09-27-2017

A Day In The Life Of A Cross Country Coach

As some of you may know, I coach cross country at a community college in New Jersey. I love it. I love seeing the athletes improve as the season goes on, and seeing how hard they work. This year I’m grateful to 1) finally have a full men’s team and 2) have a committed, motivated team. 

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Some seasons (and if you’re a coach you might know this), you get student-athletes who are on the team but not giving it their all. They complain or just seem blah to be there…and I wonder, “Why are you even here?” lol. But this year our team is solid, and our men’s team has a good chance of making it to Nationals as a team. We’ve had runners qualify for Nationals every year I’ve coached, but as individuals. We’ll see what happens!

Last weekend, we had a meet out in Harrisburg, PA. It was pretty low-key but a good chance for them to see where their fitness level is at. It was the first 8K race of the season for the men (the first meet was a 5K). 

I decided to do a little vlog to capture the day and show a day in my coaching life :)

This Friday, we race the Paul Short Invitational, which I’m super pumped about. It is a pretty big meet, and I plan to do another vlog for that one too.

For us, race days usually go like this:

  • Get on the bus and get there about 1-1.5 hours before start time
  • Get to location and set up in our spot. Hang out for a bit.
  • About 30-40 minutes before start time, I send them out for a warm up. We’ll start with drills like A skip, B skip, high knees, butt kicks, cariocas, side skips and more, then they will go on a 10-15 minute easy jog, then come back for more dynamic drills and stretching.
  • Head to the start area with about 10 min. to go and start doing strides.
  • They run, I run around and try to catch them at certain points to give them splits or simply motivation.
  • Afterwards, they go for a 10 min. cooldown jog and then we stretch.

Let me know what you think of the vlog! I want to do more videos again…future topics might be:

  • My dynamic warmup routine before runs
  • Tips for getting faster at the 5K
  • Quad/glute workout for runners
  • My go-to stretching routine

Any of those sound interesting? Or do you have an idea for a video? Let me know in the comments!

Do you have a set routine before runs? Are you superstitious about anything before races?

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06-07-2017

8 Running Workouts For Global Running Day

It’s Global Running Day! Although I won’t be running today because I just ran yesterday (read this post on why I need to take it easy), I wanted to share some easy running workouts that anyone can do today. Whether you run a block or run 10 miles, get out there and celebrate Global Running Day!

Here are some workouts I’ve shared in the past:

If you want to start doing more hill workouts or hill intervals, check out my video below on 5 Hill Running Tips:

And here are some ways to make your run fun today:

Fartleks

Fartleks basically equates to an interval workout, except it’s much more relaxed. You can go by time if you want, but if you want just a fun, no pressure run, I would do the following:

Warm up for about 5-10 minutes, and then start your run. Pick an object, either in the distance or close, and accelerate to that object. For example, pick a tree in the distance, and sprint to that tree. Then slow down for however long you want and repeat. You can mix it up by choosing something further away (and running at a moderately challenging page), or picking something within a block or less away, which means you gotta sprint!

This is a great way to make runs less monotonous and also get your heart pumping.

One Minute On, One Minute Off

This is what I’ve been doing the past few days since I’m back to running. It’s great for beginners or anyone getting back into shape like me. Run at whatever pace you please for one minute, then walk or jog for one minute. If one minute is too long, start with 30 seconds. Go for as long as you want.

Run To The Music

If you’ve taken a spin class, you know how the instructors create workouts that go along with the beat of the music. You spin faster during the faster portions of a song (usually the chorus) and slow down after. You can use this premise on your runs. Start slow, then as the song picks up, start speeding up. If the chorus is shorter, do a sprint. If it’s longer, make it into more of a moderate pace. Once the song ends, take a little break by walking or jogging, and then repeat on the next song! For slower songs, you can try to maintain a moderate pace for the whole song (sort of like a tempo run).

I’m so excited to get back to running, especially since summer is here! 

PIN the image below to save these workouts for later :-)

8 Running Workouts For Your Next Run | http://reach-yourpeak.com

 

Who will be running for Global Running Day today? What’s your workout/how far are you running?

