Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

Happy New Year’s Eve! 

I am genuinely shocked that it is December 31st already. Time flies is totally true, but I feel like 2012 began just yesterday.

And what a year 2012 has been. I think I have grown and learned the most in this year than the past few combined. I find myself ending the year in a fantastic place. Happy, healthy, focused, loved and moving continuously forward in my life. Progress is a great thing. I have achieved many goals, and as always it has been proved: hard work pays off. 

First off, professionally – I am now in a place with a job I love (yes going to work on NYE – I still woke up genuinely HAPPY this morning blessed to love my job and 100% okay not having the day off). And I am continually growing. I see a great future for myself in my company and happiness in work translates well into happiness in life. I am a firm believer that you have the ability to create your own success and happiness and think that the past few years of employment and uncertainty and such have given me good karma to be where I am today. 

Second in my personal life, I am lucky to have the support of a fantastic family; my relationship with them could never be replaced. I have amazing supportive parents, and my sisters are awesome and I am constantly amazed that we are all adults and all doing so well in life. I am so proud of all of us. 

I have also learned this year that when you make some life decisions to become a better version of yourself you will lose some friendships along the way. I had long since given up the “party” lifestyle and with it this year learned who my true friends were and who the fair weather lets go get drunk at the bars friends. That is okay by me. A couple years ago when I was on the verge of turning 30 and evaluating my life I took a long hard look and realized – what was so desirable about going out and getting drunk a few times a week. I needed to grow up. And that was the choice that I made. My lifestyle has shifted and I feel like a mature and responsible person versus someone trying to keep a grip on the college lifestyle.  

I know that some of the best friends that I have I can go months without seeing then we get together for a dinner and it is like we last saw each other yesterday. Those are the friendships I value, the ones that endure when life gets busy. I am blessed to have some very special people in my life. 

Along the way this year though I have also gained some truly amazing supportive friends that I know will grow into lasting friendships. You need to surround yourself with people that make you want to be a better person; that push you and challenge you. And the people that I have in my life emulate that. Whether it is in racing, volunteering with charities or striving to rise in their professions, I see them succeeding and I want to push for more success. 

And finally, running. The simple little activity that has become a beast in my life. I don’t know what else to say besides I love it. The simple joy that running brings is indescribable. What is so simple and basic has become as essential to my life as breathing. Unless you are a runner you cannot understand it. 

I began 2012 with no set goals. I knew I was going to continue to run half marathons but didn’t have many concrete goals established along with that. I set out and PR’d my first one, but not by much and that left me wanting more. That lead to me overdoing it and upping my mileage too fast too soon and having to take off a full month. 

Having the scare of my life being told I needed MRI’s to rule out a stress fracture and that they were scared just the act of walking was going to break something was enough to have me reevaluate what I was doing. Once a hip stress fracture was ruled out, I was forced both by pain and necessity to take off from running for a full month or so. Walking was painful and running literally reduced me to tears. The best they could tell me was that it was an overuse injury. Frustrating to say the least. 

That month off was the best thing in my running career. 

I spent the month cross training by way of biking, ellipticalling until blue in the face and swimming. That also had me up the intensity of my strength training. I overhauled my eating habits as well to get leaner. Losing weight equals gaining speed. Sounds like a good trade off in my book.

I came back to running by the means of a 10K and since then there has been no looking back. I increased my mileage in a SAFE and effective way. Continued to supplement with cross training and was also lifting several times a week. Heavy weights are effective. 

The summer was spent training and racing in the heat. I formulated goals. I was getting faster and I wanted to hit a sub 2 hour half marathon by the end of 2012. Enter the Newport Half Marathon, at the beginning of September I ran the Bronx 10 mile in the heat and sub 9 minute miles. I was so confident that I was going to get sub 2 hour for Newport. And sub 2 I did, 1:54 to be exact. Elation. 

This is just insanity. 2012 has been busy.
And with that came the fall of racing like mad. I ran a race most weekends. I finished several half marathons. I was knocking off PR’s left and right. I was closing in on sub 8 min miles for my 5K’s and 4 milers. Getting faster it felt amazing. I am so dedicated to my training and there have been a few times I have wondered if I am crazy for how focused I am but the success; I don’t know if I can describe how accomplished I feel. 

That all translates to this.

Most importantly: I was having FUN. 

Waking up before dawn on the weekends did not seem like a chore it was like Christmas knowing I had a race. I think that alone shows that you are doing something you love.

