02-03-2015

6 Tips For Choosing Your First Half Marathon or Marathon

Spring race season is (sorta) close! I can’t wait until it gets warmer and I can start running 5Ks. Spring weather and fall weather are the best for running. I will be doing a spring half marathon, just not sure which one yet.

If you’re just starting on your running journey, or even just thinking about doing your first longer distance race, here are a few tips that may help you in deciding which to pick. Your first half marathon and/or marathon will be one you won’t forget. It takes months of training to get there, and whether that day goes awesome or horrible (like my first marathon), you’ll always remember it. So finding the right race for you is important!

Tips For Choosing Your First Half Marathon or Marathon

Location

I won’t say that you should pick one close to you, because a destination race could be just as fun. My first half marathon and marathon were both close to where I live, but I wouldn’t have been opposed to a destination. I think it would have both positives and negatives.

Positives: your first race is somewhere new, it’s wrapped up into a vacation and it’s going to be an awesome memory. Negatives: Traveling could create more stress, logistics could be more complicated, there could be jet lag issues, and you’ll have to fly home with sore legs ;)

When there’s a race close to home, you have less to worry about and you might be able to get more sleep the night before – both because you may have extra time to get ready, and because you’ll be sleeping in your own bed and have less stress. Last year, it was so nice to be able to sleep in my own house and wake up and drive into NYC for the NYC Marathon. Just something to think about…

Course Built For Your Strengths

For me, I know that I don’t prefer pancake flat courses. I train on pretty hilly terrain, so I’m more comfortable with a few hills (nothing crazy), like the NYC Marathon course. If you train on mostly flat ground, you’ll probably want to find a flat race. HalfMarathons.net is a great resource and gives you course info, elevation maps and average temperatures. Running In The USA is a great place to look for half races and marathons. Definitely make sure to look at elevation maps before registering! I’ve decided against certain races because of crazy hills ;)

Size

Do you imagine hundreds of people cheering you on and screaming your name? If that thought pumps you up, go for a bigger race. I have yet to run another marathon besides NYC and I’m honestly kind of nervous to! I loved the huge crowds and am scared another race just won’t compare. Though, at the same time, I ran the Philly Half in November which was a bigger race and kind of regretted it. It was packed on the course which can get frustrating.

So I would suggest deciding on your two options: a crazy spectator crowd or perhaps less of a crowd and less people on the course (no worrying about dodging runners or delayed starts). I personally would say go with the bigger crowds. As a first timer, there’s nothing like having people screaming for you, high-fiving you and cheering you on. That’s what got me through every mile during both my marathons. My first half marathon (Long Branch Half, NJ) had less spectators but still had good support throughout the entire race. It was more suburban, so people were outside on their front lawns cheering the runners on.

Team Up With A Friend

I’m so inspired and impressed by people who run half marathons and marathons alone…I really can’t imagine running one without my mom! If it’s your first time, finding a running buddy who will join you can serve as motivation and support. You have someone to talk about training with, and vent about the bad runs, injuries, etc. You’ll also have someone there on race day to share your nerves and run with you. Even if you decide to both run your own races, it’s great to have someone there before the race…and after!

Read Race Recaps

Reading race recaps helps you get a perspective from another runner. I’ve been searching for a spring half marathon and fall marathon and have read a million race recaps. No matter how small the race, I bet you’ll find a recap. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment or tweet them with any questions you might have – runners love that!

Weather (Not Just Race Day)

Sure, race day weather is an important consideration (do you want to run a race on the east coast in December?), but I’m more focused on the weather during your training. A fall race means summer training, and a spring race means winter training (which is why I have yet to run an early spring race). I prefer summer running, but many enjoy running in the winter. I know I will not be running much in Dec.-Feb. so my spring half will probably be in May.

