Category Archives: marathon tips

Marathon and Wedding Skincare.

Week 5 of NYCM training is complete!

How am I already in week 6 of marathon training?! It is cuh-RAZ-y! This week is a nice little cutback week and I’ll be enjoying a leisurely 8 mile “long” run on Friday before heading upstate!

My Marathon and Wedding Skincare Routine

Sooooo let’s talk skincare. Keeping your skin clear during a NYC summer is hard enough – we’re dealing with humidity, air pollution, hot subway platforms, mysterious substances dripping from scaffolding, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Now, add on top of that hours of running outside each week and you’ve got yourself a disgusting recipe for disaster. I’ve learned this every year I’ve trained for the marathon and I STILL thought, “hey, let’s train for the NYCM and also get married! That’ll be fun!” #oyvey

As someone who has struggled with breakouts in the past (especially during marathon training), I knew I had to take the months leading up to the wedding seriously in terms of my skincare routine.

Skincare Treatments I Pay For

Laser Hair Removal

Over the winter, I began laser hair removal treatments along my jawline. I went off birth control over a year ago once acupuncture started to ease my period-related back pain. This was great because I no longer needed to control my pain through hormones and prescribed Vicodin but it was not so great for my skin, especially along my jawline where I started to get spots from thick dark hairs.

I¬†wish I had considered this option sooner because it was a complete game changer for me. If anyone needs a recommendation for laser hair removal in NYC, let me know! I had a total of 10 treatments but started seeing results IMMEDIATELY ūüôā

Monthly Facials

I don’t remember how I heard about Heyday but OMG if you live in NYC and you aren’t going to Heyday for facials, you are doing it WRONG!

Heyday and my skincare therapist have done, by far, the most for my skin, including any dermatologist I’ve seen.¬†My skin has completely transformed and for the first time in years, I can leave the house without any concealer and/or makeup.

I have alternated the 75 minute facial and the 50 minute facial with added microdermabrasion to exfoliate and lighten hyperpigmented spots. I’m also a fan of the blue and red light treatment. After each appointment, my therapist e-mails with exactly what she did during the treatment, follow-up care, recommendations for the month ahead, and what she suggests for the next month’s treatment.

Usually in salons, they start pushing all their products on you immediately. Instead, my therapist suggested a routine consisting of products I already used and products in the store and gave me a bunch of samples to try out and see how I liked/reacted to them. I have spent the past few months slowly adding her suggestions into my everyday skincare routine and WOW what a difference it has made!

(TIP: If you go to Heyday and use my name, you and I both get 10$ off!)

My Everyday Skincare Routine

Ursa Major Facewash – Morning and Night

I LOVE this face wash – it foams really nicely, smells great, and leaves my skin feeling clean. It also helps to fade hyperpigmented spots which is a huge win in my book.

Vitamin C Serum – Morning

This might be my favorite item that I use everyday. I use it either under the below sunscreen/moisturizer or alone as a moisturizer and it is so refreshing.

Image Sunscreen & Moisturizer

Sunscreen on your face is THE WORST, am I right? Especially if you have oily skin or are acne prone. This stuff is matte and absorbs so quickly and omg it is the best facial sunscreen on the planet.

Ageless Retinol Cream – Night

A little goes a long way here. The tiniest bit of this before I go to bed at night delivers vitamin A to my entire face while I sleep.

Running Skincare

Clearasil Cleansing Pads – During Long Runs

I throw a few of these in a ziplock bag before I head out on my long run and use them to wipe my face off every few miles. A coworker/friend/marathoner told me to do this and I cannot believe this never occurred to me before. Absolutely brilliant.

BeautyCounter No 3 Balancing Face Mask – After Sweaty Runs/Spot Treatment

This mask is my most prized skincare possession. I use it after every post-run shower for 10-15 minutes and as a spot treatment at night. Pure magic in a tube right here.

Cosrx Master Patch – Spot Treatment

These little patches are legit! I use them overnight on clogged pores or picked spots and, I kid you not, the spot is gone in the morning. Unfreakingbelievable.

