Category Archives: tcs new york city marathon

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


Stay tuned for wedding & marathon training adventures 🙂


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

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 🙂

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

I didn’t put my name in for the NYC Marathon…

First up, workouts from last week:


Also, a big CONGRATS to Jill who won my giveaway for a FREE Spartan Race!


I always use a random number generator to pick giveaway winners so I never know who is going to win.. and it made me really happy how excited Jill was about winning. She has already used her free code to register for a Spartan Race in Ohio this spring! Good luck, Jill!

I didn’t put my name in for the New York City Marathon…

It was hard not to register. It was so difficult to let Sunday pass me by and know that I was giving up the NYCM this coming November.

you dont even know

I love this race. I’ve run it 4x. I threw a temper tantrum and cried in a bagel store in 2013 when I didn’t run it.

i just want to runnn

But I also know that I’m unsure if I want to train for a marathon this summer.

seriously unsure

And I know that I want to train hard for a fall half-marathon.

in this outfit too

And I know that if I change my mind about a fall marathon (I am going to try not to!), there are countless other amazing marathons on the east coast that I’ve yet to run.

no criticizing if i hit register on a fall marathon

I’ll just have to find a way to numb my pain on November 1st.

total nycm denial

I love you, NYCM. And I’ll be back for you. But this year, I’ll see you at Mile 23… with a sign in one hand… and very likely, a drink in the other.


Did you enter the NYCM lottery? Do you have guaranteed entry?

Who watched the SNL 40 episode on Sunday?! SO GOOD! Read about my first and second times at SNL with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon.


Filed under giveaway, marathon, new york city, tcs new york city marathon, weekly workout wrap-up

Exactly how I trained for the 2015 Dopey Challenge…

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how I trained for the Dopey Challenge so I figured I’d finally write down exactly what I did and my advice for anyone wanting to run 48.6 magical miles themselves one day.

2015 dopey challenge

How does one prepare themselves for a weekend of 48.6 miles + countless other miles of walking around the Disney parks? My simple answer: run a fall marathon. For a more detailed answer, keep reading…

Dopey Challenge training Step 1: Train hard for a fall marathon.

For me, the easiest part about training for the Dopey Challenge was that I essentially didn’t even think about it until 7 weeks before the actual challenge. My mind was focused on one thing and one thing only: PRing at the NYCM (which I did, btw – woohoo!).

nycm finisher!

I think my biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to tackle the Dopey Challenge is to pick a fall marathon and train hard for it. The NYCM was my goal race for the year. It occupied my mind (so I was never busy worrying about running 48.6 miles!) and at the end of it I had a shiny new PR and was in the best marathon fitness of my life (hey, thanks Coach!).

Dopey Challenge training Step 2: Recover before starting a reverse taper.

Recover! I trained for 16 weeks for the NYCM and it was easily the hardest I’ve ever trained for any race in my life.  My body needed to rest so I made sure to give it some extra TLC before beginning a reverse taper (increasing distance each week). I went for a 90 minute full body massage, I spent many days relaxing on the couch and going for easy walks, I even went to bed one night at (gasp) 6:45pm. No, really… I fell asleep before Jeopardy came on.

Giving your body adequate time to recover from months of training and a 26.2 mile race is essential for getting to the starting line of the Dopey Challenge healthy and ready to run.  Even if you feel great (which I did within a day or two of NYCM), be mindful of what you just put your body through and take it easy for a while.

Dopey Challenge training Step 3: Maintain distance fitness and get to WDW healthy.

After the NYCM, I knew that I needed to let something go to get to WDW healthy and not completely burnt out on running. For me, that something was speed. All of my running workouts were done at whatever pace felt comfortable that day. After months of tracking paces and stats, this was a welcome change and kept me sane the weeks leading up to the Dopey Challenge. My only goal was to maintain distance fitness so that I knew I could complete the distance of the marathon (and then some) in January. Speed? Not necessary. No pressure running FTW!

My actual Dopey Challenge training:

A couple of months ago (right before running the NYCM), I had posted a tentative training schedule for Dopey. I made some changes prior to starting but the general idea was the same:

  • Limit weekday runs and increase indoor workouts like spin and yoga (hey, it’s cold and dark here in NYC during the winter)
  • Run both Saturday and Sunday to get used to running on tired legs
  • Give myself a solid 3 week taper and max out with an 18 mile long run (for NYCM I used a 2 week taper and maxed out with a 22 mile long run)

Below are the exact workouts I did beginning the day after the NYCM and ending with the Dopey Challenge:

Dopey Challenge training

Training didn’t go perfectly – The first weekend in December had a lot going on and I didn’t do my planned 14 miler, I got sick the week of Christmas and significantly decreased my workouts and mileage (that 4.5 mile “long run” was supposed to be 10 miles, for example). But, as always as usual, listening to your body and giving it what it needs (rest, in my case) was more important than a number on a training schedule. Note: this knowledge did not stop me from freaking out about my taper period. 

I’ve said it in many posts now since having completed the Dopey Challenge… it was the most fun I’ve ever had and it was easily the best I have ever felt while running a marathon.

What I think I did right:

  • Recovered properly from NYCM
  • Removed any pressure to maintain speed fitness
  • Created a training program that maintained distance fitness but also didn’t burn me out from running (for NYCM, I ran 4-5 days a week)
  • Ran smart throughout the Dopey Challenge.
  • And most importantly… had fun!

[bctt tweet=”Want to run the #DopeyChallenge next year? @DErunnerNIAL shares her best training advice: ” via=”no”]


Favorite fall marathon? GO.

Any future Dopey Challengers?!?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a FREE Spartan Race anywhere in the country!


Filed under disney, marathon, running, tcs new york city marathon, walt disney world marathon