Another thing to consider is Daylight Savings. During the end of my training for both NYC Marathon and the Philly Half, training got tough because it was getting dark around 4:30 – 5:00, which was when I would get out of work. I don’t live in a well-lit area, so it wasn’t easy to run at night….though I then figured out that going to my local college campus where it WAS well-lit was perfect for long run days. No need to wear a headlamp or anything.

This post just got me excited for half marathon training to begin. One day, my spring race will be the Boston Marathon…though that’s a looooong ways away ;)

What tips would you add to this list?

What was your first half or full marathon?  Or will you be running your first this year?

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11-13-2014

How To Negative Split Your Next Marathon

We’ve got another great post from my running coach, Marc, today. He’s going to be talking about the elusive negative split. I don’t think I have yet to do that in a half marathon or marathon…maybe next weekend in Philly? We’ll see :)

Let’s read!

negative-splitPhoto Credit: ~Oryctes~ via Compfight cc

Marathon running is hard enough as it is. Don’t make it any harder by using up all of your energy before you get to the finish line.

Plan to negative split – which means going out a shade slower for the first half and coming back quicker. Here are 3 ways you can practice doing this.

  1. During your long runs, go out at just slightly slower than your typical long run pace. This will ensure you feel good and give you that extra push to run the last few miles at a quicker pace. Remember, the more you practice going out comfortable and under control, the easier it is to do it in a race.
  2. Know your fitness. If you aren’t ready to run a marathon at a specific pace, you shouldn’t try and do it for the first time during the race. Prepare your body for what you expect it to do during the race. This includes doing tempo runs, threshold runs, and long runs.
  3. Prepare your mind. If you want your body to run a specific pace for 26.2 miles, you also have to train your brain to be able to handle the amount of time you’ll be spending on your feet. You can’t train your brain without logging some hefty miles, so the brain and the body are one in the same. Be patient with your brain – when you see a long run of 20 miles on your calendar, but you’re starting out at 8, you might scare yourself. 

Remember, marathons are tough, but with proper work and training, anything you put your mind to, you can achieve.

For tips, tricks and your very own training plan, visit trainwithmarc.com

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Have you ever had a negative split in a race?

Do you practice negative splits or race pace during long runs? 

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10-15-2014

Top 5 Running Moments

I was inspired to write this post after Jill posted about her half marathon race being one of her top proudest moments. I wanted to take the time to reflect on my top 5 running moments :)

PS – the races are linked to my race recaps – not sure why it only shows as a link if you hover over it.

#5. NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile (2012)

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This was my first one mile race and one I’ll always remember. First of all, running a one mile race is awesome. Short but still tough…but you can dig deep for just one mile. I ran this race in 7:07 and was definitely feeling that runner’s high after! It was my fastest mile time since high school track. I’m not sure what my mile time would be now…now I kind of want to go out and run a mile as fast as I can! Oh also, I got to meet Jenny Simpson and Kara Goucher that day :)

#4. My First Half Marathon (2011)

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Our first half marathon was part of the New Jersey Marathon – the Long Branch Half Marathon. Never in a million years did I think I would run longer than 5K. I was inspired by the running community I found on Tumblr, and told my mom we should train for a half. She said no way. I convinced her, and now we are about to run our 4th half in November! We figured we would run this race in 2:30 and started with the 2:30 pacers. We left them behind after mile 1, and finished in 2:10. We were so proud of our time and finished strong. It was the beginning of our running journey.

#3. My First 5K With My Mom (2010)

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This is at our local 5K, Miles For Matheny (which is actually where I have my 5K PR). It was our first 5K together, and we had no idea what we were doing running wise. Sure I ran XC in high school, but at that point that was 4 years ago. Funny story about this picture, we got to the start line like 30 minutes before the race because we wanted to be in the front/have room. Then we had to move back anyway because only “6 minute milers should be in the front.” Such noobs :-P We have ran almost every race together since this race!

