Marathon Training: Week 16 Recap & A New Perspective on Running Gear: Brooks Spring Preview Event

So its the first week of taper and I’m trying to trust in it but its making me nervous having to decrease my mileage. I know it will all be fine because I’ve gotten in a bunch of high mileage runs already, but its still kind of weird for me! Today is officially the 2 week mark until the NYC Marathon and I am shocked at how fast time is flying. And literally on Tuesday I’ll be flying… to London and Amsterdam for some much needed vacation. I am happy, too, because I think vacation is going to make me less anxious about race day and take my mind off of everything. I have posts scheduled for when I am away including a fun giveaway so stay tuned!

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Monday: crosstraining (elliptical/bike)

Tuesday:  5.5 mile run

Another early morning run, and as usual I felt so happy to get in my run before work. Katherine and I met up on the bridge and ran around Brooklyn and back to home for a total of 5.5 miles. It was a warmer day so I dressed lightly. I am SO curious what race day weather will be like, its been all over the place lately so who knows?!

Wednesday: 3.5 mile run

Morning runs for the win!

Thursday: lots of stretching

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 12 mile run

My sister came to visit for the weekend (she’s also running the marathon this year!) so we did our long run together. We met up with Katherine who ran with us for about 6 miles, we all met on the bridge and headed across to the West Side and headed downtown along the running path. We looped around and my sister and I headed to the Williamsburg bridge. After the bridge we headed back into Brooklyn and towards my apartment to finish up the rest of the run.

I wasn’t feeling as strong during this run as I have in other shorter distance runs, and I’m not sure why exactly. But I’ve decided not to let myself get nervous about it, I’d rather have a slightly off run now than on race day. Every long run thus far has been amazing so I was bound to have one that wasn’t as great, but wasn’t terrible either.

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Running in Brooklyn

Sunday: crosstraining (bike), upper body strengthening, stretching

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I was also lucky last week to be invited by Brooks Running to an event to preview their spring gear and running shoes! The event was held to help runners find their “inner runner,” whatever that may be for you. My inner runner was healthy & free, because running makes me feel as if I don’t have a care in the world. I loved getting to actually get to think about what makes me a runner and how it makes me feel, because thats what the sport is all about. At the event, Brooks had a board with lots of different words posted on it to help people figure out what their own inner runner was. I loved the combinations people came up with that reflected them and I loved using all the shoes around the room for inspiration! Look at the words below and tell me your inner runner…

Find your inner runner.

Find your inner runner.

The event was held in a beautiful penthouse with amazing views of the city. We were also greeted by friendly staff and really cool running-themed drinks.. ‘Gin&Time It‘ and ‘Runerita‘, I mean how cute is that?! They also had really cool photographs and stories posted around the room from runners to help show who their inner runner is, as well as other aspects of your life. For example the woman in the right photo is a runner and construction worker.

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The Penthouse

Such fun drinks!

Such fun drinks!

After picking my ‘inner runner’ and getting a cool drink to sip on, I walked around to check out the gear. I learned about the Brooks Pure Project, which is very unique and something I haven’t seen much of before. It has just been launched, and is running clothing that is stylish and wearable everywhere. They even have a romper that you can wear running but is cute enough that you can wear it out after a workout to brunch with friends, with a front cut hem in the shorts to promote free movement! The materials are all top quality, the designs are unique and feminine, and anything you get can be used for more than just a workout.

Brooks also had a bunch of their spring clothing available and let me tell you its SO super cute. It was weird thinking about spring clothes so early but it got me excited for next year. My favorite top was this cute little green lightweight tank..

Brooks tank from their spring line.

Brooks tank from their spring line.

Next I headed over to the running shoe section to learn about all the types of shoes and shoe styles. Brooks has everything from more minimalist shoes to those with more stability. I did like how the Brooks Adrenaline, one of their most popular, is now lighter than it was a few years ago when I used to run in them. I love the new updates! They also offer many of their shoes in a rainbow of colors, including some ombre shades which rocks. Brooks has also made a NYC Marathon Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoe that is super cute and a nice way to commemorate running the marathon.

Shoe rainbow!

Shoe rainbow!

NYC Marathon Adrenaline GTS

NYC Marathon Adrenaline GTS

I also got to learn about the Brooks Heritage Collection, the casual version of Brooks shoe that launched just last year. The Heritage Collection celebrates Brooks’ 100 year old history using the classic designs of the Vanguard and Vantage. They have so many fun colors that are cute to match so many outfits! I love all the bright colors that are funky and unique.