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06-05-2017

I’m Back!

…in many ways. First off, I haven’t been blogging. Life’s been busy (less than 3 months until our wedding!), and I haven’t really been doing much since I couldn’t exercise. So I really had no updates.

But…yesterday I ran for the first time in almost 6 months!

 

A post shared by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

My nutritionist didn’t want me to exercise for the past 6 months because when I started working with her, I had all sorts of issues. Certain neurotransmitters like serotonin were off, cortisol was low from constantly being high (marathon training probably didn’t help), my sleep was a mess, which also contributed to the above, and I had a ton of stomach and gut issues. So basically she said to not exercise and give my body a much needed break in order to get everything back in balance.

It was so hard…and I was so jealous of everyone I’d see out there running or posting about their races. Plus, I missed running and working out with my mom! I’ve regularly exercised and ran since 2010, so it was tough.

Last week, she said I can slowly start incorporating it back into my routine IF I made sure to eat 5-6 meals per day. See, lately I haven’t been eating enough. I got into a routine of smoothie for breakfast, lunch, sometimes afternoon smoothie, then dinner. Really not enough, and my weigh-in results lately reflected that.

I have hit a weight loss plateau. I lost 9 lbs., but haven’t budged for over a month. My basal metabolic rate has also gone down, which means I’m burning less calories while just sitting, aka not losing weight. She said it’s extremely important for me to eat more, and drink more water. If I don’t, and start exercising too, I’ll just stay at my plateau.

I need to get over this plateau because my wedding is in less than 3 months!! I obviously want to look my best, and when I started working with my nutritionist, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. So there is still a lot of work to be done.

Symptoms wise, I’ve never felt better. I am getting the best sleep of my life. I no longer wake up every 1-2 hours every night. I don’t have crazy stomach cramps after some meals. I don’t have heartburn all the time. 

It’s crazy how some things can really affect your body and sleep.

While I’ve never felt better, I still do want to lose weight. I still feel like I have a lot of fat to lose. Ideally, I want to lose another 10-15 lbs. I have been feeling pretty frustrated that I’m stalled BUT I also know it’s my fault. May was crazy with events (birthdays, a wedding, MDW), which means a lot of “treat meals” and a lot of drinking. I need to get all that in check ASAP.

GOALS FOR THIS WEEK:

  • Eat 5-6 meals Monday-Friday
  • I have a girls night out planned for Friday, but will avoid beer and go for lighter options, like vodka sodas. As much as I love IPAs, it’s definitely not the best option
  • Aim for as close to 80 oz. of water per day

Let’s do this!

What are your tips for eating frequently throughout the day? It’s easy to forget to eat/drink when you’re working!

What are your favorite healthy-ish drinks to order at the bar?

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03-08-2017

6 Half Marathon Race Day Tips

I’m so jealous of everyone about to run their spring half marathons! I was 2 weeks into training for the NYC Half when I started working with my nutritionist and she advised against it. (Insert crying emoji)

That’s why I’m excited to join the Race Day Tips linkup hosted by You Signed Up For WHAT?!Running on HappyBrooklyn Active MamaOrganic Runner Mom, and Coach Debbie Runs.

Here are my half marathon race day tips (which can be applied to the marathon too):

Read these 6 half marathon race day tips  before your next big race! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Don’t Worry About Sleep The Night Before

Now, I’m not saying don’t worry about sleep at all. Definitely TRY to get sleep. But if you don’t, don’t worry about it. The night before isn’t as important as the week leading up to the race. For a full week, or more, before the big race, you should be trying to get your best sleep yet. I’ve gotten 2-3 hours of total sleep before a 5K before and somehow PRed.

I remember last summer we had a long training run in Central Park with NYRR and I got legit 3 hours of sleep (I’ll explain in a sec), and that was my best paced long run up until then! For some reason when I have a big race or long run the next day, I just toss and turn all night thinking about how I have to get up early and run. And worrying about whether I’ll be able to do it. But as long as I’m well rested from the week before, it has not affected me.

