Archive | October, 2013

A New York State of Mind

30 Oct

I am currently sitting on my couch all cozy listening to the rain with the song “New York State of Mind” on repeat. I might be getting a little teary too.

I am so excited for the NYCM to be here, and I am so excited to be in New York on Friday. The trip could not come soon enough.

Today, my blog friend Doug sent me a list of questions and asked me to answer them for a blog project he is working on. The questions were about NYCM and my thoughts, feelings and goals towards the race.

As I sat there reading those questions and thinking about my answers, I reflected on how thankful I am to be running this race. This race has been nearly 2 years in the making, since I first received my acceptance January 2012. I have dreamt about this race, visualized this race, and planned this race. And on Sunday, the race will finally be here.

New York is not the only thing I have been thinking about though. I have been thinking about Boston too. A lot.

Boston will forever be a part of me. The experiences in Boston will always stay with me, and the memories of what happened will always live in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind. Boston changed me, but it changed me for the better.

The experiences there showed me what is important in life. And it showed me how precious life is.

I am not just lucky that I got into the New York City Marathon, I am lucky because I am able to run the New York City Marathon. I have my health. I have my strength. And I have my support system.

To me, this race on Sunday will be a celebration of what our communities (running, cities, nation, etc) have overcome this last year. We have stood strong together through hurricanes. We have been brave for each other through horrible attacks on our nation. We have stuck together through it all, and we will continue to do so.

I am not scared anymore to run on Sunday. I am excited. And I am ready.

On Sunday, I will run for the victims of Sandy that are still recovering from the aftermath of the storm.

On Sunday, I will run for those in Boston that continue to be affected – mentally and physically. Especially those that cannot run anymore.

And on Sunday, I will run for me. I will run to prove to myself what my body is capable of. I will run to see the pay out of the hard training. And hopefully, I will run to a big fat PR on the clock.

xo,

Ali

At the 2012 NYCM finish line.

At the 2012 NYCM finish line.

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Race Recap: KC Half Marathon

22 Oct

The Kansas City Marathon is one of my favorite races.

In 2008, the KC Half Marathon was the first half marathon I had ever done. I trained relatively hard, and went out there having no clue what I was doing. Originally my goal for the race was 1:45…well, I shocked myself and ran a 1:34. To this day, that is still my half marathon PR.

This year was my 4th time running the race, and my 6th time being down there for all the action. Like I said, I LOVE this race. The city is beautiful to explore and people come out to cheer you on. It is also usually a perfect fall day.

I decided that this race would be my final “long” run before the NYC Marathon. It was perfect timing being two weeks out, and Ramsey was registered too – which meant I would get to run the whole race with one of my favorite running buddies (awwwwwwwwww).

Our goal was to beat 1:50, which would give Ramsey a PR and allow me to run a good pace before NYC (not too easy but not too hard). I was very excited to run and to be there for Ramsey to beat his goal!!

I wore my favorite socks at the race!!!

I wore my favorite socks at the race!!!

We got to the starting line right on time, and I was able to say hello to a few friends that were running too. We all hugged and wished each other luck, then Ramsey and I parked ourselves next to the 1:45 pace group.

One of my favorite pre-race moments was when the National Anthem played. There were some issues going on with the audio, and part of the way through the Anthem the music went out. Instead of the crowd losing patience and moving along, everyone started singing. And we sang until the Anthem was over. I got chills, and choked up. Not sure why…but something about it was so moving. We were all united as one, and ready to conquer the miles ahead.

A beautiful morning in KC!

A beautiful morning in KC!

The first few miles of the race were slow. Some of the biggest hills of the race are in miles 1-4 (which includes one of the biggest hills in KC!). We ran these miles conservatively, and chatted about the course and what was coming up.

Miles 5-8 were fun because they go through one of my favorite parts of the city – The Country Club Plaza. We also got to see our friends Adam and Amber out cheering. This was definitely a boost for Ramsey.

Miles 8-10 are more hills. And they suck. If you run the KC Marathon, these gremlins hit you right at mile 21. If I am cursing them in the half, I can only imagine what my friends running the full were experiencing.