So there you have it! Not gonna lie, I’m super lazy so I was worried when my skincare therapist at Heyday kept suggesting different items but this routine is SO manageable. Like I said, this is the first time in YEARS that I’ve been comfortable leaving the house sans makeup or some sort of concealer over spots.

My skin is still a work in progress (and will most definitely continue to be as long as it’s still hot and humid and I’m still running around this crazy city) and I’m not 100% confident that I’m not going to wake up on the morning of September 23rd with a giant spot that was non-existent at 10pm on September 22nd but hey, that’s what makeup is for, right?


Next up: No idea… probably why cutback weeks are the absolute best things ever.¬†

Don’t forget! Use my name at Heyday and we both get $10 off our services ūüôā

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Filed under marathon, marathon tips, running, summer, wedding

Tips for running the NYC Marathon.

A week or so ago, a friend of mine from middle school asked for tips for running the NYC marathon and I happily wrote him a monster of an e-mail all about my favorite race. As a lifetime New Yorker and a four-time NYC Marathon finisher (2009-2011, 2014), I know this race. I have actually had very detailed dreams of running this race (not exaggerating, I was once told I was talking in my sleep and calling out the mile markers). This race is a part of me. 

nyc-marathons2014 NYCM Recap

2011 NYCM Recap

2010 NYCM Recap

Because my friend is probably not the only person looking for some advice this week (it’s marathon week, baby!), I’m taking that e-mail and putting it out on the interwebs.¬†

Tips for Running the NYC Marathon


  • If you haven’t already done so, put your name on your shirt. People will call your name out and it will be all sorts of amazing. Because people will be screaming your first name all day, it may be hard to recognize when it’s someone you know screaming your name. Ask friends/family to call you by your last name if they can’t get your attention.
  • On that note, know where your friends/family will be ahead of time and most importantly, know which side of the street they will be on. I cannot stress the importance of the side of the street more.
  • If you don’t already have throwaway clothes for the start line, get them now. Ask friends/family for old sweats/hats/gloves/whatever. Everything at the start line gets donated. If you want, use old baseball socks as throwaway arm sleeves. Cut the feet off and put them on your arms until you feel warmed up and then drop them along the course. This has helped me during marathons that are in-between weather.
  • For the start, it’s a good idea to bring something like a garbage bag to sit on, even if you’ll be in a¬†tent area. If it rained the day or days before, it will be muddy, so bring extra garbage bags to sit on, wear old sneakers that you won’t mind parting with and then switch into your race sneakers last minute or cover your sneakers with bags so they don’t get muddy and wet prior to the start. Also, bring yourself some toilet paper. It’s not uncommon to see people standing on the port-a-potty line with their own roll of TP.
  • Come up with a plan/strategy for when things got rough, I’m thinking specifically for 5th Avenue before the park. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this is the worst part of that course. My first NYCM, this is where I told a random stranger that I wanted to quit. My coach for the 2014 NYCM told me to come up with my strategy for this section early and it helped. I focused on who I had tracking me and who was waiting for me in the bleachers and I literally repeated their names in my head for the entire mile. My good friend last year tried to focus on her husband but it wasn’t working for her so she switched to mentally baking cookies in her head and spent the mile working out the recipe. Figure out a plan for this spot and then figure out a back-up plan.
  • Come up with a meeting spot with your friends/family for after the race. Do not count on cell service being good at the finish line. If you can, avoid the family reunion area and pick another part of the UWS or UES (I heard from a NYRR staff member that they will have East side access for the first time this year). In 2014, I met my family in front of the Jack Rabbit on 72nd near Broadway.¬†Pick a street corner, pick anything, as long as it is a specific location.¬†