Watch Something Motivational 

I love watching elite runner’s race videos the night before a half marathon or marathon. It just pumps me up and then on race day I envision myself running as smoothly as them. Runners who inspire me are Shalane Flanagan (obv), Jenny Simpson (can’t believe I ran with her once in Central Park!), Brenda Martinez, Emma Coburn, Molly Huddle and Kara Goucher. Go follow them on Instagram to see their workouts and and stuff! 

Here are a few videos I’ve watched to get me pumped in the past…my mentality is, if they can put in all this hard work and gut it out, so can I:

FloTrack also has great videos following athletes in their workouts – those motivate me for races AND every day runs:

Take Lots of Pictures and Video

My mom is great at this – she doesn’t get nervous before any race. She will take photos and videos…be smiling throughout the morning. I’m usually a hot mess and can barely eat my oatmeal. I’ll be like OMG MOM STOP YOU’RE SO ANNOYING. Yet, after the race is over, I’m like “Can I see all your photos and videos??” lol

This past NYC Marathon I told her I’d be less cranky and try to take more photos and videos too so she can be in them. Since I felt so amazing (read my NYC Marathon recap here), I took the majority of video that day, which you can watch in this recap video I made…and maybe use it as motivation too :)

If you have spectators, you can ask them to take photos as well…maybe they’ll capture gems like this one from my first marathon:

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I laugh every time I see this photo.

And that’s it too – you will want even the bad photos to look back on! :-)

Focus On Details When The Going Gets Tough

This is a tip my friend, who is a therapist, gave me. She knows I struggle with mental strength when things get hard in a race. So her tip is this: When you start feeling tired or like you’re struggling, start focusing on all of your senses. What do you see? Focus on the details. The bead of sweat on the person in front of you. The waving flag in the distance. Or what do you hear? Focus on the crowd? What chants do you hear? Listen to the breathing and footfalls of the runner next to you. Or the conversation going on behind you. Really get detailed with it. It distracts your mind, at least for a little bit.

Add Intervals Towards The End (If You’re Struggling)

This has helped me in countless races, whether 5K or marathons. If you’re struggling in the last mile or 2, start doing intervals. It will help time go by faster and the changing of paces helps switch things up. Distance depends on how I feel. I will pick up my pace from one light pole to the next, and then slow it back down. If I have a watch, I will pick up the pace for 1 minute, then slow down for 1 minute. If I’m REALLY struggling, it will be more like 30 seconds. But as long as you continue that forward motion, you’re getting closer and closer to the finish.

Take In The Finish Line

It’s so easy to sprint (or try to) towards the finish and want to just be DONE. But really take it all in. This past NYC Marathon was the first time I really did that, and it brought tears to my eyes. Look around you – all these runners are in the same boat, and all of you are accomplishing your goals. You did it! You crossed the finish. Stop and just take it all in, snap a picture if you have your phone. Get a volunteer to take a photo of you. Smile!!!

I hope these tips help! As I was writing these and looking through my race photos, it just made me miss running so much. I can’t wait to get back out there with my mom. 

What spring races are you doing? Do you like taking lots of race day pics and videos?

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01-23-2017

Why I Won’t Be Running The NYC Half

So a lot has happened within the past week or so. First off, we moved AND got a dog!!

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I’ve never had a dog, and I knew once I moved into a pet friendly place that I would get one. Dan was a bit apprehensive at first but once he met him at the shelter he instantly loved him as well. His name is Marty and he’s a bit crazy on his walks at the moment but he starts puppy classes this week. Since he was in the shelter so long, he’s really skittish around EVERYTHING. I’m talking people, other dogs, loud trucks, and he’s even afraid of those metal grates on the sidewalks for some reason. He will leap over those like his life depends on it – you’d think the ground was on fire lol. But I know it will take patience and I’m glad we rescued him and gave him a home :)

But in other news - I won’t be running the NYC Half.