As my final half’s of the season were coming up I realized I needed new challenges. I ran the Trenton Half Marathon, ending on a high note of yet another half PR at 1:53 (that time is WITH a bathroom pit stop so close to 1:50!) and decided, it’s time for a marathon. I had such runner envy for those training for NYC (a sad debacle in itself) and was running marathon mileage most weeks and it happened; I registered for ING Miami Marathon which will be the day before my birthday. A fitting way to celebrate I believe. 

So now as the last hours of 2012 are upon us I have no regrets. No thoughts of I should have done this differently. I have improved upon myself; taken control over every aspect of my life that I could and the rewards are amazing.

So here is to a fantastic 2012 and cannot wait to share what I have planned for 2013! Have a great New Years!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back to the Grind

I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Christmas with family, friends, food, love and relaxation.

Why do the best times seem to just fly by?

After a lovely few days in Florida I am back in NYC and at work. Boo. The holidays were definitely too short, I am already counting down the time to returning to Florida in 4 weeks: ING Miami Marathon + Birthday celebration (!!!)

With the odd day that Christmas was falling on it was awkward to plan out my trip down to my parents. I made the executive decision to not take off anything additional to the Monday/Tuesday we had because a) this is a really busy time of year for us at work and b) I have been out a good amount this fall between vacations/Sandy and have a good amount of time off coming in January as well (side note: I am just realizing how pretty awesome my life has been and lucky I have been to be able to do so much. Blessed for sure). 

I headed down to the on Friday after work and was SO happy when I got there. After quite the adventurous trip I was happy to just be able to relax. Pretty much was all sleep, run and relax. My one sister spent the holiday with her boyfriend and his family and the other didn’t come until Christmas Eve so it was nice to have my parents ALL TO MYSELF for a couple of days! A very unusual feat when you grow up with siblings to have your parent’s undivided attention!

I was sad to leave yesterday and the didn’t arrive home until about 1am – it didn’t really strike me that I was traveling on Christmas until my connecting flight was getting delayed and I thought I might spend Christmas evening in the airport! But we had celebrated our Christmas on Christmas Eve which was really great of my family. Nice gathering and good times. 

So here I am back to the grind and already had a super productive morning thank you to so many people taking an extended vacation and being pretty quiet around the office. The commute was eerily uneventful but a three day week is fine by me! 

Oh and finding out you are getting a sweet bonus helps soften the blow of being back in the office as well.  Merry Christmas to me!

Here is a little bit of my quick Florida journey!

Chocolate chip cookie peanut butter cups. Divine.
Apricot Pear Crostata
Apple pie. With a festive touch.
Eggplant Parm. Oh I want more RIGHT NOW.

Champagne <3

Post 20 miler status. Let's not talk about the Giants though. Ugh.

Who doesn't want to wake up to this?

Or end your nights looking out at this?

Christmas, Florida style.

Love this view.

Such a lovely little town.

Puppy play time!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

If It Was Easy...

Everyone would do it.

That is one of my favorite quotes when it comes to marathon training.

And it couldn't have been more applicable today.

Training today called for 20 miles.

I had a feeling that those 10 mile days that I was banging out all week long and a 7 miler at half marathon pace yesterday would come back to bite me in the ass.

And it did.

I let myself just kind of ease into the day. No alarms, I am trying to let myself get as much rest as possible since I am clearly pretty exhausted between work and training at this point in time.

I didn't get myself together until after 11 this morning. My bad.

I also didn't eat a legit breakfast just a pack of shot blocks as I have been doing before longer runs recently.

I was finally out the door and off running. I also stupidly didn't account for the fact that I was about to conquer 20 miles in mid day Florida sun. So prepared.

The first few miles I was just trying to settle into a groove. At about mile 4 though I realized that holy shit (pardon the language) I was pretty hungry. I had to wait until mile 6 to have a gu because I needed to be at the water fountain.

I took a roctane for super caffeinated powers and it did help a bit but I knew this would be a rough run.

I was pretty much hungry the whole time and was just counting down the miles to get to the halfway point and over that hump.

I took another gu at mile 10 and again I used the espresso since it has twice the caffeine. Helped for a bit but at this point I could tell I was getting really dehydrated and kind of cursing myself for being so dumb.

My legs were slow I could tell that they were overloaded. Plus I could not hydrate nor had I fueled properly.

But I kept on pushing on. I know you are supposed to run long runs sloooow but seeing my pace at 10 and over just really got to me mentally and I was feeling like a failure. Stupid I know.

I took the final gu that I had brought around mile 14 and just focused on staying hydrated.

