I originally had this as a guest-post on MizFitOnline, one of my favorite blogs. Since I’m on my 36 hour flight (or something like that) to get to Myanmar (Burma), I thought I would re-post it here!

So lets talk about running. There’s two ways to improve, you either run further or faster and if you’re really lucky, you get both!

 Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)Happiness in running… the weekend I ran the most miles

I ran my first half marathon in 2011 (Boston’s Run To Remember) at 1:48:45 by 2012 I cut my time to 1:38:46 on the same course. I wish I could say I quit my job and devoted my life to running, but that would be a lie. Instead, I got smarter (with my running that is).

To get faster you need speed workouts.

The traditional tempo runs and track workouts make me want to hang up my running shoes on an electrical wire and never look back.

First let’s get the definitions out of the way.

A tempo run is sustained effort training runs, usually 20 to 30 minutes in length (but could be longer if you’re marathon training), at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10-K race pace (if you’re marathon training). For example my 10K pace is 6:52 so my tempo run would be about 7 minute miles continuously for up to 12 miles if I’m marathon training.

Ugh sounds painful to me. Instead, I’ve come up with alternatives that I can do on the treadmill or outdoors!

Mile repeats – These can be painful but less painful than say the dreaded tempo run so I deal with it. This workout was first popularized back in the late 1970s by athletes such asAlberto Salazar (yes he’s a fast one). The mile should be ran at your race pace which can be hard, but just remind yourself that after that mile you get a few minutes of a walk or jog to rest up before you repeat. How many mile repeats you do, depends on your race distance but I like doing 6-7.

Hill Repeats – Hills get a bad rep but they’re actually a ton of fun. Okay, maybe running up isn’t fun but think of the fun you have as you blaze down the hill afterwards!

1043977 10101588244097900 48694429 n Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)

Before you know, every time you drive you’ll be thinking, gosh! I wish I could just get out of this car and just run up that baby!

Intervals Similar to mile repeats but shorter distance. I like the sound of 5 minutes. 5 minutes gives you enough time to get comfortable but not too comfortable to space out. This was also the first speed workout I learned when I started running. I went from 6MPH (10 minute miles) to 6.5MPH (9:14 minute miles). Within a few weeks, I was doing 6.5MPH without my slower interval. You might want to raise your speed on the slower interval but try your best to stick with the easy half to save up your energy for the faster portion.

Progressive run This one is one of my favorites! Start at a comfortable (VERY comfortable) pace and slowly every half a mile or mile move up your speed. You can either keep going or what I like to do is after 3 miles, repeat. Below is an example of a workout I do at least once a week since it’s my current addiction.

 Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)

1 minute tempo run – I read about this one in Running Times and thought it was perfect for someone whose attention span is shorter than the time it takes to type attention span. Doing 30 minutes of consistent tempo is a little hard, painful and boring (to me). Doing 1 minute is fun! So I run 1 minute hard, 1 minute less hard. I don’t go down to a jog pace, but it’s definitely a little slower than race pace.

There you go, five alternatives to avoid skipping your speed workout. At the end of the day it’s all about effort. You want to make sure that on your “speed” day, you are exerting more effort per mile than you would be on an easy run or even say a long run.

Before you know it, you’ll be finding your inner speed demon.

420894 10101412261468500 427903341 n Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)Starstruck to meet Kara & Shalane

Okay so you might not be as fast as these two pretty ladies but I know that your personal and my personal best is still out there!

  • How have you approached trying to run FASTER or FURTHER?

Also don’t forget to enter my KIND bars giveaway!

My 2014 Big Racing Calender & My #KINDawesome KIND Bars Giveaway!

Well I did it! I finally put my credit card where my mouth has been lately and signed up for a half Iron man. I’ve been debating between Patriot and Pumpkinman, but ultimately went for Pumpkinman because I didn’t think I would get my swimming together enough over the winter to not drown!.

It’s cold and I don’t really like to leave my house in the winter so although the Patriot 70.3 seemed like a more beginner friendly race (no crazy hills like Pumpkinman), I just don’t think I could swim 1.2 miles by June. If they were cheaper, I would be crazy enough to try both of them, but at over $250 a race, I had to pick one.

So now I have until Sept. 7th to figure out how to more than double my swimming distance and speed myself up. My current swimming speed would leave me over the time limit of 70 minutes (on their website). There’s a lot of work ahead of me and I’m excited to dive head first into something new.

Additionally, I’m going to attempt a 50 miler again. Yes, the wounds of the TARC 50 miler disaster are slowing healing where I barely remember the pain and I’m ready to try again. Pinelands Running Festival on May 26th.

