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TBT: The Journey to Marathon #6

17 Apr

In honor of TBT, I decided to write a little throwback post to marathons 1-5, and how I made it to #6. After I ran my first half marathon, I vowed to never run a marathon. I remember thinking to myself, “If a half was that hard, how could I EVER do a full??” It wasn’t gonna happen.

My mind was changed after watching my friend Stacy run her 10th marathon in Chicago on 10-10-10. I remember cheering from the sidelines thinking, “someday soon, this will be me. I want to run a marathon. I want to experience this excitement”

December 2011 – 14 months later, and I was scared to death at the starting line of my first marathon. Marathon #1 was so easy for me and felt so natural. I crossed the finish line and thought, “Bring on the next one baby!!!” It truly was one of the best experiences of my life, and I knew a marathon addict had been born. Finish time: 3:32

May 2012 – 4 months later, I brought on the next one. And it sucked ASS. A totally different experience than marathon #1. I had to walk. I had to cry. And I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. And in the end, I came out of it more determined for marathon #3. Finish time: 4:13

December 2012 – Marathon #3 was also a tough one. Right before the race, I got sick. The week of the race, I wasn’t sure if I could even run. I toughed it out, and ran my heart out. I had to take my inhaler 4-5 times during the race, stop multiple times to catch my breath, and shed a few tears. But after it was all said and done, I was so thankful my body could support me for 26.6 and my mind could make it too. Finish Time: 3:43

April 2013 – The months leading up to Marathon #4 were quite grouchy. I did not want to train. AT ALL. The 3 marathons before were all back to back (fall – summer – fall) and I was ready for a break. It actually took me until April to get excited. How silly that I would let my mind get in the way of being excited for BOSTON!!! I was about to run the most exciting marathon in the world, and I wasn’t excited?!?!?! This race ended up to be one of the most memorable I have ever done, and not because of the bombs. I ran this race with two people that mean so much to me. In my opinion, there is no greater bonding experience than surviving 26.2 together. Finish Time: 3:54

November 2013 – BRING ON NYC. The race I waited to run for 18 months. To say I was excited was an understatement. I trained hard, and I conquered the race. For days after this race, I was living on cloud nine for what I had just accomplished (in fact, I think I still am!!!). Finish Time: 3:21

Marathons are not always easy, and certainly not always fun. But every single marathon teaches us something. Through the good, the bad, and the really really ugly races I have experienced, I have never given up. These marathons have taught me what to means to be tough, mentally and physically. They have taught me discipline, and taught me how to set goals and reach them.

And even though I have not loved every step of these races, I can still say that after every 26.2 completed, I have said, “so when’s the next one?”

xo,

Ali

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NYC Marathon Race Logistics

6 Nov

Yesterday, I posted about my PR and success at the NYC Marathon. Today, I wanted to share some of my race logistics and tips!

Running a marathon definitely takes a lot of strategy and preparation – and this is in addition to the 4 months of training leading up to it.

In my opinion, big city races are really hard to prepare and plan for. You have to travel, and you want to see the sights while you are there. You also want to enjoy a vacation and live it up. However too much of any of these things and you will ruin your race.

Friday Prep:

We arrived to NYC on Friday afternoon. Immediately when we got there, I wanted to eat something semi healthy and go to the expo. I thought it would be smart to get all of my wandering around the expo out of the way on Friday.

We ended up walking to the expo, which I was NOT happy with. But traffic sucked and it was our only option. I knew I needed to save the legs, but sitting in a cab for an hour and going into debt didn’t really seem like a better option.

After coming back to the hotel, I rested my legs for a while and chugged some more water. That night, we took another walk that was way too long, but I made sure to go to bed early.

I have read many times that two nights before your race is the most important night to sleep, so I was sure to get in a solid 10 hour rest that night. Sleep is so important to a successful race!!!

Saturday Prep:

Saturday morning I had pancakes for breakfast, a little coffee, a ton of water and a gatorade. We had a late breakfast on Saturday, so I had a light lunch which consisted of a bag of pretzels and another gatorade. Doesn’t sound like much, but when I added the calories I figured 500 was pretty solid. Saturday dinner was full of carbs. I had bread and ravioli. It was the perfect meal. I also continued to chug water.