Once we got through mile 10, we had a 5k left. I was giving Ramsey non stop pep talks and chatting his ear off. But he liked it (whether he admits it or not!!)

Mile 11, 12 and 13 we really picked up the race. Ramsey wanted to finish, and I was going with the flow! I knew we would break our goal of 1:50, but wasn’t sure how close to 1:45 we could manage to get…

Before we knew it, the end of the race was in front of us. I really wanted to do this adorable finish line photo of us holding hands, but Ramsey was having none of that. He was focused and wanted to get past the finish. So there went my frame-worthy photo opp 😉

Finish time: 1:45:50ish

I am CRAZY proud of Ramsey and how well he did. He really toughed it out on those big hills and never gave up (mentally or physically).

Post Race photo with Ramsey!

Post Race photo with Ramsey!

I will be back to run the KC Half Marathon next year, and I suggest that you consider it as well.

Splits:

  1. 9:01
  2. 8:17
  3. 8:40
  4. 8:10
  5. 7:50
  6. 8:10
  7. 7:47
  8. 7:59
  9. 8:03
  10. 8:03
  11. 7:27
  12. 7:15
  13. 7:27

Judging by these splits, we ran a very smart race!

And a quick shout out to some of my friends that ran this race and PR’ed!!! Lee ran a 3:24 marathon, Amber ran a 3:14 marathon, and Krista ran a 1:33 half. Wow….I have some FAST friends!!!!!!! I am still in awe over their times!

Did you run last weekend? Have you done the KC Marathon or Half Marathon?

xo,

Ali

Lola trying to wear my medal after the race.

Lola trying to wear my medal after the race.

Recipe: Faux Cheesecake

17 Oct

A couple days ago I posted my favorite breakfast recipe, Overnight Oats. Today I want to share my favorite nighttime treat, Faux Cheesecake.

I first saw this recipe in the South Beach Diet cookbook. I thought it sounded so gross, but then I tried it and my mind was changed. Over the years I have adapted the Faux Cheesecake recipe, and have created one that I love.

I must put a disclaimer on this recipe. This is NOT cheesecake. This does not taste like real cheesecake. Is a big fat cookie, ice cream or cupcakes better than this Faux Cheesecake? Absolutely. BUT this is an amazing alternative to dessert if you need a quick sweet fix and you’re trying to be healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4c Ricotta Cheese (I like part skim/low fat)
  • 1/2tsp honey
  • 1/2tsp Peanut Butter (use PB2 to save calories)
  • A dash of pure vanilla extract
  • A sprinkle of dark chocolate chips

Throw it all in a bowl, stir it up, and enjoy!

This recipe is roughly 200 calories, maybe a little less. The Ricotta cheese is great because it packs 14 grams of protein a serving, and it is only 60 calories a serving!

If you use PB2 instead of real peanut butter, and only a few chocolate chips, this snack would be close to 120 calories a serving. Pretty great for a bedtime snack!

IMG_3554 IMG_3555 IMG_3557

Hope you enjoy!!!

xo,

Ali

Recipe: Overnight Oats

15 Oct

I am obsessed with overnight oats. I could eat them every single day, multiple times a day. So darn good.

So what are overnight oats? Well, you’re about to find out!

Overnight oats are a combination of ingredients that soak in your fridge overnight. There are so many awesome combinations of overnight oats, and it is hard to go wrong when making them.

Below is one of my favorite recipes for the oats that I make a few times a week.

One thing to be aware of when making these is to monitor what you are putting in. If you don’t watch your ingredients carefully this could become a higher calorie meal or snack than you would want.

Almond milk, greek yogurt, PB, Chia Seeds, Oats, Fruit

Almond milk, greek yogurt, PB, Chia Seeds, Oats, Fruit

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The chocolate almond milk is amazing!! But you could use regular almond or plain milk.

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This Greek Gods yogurt is now one of my favorites.

image (7)

Use frozen fruit or fresh fruit. All works great!

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These take some getting used to but have great benefits (so people say).

