun came up – the darkness and low winds were extremely calming.  My plan was to maintain an 8:30-8:45 pace for the run but I was finding it difficult to not speed up early in the run.  My tendency is to go out too fast (usually b/c I’m running on rested legs)  and then I often pay for it later.



By the second hour, the boardwalk was quickly becoming populated.  The majority of my morning runs are along the boardwalk in Midland/South Beach and into and through Fort Wadsworth, so I am pretty familiar with the early-morning walkers/runners/bikers. The nods of recognition, small hand waves, and smiles helped make the second hour go by extremely fast. It also helped distract me from the strong winds that had seemed to appear out of nowhere!


Surprisingly, I felt the best during the last hour of the run.  Maybe it was the happiness of being so close to being finishing, or knowing that I finally had gotten a good, long run in.  Or maybe it was because I had actually maintained around an even pace for most of the run.  With a few miles left, I decided to pick up the pace a bit to see how I felt.  Miles 19-22 had paces of 8:18, 8:20, 8:16, and 7:43, respectively.


It was a great run and a great way to start the weekend =) To view the course, my splits, and other details of my run, please go to: http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/118066269

Learning to love my flexible training plan

28 Sep


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 what makes my day.  Most mornings I am able to head out the door for my run before my husband, Paul, leaves for work – however, teething, bad nights of sleep, and Paul’s work trips are the curveballs that prevent me from religiously following the training plan.  The amount of satisfaction I get from a great run – while still incredibly satisfying! – pales in comparison to having my son smile at me!!



So while I am already getting butterflies that the marathon is rapidly approaching and I’m most certainly not as prepared as I would have liked to be, for the first time in my life I am okay with not arriving to the starting line at my best because I know what awaits me at the finish line – my son!