My biggest obstacle to overcome on Saturday was all the walking. I kept thinking to myself, “you are walking too much!” I took cabs whenever I could and sat down at every opportunity. Normally before a race I will run a couple miles the day before, but on Saturday I decided not to run at all. I was very concerned with overdoing it and tiring my legs. I figured all the walking I had done was plenty and would count as my shake out..

Saturday night was daylight savings, which was amazing!! I was able to sleep lay in bed an extra hour and recharge my body as much as possible.

Sunday Pre Race:

When I woke up Sunday, I felt crazy rested and more than ready to run.

After putting on my race outfit, applying all of the Body Glide in NYC, and making sure everything was secure, I started putting on my layers.

I decided not to check a bag, so everything I was wearing would not be coming home. My layers consisted of a jacket, a long sleeve t shirt, a short sleeve t shirt, another jacket and fleece pants. It was insane how many layers I was wearing – but let me tell you – I was warm! I also had on tube socks as arm warmers (a tip my friend Stacy taught me), a fleece headband and cheap cotton gloves.

On the way to the start, I had my first meal. This meal consisted of a banana, a nutri grain bar, and a cup of gatorade. I also sipped on water the whole way to Staten Island.

When we arrived to Staten Island, I went to my corral and sat down. I was insistent on not using extra energy standing. As I sat there, I drank some more water, and ate another nutri grain bars (nutri grain bars have become my go-to pre running meal).

I was able to use the port-a-potty twice in the corral, but it wasn’t enough. Next time I won’t drink so much before the race, because I ended up having to pee for 26 miles!! (btw I am annoyed yet again with how easy it is for men to pee ANYWHERE!)

When we walked to the starting line, I found another place to sit down. I sat in a ball for at least 20 minutes. This would ensure I didn’t waste energy standing or waste energy shivering like most of the people out there.

Sunday – Race Time:

To stay warm during the start of the race, I wore an old jacket for the first two miles. This jacket was awesome for the wind on the bridge. I ditched it around mile 2 when I started getting hot. I wore my arm sleeves for about 14 miles. The gloves stayed on until mile 21, and the headband was there until mile 22.

I took GU at mile 6, 13, 18 and 23. Sometimes it is hard to force the GU, but if you don’t take it you will pay for it. Usually my tactic is to take it every 45 minutes.

I had water and gatorade at every stop, except the last one (I feared if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to move again). I usually walk to through the stops so I don’t choke. This time I was able to make it through quite a few of them without stopping because I mastered the drinking and running thing!

As I said in my recap, I took my inhaler 3 times during the race. I also took it twice before – once when I got to the start village, and once right before the gun went off. On a day when my asthma is normal, I would only take the inhaler at the start and then again around mile 20.

Recap:

Two days before the race:

  • Sleep as much as possible
  • Rest your legs
  • Drink lots of water

One day before the race:

  • Eat carbs (I always avoid heavy carbs and veggies)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink a couple gatorades
  • Minimize the walking

Race morning:

  • Start sipping water/gatorade immediately
  • Eat carbs with sugars (if I eat anything with protein I feel weighed down)
  • Sit down as much as possible
  • Stay warm
  • Pee as much as possible!!!!
  • Stretch

Race time:

  • Sit down at the start if you’ll be there awhile
  • Stay warm
  • Eat gels (or your energy of choice) consistently – this piece is really different for everyone. It is important to train with what you will use on race day so you know if your body reacts well.
  • Force water/gatorade at every stop if you can

Now you know ALL my race secrets, tips and tricks! While all of these things don’t work for everyone, I do believe they are all important things to think about and consider.

Do you have any race tips? Are there things that you have to do before each marathon?

xo!

Ali

NYC Marathon Race Recap

5 Nov

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

And that is how the 2013 NYC Marathon started – Frank Sinatra belting it out as thousands of runners stood on the Verrazano Bridge waiting to cross the start.

Freezing at the start.

Freezing at the start.

At 9:45am, I crossed the starting line and began my journey from Staten Island to Central Park. I knew the start would be an emotional experience, and let me tell you – it was. I fought back the tears then switched my focus to the 26.2 miles ahead.

