Marathoning with Asics

Today I went for a 5 mile run, my first run since the 18 mile Tune Up race this past weekend. I took off Monday after the race and Tuesday did a quick cardio session on the bike and elliptical. And today I ran… and felt great!! Yes, my legs had a little bit of that tired feeling, but I ran the 5 miles just fine and enjoyed every minute of it. It didn’t hurt that it was an amazingly beautiful day too. I did attempt to do a quick lower body strengthening workout afterwards, but let’s just say I didn’t get too far and it was too soon for that. Maybe tomorrow, no big deal.. got enough strength training on those hills on Sunday.

As an additional part of the TCS NYC Marathon excitement, I am so happy to be able to tell you that I was selected by Asics to be part of Team Asics for the 2014 NYC Marathon Editor’s Challenge! Asics is a main sponsor of the NYC Marathon and a premiere athletic company that is a top choice by runners for shoes, clothing, and other amazing gear. Look around on your next run and take a look at peoples clothing, I guarantee you’ll see a TON of Asics! The company has everything you could need to keep your body and feet happy on a long run (or a short one for that matter!).

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As part of the challenge, a small group of bloggers including myself will run those tough 26.2 miles through the streets of New York on November 2nd. I have been training for this race since July, but the excitement has increased a million-fold though once Asics told me I was accepted to be part of the challenge! Now, I had to wait to share the good news with everyone for a few weeks (sorry!), but finally the cat’s out of the bag.. I’m representing Team Asics! We will be getting gear and race-day benefits that we are still finding out about about. It’s going to be quite the experience and I am so lucky to be a part of it, and in addition I am lucky to be able to share this with all of you.

Another benefit of being on this team is that we were given a training plan as well as support from Coach Andrew Kastor, a renowned trainer of elite long-distance runners. If you know about running, you likely have heard about Coach Kastor and his wife Deena (Olympic Medalist).. serious running power couple. Coach has already been a big help to me in deciding the best pre-long run food to eat. I have always had trouble with fueling, I either overdo it or underdo it. But he stepped in with recommending overnight oats and other pre-run foods, and talked to me about fueling during the race too (Gatorade/electrolyte drinks every 30 minutes or so). His advice was so much simpler than all the random, sometimes crazy things I’ve read and it all worked on my 18 miler this past weekend.. I felt strong the whole time with no stomach or fueling issues! Man, that coach knows his stuff :)

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I can’t wait to share in all the fun Asics excitement, especially as we get closer and closer to the big day. My goal for this race is just to cross the finishline with a smile on my face, and to have fun running the city I love! To me, there’s not much better than that.

PS. Send some love to my Editor’s Challenge teammates…

Megan @ I Run For Wine
Chris @ Run Run Live 
Grace @ Lean Girls Club
Gregg @ NYC Sweat

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What big races do you have this fall?
What is the best running advice you’ve gotten?

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, NYCM, TCS NYC Marathon

NYRR NYC Marathon 18 mile Tune Up Race & Week 11 Recap

This morning, I ran my longest run ever by far. I came, I laced up, and I conquered 18 hilly miles at the NYRR NYC Marathon 18 mile Tune Up run. Marathon training is getting into the really mental portion. I know my body is capable, but its keeping my mental game strong that is most important. So this race was an amazing boost of confidence and a nice way to get in 18 miles with the support of volunteers, other runners, and the amazing aid stations that kept me hydrated and fueling as I tried to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

NYRR NYC Marathon Tune Up 18 miler

NYRR NYC Marathon Tune Up 18 miler

The course was three full loops of Central Park, starting far uptown around 102nd street. One loop of Central Park can be tough, but three?! Talk about hills, hills and more hills. And all types–steep, rolling, short, long. Its actually an amazing variety and gives the legs a lot of strengthening, as well as hill training in preparation for all the bridges the marathon includes. So as tough as the course was, it will be great preparation for November.

I woke up at an ungodly hour and hopped on the train uptown. As usual, the subway was filled with runners, which always heightens the excitement of race day by being surrounded by like-minded running lovers crazy enough to wake up this early for 18 miles. After walking to the park and into the starting area, I quickly dropped off my baggage with a change of clothes for later, stretched out, and headed to my start corral just in time for the National Anthem.

At the start corrals

At the start corrals

Runners at the start.

Runners at the start.