#2. New York City Marathon (2011)

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Our first marathon. Your first marathon will always be a race you’ll never forget. I was proud of my mom and I for finishing – especially for her because she felt strong the whole way. But I’ll also remember it for feeling like absolute crap starting around mile 18. Then it turned into a walk/run the whole way, and ended up in the medical tent at the finish. Pretty sure I was close to having hyponatremia. It left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I wanted to come back with a vengeance…which leads me to my number 1 moment…

#1. New York City Marathon (2013)

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This is definitely my proudest moment as a runner. I trained for 18 weeks using the Hansons Marathon Method. I worked my butt off and was running 6 days a week. I had never run so many miles in my life. And it all paid off. My mom and I ran a 33 minute PR, and felt strong the entire way. I didn’t walk at all. I stopped once to stretch out my hip flexor really quick. We crossed the finish line smiling as opposed to me being angry from feeling so awful. I got to take everything in. The crowds were amazing. Everything about that day was just perfect. I can only hope my next marathon goes just as well or is even better. I’m so proud of my mom too for finishing her second marathon. I can’t imagine running races without her! I’m not sure yet what I will do in 2015…but it will include at least 1 half and a marathon. Where? I don’t know! I’m open to suggestions, especially for spring races so please leave a comment below!

What are your top 5 running moments? Tell me below or if you write up your own post, come back and leave a link so I can read!

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10-07-2014

New York City Marathon Tips

The TCS New York City Marathon is less than a month away! I’m so jealous of everyone who will be running it this year. If it’s your first time running the NYC Marathon you will not be disappointed. It was my first marathon and one I’ll never forget. I also ran it last year (2013) and it was even more amazing the second time.

I wanted to share my perspective on NYC Marathon course tips and strategy. The course runs through all five boroughs, and there are different things to expect within each one. Let’s go through the course, starting with the wait at Fort Wadsworth.

nyc-marathon-tips

BEFORE THE RACE

Give yourself plenty of time. Last year my mom and I literally had to run to our corrals and were probably the last ones to get in. Why? Because we should have gotten on an earlier ferry. The ferry was on time but once we got into the terminal we waited probably 30-45 minutes for a bus to take us to Fort Wadsworth. That’s a lot of standing around before running 26.2 miles! Plan out the logistics and try to get there 2 hours or so before your wave. That gives you plenty of time to get there, get settled, put your gear on, go to the bathroom, eat, do bag check etc.

Pack warm clothes. By now you already know to wear layers and throwaway clothes at the beginning. But make sure to pack something warm for the finish. I know that you have the option to exit the park early if you don’t do bag check, but I’d rather just pack my bag and put in a jacket and comfy shoes. Last year I fit my puffy winter coat in the bag they gave me. Just stuff it all in there!

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Pack a warm jacket, I’m telling you!

Write your name on your shirt. This is obviously something to be done before the race (though people hand out markers at the start village in case you want to write on your shirt). Some people think this is cheesy but I’d say the spectators are what really got me through the race. It feels awesome to have hundreds of people screaming out your name and cheering you on. Total strangers who are out there yelling your name. This is why I love running and spectators (which I wrote about more here). I also like to add in something corny on the back of my shirt too :) Here are my shirts from 2011 and last year:

384918_10101040005677169_1662753243_n picmonkey-collageGet to your corrals on time. You don’t want to be locked out and have to wait more time to start. Or if you’re like my mom and I, you don’t want to have to run and be the last ones in and all rushed getting yourself settled that you miss all the start line festivities. From what I remember, there are port-a-potties on the walk to the starting line.

THE COURSE

Okay let’s get right into the race itself!

Miles 1-2: You’re running over the Verrazano Bridge and it’s awesome. Yes, everything you’ve heard about not feeling the one mile uphill is true. You are too amped up to notice it. Look over the sides and you’ll see the New York Fire Department and their water display. Look at the NYC skyline and know you’re about to conquer that city ;)

Miles 2-13: These are all in Brooklyn. Honestly, I’d say cheering wise this was my favorite part of the race (besides the finish of course). There are so many spectators out in full force screaming your name as you run by. I like this better than the famous First Avenue because the road isn’t as wide, which means it feels like you’re running through a tunnel of people all cheering for you.