So here it is folks. My 2014 racing schedule to date. I’ll probably sign up for smaller races in between if the cost is reasonable; however, I’ll attempt to exercise better control for the sake of my budget and my sanity.

Feb 2nd 2014 – RnR New Orleands Marathon

March 24th 2014 – Atlanta Marathon

April 21st 2014 – Boston Marathon

May 26th – Pinelands 50 Miler

Sept 7th, 2014 – Half Ironman Triathlon (70.3)

2013 was great, but I’m excited for the things to come!

Now for other news, remember how the awesome folks at Kind Snacks sent me a package of Kind Bars to help train for the NYC marathon?

Kind Bars2

Well, I do and now I have a chance to offer one Run To Munch reader a box of 24 bars of their own!

KIND’s philosophy is that food can be both healthy AND tasty. And it’s true, I’ve been in love with them since I tried one at the Quincy Half Marathon earlier this year. Although it’s fairly new to me, the company has been around since 2004 and now has over 22 flavors of bars!

Some of the flavors:

√ Maple Walnut Clusters with Quinoa & Chia (MY FAVORITE!)
√ Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew Antioxidant Bars
√ Dark Chocolate Nutes & Sea Salt Bars
√ Madagascar Vanilla Almond Bars
√ Blueberry Vanilla & Cashew Bars (MY SECOND FAVORITE)
√ Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Protein Bars
√ Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Clusters

KIND is a strong believer in if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn’t go into your body. Actually, it shouldn’t even go into your pantry. That’s why all KIND Healthy Snacks are made from all-natural whole nuts, fruits and whole grains. No secret ingredients and absolutely nothing artificial here. Just a delicious way of getting your body essential nutrients like fiber, protein and antioxidants (to name a few).

Just by looking at a bar, you can see most of the ingredients there.

Kind Bars

I’ve been keeping a bar or two in my Camelpak when I run trails. And recently I restocked up again to take some with me on my trip to Burma. I wanted to make sure I had a reliable snack to keep me sightseeing from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn (yea, I’m that type of tourist).

Check them out  on their website Kind Snacks, Twitter & Facebook!

How to enter:

To enter, leave a comment tell me What flavor do you most want to try?. Afterwards, additional chances will open up. Contest will stay open until Sunday November 17th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Training towards nothing recap & our new family member!

I’m excited to share that our house has a new family member!

He is my roommate’s cat and we don’t have a name for him yet but we’re (mostly her) working on it. He’s adorable ginger tabby of 7 months old with the most soft, soft fur and a bit shy but sweet personality.

Speaking of fur babies. I don’t think I shared photos of Jack in like 3 days so I should now.

It’s been cold, so his current favorite spot besides the blankie is:

Anyway’s last week training? I’m not sure if I should call it recovery, or a rest week? I spent the majority of it being sick, sneezing and unable to breath due to a sinus infection. While my pride and legs were ready to get back to running by Tuesday, my body decided it needed a little bit more time.

The total mileage was 33.5 miles, about 17 less than my current target of 50 miles a week. However, the three runs that I did went great! I just wish I felt more up to it on the other days last week.

I’ll be traveling for the next three weeks and living my life out of my backpack as I travel through Burma (Myanmar), Singapore and Malayasia. Therefore, I wanted to have a solid running week before I left, since I assume my running will be fairly limited beyond taking in the local culture and flavor.

It took three attempts to limit my clothing to fit everything in there. It does help that I’ll be visiting a country with warm weather.

I’m super excited for my trip, but when I return I’ll have two months to myself into sub 3:20 shape before RnR New Orleans!

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 9 miles on the Charles

My Garmin was being cranky after NY and wouldn’t sync. I know I did 8 miles at 7:30 and I’ll just assume my warm up was around 8. Feeling a little better about myself.

Thursday – Rest/Sick

Friday – 8 miles on incline 3 63:42 7:57 pace

I took a break from feeling sorry for myself and being sick to hit some treadmill pavement. Was really excited about hitting the pace on incline 3 that I usually do for incline 2.

Saturday – 16.5 Miles 2:10 7:52 average pace

I kind of wasted time around the house and by the time I started my run, I barely had two hours left before I had a party to go to. You know you’re a runner when you sacrifice time needed to do your hair, so you could get a few extra miles in.

Photo: Nice day means a nice run in between sneezing

The run itself felt fairly nice, despite having run what would be an almost tempo (I ran on incline 3) pace for me when adjusted for incline the day before. I guess low mileage does help keep your runs faster. My ankle started to hurt again around mile 15 so maybe it’s time to switch up my long run shoes?

Do you ever feel like you have to load up on training/working out before a vacation? I don’t usually like to workout when I travel since I want to jam pack my day with sightseeing. Instead I guess I like to “bank” some miles before I leave.