Brooks Heritage shoe

Brooks Heritage shoe

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How did your workouts go last week?
How is marathon training going for you?

 

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, product review, TCS NYC Marathon

Staten Island Half Marathon Race Recap: That Time I Ran 20 Miles

This weekend I ran my very last long run for marathon training and am official in taper. Ah.. 20 whole miles.. it seems like just yesterday I was running my first 5k and now I’m about to run my first 26.2. And I ran a 20 mile training run.. whaaaatt?!! My legs can run that far?! What a difference a few years makes! Because I wanted to make this long run more fun, I decided to sign up for the Staten Island Half Marathon in order to get 13.1 of the 20 miles with other runners and with support stations. It was a BEAUTIFUL day that I can only hope will be reflective of the weather on November 2nd.

I stayed at my parents house on Staten Island the night before, and early Sunday morning Karl drove me to the boardwalk to get in my pre-race 7 miles. He ended up running the boardwalk with me so I had a little company for the first few miles. We started our run around sunrise–right along the ocean. It was quite possibly one of the most relaxing and beautiful moments I’ve had running. Just so quiet and peaceful.. moments like that remind me why I love running at all. Its freedom.

Sunrise along the water.

Sunrise along the water.

After Karl turned back, I was on my own the rest of the way. I ran through Fort Wadsworth, where the starting/staging area for the marathon is and ran past the Verazzano Bridge which looks even more awesome when you run past it. I saw plenty of other runners out with their race bibs on like me, I think this was the last long run for a bunch of us runners so it was nice to be in the company of others training for the marathon. I also took a cup or two of Gatorade from the aid stations before the race (I asked permission)… thanks volunteers :)

Running under the Verazzano Bridge

Running under the Verazzano Bridge

I got to the race start at the Staten Island Yankees stadium about 10 minutes or so before they blew the horn. My younger sister met me in the corral (she trained for the half marathon and PRed!!! She’s awesome!) and we stretched out a bit before the race started. When the horn blew, the fire department boat on the water blew out water in a pretty formation to celebrate the starting of the race. It was SUCH a nice view and just a nice touch to the race.

Waiting for the start

Waiting for the start

The boat spraying water!

The boat spraying water!

The first few miles were pretty flat, with a few downhills mixed in which was nice, although in my head I realized we would have to run up these hills right at the end of the race. We did hit a long slow uphill at one point although it wasn’t that steep. But in my mind I prepared for a mostly flat race so even the small hills were a little surprising to me. Luckily though, having grown up on Staten Island I knew the streets well and had a good idea of what to expect which helped too!

My sister and I ran the first 4 miles together before separating and I picked up the pace a little bit, which I have to remember not to do on race day or those last 6.2 miles are going to kill me! Around mile 6 I saw the flock of turkeys that live on Staten Island; they were just hanging out on the side of the road doing turkey things. I haven’t seen them in quite a while so it was funny that they showed up on race day to put on a show for non-locals who didn’t know that turkeys live there.

Around mile 6.5-7 I saw Karl and my parents on the side of the road cheering for me and clicking away taking photos. It was a treat to have a cheering squad since I don’t usually have one, and I ran over to them and stopped for a few seconds to update them on my run and where my sister was. It also helped me mentally seeing people I knew on the road.

Along the course!

Along the course!

The course was an out and back route so we did a loop halfway through and headed back. Yes, we had to run up some of those hills that we ran down at the start. I would have been fine had I been running a half marathon and not 20 miles, but I felt some of the hills towards the end. The second half of the race, though, seemed to fly by. I stopped every two aid stations or so for a sip of Gatorade and/or water, which was my only fuel for the race. I’ve learned from my running coach Coach Kastor at Asics to fuel by teaching my body to burn fat, so that’s what I do now. No gels or food, just Gatorade and water. And I never feel the bonk nor do I feel hungry or weak. Its actually amazing. I wouldn’t recommend trying this now though, unless you’ve trained throughout the cycle to do this!

My sister and I after the race!

My sister and I after the race!

Eventually we approached the finishline, which ended on the home plate in the Staten Island Yankees stadium. I LOVED the end of this race, I thought running on the field was a really nice touch and showed off more of what Staten Island is about. I found a big burst of energy when I saw the finishline in the distance and booked it to beat a few people at the end there (always satisfying!). After crossing, we got our medals, bagels, water, and I went to stretch on the field and lay on the grass for a little bit while I waited for my sister to finish.