It pains me to make this decision, especially since I’ve only not ran a race I already registered for once (Long Branch Half Marathon”recap” here) but here’s the deal:

I started working with a Certified Health & Nutrition Practitioner in December. I had to send her my bloodwork for the past 5 years, along with sending urine and spit samples to a lab. The reason I did all this was because I just have not been feeling my best for the past few years. I’m ALWAYS tired no matter how much sleep I get, I’m always bloated (no joke, looking like I’m pregnant. I even sent her a pic and she couldn’t believe it), and have a lot of stomach issues in general.

So my test results came back, and there’s a lot going on. My stomach isn’t producing enough acid or absorbing protein/nutrients like it should. My cortisol levels are low, which is a result of the levels being chronically high for too long. Basically, she said my body has been in high alert/fight-or flight mode for a while, meaning cortisol and other hormones and chemicals were high, and now my body is just burnt out. Furthermore, it’s what is causing me to not lose weight, hold fat around my belly, and have high visceral fat. Yikes.

Ok, that’s fine, let’s fix it. So we start going over some supplements and a nutrition plan. I asked her how this plan will affect my half marathon training. She was like, “Do you really think training for a half marathon right now is a good idea given the info I just gave you?” UGH!!

Since my body is lacking energy and have been in overdrive, running right now is counter-productive. I could start the program with her and work to balance my levels (lots of things are off-kilter, like extremely high serotonin levels), but if I keep running, I probably won’t see any results since it is going against what I’m trying to do with the nutrition protocol.

I asked her, well what if I start in March?? She was like you can do what you want. I thought about it for a few days, but my friends, parents and Dan were like, “How is this even a question??” haha. They all know I’ve had these issues for a while, and my mom and dad especially were like, you need to pay for it, put your health first and forget the race.

My body fat and weight are high right now – the highest it’s ever been. I know I need to do something. I just hate that I can’t run or exercise for 4 weeks. She wants me to not exercise for that long and then we will re-assess what’s going on. I need to ask her if yoga would be ok – at least something gentle.

This is killing me!! I just moved to a town where I have so many new places to run. I  have my own fitness center in my building. I miss my spin classes! Yet now I can’t exercise. I know it’s for the best. I know I need to work on my body ASAP. Plus, if I am able to lose this excess weight, it will help my running in the long run.

How have you dealt with not being to exercise due to health reasons? 

Have you ever done tests like this to see where your hormone levels, etc. are at?

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01-03-2017

Week 2 of NYC Half Marathon Training

Alright so, last week was week 2 of NYC Half Marathon training. Kind of a slow build up, and skipped some days due to holidays/New Years. Week 1 was uneventful with only 2 runs, so starting my recap with week 2 (last week).

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 40 minute run. As I mentioned in a previous post, I purchased Jason Karp’s half marathon training plan off his website, and his plan is in minutes as opposed to miles. So today was a 40 minute run, which I ran 3.2ish miles. Slow for me, and felt INCREDIBLY out of shape, but I know that’s normal. Went to PT after for the first time since the marathon – definitely needed that!

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: Tempo workout. 1 mile warm-up, 4×5 min at tempo pace (by effort) with 1 min walk break in between. Tempo pace effort was about 9:55-10:00 per mile. 1/2 mile cooldown after.

 

A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: “Long” run. It’s in quotations because it was 5 miles lol. We ran for 60 minutes, and it ended up being 5.1 miles or so. Still kinda “slow” for me but I didn’t stop to walk at all and felt really good! Just went by easy effort in order to complete 60 minutes with no walking. Felt like I could have kept going but obviously didn’t haha.

Saturday: Spin class. I had signed up for my studio’s Best Of 2016 class and was super pumped for it, so it served as cross training for the day. It ended up being a great class, and I was at 17.5 miles by the end, so just kept biking till I hit 20 miles.

 

A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Sunday: OFF because Dan and I both were exhausted from NYE and didn’t move off the couch all day lol.

Overall I’d say it was a decent week. I didn’t run as much as I was supposed to BUT was able to run 60 minutes without walking, which shows I’m slowly getting back into shape.