Weekend in Review and KitchenSurfing Coupon Code!

Remember how I had that awesome dinner through KitchenSurfing last month? Well my friends from KitchenSurfing are offering 25% off all orders for my readers if you use my referral page. And for full disclosure, although to get the code you need to use my referral link, I am not receiving at commission or compensation from anyone’s order. I just really loved my experience and hope you do too!

The codes expire on 12/31. However, as long as the meal is booked prior to the 31st, it will be fine (even if the event is after the 31st). You can use for a special night, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, as well as drop off meals, hors d’oeuvres for a cocktail party/get together, cooking classes, desserts/pastries, corporate lunches or even fridge stocking.

They’re also doing an event November 20th that’s thanksgiving theme with a delicious meal and cocktails. It’s a great chance to check out some chefs before hiring them for your kitchen.
Speaking of great meals, well taking a small break from running I did some great eating!
On Friday night while being sick, Tony made us a fresh salad. So pretty! We had it with tacos, but I’ve posted enough taco photos on this blog.
Uzbek Salad
On Sunday, I got to check out the amazing Brunch at Towne Stove and Spirits located in Boston’s Back Bay.
We started of the meal right with a wasabi bloody mary.
Towne Brunch
They had 4 stations set up. A cold food station with cheeses, fruits, salads, cereals, and pattes. A hot food with pork, snapper (pictured above with Asian noodles), lobster and other types of eggs benny, an omelette bar. They also had a desert station and the forth station was an oyster/shrimp bar.
Towne Brunch 4
My only regret was not having enough room in my stomach to take a bite of everything! I’ve only ran 35 miles this week so my munching capacity wasn’t at it’s best.
TOwne Brunch 3
Even though you could get up and grab more plates of food, I have this habit of just piling everything on one plate as I work through it.
Towne Brunch 2
I wrapped it up with a few oysters!
What was the best thing you ate this weekend? I think it was the red snapper with the Asian noodles, followed by the shrimp and cucumber salad they had. Soo good!

Getting my #BarretoBar with ExhaleSpa & Aragosta Bistro

I have to confess, ever since I started this whole ultra running addiction, I’ve been all about running and nothing else. However, sometimes it’s nice to shake up the muscles and try something new. That’s why I got super psyched when I had the chance to try out the Barre Core Fusion class with Blog and Tweet Boston at the new Exhale Spa at the Fairmont Battery Wharf. The location was beautiful, and it’s at a spa so the locker rooms and studio are amazingly gorgeous and serene. They also offer massage, facials, nail services, and other body treatments in addition to the barre and yoga classes.

Exhale Spa Studio

How gorgeous is this studio? Those hardwood floors are gorgeous! Such a change from the gym floors and nasty carpets at most gyms.

When we first entered the studio, our instructor Meg, told us to grab some light weights, 2s or 3s. I knew right away I’m probably below average strength and went for the 1 pounders.

Barre Supplies

And I had no regrets, because by the end of class, that one pound felt like a hundred and one pounds.

But first you’re probably wondering, what is Core Fusion barre? Or maybe you’re not, but I was since I’ve never been to a barre class before.

Per the promise – Core Fusion Barre is designed to give you chiseled abs, toned legs, cut arms, and a high, lifted butt. This ballet inspired, core-centric class focuses on isolated exercises, alignment, flexibility, and posture as you work through targeted mindful muscle movements. The class lasted 60 minutes of intense It was an intense, hard, and non-stop exercising and stretching.

Our instructor Meg was incredible as she led us through a full body workout of leg lifts, planks, push ups, abs, and everything else in between for barre work, and stretching. By the end of class, I don’t think I had a muscle in my body that wasn’t shaking.

Exhale Spa Barre to Bar

I’m not lying when I confess, I was pretty sore and whiney for a few days the next week. What I really liked most about Meg is that she walked around the room and helped correct our form. I’m the world’s worst person at following directions. That’s part of the reason why I’ve never been a fan of yoga and Pilates is because I have no idea what I’m doing (case point in these photos where I don’t look like the others) and always feel like I’m doing everything wrong. Meg helped me fix my form on more than a handful of the moves.

Exhale Spa Barre to Bar 2

And not to be a total loser, but can I say what the best part of the workout was?

Exhale Shower

Like mentioned before, the classes are held at a spa vs. a gym. And although your muscles are all worked to shreds during the 60 minutes of class, you can relax in luxury afterwards. I love the rainforest showers. if I could, I would have one in my house! Also, the white tea shampoo and conditioner was great too! I usually bring my own but I felt confident in the quality of cleaning products available at Exhale.