I let myself take a couple walk breaks because I was feeling a tad light headed but other than that once I hit 16 I just wanted to rock it to the end and be done. And after what seemed like eternity I was home and 20 miles were DONE.

And all I could think about were: water, a peanut butter sandwich and getting in the pool. Which all happened within a few minutes of walking through the door.

I learned a few lessons today.

Distance running is no joke and to not be a moron and not plan out your fueling strategy. While in theory I used the same I did for the 18 last week, I wasn't accounting for the fact that I have not run in heat and humidity in quite some time. My body was already pretty beat up. And also I wasn't starting until mid day I should have had a proper meal for breakfast prior to the shot blocks.

Also sunblock. I have acquired some unbecoming tank tan lines. 3.5 hours in mid day Florida sun will do that. Argh.

The best news - I didn't stop AT ALL for the bathroom. Not once. Stomach was amazing today. I couldn't believe it.

On another note. I have not gone to the bathroom since before my run and have probably had a gallon of water (tmi but whatever). I am a tiny bit concerned. Hi dehydration nice to meet you again.

But all in all. If I could accomplish 20 today in less than ideal conditions. Tired legs. Not properly fueled. Then I can't wait to see what I pull out for the marathon after a full taper.

I couldn't be more excited (and yes I know my excitement basically escalates on a daily basis - 5 WEEKS!)

Another successful training day. So proud of this.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


I did not realize just how exhausted I was until today.

After a lot of travel yesterday I finally made it to my parents house at 2am this morning. Yikes. But SO happy to be in Florida at the parents for Christmas. And for warm weather, obviously.

I left work (after sneaking in a 30 minute lifting session in the gym, shhhh) at 4:30 do the math, not arriving at the house until 2am = a LONG day/night.

I woke up as per usual at 6am on my own but then turned over and went back to sleep. I did the same thing when I woke up again at 8; and finally wandered out of bed at 10:30. It was glorious. I cannot recall the last time that I stayed in bed that late actually sleeping! I usually feel too guilty with all the things I can be doing to stay in bed.

So I got up, drank some coffee, enjoyed some sunshine and pretty much went back to read/nap an hour later.

Merry Christmas to me. Thank you snowbird parents.
After hanging out with this handsome guy of course.

Fine, take my picture. I know I'm adorable.

I have missed my little Lucio so much! Best puppy ever.
It took me until 2 o'clock to feel normal and motivated to run. Well, the run part was with a little guilt from my father. As I was just futzing around he says to me "aren't you going to work out today?" Thank you dad. Getting right on it.

And workout I did. Marathon training called for 5 miles at marathon pace (I am going aiming for 9:30 for the marathon...or something like that I am hoping I can pace faster). But it was so beautiful I couldn't help myself, I just went for it.

Oops? Let's hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the ass during 20 tomorrow...
It was one of those runs where you are pushing yourself but it just And who can help it but pick it up when this is what you are running next to:

Oh winter how I do not miss you.

Love. Happiness. Sunshine.
I wanted to push myself a bit also since I am training in the cold of NYC for a marathon in January in Miami which means I am going to be acclimated for cold weather running not hot. My breathing was definitely a bit more labored than it has been, which can also be since I haven't been doing too much at that pace or it could be the Florida weather. Either or, it felt great. 

So now I have homemade pizza and Christmas movies with the fam before getting to bed early to rise for a fun LONG run of 20 miles tomorrow! And then doing a whole lot of nothing but lounging around. Between marathon training and working OT each week at work, I am obviously just a bit run down. These few days away from home came just in the nick of time and are just what the doctor ordered!

Backyard sunset view.


The Girl That Runs A Lot

I cannot begin to say just how much I have gotten this lately.

And I am a little proud of it. 

If you have to be known for something you mine as well be known for something you love!

I've been using my work gym a lot lately and been doing doubles - spreading out my mileage between lunch and post work. (Four 10 mile days in a row - FTW!) 

So now I have become a "regular" down there - there aren't many that use it, no idea why it is so convenient and nice - so now they see me at the cafe or around the building and exclaim "it's the runner!". 

Then I was buying some groceries after my run the other night and the cashier always asks me how my running is going - and a random man next to me goes - "that is how I know you, I always see you running!". 

Fair enough. I will take it. 

Running and racing have definitely become part of my identity. When I have been catching up with friends for the holidays a lot of them ask me about my running (having seen posts on facebook/instagram) and the progress I have made this year is definitely something I am proud of. 