My family met my mom and me at mile 8, which I believe is right by a subway station…I think they got off at the Prospect Ave. station. There are several subway stops on Fourth Avenue, so your spectators can get off the subway, see you, then get back on to go to their next location, which for my family was the Queensboro Plaza stop to see us before we went over the Queensboro Bridge.

Miles 13.1-15: At the halfway point, you cross over the Pulaski Bridge. We practiced this a few times in our long run training so I knew what to expect. It’s a hill but not too long, you’re up and over in no time. Just maintain even effort and try to save what you can for the Queensboro Bridge.

Mile 15-16: This is where the bridge starts. Both years I’ve had a tough time here. It’s not that steep it’s just an incline that never ends! I believe I measured it to be almost a mile. There are no spectators so it’s just you and your fellow runners. Stay strong and pump your arms to keep propelling yourself forward. At the end of the bridge there are signs that say something along the lines of “Only 10 miles to go” but in a way more motivational sense. I can’t remember it now! Just think to yourself, 10 miles is nothing! You did 10 miles how often in your training? I like to pretend the previous miles of the race were just a warm-up ;)

Mile 16-20: These miles seemed never ending to me not gonna lie. You’re running up First Ave. which is a slight incline that lasts forever it seems. It’s cool to be able to see all the runners in front of you, but I also just felt like mile 20 was so far off. Towards miles 18-19, the crowds get thinner. We were supposed to meet my family there but they didn’t make it on time. I’d rather have them closer to the finish anyway.

Mile 20-21: You’re in the Bronx for a little bit before you will cross another bridge into Manhattan. There are lots of fans in the Bronx as well who will be cheering you on!

Mile 21-24: Thankfully that bridge you cross onto Fifth Ave. isn’t an incline. I remember getting to this point and telling my mom okay let’s speed up! Well, we tried anyway. Around mile 23 you are running along side Central Park, but the incline starts. It’s a long, steady climb before you get into the park. Be strong and use whatever mantra you need. I actually didn’t mind this section because my hip flexors were tight and running on an incline helped a bit.

Mile 24-26: You run through the park!! You are so close! You will go through some undulating hills here but the spectators are amazing. You will definitely feel that runner’s high. Try to pass as many people as you can! At mile 26 you come out of the park and then you’ll be going towards Columbus Circle. SO MUCH CHEERING! I was smiling the whole way to the finish line. You go back into the park and see the Mile 26 mile marker…only .2 to go!!!

Mile .2: Run strong because you’re there. There is a slight incline to the finish but there are signs counting down the distance (400 yards, 200 yards, etc.) Cross the finish and get your medal!

WATER STOPS

Someone left a comment about this and I wanted to add this section in. Water stops can get crowded but it’s never crazy enough that you’d have to stop all together to get water and wade through people. Just keep running until the last tables in order to have more space.

My suggestion would be to wear a fuel belt with 1 or 2 bottles. That’s what I did, and I was able to skip 2-3 water stops, and when I needed to refill my bottle, the volunteers were great about it. They would see me running up with my open bottle, and they’d grab a jug of water and come running up to me and top me off. Took less than 15 seconds I bet you. If you don’t want to carry anything, you’ll be fine. Like I said, just run to the later tables as opposed to the very first ones where everyone goes.

POST-RACE

Before you start walking to bag check, grab two mylar blankets (one for your shoulders and one to tie around your waist). They really do keep you warm!