I’m hoping to return again soon. Although I will warn you, it’s not a cheap work out. Classes cost $25 each session for 60 minutes. However, it is still more cost-effective than a trainer. They also have monthly and annual packages available on their website. And I know a certain running blogger with a birthday in November coughhintcough 😉

To reward ourselves for our hard work(out), we headed to Aragosta right next door.

Aragosta Bar and Bistro is a contemporary Italian bistro located on Boston’s Harbor Walk in the North End. I’ve actually been there and blogged about it before. Since I’ve had such a great time before, I dropped by for a drink and a few bites, even though I had an amazing KitchenSurfing dinner waiting for me at home.

Exhale Spa Drink

We started with the Deep Cleanse, a signature cocktail designed for Exhale made from cucumber, Hendricks GIN, aloe, lime juice, and simple syrup.

To go along with the drink, the Chef prepared us some tasty apps. Bruschetta, a roasted vegetable flatbread, artichoke fritters, and a meat and cheese plate. He even created some gluten-free alternatives for people in our group with allergies.

Aragosta Bistro

As you can see my photos are a little blurry. My muscles were still a little twitchy from the Barre workout! However, everything was tasty as expected!

Thank you Exhale Spa, Aragosta & BlogandTweetBoston for putting such a great event together!

NYC Marathon Race Recap

I didn’t have the race I wanted and expected but I guess that’s what makes me so infatuated with the marathon. I’ve done 9 marathons and 2 ultras since March 2012 and I can’t really say any of them have ever been similar. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles. For some things you can prepare (train, gear etc), other things, you rely on the luck of the draw (weather, stomach, etc). Luckily, I am somewhat of a racing addict so when one race goes bad, I know I have another one lined up for redemption.

After having a few days to reflect, I’d say I did enjoy the NYC marathon even if large events like these are no longer my style, it was exciting to run through the streets I grew up in and be part of something that big. However, there’s a lot of things I did not enjoy about the NYC marathon that I’ll get to as I recap, but for the most part if I didn’t think it was incredibly overpriced, I would run NYC again. Maybe in a decade or so, I’ll enter the lottery again and seek redemption on the same course that killed me this year. We’ll see.

So let’s start from the beginning. Luckily, since it was daylight savings time, I got an extra hour of sleep! I woke up bright and early at 5AM even though my alarm was set for 5:45. I made a few pita bread peanut butter sandwhiches to take with me. I was VERY concerned about getting hungry between waking up and starting the race at 9:45.

My dad dropped me and my very favorite marathon assistant at the ferry around 6:40.

NYC Marathon Ferry TL

We got on the 6:45 ferry. I was a little freaked out because according to the NYRR people and etc. they can’t guarantee you will start on time (9:45AM) if you take a later than 6AM ferry aka complete and utter bullshit to cover their asses. I decided the hell with my 5:45 AM ferry sticker (that NO ONE checked). Besides, worse case, I start in a later wave. I’m not exactly elite and my best marathon time is still from RnR USA marathon where I started 20 minutes late due to a broken train. I’m a pro at dodging people and toeing the line at the last second. Reflecting back, I could have probably taken the 7:15 ferry and still been okay but that wouldn’t leave much room for error since they stop letting you into your corral at 8:40 or so. 

Anyways the ferry ride is definitely the way to go for transportation.

NYC Marathon Photo Brooklyn Bridge

I think that might be a view of Brooklyn?

NYC Marathon Ferry Sunrise

NYRR basically take over all the Staten Island Ferries for the marathoners and leave the locals in the dust with no bridge, and no ferry to get them off the Island. Tony learned that in a mob of about 300 angry Staten Islanders who an hour later got a ferry.

Security was in full force starting with the ferries. National guard was on patrol. All bags were searched. FYI, you can have a friend or family member take the ferry with you with a backpack. They will however, search through it. Your family member and any other backpacks,etc. will not be allowed on the bus from the ferry to the village.

NYC Marathon Ferry Bridge

The bridge that looked so long and mean, seemed hardly that long when I ran on it at the starting line.

NYC Marathon Ferry

These are the views you will miss by not taking the ferry. There are other options to get to the village. You could take a bus from midtown, but I think that also gets you to the village around 8AM. I’m not sure why it takes them so long to drive over there since I can’t imagine there would be that much traffic at 7AM but who knows. My other option was getting dropped off at the village.

The Verrazano Bridge closes to traffic at 7:00AM “promptly” so I would have been chilling all by my lonesome self at 7AM. All my other friends were starting in later waves or were too busy being special in the ING bus ;). The bridge is 3 miles from my parents house, and was a much quicker drive than the drive to the ferry, but I decided if I’m going to experience the NYC marathon, I had to take the ferry with it.