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Old fashioned oats.

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When I am not marathon training I use PB2. Lighter calorie option for the PB flavor.

Layer it all up, put it in the fridge overnight!

Layer it all up, put it in the fridge overnight!

Stir up and enjoy in the morning. I like to add some crunchy Kashi on top.

Stir up and enjoy in the morning. I like to add some crunchy Kashi on top.

Calorie counts depend on the ingredients you add. This combination is around 300 calories and I eat it for breakfast. You can make it lower if you use lowfat yogurt, PB2 and plain almond milk.

  • 1/2c Almond Milk
  • 1/3c Greek Yogurt
  • Fruit (frozen or fresh)
  • 1tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4c Oats
  • 1/2tsp PB

Dump all ingredients in a bowl. Put in the fridge overnight. Stir up and enjoy in the morning.

(This will stay good for a couple days, so make a double batch to save time!)

Hope you enjoy!!!

Have you made overnight oats? Any tips or tricks to share with me?

Ali

NYC Marathon Training Week 11 & 12

14 Oct

Two more weeks of training done! I can’t believe how fast this training cycle is going and that it is already time to start tapering.

Week 11

Week 11 started off a little rough. I had been very lucky not to have a bad week of training, but this week was a bit of a different story. I think I was totally worn out from my 60 mile week and my body really needed some rest.

I always say “listen to your body”, and I did just that. I was supposed to have 3 hard runs this week, but I cut it back to just two. Sometimes you have to adjust your plans and do what is right for you. Which is usually much easier said than done 🙂

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 6 miles at 9:17 pace. I declared this the worst run of my training so far. Wow, it sucked. I didn’t want to get up, so I started too late and knew I had to cut it short. I think I was mentally “off” from the start, and then when my legs didn’t want to move fast I was thrown off physically. Overall, a terrible run.

A horrible run with mismatched socks.

A horrible run with mismatched socks.

Wednesday: 7 miles at 8:51 pace. I took this one nice and easy. I was a little scared after the previous days run, so this one would be a relaxed pace.

Thursday: 18.25 miles at 8:29 pace. I had to do my long run during the week due to 5k’s over the weekend. I ran 11 alone and 7 with friends. No goal pace miles in this run. Just ran for the distance.

Celebrating my one month countdown!

Celebrating my one month countdown!

Friday: 6 miles at 9:10 pace. Recovery run with Ramsey. I love our morning runs together!

Saturday: Pumpkin Run 5k – 19:29, 6:06 pace! I WON the females! And I PR’ed!!!! I think I need to write a blog post dedicated to this run, because it was so freaking exciting. And I am still smiling over that PR. (I also ran 1 mile warm up/cool down)

HOLY FREAKING COW!!!!

HOLY FREAKING COW!!!!

Sunday: John Glasser 5k, 8:30 pace. Ran with Ramsey and Adam. It was a chilly, but gorgeous morning!

Total Miles: 44

Week 12

This week was my last peak week of training. It was my goal to get to 60 miles again, but I ended up doing 58.

I went into this week feeling great. I think all of the easy miles the week before were good for me.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 8 miles at 7:52 pace. Fun track workout. 12 x 400 with 200M recovery in between each repeat. I never stopped the entire time on the track. All repeats were either 1:29 or 1:30.

Gorgeous morning on the track!!

Gorgeous morning on the track!!

Wednesday: 8 miles at 8:01 pace. Early morning run with a couple friends.

Thursday: 12 miles at 8:21 pace. I ran 6 miles before meeting up with my Thursday run friends. 4 miles were tempo pace: 7:23, 7:08, 6:58, 7:23. The rest were easy pace.

Friday: 8 miles at 9:15 pace. Super easy recovery miles.

Avoided a major disaster here.

Avoided a major disaster here.

Saturday: 18 miles at 7:49 pace. Warmed up for 3 miles, then hit it hard for 12 miles (actually 13 because I struggled to slow my pace down…I was in the groove). Tempo miles were mostly between 7:30-7:40. I felt really great on this run. I also had good company! My parents came out to the trail to ride bikes next to me while I ran. That way I wasn’t alone. Yes, I have the best parents.