I found that post-race was the hardest for me. Not only do you walk one mile to get your bag from bag check, then you have to walk to wherever your family is meeting you. Certain areas are restricted to the public which makes it hard. I suggest meeting at the West Side YMCA on West 63rd Street. We are YMCA members so we are allowed to use their locker rooms and showers (we didn’t though because I just wanted to get home). But even if you’re not members you can use their restrooms or lobby as a meeting place. We got out of Central Park around 83rd or something? I was not about to walk 20 blocks so we took the subway to meet my family.

Have a concrete meeting location because you either a) won’t have much cell battery left after running (mine died) or b) won’t get good service because everyone will be using their cell phones too.

Most Important Tips

If you didn’t want to read that whole thing, here are my most important tips:

  • Have a set plan on where to have your spectators. Map out the exact time they should be there/when you think you will run by there, along with their subway plan. Make sure to tell them if you will be running on the left or right side of the road.
  • Pack warm clothes for the finish!
  • Have a meeting location for after the race.
  • Start slow!! Queensboro Bridge is tough and you want to get there feeling fresh(ish). Try to even split or negative split.
  • NUMBER ONE: HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE SPECTATORS!!!

I’ll be there this year cheering on all the runners and I can’t wait! Writing all this and reading my own race recaps makes me wish I could be running this year. Best of luck to everyone!!!

Here’s my recap video from last year where you can really see how there are spectators every step of the way :)

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10-01-2014

10 Ways To Avoid Hitting The Wall In Your Next Marathon

It’s marathon season! I can’t wait to go be a spectator this year at the New York City Marathon. Exactly a month from tomorrow! I have ran it twice with my mom and although we haven’t experienced any other marathon yet, we seriously love that race. Such amazing fan support the entire way. 

Although I’m not training for a marathon this year, I wanted to talk a bit about what I learned in 2013 on how to avoid “the wall.” Now, there’s no doubt about it, you WILL feel tired in the later miles of a marathon. But there are ways to avoid that feeling of “I can’t do this anymore” and feeling miserable. 

How To Avoid Hitting The WallPhoto Credit: familymwr via Compfight cc

IN TRAINING

Add more mileage. This is one thing that majorly helped me in my second marathon. I used the Hansons Marathon Method which focuses on adding more miles (more on that in a second). I was running the most weekly mileage I ever have before! According to Runner’s World, runners with more training miles finish marathons faster. Check out their cool chart below:

completion-timePhoto source

Do more specific workouts. Will 400s really help you in a marathon? Sure, they have their place and time…usually in the beginning of a training circuit, but there are other workouts that are more specific to your goals. Add in tempo runs and longer interval workouts. During my last marathon training round, I started doing 1,200 meter and 1 mile repeats…killer! I was also doing tempo runs that went up to 10 miles at marathon goal pace.

Run on tired legs. Another thing I loved about Hansons Marathon Method (can you tell I loved it?) is their notion of running on tired legs. You need to get used to running when you’re tired…because isn’t that what the marathon is all about? ;) A simple way to do this is to run the easy miles the day before and after a long run. Yes, the day after sucks and your legs feel like lead, but it will lead to a better marathon experience.

Run higher mileage during the week. This goes along with my first point. Stop running just 3-4 easy miles during the week and a super long run on the weekends. Add in some longer weekday runs too. Now I’m not talking about 15 mile runs or anything, but if you can, start doing 6 mile runs instead of 4 mile runs, and ramp it up from there. This will not only 1) add weekly miles but also 2) help you “run on tired legs.”

Strength train. Duh right? But during marathon training it’s easy to let strength training fall by the wayside. Make sure you hit the gym at least 2 times a week to do a full body strength circuit. I like to focus mainly on legs and core. If you’re limited on time, check out my 10 minute leg workout! Not only will strength training (especially legs) make you stronger, it will keep you injury free.

Find the right fuel plan for YOU. I wrote about this a while back, but during my last marathon training stint I realized that I needed to fuel more often. I sweat A LOT and as a result am losing more nutrients and electrolytes than others. I found that doing 1 gel pack every 45-60 minutes wasn’t enough for me. Test different types of fuel and fuel timing on your long runs and find what works for you.

