Category Archives: running

Carb-loading Bride.

Before I knew that I’d be getting married in Fall 2017, I already had my eyes on Fall 2017 for another reason, the NYC Marathon. I imagined the months leading up to November as filled with pasta, early mornings, long runs, and foam rolling, not seating arrangements, color palettes, and dance song selections.

But then this happened:

Engagement – 11/18/2016

And then the venue we wanted had only one date that wasn’t in the winter (many reasons a winter wedding wouldn’t have been a wise choice for us).

And then I had a decision to make.

Do I “defer” my guaranteed NYCM entry by registering, canceling, and then re-registering in 2018, having to pay twice? Do I not accept my guaranteed entry and do 9+1 again? Is that even worth it? Would 9 races equate to the price of the marathon entry fee? Would I even be in a position to run a marathon in fall 2018?

Or… is it possible to train for a marathon, plan a wedding, peak the weeks of my wedding and honeymoon, and then come back from paradise and run a marathon less than three weeks later? Could I do that?

I went for a run (and it happened to be one of those gloriously beautiful days where running feels easy and you’re all “hey, i could run for-ev-er” so that may have played a role here) and I came back with a plan. I sat down down and made a draft based on the last time I trained for the NYCM but also worked around my wedding/honeymoon schedule.

And then this happened almost immediately:

So yea, I’m in. And I’ll be simultaneously wedding planning and marathon training.. and then carb-loading at my wedding because #peakweeks.

First Draft (click to enlarge)

It’s doable. And honestly, when I look at it, my schedule doesn’t even seem so bad to me. Two 10-mile runs in Hawaii? That sounds amazing.

But i’m letting the PR go. I know myself well enough to know that the pressure of having to train for a PR and also plan a wedding, get married, and then go on a honeymoon weeks before the race would not be beneficial for anyone (me, Justin, unsuspecting people on the street who may cross my path, etc.).

So yea, I may be crazy, but it’s happening… and it’s going to be awesome. #carbloadingbride

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Stay tuned for wedding & marathon training adventures 🙂

 

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

2017 Glass Slipper Challenge: Princess Half-Marathon.

The last day of the Glass Slipper Challenge (10k recap, 5k recap) is the Princess Half-Marathon. It’s another early day and since I was the only one running the half out of our large group, I got on the bus solo and waited to meet up with Jess and Nicole before heading up to the corrals.

My parents, Justin, and Sue were due to get a bus to Epcot to grab the monorail to Magic Kingdom so I knew they weren’t too far behind me with their wake-up alarm. Unfortunately, there was some misinformation and my family and a few runners missed the last bus and were told the next bus wasn’t until 6am (well after the start of the race). My mom texted me that they weren’t going to be able to make it to Magic Kingdom and I could tell she was upset. I reassured her that it was no big deal and that I’d see them all at the finish line.

About fifteen minutes later I got another text from my mom saying that they’d see me in Magic Kingdom. Wait – what?!

The runners with them decided they were going to walk to the start line and since my family was already up, they decided to tag along. Luckily, Disney magic was on their side because a race bus pulled up alongside them and scooped them up and brought them to Epcot!

Princess Half-Marathon

Our plan for the race was the same as the day before – to run easy and comfortably and stop for photos when there was a character we loved on the course. We also decided that for the latter half of the race, we’d employ an 8-and-2 run/walk plan if we hadn’t stopped for a photo in a while. As I’ve learned before with Disney races, I enjoy the walk “breaks” mostly for their mental benefit.

We didn’t stop for many photos early on but as the race progressed, we stopped more and more. We stopped so much in Magic Kingdom that Mile 6 took us over 30 minutes to complete. #WorthIt

After seeing my family on Main Street and stopping for so many great characters in Magic Kingdom, the lonely roads of the highway seemed to go on and on and onnnn.  Once we got to Mile 10, I began texting my mom from my Apple Watch to let her know where we were and an approximate time we’d be at the finish line.

After our finish, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for a day in Epcot!

Epcot

When we first started planning our Disney trip, the dads came up with the idea of getting us all ridiculous matching shirts and decided on, well, hot pink Vandalay Industries t-shirts. Now, let me tell you how 20 Italians from New York ended up in hot pink Vandalay Industries shirts…

My dad found a company online and sent an e-mail to each family to order their shirts. Well, everyone ordered their shirts on the same day and the company (which is extremely small and later told us that they barely sell that many of those shirts in a year, let alone in a single day) cancelled all our orders stating that we were “fraudulent.” LOL. #irony

Obviously, we got it all sorted out and everyone had their shirts for Epcot day! We realized very quickly that we should have done something like this the previous two days as it was so much easier to find everyone with us all in the same obnoxiously loud color. #LessonLearned

We were quite the hit in Epcot; people came up to talk to us and took photos of/with us. We overheard a conversation between a mother and a daughter in which the daughter asked why we all matched and the mother answered that we must be here on a company trip because we all worked for Vandalay Industries. #AwHoney

After the fireworks, it was time to go back to the hotel and relax.