  • Start slow¬†– holy hell just go so damn slow. Don’t weave on the bridge. If you do this right, your first two miles should be your slowest.
  • When you get into Brooklyn and the crowds start to thicken, it may get emotional. It’s okay, just don’t speed up because of it.
  • You don’t want to add any extra mileage by weaving. The course is measured exactly 26.2 miles from the middle of the street (marked by a blue line that may be faded by the time you start). Unless you’re super familiar with the course, running the tangents isn’t a good strategy here. When in doubt, run in the middle of the street. Run only to the side when you know you have a family/friends on that side.
  • These miles are generally flat with some rolling hills and the crowds are good. Enjoy them. No lie, this is probably the best you’ll feel (physically) all day. Be smart and run slow. Your legs will thank you.
  • This area is typically not so crowded so it’s a good place to see people.
  • Be careful to conserve your energy here because you’ve got the 59th street bridge ahead of you.
  • People walk on the bridge and/or slow down significantly, try not to get frustrated and definitely do not weave. Get around slower folks by moving just the bare minimum amount to get by them.
  • Forget your pace and focus on exerting the same amount of effort that you were before the bridge. Having people on 1st Avenue is good because it gives you something to look forward to on the bridge. I’ve used the bridge to focus on who is waiting for me and that if they’ve been tracking, they know I’m getting close.
  • It’s exciting and too easy to pick up the pace on 1st Ave. Try to keep yourself in check and maintain pace. There is a steady incline and lots of miles ahead.
  • You’re only here a short time but the Bronx typically has good crowds so enjoy the atmosphere.
  • Concentrate on the fact that you’ve only got one more bridge and then you are in the final borough!
Manhattan/5th Ave
  • There’s no way around it, the closer you get to Engineer’s Gate (where the course turns into Central Park), the more everything is going to suck.
  • Having people here is good (it’s where I always stand to cheer!)
  • It is a nasty, no-good, horrible, slow incline up 5th and into Central Park. Use your strategy to get through this little rough patch. If it doesn’t work, use your back up. If that doesn’t work, come up with a new one. Anything. Focus on the person’s feet in front of you and count their steps. Think of the finish line as being the turn into Central Park. You just need to get to the park.
Central Park
  • THIS. I could cry just thinking about this. You are in the most famous park in the world, running the best marathon in the world. You have people waiting for you at the finish line or people at home following your every step and waiting to see that you have finished. ¬†This is a huge fcuking deal.
  • When you get to the bottom of the park, you exit out and run along Central Park South. I’ve made the mistake of trying to pick it up here thinking I was close. I was an idiot. The finish is still far enough away. Soak up the crowds and focus on that turn back into the park.
  • When you get to the 800m mark in the park, that’s your time. Pick it up, leave nothing out there. You will feel like you’re barely going anywhere. Last NYCM, I picked up my pace and had you asked me then, I felt like I was running 12 minute miles. Turns out, I was at an 8:30. Nothing feels normal at this point. Just move your damn legs as fast as they can. You can do anything for 5 more minutes.


For everyone running, ENJOY THIS RACE BECAUSE THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT DAMN WELL GETS. Love every second of this day and of this city. It’s a 26.2 mile party and you’ve got a VIP pass.

As for me, I’ll be out there next year running my heart out. This year, I’ll be on the sidelines cheering my heart out. Happy running, NYC ūüôā

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Filed under marathon, marathon tips, new york city, running, tcs new york city marathon

Dancin’ in the streets: 2015 Philadelphia Marathon.

It’s been more than 2 weeks since the Philadelphia Marathon so I guess it’s about time to actually¬†write a recap. It’s so easy to let time pass and not get anything down but I want to make sure that this is out there for everyone googling “philadelphia marathon recap” next year. #wealldoit

Even though this was never a goal race and mostly just a training run for January’s Dopey Challenge, I still had a really good day out there. It ended up being my second fastest marathon and my biggest negative split at the marathon distance (3 minutes).

4:21:35 (9:58)

4:21:35 (9:58)

Philadelphia Marathon: The Recap


As my and Nicole’s¬†families were driving into Philly in the morning, it was super convenient that Parking Panda allowed for runners and their families to reserve parking spots near the start/finish lines. We pulled into a lot about a mile from the start line before 6am, knowing we’d have plenty of time to get through security and into our corrals for the 7am start time based on previous runner’s experiences.