Me in half the layers I had for the starting line.

As for the rest?

NYC Marathon Layers

Purple hoodie that I finally left behind, an old winter coat that finally got donated, long underwear, and a pair of sweats that were just too big and annoying for me to ever wear. Under it was my running outfit of sports bra, running shirt, long sleeve and capris. I also had a hat, gloves and an extra pair of socks. Needless to say, being cold, was not going to be a concern for me.

NYC Marathon Village

While the ferry ride took about 20 minutes, I think the bus ride from the ferry to the village was about 30 minutes. I thought the ferry was only a few miles from the village but maybe it was further than that. Expert on Staten Island, I am not.

To enter the village, I think every NYPD officer who wasn’t working on a different part of the race was at the village. They had metal detectors, dogs, and your number and bag were checked before you could walk in. We were only allowed an official clear athlete bag and one clear bag that you could check. Nothing more. No sleeping bags, no camelpaks. I saw a very nice pile of camelpaks and sleeping packs that could make someone a nice fortune if they resell. To be honest, I felt a little like I was entering a prison camp and not a marathon. Had there been a cavity check, I don’t think I would have been shocked. The whole experienced really saddened me about how to feel secure we had to do all this.

Now the athletes village is HUGE. Like you can seriously burn you legs out just trying to navigate around it. The bus conveniently dropped me off in the blue village. The NYC marathon is so big, it’s broken up in 4 waves and each wave has 3 colors, blue, orange and green that run slightly separate ways until they reunite at mile 8. I think over 50,000 people ran it this year, making it the world’s largest marathon.

I was going to meet a friend at the ING tent but when I asked a volunteer where it was, they mentioned having to walk far and then walk up a hill and it seemed like a journey. The Blue village is also conveniently where the corrals start so I decided to just chill around.

Dunkin Donuts earlier were giving out hats, but by 8AM they said they were all out. They also had some coffee. I heard there was hot chocolate in the village and almost came to tears when they said they didn’t have any. At about 8AM I ate my first peanut butter pita sandwich. I ate half of a plain pita at 6AM before leaving the house as well. I also drank about one bottle of water.

The village had plenty of portypotties but I felt like the line moved a lot slower than it did in Boston. I don’t know, maybe i stood on the wrong line.

At about 8:25 the corrals open up. At 8:45 I was told if I don’t get into the corral, I will have to start in the next wave. Meanwhile, I read somewhere that they were suppose to close at 8:55? Guess not. I’m freaking out and they tell me that the clear athlete’s bag I have for village is not allowed into the corrals that I’ll be waiting in for the next hour!

I’m getting pretty cranky as I try to shuffle my stuff out of the bag as they yell at me to hurry up because I will be locked out of the corrals. Anyways I grab my extra socks, my phone, sandwich, gels, and leave my bag and magazine behind.

Into the corral I went, kinda like down the rabbit hole. The corral did indeed have a ton of barely used bathrooms. However, at 8:55, we got kicked out of the corrals onto the bridge! O and by the way, any layer you wear to get on the bridge, won’t be donated? Yea, wtf! I’m suppose to freeze my ass off on the bridge, with no bathroom. It was worse than being on a delayed flight with the seatbelt light on. I ended up giving up my winter coat because I couldn’t bear not donating it. I kept the rest of my layers.

NYC Marathon Pace Group

I found the 3:15 pacer. There was a single pacer from what I saw for each time. Yup, this is how we stood for the next 50 minutes. I changed my socks, ate my second sandwich because I’m stupid, drank more water, until I pretty much was ready to pee my pants when the race started.

You know, they kept warning that peeing on the bridge is illegal, and will get you disqualified, yada, yada, but if I was a guy, I probably would have went for it too. Standing on the bridge, cold, with no bathrooms in the stink of anxiety and Bengay. I’m not gonna lie, I saw more than a fair share of men peeing on the bridge, and even more so, right after they got off the bridge.

Oh and by the way, while you wait those 50 minutes standing to start, they’re playing ads for sponsors the whole time, giving you a headache. A little music would have been nice? No?

Anyways my race is divided into two parts. Mile 1-15 where I stuck with the pacer and had a good time. And miles 16-26.2 after my disaster on the Queens-borough bridge.

NYC Marathon Liana

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing here. This is me trying to give my headphones to Tony after mile 8. The first 13 miles or so are in Brooklyn and I don’t mean to brag, but Brooklyn really is the best. The crowd support was amazing and the bands were around every half mile or so playing awesome songs and covers such as Ramones or Lit! I was having a ball in Brooklyn which is why I gave up my headphones to Tony.