That 5 mile run/long run was done at an easy pace ranging from 11:45-12:00/mile. I didn’t care about pace, just finishing those 60 minutes. Hoping to continue dropping that easy pace as time goes on.

Anyone else running NYC Half? Or a spring half marathon?

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12-12-2016

2016 New York City Marathon Race Recap

It’s here – it’s finally here!!

Took my long enough but I really wanted to finish my recap video (which will be below) before I wrote this. It’s been over a month since my mom and I ran the New York City Marathon, but I still feel a runner’s high from that day.

You’ll be able to take the journey with us in the video, beginning with the Staten Island Ferry ride and ending at the finish line.  I have so many thoughts about this race – I don’t even know where to start. This post might get a little jumbled!

Here’s me 2011 recap and my 2013 recap.

Leading Up To Race Day

It was weird. I expected to be nervous but didn’t really feel anything. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing. I’m always nervous before big races, but this time I felt pretty at ease. I think I was the most mentally and physically prepared I’ve ever been, so that helped. 

About 2 weeks before I did get a bout of nervousness, but in order to get past that, I read through my training logs from this cycle and those from 2013 and realized I was in pretty good shape. Also, my shin pain had gone away for the most part thanks to physical therapy and custom orthotics. I’ve never been able to train this consistently AND be pain free.

I went on a shakeout run the day before and felt great. I felt ready.

The Expo

We headed to the expo with my mom’s friend and my sister. My mom’s friend has never done a half marathon or marathon, so this experience was all new to her. She loved it and is thinking about doing her 9+1 next year to get into NYC Marathon…another one on the marathon team! :)

I love race expos and know I will want to walk around and explore, so we always try to go on the first day. We picked up our numbers and then it got real. My sister filmed this part for my NYC Marathon Expo vlog (below) and said, “Wow that even made me nervous!”

New York City Marathon Expo

New York City Marathon Expo

We walked around and I sat in on the course strategy session. Even though this was my third time running it, it helped to get a refresher on the course and what to expect. PS – totally forgot about that long climb at mile 23ish. That killed me.

Race Day

We were running the race with one of my mom’s friends. This was her first marathon so she was a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I told her to just take it easy in the first few miles, but she could leave us at any point if she wanted to (we split up with her around the half way point).

We opted to take the Staten Island Ferry although I’m not sure I will do this again in the future. We also took the ferry in 2013. I don’t mind the process of getting to the city and on the ferry; the problem comes once you get off the ferry and have to wait to get on the busses. That part probably took 45-60 minutes itself and my feet were starting to get tired which made me nervous. Then you get on the bus and it takes you to the starting area, but there was a ton of traffic so that also ends up taking 30-40 minutes. I overheard a few people saying they missed their wave.

In 2013, NYRR placed us on the 7:45 ferry and ensured we’d make it on time for the 10:55 wave. Well, we barely did and legit were the LAST ones running to the start corral. So this year we got on the 7:30 ferry and although we made it on time, we were still a bit rushed.

The starting area is very well organized though with plenty of port-a-potties. We picked a spot to get our numbers on and do last minute things. We headed to the corral at 10:45 and there were also bathrooms in the corral which was good because I always need to pee RIGHT before I run :-)

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Ok let’s get into the race itself!

Miles 1-8

We started on the Verrazano Bridge which is the steepest and longest hill of the whole race, but as everyone always says, you barely feel it because you’re so amped up.

Mile 1 was slow, like around 12 min/mile pace, which was fine with me. By mile 3 we were in the 10:45-10:50 range that I wanted to be in.

Time out, I forgot to mention I forgot my freaking watch and my mom’s didn’t work because the memory was full. So we mainly ran by feel. I turned on RunKeeper for a mile just to see what our average pace was, and then turned it on later in the race when I split up with my mom. We also meant to join a pace group but forgot that as well on race day. Moral of the story, write a to-do list or something because you will be all over the place on race morning.

Anyway, so we were cruising along in Brooklyn and knew we’d see my family (dad, brother, sister) at their first stop at mile 6.5ish. I took my GenUCAN around mile 3, and that would last me for 2 hours.