We got to the start area and got on the back of¬†a monstrous¬†line. It was pretty obvious within the first few minutes that the line was¬†barely¬†moving and we were not going to make the 7am start. Thankfully this wasn’t a goal race for either of us so our nerves remained pretty calm. As it got colder and windier and the line was still barely moving, I found myself getting more and more frustrated. There are definitely ways to keep things moving efficiently without sacrificing safety.

As it approached 7am, the line really started moving (seemed like security stopped whatever they were doing and just started patting down runners). We decided to make a port-a-potty stop (where I ran into a BC friend on line – BCMB is everywhere!) seeing as though we’d rather start late than have to make a pit stop along the course.

Luckily for us, the start was a little delayed and we ended up making our wave time. This definitely helped as we didn’t have to worry about weaving through slower runners at the beginning.


First 13.1M

The first 13.1 miles of the course are a lot of fun. At one point, I turned to Nicole and said that this is a great half-marathon because the crowd support is fantastic for almost every mile. I had my headphones with me just in case I needed them throughout the marathon but didn’t need to turn them on once. This is where I should probably thank Nicole¬†for listening to me yap for 26.2 miles. Thanks, lady!

running buddies 1

Nicole’s mom had texted her with everyone’s exact location at mile 1 so we were on the lookout for the fams pretty early on. Once we passed them and gave out some quick high-fives, we resumed our conversation, happy that we were going to see them again in less than an hour.

We spotted our fans for the second time somewhere between miles 6 and 7. The crowds here were thick and Nicole only spotted them because her father is tall and stood out. I gave my mom another high-five and kept on running along.

Our family was supposed to then travel¬†to see us around mile 13 so we were looking forward to that. Unfortunately, mile 13 came and went and we didn’t see them. We thought that perhaps it was because they were where the half-marathoners cut off from the full marathon but turns out, they had issues navigating through the finish line set-up and weren’t able to get to where we would be running through. As much of a bummer as this was, there was nothing to do but continue on, knowing that they’d be tracking us and making sure they saw us at the finish line.

These first 13.1 miles were very enjoyable. The course is mostly flat with some hills and the crowd support is fantastic. Nicole and I were keeping a steady pace while chatting up a storm and dancing through every music station. Did you know that some marathons are for racing and some are for dancing? Now you know.

Second 13.1M

The second half of this marathon is really challenging. Yea, it’s a marathon so obviously you expect the second half to be more physically challenging but that wasn’t even the issue here. The second half of the course is mostly an out-and-back, meaning that you spend roughly 6-7 miles looking at runners who are ahead of you. Bleh.

At first, it wasn’t so bad because we were watching the first men and women runners coming down the final stretch and it is incredibly inspiring to cheer for them. But then came the “regular people” who are just really, really fast… and instead of incredibly inspiring, it’s incredibly mentally defeating.

Mile 18-19 was the worst because we were running on one side of the street and saw mile 19 on the other side and were all “Hey! Look at that! The turn-around point isn’t all that far away!”



Anywho, while the out-and-back was rough during this half, I managed to keep a positive attitude throughout. I think I’m definitely more physically and mentally equipped for the marathon distance than I am for smaller distance races.

running buddies 2

I began starting conversations with other runners on the course, shouting things like “We can do hard things!” and counting down the number of minutes left in Netflix episodes. I ran (quite literally) into a former TFK coach, a former TFK teammate, and a gentleman running his 70th marathon on his 70th birthday (BADASS!).

What works best for me in the latter miles of a marathon is breaking these miles down into chunks. The first hurdle I identified to Nicole was mile 20. We just had to get to mile 20. That was our “finish line” for the time being. Then after a “DO YOU HAVE 6 MORE MILES IN YOU?!” scream, I split the remaining miles into 20 minute chunks.

I couldn’t¬†wait to get to mile 24. I needed that mile 24 so badly. And when it came, I nearly burst. I turned to Nicole, “DO YOU HAVE 20 MORE MINUTES IN YOU?!” Not-so-spoiler alert: she did.