The first couple miles were so cool (and quite windy too!). We were on the Verrazano bridge with one of the most incredible views of the city. Hovering next to the bridge were NYPD helicopters keeping us safe and waving to us as we ran by. We could feel the love of the city, and we felt safe.

Everyone told me that this race would be crazy crowded at the start and to expect a very slow first mile. While it was crowded, I don’t think it slowed me down too much. I think the main thing to slow me down was the incline. I ended up running an 8:07 first mile, which made me pretty happy.

Around mile 3, we hit Brooklyn. I could hear the music and the fans as soon as we got off the bridge. They were ready to welcome us to their borough!

My tactic for this race was to run a consistent pace for as long as I could. I didn’t really know what that pace would be, but I hoped it would be something under 8 minutes a mile (I really wanted to break 3:30). I knew that pace so well from all my training runs, and was hoping I could get into the under 8min groove and hang onto it the whole race.

The first half was all in Brooklyn. We saw a number of different neighborhoods and many different people and cultures. I tried to soak it all in and enjoy every minute. I wore my Garmin that doesn’t show overall pace, but just my overall time and mileage (to avoid over thinking and obsessing on pace). When I knew I was reaching a mile marker I would try to check and see what pace I was hitting. Pretty much everything I saw the first half was around 7:35-7:45.

Half of the race DONE!

Half of the race DONE!

I will say I did have a few moments of worry the first half of the race. From the minute I crossed the starting line, I had this annoying pain in my butt. I had been experiencing this nagging pain for quite awhile during training, and hoped my taper would force it to go away. Well, it didn’t. I kept hoping it would either go numb or go away (umm yeah it never did).

Another issue the first half of my race was my asthma. This was another thing that had been bothering me over the past few weeks and I was pretty worried it would affect my race. At mile 9, I had to take my inhaler. I NEVER have to take my inhaler that early in a race, so this was a reason to be worried. I told myself over and over again not to panic. I also told my asthma that I wouldn’t let it ruin my race. I would conquer the marathon even though my breathing wasn’t the best. Letting the asthma win was not an option.

Hitting 13.1 miles in this race was huge for me. The first half was over, and I could evaluate my pace and body.

I crossed the half point in 1:41:52, which was right on target for a big PR. And most importantly, I felt positive and knew my body could make it another 13.1 at a good pace.

The race tactic for the second half was to ‘keep on keepin’ on’ and continue exactly what I was doing.

When we hit the Queensboro Bridge around mile 14 I was a little intimidated. I had read a lot about this race and knew this was a hard part. You are all alone on that bridge and you face an uphill. This was one of the first miles when I felt like I had already run an insane amount of miles. I got myself up the hill and then made my way down. I knew that my family was waiting at the end of the bridge, and I wanted to keep going hard for them!

Exiting the bridge was very exciting, but I will say not as exciting as I had expected. While there were a TON of people down there, for some reason they weren’t screaming as loud as I had expected. It even took a couple runners pumping their arms to really get them going. After that, they got loud for us and welcomed us into Manhattan (anyone else that ran notice this?).

Turning onto 1st Avenue was awesome. The crowds were loud and you could see a sea of runners in front of you. This was also the first time I got to see my family – Ramsey and my soon to be sister Sarah! I LOVED seeing them and gave them a huge smile and huge thumbs up so they would know I was having a good day and felt great.

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Yay!

Feeling good!

Feeling good!

Right after seeing my family, I had to do few more hits of my inhaler. Again, this did not make me happy but I refused to let it screw up my day. Thank God for my Lululemon Stuff your Bra tank. Because of that tank I could keep my inhaler right on my chest and not have to fish it out of my belt. While it certainly looked a little odd bulging out of my bra, it probably saved me a few seconds on the day.

My mile splits continued to be consistent and on track for my PR.

Mile 18.5ish was crazy exciting because I got to see some of my NYC blog friends!! They screamed so loud for me and it was awesome. It was so fun to be in a city away from home and have people supporting you. Seeing them gave me an extra boost and another reminder that I could do it – and I was going to do it!

Thank you Michele for the photo!!

Thank you Michele for the photo!!

Aside from the 13.1 mark of the race, mile 20 was another BIG milestone. I was actually excited for mile 20 of this race. I knew once 20 hit, I could start picking up my pace and hit it hard to the finish. And when I still felt good at 20, I knew I was going to have a great day. I actually said to myself multiple times – “F the wall!!”