DAY OF THE RACE

Don’t start out too fast. I mean we’ve all heard this before but it is all too easy to start out too fast. Your adrenaline is pumping and you feel good…until you don’t. Start off at a comfortable pace and as the miles tick by you can evaluate how you feel and if you can speed up. I say at mile 16 you will know if you can run faster or not…if you can, go for it!

Don’t be a slave to your watch. I’m a competitive person so this is even hard for me to do. But some days just aren’t going to be your best days. Don’t end up bonking because you were determined to hold that X:XX pace per mile even though your body was telling you it was too fast. Listen to your body and if you need to go slower than you goal pace, then so be it. It’s better to cross the finish than DNF.

Use electrolyte supplements/salt supplements. This kind of goes with my fueling point, and you should obviously try this in training first, but using supplements during a race can really help you avoid that wall. It helped me a lot in my second marathon. I remember in my first marathon I saw the salt accumulating on my clothes…not good. Second time around I started using S!Caps which seriously helped so much. No dehydration or salt loss this time around!

Stay hydrated but not TOO hydrated. Yet another rookie mistake by me. Because I lost a lot of salt in my first marathon, I felt SO THIRSTY. I started drinking multiple cups of water at each water stop starting at mile 15. By mile 18 I was done. That water was sloshing around in my stomach and making me feel awful. I’m pretty sure I was at borderline hyponatremia. Needless to say, I crossed the finish line, ran to the bushes and threw up. Doesn’t my first marathon just sound lovely?? :) Moral of the story: drink fluids at every stop if you need to. If you’re thirsty, drink water. But don’t overdo it. The salt caps also helped keep my thirst in check.

So this post got a bit long but these are all things I learned in my 2 marathons. I know many of you have ran way more than that, so please leave a comment and tell me what tips you would add!

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05-28-2014

Qualifying For The Boston Marathon

As you know, my mom and I went to Boston this year to watch the marathon. It was amazing and so inspirational. We vowed we’d be back to run it one day! We will work to qualify, even if it will take a few years to do so.

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I was looking through the forums on LetsRun, and came across one about the Boston Marathon. Here is what someone commented:

I used to feel honored to wear my BAA Marathon shirt. Now, many others I see are “charity” runners. People who raise $$. Most are 5-6 hour marathoners. I know this is old news. But, is there any race left that is a qualifier race?
Maybe they can give the charity runners a different shirt?

This is one of those things where I can see both sides, but am not sure how I feel. I mean, I know that I personally want to work towards a qualifying time. Mainly, because I love a good challenge, and I love that feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a goal. Though, I do think that if it wasn’t realistic for us to qualify in the future, we’d consider running for charity. We ran the NYC Marathon for charity, and it was a great experience.

This comment also touches upon the “time issue” when it comes to marathons. Just because people run 5-6 hour marathons (my first was 5:20), does that make us any less of a marathoner? I’d love to run a 3-4 hour marathon but if I can only run 4:50 right now, why should that count against me?

I do understand the concept of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It’s prestigious and many runners view it as the “Holy Grail” of marathons. Many work for years to get that BQ. So should charity runners be “allowed?” I mean…I think so. These runners are committing themselves to raising thousands for charity, and running 26.2 miles for a cause. Isn’t that great? I’m glad other people commented basically telling this person they are wrong, and that if they want to run a race solely based on qualifying time, then they should be working towards the Olympic Trials :-)

Anyway, I guess the point of this post is: Should marathoners be bothered by charity runners? As this comment said, should they get different shirts/jackets? Does it really matter?

What are your thoughts? Have you ever ran the Boston Marathon? Or ran for a charity?

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05-23-2014

Friday Five: Five Places I’d Like To Run

Happy Friday! Today I decided to join in on a link up with Cynthia of You Signed Up For What?! Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run. If you want to join the link up, or just read what other bloggers’ list as places they’d like to run, then check out Cynthia’s post!