Having missed our families at mile 13, we were very concerned we were going to miss them again near the finish line. We had no idea where they were and were starting to worry¬†that we had passed them when we saw the finish line straight ahead. But there they were… literally right next to the finish line. We did some celebrating in front of them before running through the finish. We high-fived, we hugged, I fought back some tears. #marathonemotions

philadelphia marathon finisher

The finish area was very easy to navigate and we were able to get our medals, blankets, food, and drinks without issue. We took some finish line photos that are well, finish line photo fails (link to Nicole’s funny post about these).

It was super easy to find our families and we were walking to the cars within minutes of finishing, albeit slightly slower than the walk earlier that morning.

Philadelphia Marathon: The Review

The Good

  • The course is pretty “easy” as marathon courses go. It is mostly flat with some hills.
  • Parking was extremely easy and efficient and we were able to drive in and out of the city without any issues.
  • The course is spectator-friendly and your fans can see you in multiple locations without moving around too much.
  • The finish line is very organized and finding spectators after the finish was simple.
  • The medals are awesome. They have the Liberty Bell on them and actually ring. Fun!
  • It is the perfect marathon to use for Dopey Challenge training because it falls 6 weeks out, making “training” between Philly and Dopey easy-peasy!

The Not-So-Good

  • The security for runners getting into the start line was a mess. Hopefully they’ll have figured out a better system for next year.
  • The course is by far the most mentally challenging marathon I have ever run (compared to NYC, Chicago, and Disney) because of the out-and-back nature of the second half.
  • Water stations¬†are not always on both sides of the street, creating congestion and unnecessary sideways movement.
  • It’s a late November race which means that you need to be prepared to run in any kind of weather (true for most fall marathons but especially true for late fall).

philadelphia marathon medals

I don’t know that I’d ever run the Philadelphia Marathon again unless I decide to run the Dopey Challenge again (completely possible because I am apparently quite dopey). The timing is truly perfect and my “training” for the Dopey Challenge is even easier than last year.

If anything, I am most likely to run the Philly Half. It’s a great course with lots of crowd support and definitely very spectator-friendly for those who want to see their runner multiple times.

Thanks, Philly, for the 26.2 mile tour.


Next up: 48.6 magical miles. 


Filed under disney, marathon, marathon tips, philadelphia marathon, running

Having fun again: Philly Marathon training.

First up, workouts from last week:


Yesterday marked 6 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon… eek!

Having fun again: 

Let’s get this straight, I have loved marathon training in the past. I like having a¬†schedule, I like hitting paces I never hit before, I like working towards a big goal. That being said,¬†my desire to train this year was low and I had no intention of doing it one minute longer than necessary.

thanks leonard

For 12 weeks, I trained hard for the Newport Liberty Half. All summer I arranged weekday and weekend plans around my training schedule. I hit every workout because I had a goal and was willing to give up a little of my social life in order to meet it… and it exhausted me.

carbloading with booze probably

I found myself dreading long runs that weren’t all that long in comparison to the long runs I’ve done for marathon training. Runs became something to “just get through” instead of something I looked forward to as I have in other training cycles. This made me think that perhaps I was burnt out on running. I began to seriously wonder about how I’d fare through the training for the upcoming Philadelphia Marathon and Dopey Challenge. Turns out, I was more burnt out on training than I was on running.

i believe

Removing the pressure seems to have worked wonders. I genuinely enjoyed every second of Monday’s 4×800 workout (something I did¬†voluntarily¬†and didn’t check my pace once until the workout was completed) and couldn’t believe how the miles were ticking by during Saturday’s 14M that I decided to increase the pace by a full minute for the last mile.

bring it

With no time goals for Philly, I’m just taking the next few weeks to make sure my body is capable of getting through the marathon distance while not burning myself out (since there are still quite a few weeks until that whole running 48.6 miles thing I signed up for… again).

The basic plan:

  • 2-3 runs each week, one interval workout and one long run
  • A 20 mile training run before a three-week taper
  • Yoga, Soulcycle, and strength training at least once a week

Here’s to 5 weeks of not checking my watch and not recording paces!

not knowing

Damn straight, Penny.


What do you do when you feel burnt out but still have a race to run?

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