The support in the Bronx was pretty great. Everyone was cheering and yelling and was there to get the runners to the finish line. There were also some pretty great spectator signs.

When we left the Bronx and hit 5th Avenue, I knew it was time to get serious and focus on the finish. Only 5 more miles and I was done.

Mile 23 is when shit got real. I was starting to really hurt. My ass was ON FIRE (remember the pain in my butt, yeah still there), I had to take my inhaler AGAIN and I just wanted to be done. This is when having my name on my tank was the best decision ever. Everyone in the crowds was yelling “Go Ali!” and supporting me.

When I turned into Central Park at mile 24, I knew the race was coming to an end. At this point I was thinking, “one foot in front of the other. keep on moving. you can do it”.

At mile 25, I saw Ramsey and Sarah again. I struggled to wave to them and couldn’t really say anything back. I was hurting so bad. But I knew I was still keeping a strong pace and on track for a huge PR.

“Keep on going, you are almost done”

ouch ouch ouch ouch

ouch ouch ouch ouch

I wore my 2012 bib on my back.

I wore my 2012 bib on my back.

GET ME TO THE FINISH.

GET ME TO THE FINISH.

Turning onto Central Park South was another huge moment. I knew I had one more turn and then the finish would be there. I saw my watch beep Mile 26 (my Garmin was off about .4 from the real mile markers due to all the weaving I had done) and couldn’t believe my split – 7:16. I was booking it, and even though I hurt I was still staying focused and very strong. It was great to see that I was going faster than I had thought.

Right after mile 26.

Right after mile 26, with my Boston Strong temp tattoo on my arm.

As we turned back into the park, I started giving it everything I had. I pumped my arms like I never have before and had quite the mean face determined face going on.

Get it!

Get it!

I saw that finish and had my eye on the prize. I ran harder than I could have imagined possible to get my body across the finish.

I think this was right before the finish line.

I think this was right before the finish line.

And then I was done, and promptly hit my watch.

Holy crap. 3:21.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I DID IT!!!!!!!

As soon as I could think straight, I got out my phone and texted Ramsey. This conversation makes giggle and also makes me emotional. I was so tired I couldn’t even text a sentence. But I wanted him to know I was happy, and I was alive. I think he figured it out. (and yes, he is the most supportive soon-to-be-husband ever).

This makes me smile and I realize it is so sappy.

This makes me smile and I realize it is so sappy.

Then I called my parents. As soon as my Mom picked up the phone, I started crying. I told her I did it and she said, “I know you did! We are so proud right now!!!” Then she told me that my Dad and her were shocked at how perfect and smart I ran the race. My Dad got on the phone and swooned over my negative splits. Negative splits are ALWAYS a reason to celebrate!
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As I hobbled through the park to the family meet up (longest walk EVER!!!) I called Stacy and Nicole to tell them I was ok and that I was so happy.

Seeing Ramsey and Sarah at the family meet up was amazing. They hugged me and helped me put on my warm clothes. Then we posed for a few pics before limping hopping onto the Subway.

As I reflect on this race I am still in total awe that it worked out so perfectly. I did not let my booty pain slow me down, and I didn’t let my asthma mess me up either. I knew I had a good training and was capable of running great on Sunday, but an 11 minute PR and a 3:21 were not expected. I really couldn’t be happier or more excited. This also means that I get to go back to Boston in 2015!!

The NYC marathon should be on everyone’s “bucket list” and I hope to go back and experience this race again. A huge thank you to all the supporters (near and far) for all the love. I felt it the whole time!

Official time: 3:21:19
Overall Pace: 7:40

Splits:

  1. 8:07
  2. 7:30
  3. 7:36
  4. 7:35
  5. 7:51
  6. 7:42
  7. 7:44
  8. 7:40
  9. 7:45
  10. 7:29
  11. 7:47
  12. 7:40
  13. 7:42
  14. 7:35
  15. 7:30
  16. 8:03
  17. 7:18
  18. 7:25
  19. 7:38
  20. 7:33
  21. 7:16
  22. 7:22
  23. 7:21
  24. 7:45
  25. 7:20
  26. 7:16
Damn I am proud of these splits!