NYC Marathon Brooklyn

Seriously, the first half in Brooklyn, probably makes the NYC marathon worth it alone. I had so much fun and I felt great! Everyone is dressed up from superheros, to their country flag, to random voodoo things that might be something spiritual? I’m not too sure, but I loved it all!

There’s about 2 miles or so in Queens before you hit the Queensborough bridge. Around mile 15.5 or so, I started to feel really sick to my stomach. I think it was the combination of eating too much and holding in my pee for too long and excitement and anxiety and everything in between. I usually run on just a piece of toast and peanut butter, so having 3 times that amount was not working out well after less than 2 hours of running. I also never really got a chance to go to the bathroom and do my business since I thought I would have time and then didn’t.

My life was going to flash before my eyes. I’ve heard that runners can have involuntary reactions while running and OMG I thought it would happen to me, on video, or camera or something. I started to walk, to try to calm my stomach and freaking out and panicking and that’s when I got nauseated as well. Luckily, that was a little easier to solve than my other potential problem. I walked to the side and threw up a little. Sorry, I like to share all the details. Bodily functions happen. I saw a few men peeing on this bridge as well! I don’t generally have penis envy, but during races I can’t help but be resentful. My stomach was still upset, and I’m not gonna lie, I contemplated my odds of hoping over the barrier to the other side of the bridge to do what had to be done. It’s times like this that I really miss the freedom of running on a trail! (Although I haven’t had to do that yet).

A lot of thoughts and prays went through my head and I think when I saw the bathroom at mile 16, I have never felt more relieved! It was also there that I might have shed more than a little bit of tears for the end of my race. My 7:25 average pace was dropped down to 8:10. When I tried to run, I could barely get above a 9 minute mile. The Queensborough bridge really took it all out of me.

Running through first avenue was still fun but not as great as Brooklyn. The next four miles were a blur where I went between nausea and sadness. I think my spirit broke afterwards, I went through another awful sick feeling at mile 19/20 on the bridge to the Bronx when I tried to eat a shotblock to get some food back in me and I just couldn’t swallow anything besides liquids. Someone mentioned it might be motion sickness since I only felt that awful mid-bridges?

Mile 20-24 were a blur as well. I remember entering Central Park and being so happy to be in the park and not on the hills of whatever Avenue we ran down. At mile 24, I saw my friend Michael cheer me on and that got me through mile 25 without a walk break. After that I saw Tony and that got me to mile 26 without a walk break! As for the final .2? I ran as hard as I could because I just wanted to be done so badly with this race!

NYC Marathon Final Mile

I’m not gonna lie, crossing the finish line did indeed feel magical, but then again, it always does for me.

As soon as you cross the line, you want to sit, take a break and catch your breath. But the volunteers won’t let you. It’s their job to get 50,000 tired, runners across the finish line and out of the park and they do their job well. You feel like a sheep, a cranky sheep as you try to regain the feeling you once had in your legs while being forced to walk another mile to exit.

About a quarter of the mile you get the space blanket and a little shortly after that you get a bag with water, a very tasty apple, and some other snacks I didn’t really look at because the last thing I wanted was food.

And then you keep walking, and walking, and you’re wondering will I ever be able to sit, will I ever get out of this park, am I doomed forever in this nightmare of no break?

Eventually, a long time, or what feels like forever, you exit the park and if you selected no baggage option, you get the most amazing, warm fleece lined poncho. Yea, it’s orange and won’t ever leave my house afterwards, but that thing really keeps you warm.

NYC Marathon Everyone

P.S. My friend to the right, ran NY in 3:13!

10677 2008 415 7392

It’s not exactly the results I wanted, but I got to go home with my bling regardless! Luckily, I got RnR Nola in Feb & Georgia Marathon in March to attempt this all over again!

How do you handle a poor race? I sign up for many more!

NYC Marathon Final Taper and Final Eats

It wasn’t my best and not my favorite but crossing the finish line is always magical. Thank you all my friends and Tony my personal marathon assistant!

Photo: It wasn't my best and not my favorite but crossing the finish line is always magical. Thank you all my friends and Tony my marathon assistant! <3

I’ll post a race recap of what exactly went wrong later this week. It was one of my roughest races, but I made it to the finish line.

One thing, I know I did right was my taper. I didn’t exactly follow the plan, but I kept the mileage pre-race at about 20. After over analzying every detail on my bus ride back from NY, I decided, if I had to do it again, I would keep the same taper.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 8 Miles 7:35 pace incline 2

Wednesday – 5 Miles 8:00 pace Incline 3

Thursday – 4 Miles 7:18 pace on Incline 2

Friday – 3 Miles 7:32 pace on Incline 3

Saturday – REST, a little bit of walking around

So in total 20 miles before Sunday

When I toed the line I felt great and I can sleep easy knowing at least I did something right.