We started right away, without too much flash. Just a bunch of runners and a start line, and some music. We headed out and immediately hit Harlem Hills. To be honest, the big hill in Harlem doesn’t bother me at all and I slowly made my way over it using my hill running technique and pacing. The toughest part for me always comes after Harlem… at the rolling hills along the west side part of the loop. Its like a never-ending roller coaster of long, smaller hills, but I made a promise to myself not to walk during this race except through aide stations (I can’t drink and run, its pathetic to watch me try). And I kept that promise so I ran each and every one of those hills, three time each.

The miles seemed to fly by pretty quickly for the first half of the run, partially due to the AMAZING weather. It was in the mid to high 50s the whole run, crisp air and sunny skies. Truly, I have never run on a more beautiful day so I am thankful to have gotten to experience it during my longest run.

Up in Harlem.

Up in Harlem, taken while running.

Around mile 7 or 8 I had to stop and use the bathroom, I had drank SO much water in the morning to hydrate myself. I will never regret a stop for the bathroom though, when you need it you need it and a few minutes off your time is worth it! I also kept my mind filled with random things, looked at all the runners’ fashion near me, and watched some of the more interesting characters to keep myself occupied. Some of the more interesting people I saw who kept me entertained for all those miles:

-An older man who juggled the entire race. Just awesome, and really impressive since he was WAY faster than me.
-Someone wearing a big black plastic bag. I don’t think thats safe.
-Someone decked out in a hydration pack and a belt with two FULL bottles of water. I think he forgot there were aid stations.

Around the 13th mile (start of the last loop), I thought to myself “wow, this is half marathon distance and I still have 5 more miles to run…”. Its such an interesting thing to surpass your previous accomplishments and see just how far you have grown as a person and a runner. Also, there was no medal or crazy crowds for this race that I’ve experienced for most of my half marathons, even though this one was way longer at 18 miles.

Taken while running.. around mile 14 I believe.

Taken while running.. around mile 14 I believe.

After many steps, miles, and Gatorade/water drinks later, I saw the finish line and mustered up that last burst of energy to push my pace across the finish line. I have no idea where that last burst of energy comes from for all runners, but it never fails to show up once the finish line is in sight. I crossed the finishline and felt such a sense of accomplishment.. longest run ever! I quickly got my bagel and apple, baggage, and started immediately started stretching out.

They had live tracking for this game so I was able to get my finish time right after the race. I finished in 3:09, a 10:33/mile pace! My goal was to run around a 10:30 pace so I am incredibly happy to have achieved it for 18 miles.  Finishing this distance has really boosted my confidence for the marathon. I know that with the energy from the crowd and other runners, and the adrenaline just from running a marathon in general, I can finish the race. Its possible and today helped prove that to me!

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After the race, I came home to Karl cooking me homemade baked ziti. And he bought me chocolate to celebrate. I mean, how much more awesome could he be? The rest of my day was spent in my pajamas on the couch resting my legs. And tomorrow I’ll gladly rest :)

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And here’s a quick recap of my week 11 marathon training:

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Monday: crosstraining (elliptical/cycling) and upper body strengthening

Tuesday: 5 mile run around Brooklyn

Wednesday: crosstraining (elliptical/cycling) and leg strengthening day

Thursday: 4 mile run

This was a two bridges run across the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges in honor of 9/11.

Friday: crosstraining (elliptical) and core workout

Saturday: Rest.

I usually do my long runs on Saturdays but since I had the NYRR Tune Up today, I decided to rest my legs and take Saturday totally off (except for light stretching). It seemed to be a good decision since my legs felt fresh and strong during the race!

Sunday: NYRR 18 mile Tune Up, of course!

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Did you have any races this weekend? How did they go?
What is your longest distance to date?

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, Central Park, fall running, race photos, race recap, race review, races, TCS NYC Marathon

13 years later.

There really isn’t much for me to say today. Every minute was a struggle. So I’ll just share here what I shared on social media, it took me quite a while to find the words.

“There is nothing like the experience of being a New Yorker on 9/11, and for every anniversary since. Those of us living here on that day share a bond and an experience that connects us all, and there are no words to really describe it. We relive the events of that day every year and I relive it every time I see this building [Freedom Tower]. The smoke, the fear, the rubble, the funerals in the weeks following.. So vivid as if it were happening today. But this building also reminds me of all the goodness that came from these events… neighbors helping neighbors find their way home, and all those who risked or gave their lives for those of complete strangers. Such a horrible event brought out the best in humanity, and I hope we never forget that either. Never forget where you were, how you felt, what you experienced.. and never forget how the world came together.”

Last night from my roof.

Last night from my roof.

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Today I went for an easy 4 mile run across the two bridges. Over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge. The views were emotional but I had to make that run. This day had to be faced, and during every mile all those who died were in my mind and in my heart. As they always will be.

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