Muddy trail running. And this photo was very difficult to take.

Muddy trail running. And this photo was very difficult to take.

Thanks Mom and Dad! And check out my pretty new Garmin!!

Thanks Mom and Dad! And check out my pretty new Garmin!!

Sunday: 4 miles at 9:30 pace. I was SOOO tired on this run and totally not in the mood to get out the door. But Ramsey talked me into it. And I am so glad he did!

Total miles: 58

Overall, I am happy with these two weeks of training, especially last week. My long run was a major confidence booster and I was so relieved to be able to easily hold a 7:40 pace. Not only was I able to hold it, but I was talking the whole time. I am feeling great about where I am  as I head into taper.

How is your training going? Did you race last weekend or are you racing this weekend?

xo,

Ali

A few more photos from the week (all from Instagram):

Night out with Ellen and Brian.

Night out with Ellen and Brian.

My brother's surprise 30th birthday party!

My brother’s surprise 30th birthday party!

Post run Brunch with my friends.

Post run Brunch with friends.

Droppin it.

Droppin it.

Celebrating our friend Hannah's wedding!

Celebrating our friend Hannah’s wedding!

NYC Marathon Training Week 10 + Running Milestones

3 Oct

Last week was my tenth week of NYC Marathon training.

The week was scheduled to be a heavy week, with some intense workouts. It was also scheduled to be the highest mileage week I have ever done…60 miles (holy cow!!!)

Training called for 3 hard runs, and 3 recovery runs.

And here is how it all went down…

Monday: 12.4 miles at 7:49 pace. 6 miles GP, 5 x 1k @ 5k pace with 400m cool down in between each. I really liked this workout. It was different and broke up the mile repeat routine I have been getting bored with.

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 8 miles at 7:54 pace. This is called a progression run. First mile was a warm up, then started to get faster for 5 miles. Splits for my progression miles: 8:04, 7:51, 7:27, 7:16, 7:04. Then cooled down. I was really happy with this run! I had some big hills in there and actually ran the splits a little faster than what my plan told me to! It was definitely hard by the end though.

Thursday: 7.12 miles at 8:42 pace. Easy miles with friends.

Friday: 8 miles at 9:22 pace. Ran with my BFF Eileen. This was a really fun way to start my Friday and catch up with Eileen!

Gorgeous morning skies!!

Gorgeous morning skies!!

Saturday: 18.4 miles at 7:43 pace.

Interesting running day! Started around 7am, got to 5.8mi before the thunderstorms hit. Found refuge in Roastarie, where I saw my friend Amber (she is running the KC Marathon) waiting for her ride too (we are lucky to have these men that will support our crazy habits!!). This run was basically all warm up miles, with one tempo (7:53).

Run round 2 started at 3pm. I needed to run 10 miles at “goal pace” today, so I had 9 left. I started with one warm up, then hit the miles harder. My tempo miles were much faster than I expected, but they felt good and a natural pace. I am sure I ran these too fast, but I ran them like I felt and didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. Splits for my harder miles: 7:13, 7:30, 7:19, 7:24, 7:24, 7:15, 6:26, 7:19, 7:35. Obviously splitting this run into two parts was not ideal, but it was the way it had to be!

This was a confidence boosting run for sure and gets me really excited to see how well I could do for my race. Based on my training, I should be able to PR NYC (under 3:32)!

Sunday: 6 miles at 8:57 pace. Recovery run with Ramsey. We maybe paused the watch a couple times to walk up hills…..

New running skirt from Athleta. I LOVED it!

New running skirt from Athleta. I LOVED it!

Total mileage: 60!!!!!

Another thing I have been adding to my training are abs and arms. I have been trying to do these workouts a couple times a week. Stretching has also been something I am really focusing on this time around. I can definitely tell my flexibility is better!

Following my big week, we celebrated at a winery!

Following my big week, we celebrated at a winery!

wino.

wino.

xo!

Ali

Did you hit any new running milestones recently?

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