Anyways food, might have been a bit questionable and part of the problem. However, I’ve never had stomach issues while running. Seriously, I’ve scarfed down 3 tacos and went for 15 milers during the summer without any problems.

Either way, I ate many tasty things, so why regret it?

Tony and I went with my parents to Nargis Cafe, an Uzbek style place in Brooklyn. We ate as always family style.

Nargis Cafe Chebureki

Chebureki – basically a minced meat pie. I didn’t really eat, but the parents and Tony liked.

Nargis Cafe Salad

My favorite thing in the world, a simple green salad with dill!

Nargis Cafe Sansa

A pumpkin and meat sansa. I got the pumpkin one, Tony went for the meat.

Nargis Cafe Pumpkin Sansa

It was really good.

Nargis Cafe Shurpa

I also got the Shurpa soap, basically a meat broth with veggies. Okay so maybe I went more heavier on the veggies than I should be a race.

Nargis Cafe Skewers

Chicken & beef skewers

Post Lunch Walk

Like all meals, we concluded it with a walk, because it was well over 60 degrees and gorgeous outside!

I also stopped by Papa Pasquale Ravioli after reading good things about their homemade pasta.

Papa Pasquale Ravoli Pasta Company

and you can only guess what I had for dinner?

Ravoli Dnner

And yes sadly my pumpkin ones are sitting in my parent’s freezer waiting for my return =(.

How was your weekend?

NYC Marathon Expo Tips and other eatings

So I made it from Boston to NY, got my number and all that. I think after trying out Greyhound, Megabus and Bolt bus, I highly recommend Bolt Bus over the others. Paying 10 bucks more is worth it. Although I still miss Fung Wah (may they rest in peace until they return, please return). While on the bus, I got their wifi to work and decided to play around with the ING app.

NYC Tracking

We made a 15 minute stop for lunch and bathroom.

NYC Expo Burger King Veggie burger

Sadly our stop was at a Burger King. I’m more of a McDonalds type of girl (they have more bathrooms, look cleaner and better food options), but I was hungry and didn’t feel like eating the healthy yogurt and fruit I dragged onto the bus with me. Instead I ordered the veggie burger which is the only edible thing off the BK’s menu in my opinion.

NYC Skyline

I don’t know what I did while I was on the bus besides a ton of fidgeting to the dismay of my window seat neighbor, but before I knew it, 4 hours later, I saw the skyline. My heart still skips a beat each time I see the skyline as I return home. That dreamy state ends when I get off the bus, see the crowds, trucks, and way too much general traffic. I guess it’s hard to be as romantic about NYC when you grew up here before it became the hipster paradise it is today.

My dad waited around the city for two hours for me! But then he waited some more as I walked over to the expo. Aren’t father’s the best? Who else will drive, wait and pick you up, just to take you home?

Luckily bolt bus drops you off about 3 blocks from the NYC Marathon expo. So if you’re coming from Boston, it’s one of the best options for the NYC Marathon expo.

Now, I’m no expert on the expo since I was there for just a little under an hour, but I did learn a bit.

Besides all else, like with everything else in NYC, pack your patience! There will be lines. They test your marathon skills with a marathon of queuing before all else. More lines than I’ve ever had at any other race expo. Although, the only other large marathon expo I can compare this to is Boston. But who knows how much queuing I’ll be doing in 2014 after the Boston Bombers have basically turned all runners, and their families into terrorist suspects for all future events.

You start with security –

NYC Expo Security

If you don’t bring a purse or bag with you, you can bypass through an express line but it will be hard to see because we’re not really all too great at queuing in an organized line. If you do have a bag don’t freak out, all the security guards want to do is see the bottom of your purse. They don’t care about our water bottle or tampons.

NYC Expo LInes

Next order of line after security is to enter the expo. If you’re not there to pick up a number, don’t get on it. You don’t need to and can just enter the expo where people are exiting. If you are picking up a number, you will need to have a registration card printed or PDF saved on your phone or email. You can do that by logging in to your NYRR account. If you forgot your password, don’t worry, they set it quickly.

If you don’t have your NYC registration card with your or on your phone. You will be directed after this line to a new line. They will sort it out for you, but it will be another wait you will have.

NYC Expo Languages

I loved seeing all the Welcome signs in all the different languages!

Now you have smaller lines to get your number. If you didn’t select your transportation, there’s a line for that too and they will give you a ferry sticker. I asked what happens if I miss my ferry, she said you could get on any of them, but if I get on a ferry later than 6AM she can’t guarantee I’ll get to start on time for 9:40 (In my head, I’m going are you fucking kidding me NYRR). I thanked her and moved onto my next line.