The next day, we all hung out at the pool to enjoy one more day of sunshine before coming back to cold NYC.

It wasn’t easy to leave… especially since this is the first Disney trip in a while that I’ve ended without having my next one already planned 🙁

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Next up: I’ll be carb-loading at my wedding. True story. Stay tuned. 

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Filed under disney, half-marathon, running

2017 Glass Slipper Challenge: Enchanted 10k.

Since the Enchanted 10k starts 30 minutes earlier than the 5k, it was an even earlier start to Saturday morning than Friday. I think it’s crazy how I’m able to get myself out of bed at this ungodly hour to run in Disney but can’t seem to get myself up almost 4 hours later when waking up for work in NYC. #DisneyMagic

Enchanted 10k

Anywho, Justin and I met up with my cousin Liz by 3:45 am to walk to the bus. We were meeting up with Jess and Nicole (who moved to Austin a few weeks ago and NYC misses so much!) in the corral and I was excited to get lots of running and chatting time with some of my favorite people.

The 10k was Justin’s first Disney race in which he stopped for photos (he’s only run the 5k with my dad who, if you’ve read here before, will not stop for photos lest it get in the way of his PRing) so I was excited to show him how much fun one can have when truly embracing the Disney race experience.

We kept the pace super easy when we were running and stopped for photos with most of the characters. I was most excited to see that Princess Minnie was out on the course! When we were waiting on Princess Minnie’s line, she went running inside and a castmember assured us that she was “just checking up on Mickey and will be right back” and let me tell you, girl can run. And in those heels? Very impressive.

Throughout the race, I was updating our photos onto my family’s photostream so all our crazies back at the hotel (and at the finish line) could see how much fun they were missing.

My cousin thought of the idea of having a photostream for everyone on the trip and it made sharing photos so easy and fun. We now have hundreds of photos of our time together all in one place and there was no “can you send me that picture?” or “I’ll put these all together in an album when we get home.” It was great and I’ll definitely be doing this for certain things in the future (I’m thinking honeymoon – my parents and brother want photos of us hiking through a volcano popping up on their phones while they sit at their desks, right?)

My aunt and uncle were waiting for us at the finish line and we quickly got on the bus back to the hotel to get ready for a day at Magic Kingdom 🙂

Magic Kingdom

Saturday’s weather made it feel like it was two completely different days; the morning was cloudy and chilly and by noon, it was in the mid-80’s without a cloud in the sky (just how I like it).

We made sure to take lots of photos (all included with my pass!) and stopped for our first of the day in front of the castle. While standing for these photos, we saw a proposal (!!!) and also got super distracted by fireworks going off behind us..

Fireworks!

Around lunchtime, our large group split up into two smaller groups – those who wanted something from Columbia Harbour House and those who wanted turkey legs. I wasn’t all that hungry after a pretty big breakfast so I decided I wanted a slushy lemonade and would grab another snack before dinner. As I spoke with the castmember to order my frozen lemonade, she asked if I just got married (because of the bride ears). I explained that we are getting married this September and that this was my only Disney trip before the wedding that I got to wear the ears. She got all giggly and adorable and gifted me with two chocolate chip cookies. I got all excited because hey – free cookies!

My intention was to eat one cookie and then save the other for Justin. I even wrapped the second cookie up and put it in my backpack..

Yea. That didn’t work.

I ended up going back in my bag and eating the second cookie roughly two minutes after putting it away so I wouldn’t eat it.

Sorry, Justin. Just know that it was delicious and it made me happy. That’s all that matters, right?

After dinner, we watched the fireworks from behind the castle (I’ve actually never done this before) and then I went back to the hotel to get some sleep while the others stayed behind to get some more rides in.

I was so exhausted, I didn’t hear a single person come back into the room and didn’t stir at all until the 3:21 am alarm the next morning.

Next up: Princess Half-Marathon and Epcot 🙂

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Filed under 10k, disney, running, vacation

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

Pre-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

Race

Brooklyn
  • 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.
Queens
  • 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.
Manhattan
  • 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.
Bronx
  • 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.

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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 🙂

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