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I want to travel more, and I want to make more of an effort to explore new cities through running. Sadly, during last week’s short trip to DC I wasn’t able to go for a run. That would be have been so cool! Here are my 5 places I’d like to run, in no particular order:

San Francisco

Running San FranciscoSource

I’ve been to San Francisco 3 times and didn’t get a chance to run on the trails by the Golden Gate Bridge. I always see pictures and it just looks so beautiful and serene. Next time I’m out there I will do it! I’d also love to run the San Francisco Marathon which runs over the bridge!

Paris

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I’ve been dreaming of going to Paris since I was taking French classes in middle school. One day! I’d love to run the Paris Marathon (and all the Marathon Majors). How cool would it be to run in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower? I have yet to travel to Europe but hope France is the first place I go.

Oregon

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Dan has no idea why I have this obsession with traveling to the Pacific Northwest. It just looks so beautiful and there are so many places and trails to run on. I always love seeing Lauren Fleshman’s Instagram pictures of her runs…and am always jealous! The picture above is in Bend, Oregon. Another stop in Oregon I’d also love to make is Nike Headquarters. I want to run on their awesome track!

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Hawaii

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Um, do I really need to explain why I want to run in Hawaii? If you click the source link above, there is a list of trail running locations in Hawaii, in case you’re curious or want to plan your next trip. I’d love to go to Hawaii for my honeymoon or something, since there is so much I’d want to do!

Brazil

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I had to add this to the list because my family will be here in about 6 weeks! The picture is in Copacabana which is where we are staying. There is a running route right along the ocean. I can’t wait to explore (not alone of course).

Your turn: What are 5 places you’d like to run? If you write a post about it, add it to the link up!

Have you ran at any of these places before? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips!

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04-28-2014

Should I Run A Fall Marathon??!

Decisions, decisions…

As I mentioned after the Boston Marathon, my mom and I were really inspired and motivated. We have a half marathon this July in Paraguay, but after Boston, we started talking about a possible fall marathon to try to get a new PR and take the first step in working towards a BQ (far off). 

I don’t know though!! I mean, I’d like a new marathon PR, and I really want to get faster…but training in the summer was difficult. But the hardest part for me was training once it started getting dark out at 5 pm. That was the worst! But as of right now, we’re going to go for it. It’s so far off and I’m afraid of committing to it now, but “YOLO” right?? :-P

The thing is, we really don’t know what race to do. Which is why I need your help! I have a couple of races I’m looking into but am not sure about yet…

1. Philadelphia Marathon

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We originally had planned on doing the half marathon option anyway, but my mom is wary of this race because it’s in mid November and she’s afraid it will be freezing. I mean, at NYC Marathon last year it was 40s and windy, so a race 2 weeks later COULD potentially be really cold if not snowy…maybe? I really want to do this race, but I’m just not sure of the date. Has anyone ran this before? Thoughts on the temperature?

2. Wineglass Marathon

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I’ve heard great things about this race. It’s flat, fast, and scenic. The only downside for us is that it’s over a 5 hour drive away. Also, we have this goal of trying to race in as many states as possible, and we’ve already checked New York off our list. Still unsure about this one. I really am interested, but it’s just so far!

3. Steamtown Marathon

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Another marathon on DailyBurn’s “Best Fall Marathons.” This is another flat, fast course, but the thing I’m afraid of is that fact that a few miles of it are on bike paths. Whenever I run on that stuff, it feels much more challenging and my calves start to burn. But it’s a maybe. 

4. Baltimore Marathon

Baltimore-Marathon_2

This is on the top of my list but it’s not a fast course. I’m pretty sure it’s hilly, and my mom wants to try something flat for a change (We’ve done NYC twice and it’s pretty hilly). But I love Baltimore, and think it’d be cool to run around the city. I doubt this will be the one we choose but we’ll see. I’d love to run this race one day!