This line was to scan my number to go pick up my shirts. The scanning line was short. However, the shirt pick up line was a few minutes because everyone is trying on their shirt and switching sizes. The wait was similar to Boston.

Finally, you got your number, ferry time sticker, shirt and you are ready to explore the expo.

It will be packed no matter what time you go. This is NYC, everything is more packed anywhere, anytime.

I walked around quickly through the expo, because my dad was being a great dad and waiting for me. I wanted to pick up some NYC Marathon arm sleeves or gloves that I saw online. Until I saw them in person and realized that they’re not tech but cotton. Sorry Asics, I love some of your products, but I wasn’t impressed with your NYC Marathon accessory selection. I’m spoiled now and expect higher quality. If you are still looking for arm warmers, check out the Saucony area. There’s only cost a little extra and they’re tech, soft and nice!

I also wanted to look for a new handheld, since my current one is dying. However, it was packed and there were many baby carriages and I decided I rather do my shopping online.

One highlight was stopping by the Vega table. They gave me some awesome samples of their plant based protein products. I saw a couple of protein bar tastings but nothing you could take home with you.

Then again, I walked through all the exhibits in about 10 minutes so maybe I missed something good?

NYC Marathon Swag

These are the goods I left the expo with. Highlights are Vega Sport. I also got a nice race calendar book from Running USA. The chia shots are awesome if you’re traveling and want to have them in your oatmeal. Why Dove only gave out Men’s deodorant in my swag bag was a little meh. I don’t want to smell like a dude thank you very much! Somehow Tony always wins when it comes to my race day swag.

NYC Expo Dinner

And best part of my Friday?

Chinese take out from my local place where I used to live in Brooklyn.  It might have been half a decade since I’ve had good Chinese take out! Yum yum yum!

Do you like going to race expos?

Do you ever buy anything there?

What’s your favorite race expo?

NYC Marathon Goals and Halloween

Hope everyone had a great Halloween! We had some very adorable trick or treaters (babies!!!) and some way too old trick or treaters (high school boys running around shirtless as Romans eww)..

Yup me and Jack had a blast.

Photo: Are we tired from giving out candy or eating it ourselves? #neverghost #halloween #catsofinstagram #catmama #furbaby

I don’t know what made us more tired, giving out treats or eating them ourselves. Did you know that one snack size peanut butter Snickers has 130 calories. Oops.. Good thing I’m running a marathon this weekend.

Speaking of marathons?

The weather predicted for Sunday has been dropping from 58 to 54 to 48 degrees with winds up to 19MPH! At rate the rate the temps are going, I expect it to be Antarctic weather by the time I get to start running.

So I packed everything I own! I’ve been procrastinating with dropping off my donation bin so I had a ton of throwaway layers including a very old winter coat I used for snowboarding.

So the goals:

Do I have goals? Hopes? Dreams? Sure! Reality? I’ll be happy running and finishing. I’m trying a few new things this round. Tapering.. Yea I’m not sure if I believe in this taper theory but we’ll see. I’m at about 20 miles going into the race. Then again taper is all relative considering Bill Rodgers ran 120 miles the week he won the NYC marathon. Yes, that was a drop down from his usual 160 mile weeks. So it’s all relative. Kinda like speed.

Goal A – Sub 3:20 – I’ve been trying this for a while. We’ll see.

Goal B – Sub 3:24:15 – Everyone loves a PR?

Goal C – To Finish

My plan is to start with the 3:15 pace group and cling for my life. Yea, I read all the warnings about how this should be a negative split race, but I’m all about being positive. I run fast when my heart and soul is in it. My heart and soul gets tired after 20 miles, no matter what pace I go at. As soon as the last 10K comes, I mentally tend to check out and start to hurt. So my apologies to my imaginary couch, I will start faster than I should but I’ve run enough marathons to know myself better than science.

My training. My training lately has been right on cue. I’ve been hitting most of my running goals. I’ve done most of my long runs and the majority worked out. Only thing lacking? I wish I had a bit more medium long runs under my belt. Those midweek 10-15 milers I usually like to do in a training cycle. That didn’t happen. I ended up breaking them up into an 8 miler and a 4 miler on a good day. Can you do a run in two parts and still have the same effect? We’ll see.

Anyways, I’ll be off to NY now on a bus from Boston. My plan is to hit up the expo after 5PM with giant bag and all.

Here’s the link for the mobile app that can be used to track runners on race day (I doubt the runner tracking part will work as intended)
– My bib number is 7392 (blue start) I will be starting at approx 9:50 (Wave 1, Corral 7)

Will you be in NYC this weekend?

Any last tips?