The Brooklyn crowds are always awesome. Everyone is screaming your name (if you have your name on your shirt) and high-fiving…it’s easy to get lost in the noise and speed up but don’t! Maintain control here.

We saw my family at mile 6.5 and I always feel bad because we stop for like 5 seconds to say hi and then run off. But they have been to each of our NYC Marathon’s and are pros by now at navigating the course and cheering us on :)

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My dad, sister and brother around mile 6

We kept trucking along and my mom filmed at times with her GoPro (where a lot of footage from my video came from). In 2013 my family went to mile 14 next, but this time they made another stop in between at mile 8ish. Around mile 8 is also an awesome spectator scene. It’s full of crowds and music. 

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Selfie with my dad (and a stranger filming me lol)

I was feeling awesome but I could tell my mom was not herself. In previous races she was always talking to me, smiling, filming, running ahead of me to take pics, and this time she was just silently running next to me. I didn’t want to say anything and get in her head, so I tried to be motivating with things like, “Ok we got this, almost at half way. We are at a good, steady pace.”

I also said I would be the one to take more pics this time to let her just run her race, so I ran ahead and took some pics.

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Miles 9-16

Remember in my short recap of NYC Marathon how I said I felt the best I’ve ever felt? Around miles 9-10, my body felt like it could start speeding up, but I held back. I  was too afraid and wanted to conserve energy. I think if I had just done what my body felt like doing, I could have PR-ed. More on that later.

Around mile 10 I said to my mom, ok after the halfway point we will speed up a tiny bit. Again, once we hit 13.1, I was afraid, and decided I would wait until after Queensboro bridger (mile 15-16).

Why is mile 13 (and halfway marker) on a bridge?? This was around when my mom stopped to walk for a bit. She said her knee was hurting, and that she was hungry. She also was using GenUCAN, but I think she hadn’t fueled enough in the week prior. We walked for probably 30 seconds then kept going. I said, ok we will go easy until after the bridge, then it’s time to turn it on.

The Queensboro Bridge, for me, is the toughest part of the race. Mentally, I was preparing myself for this almost mile-long incline. I felt like everything after that would be a piece of cake…well as much as it can be in a marathon.

We got on the bridge, and I was still feeling good. Like I’ve said before, the best I’ve ever felt, and best I’ve felt at this point in the race. In 2013, this was about where I was getting close to hitting the wall. This year, I was running up this bridge not even feeling like I was working that hard.

However, this was where my mom and I slowly started to split. I had to stop and walk a few times to wait for her to catch up to me. Some of my friends have asked why we don’t just run our own races…yeah, we could, but I love running and experiencing the race with her, especially the finish. So I stopped to walk and wait, and tried to give her a pep talk.

We knew we would be seeing my family again just off the bridge, a little past mile 16.

In the video, you’ll hear me say to my sister, “I feel good, I gotta go!” and she looks into the camera and says, “she feels good…for now…” lol. 

Miles 17-20

At this point in the race, I was like wow less than 10 miles to go! When you’re regularly doing 8-10 mile weekday training runs PLUS your weekend long runs, having 8-9 miles left in the race feels totally doable. I was having fun…I’ve never felt like this! It was amazing. In my past 3 marathons before this, these miles were a struggle, mentally and physically. Now I was running as if I had just started a run and had to run 8-9 miles.

Around mile 18, the crowds start to thin a bit. And then your mind starts playing tricks on you. You start to feel the fatigue. You start to think “Uh oh I’m getting tired…” So I put in headphones and put on the marathon playlist I made.

At this point, my mom was slowing down. I stopped again a few times to walk while I wait for her. She kept saying just go (she said this around mile 15) and I insisted no.

At mile 20 she said just go without me it’s fine. I said, yeah but what about the finish?!? She said we’ll meet after the finish line, it’s fine. I asked her if she was sure and she said yes. So at mile 20 we split up, and I felt so guilty about it for the next few miles. I called my dad to let him know. I kept thinking what if something happens to her and I left her?? Thankfully, nothing did.