Damn I am proud of these splits! (click on this to make it bigger)

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.

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?

Lessons Learned Through 1,000 Miles

25 Sep

Today on my run, I hit 1,000 miles for the year 2013.

For me, this is a huge milestone. Up until last year, I had not ever thought I would be able to run this much in one year. I mean, 1,000 miles is A LOT when you think about it!!

As I ran this morning, I watched and waited for my Garmin to click 6 miles. At 6 miles into the run, I would hit my 1,000th mile for year. As soon as I saw it click over, I did a little dance and had a silent celebration (dancing was also due to finishing my tempo miles on my run!!)

I have been through a lot these 1,000 miles, and definitely learned some things during them as well.

Run for you.

With the sport of running, it is so easy to compare ourselves to other people. We constantly strike ourselves down with self doubt and negative comments.

“She is so much faster than me”
“I’ll never be as good as her”
“I wish I could as fast as other people”
“I am so freaking slow”

Those things above are just some of the negative self talk comments I have said to myself.

But why?

When we run, we are running to make ourselves healthier, happier and all around better people. It shouldn’t matter what other people are doing. What matters is ourselves. We should be proud of our accomplishments, not ashamed of them because they aren’t as fast as your best friend can run. Or your random instagram/twitter/facebook/daily mile freakishly fast fake friend can run.

Be proud of yourself. Whether you’re running 5 minute miles, or 12 minute miles, be proud of the fact that you are out there doing it. And that you are setting goals and achieving them.

Don’t take a mile for granted.

Probably the biggest lesson I have learned this year is to never take a single step for granted. Running is a gift, and we should all be thankful that we are capable of doing it.

You never know the day you could get a freak injury, like Kara Goucher recently encountered during her NYC Marathon training.

And you never know what tomorrow could bring.

Because of that, we should be thankful for every step, and especially every mile our body gives us.

——————————————-

Have you hit any major milestones lately?

What are the biggest lessons you have learned this year?

xoxo,

Ali

Some of my favorite adventures. Conquering the hardest half marathon EVER, Running with my GOTR girls, Crossing the Boston Marathon Finish line, and deciding to take the plunge and dive into NYC training.

Some of my most memorable adventures this year: Conquering the hardest half marathon EVER, Running with my GOTR girls, Crossing the Boston Marathon Finish line, and deciding to take the plunge and dive into NYC training.

Aside for the blog I am terrible at updating, we can also chat at the following places:

 

NYC Training Update #2 + Post Run Selfies

24 Sep

Hi friends!!

Well, it has been 3 weeks since my last training update….so I guess it is time for another little recap!

Training continues to go better than I could imagine. I am staying focused, motivated, and continuing to run faster times and higher mileage weeks than ever before.

The last few weeks have looked like this:

Week of September 2nd…

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 10 miles at 8:05 pace. Ran hard on the hills. Didn’t count how many hills I hit, but it felt like a lot!

Wednesday: 7 miles at 8:50 pace. Post work run, which felt really hard. Ran with Ramsey, which was really nice!

Thursday: 5.2 miles at 8:02 pace. 2 mile warm up, 8x1min interval sprints, with 1min rest in between each. This run was SUPER hard because I am not used to running at a sprint. Crazy how “slow” your speed can feel during marathon training!

Friday: 5 miles at recovery pace – 9:30.

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Broadway Bridge Half Marathon! 13.1 miles at 7:52 pace. Read the recap here.

Total mileage: 40.2

This was a “recovery” week due to the half marathon on Sunday. This was also one of my lowest mileage weeks during training.

So thankful we can run together!

So thankful we can run together!

Week of September 9th…

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 5.25 miles at 9:08 pace. Recovery run following the Broadway Bridge Half.

Wednesday: 10 miles at 8:11 pace. Ran 6 miles hard, with hill sprints and half mile tempos. This was a really hard run, but still felt like a really great workout!

Thursday: Long Run! 16 miles at 8:26 overall pace. Ran about 8 miles at Marathon Goal pace. The rest around 9 minute miles.

Friday: 5 miles at 9:30 pace. Recovery run with Ramsey. Best way to start the day!