On the field after the race.

On the field after the race.

Race bling!

Race bling!

NYRR gives immediate results via their new tracking system, so I got my half marathon time right away…

Half marathon time

Half marathon time

I’m so happy with this time, its one of my best even having run 7 miles before it. In total, I ran 20.17 miles that day and ran them all in 3 hours and 21 minutes. So, in summary it was a whoooole lot of running, smiles, and happiness at finishing my last long marathon training run strong. I feel so much more confident now for marathon day, although I need to be sure to slow myself down a little more early on to avoid burn out at the end of the race.

So.many.miles.

So.many.miles.

Overall, I enjoyed the half marathon course, the volunteers were amazing, and the finishline was really really exciting. It was also nice to run in the borough where I was born and raised and to have a cheering section. Oh yeah, and I was featured on an online article about the race on Staten Island Live which was SO cool. There I am…

Source: Staten Island Live (http://silive.com)

Source: Staten Island Live (http://silive.com)

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Did you run this weekend? How did it go?
What is the longest run you’ve ever done?

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, race photos, race recap, race review, races, TCS NYC Marathon, weekend

Marathon Training: Week 15 Recap & Trusting the Taper

And its officially taper time! This week was my last really intense week of training and after Sunday’s 20 miler, I’m now in taper. Bring on the NYC Marathon in only 20 days.. eek! I’m excited for taper but since this if my first full marathon I’m not sure what to expect from it. Coach Kastor, my running coach from the Asics team, advised us to “trust in the taper,” stretch, drink plenty of fluids, and staying positive! I know these next few weeks won’t be easy, but I am so excited for race day which is getting closer and closer.

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Monday: light crosstraining

This was a light day since my 19 miler was the day before, so just a little bit of time on the indoor bike to loosen up the legs and some light stretching!

Tuesday:  strengthening and crosstraining (Elliptical)

Wednesday: 5 mile run

Katherine and I met for an early morning run around the neighborhood pre-work. Its never easy getting up that early for a run, especially since the sun hasn’t risen yet, but I always feel amazing later in the day when I do. Its a great feeling coming home after work and not having to get in a run!

I saw this in Brooklyn while walking to do a little shopping.. getting SO exciting!

I saw this in Brooklyn while walking to do a little shopping.. getting SO exciting!

Thursday: light crosstraining and stretching

Friday: 5.5 mile run

It was another beautiful day for an early morning run, I added in a half an extra mile just because it was so lovely. The run started in the dark across the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan but we watched as the sun rose over the city, with orange colors all over the sky! It was quite a beautiful sight… sunrises are way better than sunsets.

Early morning run on the Brooklyn Bridge

Early morning run on the Brooklyn Bridge

Saturday: Rest

Took it easy the day before the race. I did do a few miles of walking around the neighborhood but that was it.

Sunday: 20.2 mile run! (7.1 on my own then 13.1 at the Staten Island Half Marathon)

a.k.a. the longest distance I’ve run in my entire life. I can’t believe I ran all those miles! I was in Staten Island this day for the Staten Island Half Marathon. I’ll write a full race recap for my next post, so I’ll keep this brief. I ran 7.1 miles along the boardwalk (2 or so miles with Karl), under the Verrazano Bridge, and to the start line of the race. I got to the start with 10 minutes to spare, then the guns went off and we started the half marathon!

Sunrise along the boardwalk

Sunrise along the boardwalk

I got to run a few miles with my sister (who PRed.. she’s awesome!) and then took off on my own. It was a flat-ish course, but there were a couple of hills that I knew were coming since I knew the terrain. Nonetheless, at the end of a long run even short hills felt HUGE! But its good practice for the full marathon for sure.

Aw yeah.. 20 miles!

Aw yeah.. 20 miles!

Along the race route.. My family was there cheering for me, that's who I'm waving too.

Along the race route.. My family was there cheering for me, that’s who I’m waving to

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On another fun note, check out the Asics website for a feature on the entire NYC Marathon Asics Editor’s Challenge Blogger Team! And that includes me, which is SO cool and such an honor to be around such amazing people and to be running with this fantastic company. I am so lucky and thrilled to get to run the marathon with Asics and this is the icing on the cake :)

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I'm on the Asics website!

I’m on the Asics website!

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How did your workouts go last week?
How is marathon training going for you?

 

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, NYCM, race photos, race recap, race review, races, TCS NYC Marathon, weekend