It’s funny because my friend who was tracking me said she saw a spike from mile 20-21 and was wondering if there as a glitch in the app lol. I went from an 11:30-12/mile because I was with my mom, to 9:50-10:00/mile. 

I saw my family again at mile 22 and my dad yelled, “Only 4 more miles!!” I was like yeah!!

Miles 21-25

I maintained that pace for miles 21-22…and then the dreaded incline at mile 23. It doesn’t look like much, but I swear this incline is NEVER ENDING. I tried to keep my pace but stopped to walk twice and catch my breath. My music was what was helping me push myself at that point. If you need motivation in a race, put Work B*tch by Britney Spears on your playlist ;)

I turned into Central Park and thought to myself, ok NOW I have to turn it on. And I tried, as much as you can, at mile 24 of a marathon lol.

There are some undulating hills, and I tried using the downhills to my advantage. I remember I kept thinking, “WHEN are we getting out of Central Park??!”

Around mile 25 you finally get out of the park and onto Central Park South. This was also where my playlist ended but I wanted to take in the finish line crowds anyway. You run on Central Park South and then turn at Columbus Circle before entering the park. I didn’t see my family at this point because I had split up with my mom and they waited at the last checkpoint for her. 

I tried to pass as many people as I could, or hold on to those who were passing me. I tried to stick to them as long as I could (not very long).

Then you start seeing signs like 800 meters to go…

I was like ok TWO laps on the track that is easy, let’s do it!

Finish Line – Mile 26.2

You turn back into the park and then you see mile marker 26. I couldn’t believe it! I had 0.2 left. I thought, that is less than a lap on a track. Pretend this is a track workout and run 1 lap as fast as you can.

Well, I could barely speed up but it’s the thought that counts :)

I saw the sign that said 200 meters to go and really tried to kick it in.

I raised my arms, and crossed that finish line.

And it was bittersweet…because I was alone and had no one to celebrate with. 

I teared up and couldn’t believe it. I just felt SO good and had the best race ever.

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My finish time won’t reflect that (it was 4:56), but my body felt great, my energy levels were stable throughout, I had no shin pain…like I said, I couldn’t believe it. This was the first time I’ve teared up crossing a finish line. It was an emotional moment.

I started shuffling and stretching while I waited for my mom. She came in about 15 minutes after me. We hugged and got our medals and then it was time to make our way out of the park (another half mile UGH) and to see our family at our meeting spot, which is always the West Side YMCA.

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At this point I could barely walk right (and we had to go down subway stairs…went down the stairs backwards lol), but other than that was feeling good. 

Ok, enough of my writing, do you want to see the course and race for yourself? Here’s my race video!

Overall Thoughts:

  • I really liked Jason Karp’s Running a Marathon For Dummies plan. I felt super prepared for this race mentally and physically.
  • I need to figure out how to pace myself and “race” a marathon. I felt like this was too “easy” (whatever that means after running 26.2) but I’m always scared to push the pace and end up bonking.
  • This is still my all-time favorite marathon. Chicago was cool too but I just don’t think anything will compare to NYC Marathon.
  • I’m still on a runner’s high like I said – I have never felt so good in a race. Now after writing this I’m super pumped up to train for NYC Half!
  • Thank you for all your comments, well-wishes, etc. and thank you to ALL spectators that come support runners at the NYC Marathon/any marathon/any race! You have no idea how much that helps, even if you’re a total stranger to me.

Well that was long! :) Until next time NYC Marathon…perhaps 2018?

Did you run the New York City Marathon this year/in the past? What are your favorite parts of the course?

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12-07-2016

StrideBox Review & Unboxing

So far so good with my daily vlogging (though it’s only been 3 days haha). On today’s vlog, I opened up 2 StrideBox boxes, showed the different products inside and shared my thoughts.

Disclosure: Stridebox sent me these boxes to try out and review.