Saturday: 8 miles at 8:15 pace.

Sunday: Plaza 10k!! PR ALERT! 6.2 miles at 6:45 pace. Plus 1.5 mile warm up.

Total Mileage: 52

I knew I would be running the Plaza 10k hard on Sunday, so I adjusted the week accordingly. Overall, it was a pretty intense week and I continued to feel the effects of the half marathon for most of it.

Post long run bliss!

Post long run bliss!

Week of September 16th…

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 10.5 miles in the rain, at 8:11 pace. 2 mile warm up, 3×2 miles hard with one mile cool down in between each set. Mile splits for my hard miles: 7:37,7:39,7:39,7:29,7:31,7:36. Plan said my splits should be 7:30, but I was struggling to hit that…I was happy with what I was able to pull off though, considering my legs were pretty tired from Plaza 10k.

Wednesday: 7 miles recovery at 9:17 pace.

Thursday: Long Run! 18.2 miles at 8:37 pace. Plan called for all miles at 8:30 pace. I ran 11 miles around 8:15, and 7 miles around 8:45 pace. Even though my overall pace wasn’t exactly what I needed, I still think this was overall a great run.

Friday: Off

Saturday: 4.2 miles at 9:00 pace. Super relaxed run, and one of those days when I was thinking the entire time – “I love to run” 🙂

Sunday: 11.33 miles at 8:01 pace. Got up and ran with my friend, Krista. She was doing her long run for the week, so I joined her for the last 11 miles. Gorgeous morning with some really great hills and solid paced miles.

Total Mileage: 51.3 miles

This week was supposed to be a 60 mile week, but it just didn’t really work out with my “life” schedule. Sometimes life will get in the way of marathon training!

Rainy run. I was SOAKED!!

Rainy run. I was SOAKED!!

How is your training going?? Please, tell me about it!!

xo,

Ali

{Yowza} Broadway Bridge Half Marathon Recap

16 Sep

About a month ago, I made a last minute decision to run the Broadway Bridge Half Marathon in Kansas City. I had a few other friends running, and thought it would be a perfect way to get my long run in for the week while getting in some “race pace” miles (anything at 8:00 or right under). I also thought it would be a great way to trick myself into running 13.1 miles hard! (Is it just me, or do races always seem easier than if you would just go out to run hard??)

In the days leading up to this race, I kept hearing how hilly this course was. I am not a wimp when it comes to hills, and sometimes I really like hills. So I considered this fact an added bonus of running the half. Now I will get hills, race pace and a long run in! Could it get any better?!?!

Answer: Yes it could get better! Add the insanely humid 85 degree weather to the mix and we had the perfect race to test me physically AND mentally!

My attitude about this race stayed extremely positive, and I was actually really excited to run it. I love hometown races, and this race was one going through quite a few places I had never ventured to before (including the downtown airport). Even when I walked outside the morning of the race and felt the weather, I remained excited. Call me crazy, but I was totally ready for the torture to come and knew it would do nothing but help me in NYC.

Pre-race photo with Sally and Amanda!

Pre-race photo with Sally and Amanda!

The first few miles were semi flat, with a few rolling hills. The bad thing about these miles was the sun beating down on us. I think I was sweating 3 minutes into the thing, and I don’t usually start sweating until at least a mile or two in!

Mile 6 was the first BIG hill. I remember thinking “one step in front of the other” all the way up that hill. And when I finally made it to the top, we were blessed with a mile of all downhill. I cruised through the mile and knew I had to use it to my advantage, as one of the biggest hills in Kansas City was waiting (I ended up running a 7:37 split!).

Chatting with Candace!

Chatting with Candace!

All smiles on the broadway bridge!

All smiles on the broadway bridge!

Mile 8, we hit the monster hill. I decided I would try to run this hill like a hill sprint and hang on to a solid pace for as long as I could. It was my goal to run under 8 minutes this mile, and it took all of my guts to make that happen! When the Garmin beeped a 7:54 mile, I had a BIG smile on my face!

Right after conquering the big ass hill.

Right after conquering the big ass hill.

The last 5 miles of the race were all about survival. This hills were brutal, the sun was HOT and my legs were getting VERY heavy. I just kept trying to hit under an 8 minute mile, which would result in my “goal time” of 1:45.