So those are my choices. I think I’m leaning towards Philly, even if my mom is afraid of the cold :) Though Wineglass is up there too. Ughhh…someone decide for me!

Which would you choose?

Have you ran any of these in the past? Please give me insight and tips!

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04-22-2014

Boston, I Love You

Wow, Boston was just amazing. I was only there for 2 days but my mom and I had so much fun!

We left Sunday morning after Easter Mass. We stopped for lunch in Falmouth because we wanted to check out Cape Cod, though we kind of wish we didn’t. It was pretty dead (obviously) and we wished we could have driven to Provincetown but it was just too far. We should have just gone straight to Boston and explored there.

Anyway, after we left Falmouth we went to our hotel to take a quick nap. Then went into Boston to check out the finish area and get dinner.

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finish line

It was crazy to be walking down Boylston Street and imagining how things were one year ago. But you could feel the buzz…you could feel that everyone who was there wanted Marathon Monday to come back strong and be truly inspiring. And it was.

We woke up at 6 AM Monday to take the T train into Boston. We had no idea what time we should get to the finish area to get a spot, so I just took a guess and said 7:30. We were right! Probably 30-60 minutes after we got there it was packed. I was so mad at myself because I THOUGHT to bring folding outdoor chairs but figured it’d be a pain to lug around. So we ended up buying 2…$25 each….

Anyway, pro-tip if you will ever be at the finish line waiting for a runner, stake out a spot by the Starbucks. They let you use their bathroom! Plus you can go in and get all the coffee you want :) The line did get pretty long but moved pretty quick.

I was really excited to see Shalane Flanagan. Even though she didn’t win like she so badly wanted, everyone was so proud of her. We were all cheering like crazy when we saw the pro women coming in. Shalane got a PR AND fastest course time for an American woman…so she should be pretty proud!

shalane flanagan

And let’s talk about Meb. He’s turning 39, and got a PR…and was the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983!! As he came in, the crowds went wild and were chanting USA! USA! My mom and I have met Meb, and he is such a down-to-earth individual. If you listening to his interviews before and after the race, you’ll know what I mean. He did it for Boston.

meb

After the pros came in, we stuck around to cheer on everyone else. Boylston Street was so loud! It would get even louder when we saw a runner who was struggling a little or stopped to walk. That’s what gets you through a marathon…and what got my through tough points in NYC.

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Overall, it was such a beautiful day! The weather was perfect, the streets were packed…everyone was “Boston Strong.” I totally fell in love with Boston. One day, my mom and I will be back…as runners! We were so inspired, we vowed we will try our hardest to qualify (one day).

Have you ever ran the Boston Marathon? Or been a spectator? Did you watch the live stream?

Any tips for chasing that BQ?

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04-15-2014

Boston Strong

boston-strong

I can’t believe it’s been one year since the tragic events that unfolded at the Boston Marathon last year.

I remember exactly what I was doing when I found out. 

I was walking out of where I had just gotten my taxes done (yeah I waited until the very last day…) when my phone started getting texts from friends asking if I had seen the news. They know I love running and have ran marathons myself. I turned on the radio in the car, and initially didn’t think it was as big as it ended up being. I thought, “Wow I hope runners are still able to cross the finish line.”

Once I got home I realized how serious the situation was.

I’ve written about why I love the running community, and it was never more apparent than in the days after the Boston Marathon. So many stories of heroes and people helping others emerged. It showed that you can still have faith in humanity, even after the most tragic events.

My mom and I are going to watch the marathon this year. I can’t wait to see if live and cheer on the runners. It will be an amazing day, filled with what makes the running community (runners and spectators alike) amazing. 

If you will be running, let me know! I’d love to look out for you. Once I make my posters, I’ll post a picture in case anyone wants to keep an eye out for us.

I’ll leave you with this quote, which is just so true:

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