Check out my StrideBox review and what came in my boxes! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

StrideBox is a monthly subscription box for runners. I wasn’t sure what kind of products would come in each box or if it would actually be of interest to me as a runner, but I was pleasantly surprised! I actually can’t wait to try a bunch of these products, especially Tailwind. I’ve heard so many great things about it.

Here’s my vlog from yesterday and more specifics on StrideBox if you’re interested:

If you don’t have time to watch, here are my quick thoughts:

  • Most of the products are really helpful or beneficial to runners. Some I thought were a little random (calcium + magnesium supplement or this special tea) BUT it is still relevant to runners.
  • This is a great way to get supplements or fuel to try out. I’ve tried SO many different things when it comes to fuel (and finally found one I love – GenUCAN), so if you’re like me, this is a good way to get monthly samples and figure out what works for you. My 2 boxes had Accel gel, Tailwind and Sport Beans in them – a good variation to test out.
  • If you’re like me and notice packaging, the packaging is awesome! I love the little inspirational sticker (where can I put these??) and the card at the bottom of the box that shares a workout and recipe.

Have you tried StrideBox? What other monthly subscription boxes do you order?

PS – Here’s my first Vlogmas video in case you missed it :-)

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11-22-2016

NYC Marathon Quick Recap (Stay Tuned For Full Recap!)

I  apologize – I have been totally MIA here since the marathon. I kept meaning to do a full recap post, but I have a lot of video footage to go through, so I have yet to do a full recap :) I will try to have it up next week, so stay tuned!

But I wanted to do a quick recap to go over some main points from the marathon (if anyone cares haha).

The main point I want to talk about is that this was my best marathon ever. I felt great. I have never felt so good. Although my time doesn’t reflect it (no PR and I’ll get into why in the next post), I felt amazing and look back on this marathon and wish I could run it again, solely because I had so much fun.

My nutrition and hydration were on point – thanks GenUCAN! I really don’t know what to say other than I haven’t felt this good in any long distance race, or finished feeling this good. Like I said, I’ll get into more details in the actual recap.

I think I just said “great” and “good” a million times but not sure how else to describe it :)

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Thank you to everyone for your comments and tips throughout my training. I finished this training cycle feeling excited to continue running, as opposed to feeling like I’m done with running for a while. I’m considering signing up for NYC Half or a spring half, and getting back into real running next week.

I’ll have a real recap up next week. I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving! Any good Black Friday deals I should know about?

11-04-2016

Last Minute NYC Marathon Thoughts + Vlogs

I’m really confused by my feelings (or lack thereof). So we went to the expo yesterday and it was awesome, but still not feeling much. I mean I sometimes get pangs of nervousness, but overall am not feeling like I will be running 26.2 on Sunday. Which I can’t tell if it’s a good thing or a bad thing…maybe I can trick my mind into thinking it’s just another long run ;)

We are running the race with one of my mom’s friends, and it’s her first marathon. She’s starting to get really nervous, doubting her training and if she did enough, and called my mom to tell her she’s feeling pain in her ankle from a previous injury. I called her to reassure her it’s all totally normal and that those phantom pains are normal too. Who can relate??

Earlier this week I started getting a sore throat and was freaking out a little. Started taking Zicam and everything…thankfully it went away.

Anyway, race weekend is HERE people!! I filmed 2 vlogs if you want to check them out. One is from our last little workout earlier this week and one was from yesterday at the expo.

Here are some thoughts and things I’m repeating to myself that might help other marathoners:

  • No matter what, I will have fun. We’re running through NYC! The 5 boroughs! The spectators are amazing and I can’t wait to run through the crowds.
  • I need to trust my training. I did the best I could do. As my physical therapist said, “Could we always do better? Of course,” but we did the best that we could this time around, and it will have to be enough. 
  • This is an amazing experience and I will make sure to soak it all in. Whether you’re running NYCM or any other marathon, it is a unique experience and we have to enjoy it. We get so caught up in pace, time, gels, fuel belts, gadgets…we forget that we trained to run 26.2 miles, and that your body is strong and capable of that feat.

Who else is running Sunday? What wave? See you at the finish line!!!

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