As the year winds down and I plot out 2013 I am SO excited for some new adventures on the horizon. I'm attempting to not be too ambitious but let's be real once this marathon is over and I see how I do - my goal for the NJ Marathon (oh yeah, that happened) is obviously going to be to go for a PR. 

Side note - am I cocky in just assuming I am going to kick some ass in Miami, or is that a good mentality to have...not sure but with the way training has been going I am super positive about how it is going to play out (also ask me that after I do a 20 miler Sunday in Florida).

So yes, I guess I have become "the girl that runs a lot". 

Monday, December 17, 2012

NYRR Ted Corbitt 15K - Recap

Want to know what the best part of doing a new distance race is? YOU AUTOMATICALLY PR! So spoiler alert, I PR’d today. 

Anywho. So today’s race was part of the bigger picture: 18 miles.

I never had any intention of “racing” it. My plan was to just keep steady and chug along and get the mileage in.

First things first, the weather on Saturday was perfection in Central Park. What a lovely day overall. Nice and crisp but was actually pretty warm – and had to take off my gloves about half way through. I am totally fine if mother nature decides that winter doesn’t actually have to make an appearance. No snow, no problem in my book!

I was for some reason NERVOUS for these miles all week long. I don’t know why but I just had a feeling that they were going to be rough. This turned out to not be the case at all, in fact the total opposite! So I woke up having to really get myself out of bed. I didn’t have that extra pep in my step looking forward to it. I waited til the last possible second to get up and then was scrambling of course to make sure I had everything. 

On my way in I ate a pack of shot blocks which is becoming my long run breakfast. I am trying to fuel for running as much as possible with the gels and blocks so my stomach is really used to them. And I am absolutely responding better now. Thank god! I also brought three gels to use during the run. 

I arrived at central park around 7:45 and the race wasn’t until 8:30 so figured I would get in as many miles as possible before it started. I press my Garmin to start and DEAD. Or would be within a mile. Rookie mistake not making sure it was charged. I had a minor melt down. Almost convinced myself to go home and do the run on Sunday. Without the watch working it meant I would have to stream mapmyrun on my phone to accurately get my mileage. This in turn meant that I would not be able to have music or there would be no way the phone would last. So that was it. No music get to running. 

I was able to run 3 miles prior to the race start and I was feeling good. It was a nice little warm up. I met up with my friend Tara at our coral with a few minutes til the gun. She was going to run 16 and we were in it together. I told her I planned to try and keep at a 9:30 pace which she was good with. The race started and we settled into a groove. The miles just started to fly on by. I took a good when I hit about 6.5 miles or so and had some water. We tried to stop at most water stations. Again prepping for the marathon. There was no rushing no urgency. I even stopped about half way through the race for a quick bathroom break (that is how NOT serious we were about our time).

The course itself was nice. It skipped harlem hill for two loops. But got our cat hill in! I wound up doing cat hill 4 times on Saturday when all was said and done!

As the miles ticked away all I could think of was how GREAT I was feeling. I felt like I was holding back so much which was a good feeling considering I hadn’t had a rest day in over a week and a half. 

We picked up the pace for the last 200 and finished the race holding hands, I loved it. We had identical times, definitely a first! I hope they got a good picture.

I have to say – I really LOVE the 15K distance. I kind of wish there were more of them around. As usual very organized by NYRR and everyone looked really happy and like they were enjoying themselves. I had heard good feedback about this one and it lived up to the hype. I will definitely be doing it again.

We took a couple of minutes at the end and ate half a bagel, got some Gatorade and water and stretched before starting out again. We only had about 6 miles left so decided to run up to the reservoir and do a couple laps then run down the east side again to finish it up until we hit the 18. 

The reservoir was a nice change of impact. I really wanted to take off but she was not quite where I was so we kept at it with the 9:30 pace. I would have liked to tempo in some goal pace but no biggie. I know I should be more concerned with finishing the first marathon I do but I really have a time goal. And I think if I can do those 18 at that pace on super tired legs then I can totally do it. What’s 8 more miles right?!?

Not to mention, I did that entire run WITH NO MUSIC. I really had a holy shit moment when I realized how much I was in the moment, in tune with my body and just having FUN. Yes, 18 miles of total unadulterated bliss. I was sky high when I finished up. Give me the race and crowds and music and I feel like I will be on cloud 9 running the marathon. Not to mention rested coming off a taper. I never had a time when I wanted to be done or was hurting at all. I am so so so ready. I want to run this right now

I got home, showered, covered my legs in icy hot and proceeded to eat my face off and take in some TV and then got in a beautiful nap. 

But seriously, just glorious. I am still so stoked by how well it went.