For Mile 13, I decided to put all my energy into it and see if I could make it my fastest. My old bootcamp teacher would always tell us that the workouts we did when we were the most tired made the biggest difference. So I figured I might as well try to run my last mile the hardest I possibly could!! There were a couple BIG hills that last mile, and when the watch beeped 7:28 on mile 13, there might have been a tear in my eye from being so proud of conquering them!

I ended up finishing in 1:44, which was a 7:52 overall pace. If I want to PR NYC, I need to run this pace for 26.2 miles…so I would say this was VERY good practice.

This was by far the hardest half marathon I have ever done, yet I would consider it my second best half marathon ever completed. Not because of the time, but because of the mental toughness I was able to fight through. The heat sucked and the hills were never ending. But my attitude remained extremely positive the entire time. Sure, I would’ve loved to run closer to 1:42 or 1:43, but I can’t be anything but proud of how I ended up.

I strongly believe that your time does not always dictate your performance. Sometimes it is your mental strength that will determine how well the race went. While a 1:44 will show up on paper as my time and won’t look that great comparative to some of my other half’s, it does not make me feel less of my performance. That thing was freakin’ HARD. And anyone that made it through all 13.22 miles (yes, adding on the extra .12!!!) is a rockstar in my book!! No matter what your time was, you should be proud of that finish 🙂

DEG runners.

DEG runners.

Congrats to my friend Noreen on her first half!!! (red shorts)

Congrats to my friend Noreen on her first half!!! (red shorts)

Stacy and Di were there too!

Stacy and Di were there too!

3rd in my age group!

3rd in my age group!

Splits:

  1. 7:49
  2. 8:06
  3. 8:29
  4. 8:07
  5. 7:48
  6. 8:14
  7. 7:37
  8. 7:54
  9. 7:53
  10. 7:40
  11. 8:06
  12. 7:41
  13. 7:28 (.22 1:44)

Have you ever done a race that was not your best time, but made you so proud?

Did you run Broadway Bridge???? And did you survive??

xo,

Ali

NYC Training Update

3 Sep

Hello!!!! Wow, it has been WAY too long since I updated the blog…

Last year, I would report weekly on my training progress for NYC, and I am going to try to start doing that again going forward.

I am now on week 7 of NYC Marathon training, and I cannot believe it. I was dreading this training so much, but to my surprise, it has gone amazingly well.

During this training, I have run some of my fastest times ever, along with my highest mileage month ever (214 miles!!!!!!!!). I have learned to love running in my new neighborhood, met new running friends, and reunited with old friends I had not seen in awhile.

Overall, this training has been awesome. And as long as I don’t lose my momentum, get injured, or have a natural disaster get in my way, I should be able to run a kick ass race on November 3rd. And I am pretty excited about the idea of that!

Below is a snapshot of some training highlights so far…

First long run of training.

First long run of training.

An insanely hot and sweaty 8 miler in the afternoon. This is one of the only workouts I have slept through so far, and that is because of weather.

An insanely hot and sweaty 8 miler in the afternoon. This is one of the only workouts I have slept through so far, and that is because of weather.

12 miles with my BFF visiting from Cali!

12 miles with my BFF visiting from Cali!

Race for the Cure with Stacy! Ran a 22:07.

Race for the Cure with Stacy! Ran a 22:07.

A KILLER track workout. 8 800's, one at 3:10, the rest under. Shocked that my overall pace for this run was 7:05!

A KILLER track workout. 8 800’s, one at 3:10, the rest under. Shocked that my overall pace for this run was 7:05!

Another rockin track workout! 4 1600 repeats, all under 6:25.

Another rockin track workout! 4 1600 repeats, all under 6:25.

My fastest 20 miler EVER. 7:55 overall pace. I was one happy girl after this run.

My fastest 20 miler EVER. 7:55 overall pace. I was one happy girl after this run.

And today's run! 2 months until the race. So freaking excited!!!!

And today’s run! 2 months until the race. So freaking excited!!!!

(All of these photos were posted to my Instagram account)

Thank you to everyone who supported me through my whining on the last few posts! Looking forward to sharing my progress over the next few weeks, and I would love to hear about yours too!!

xo,

Ali

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