February 29, 2012


Two years ago I started this blog with a list of 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 25. It was an ambitious list but I loved that every day I was doing something to bring me closer to crossing another thing off that list.

At the time, I had just started training for my first half marathon. My "long runs" were still in the 2-3 mile range and the idea of running a marathon was so far away and terrifying that I seriously questioned putting it on my list. But there it was, #1, the first thing on my list. I ran my first marathon on November 20, 2010. Since then, I've run 7 half-marathons, one other full and am currently training for my 3rd and 4th marathons.

Since I've had this blog, I've done a monthly recap of how I'm doing with my list...highlighting what I did each month to bring me just a little bit closer to making 25 a year where I could look back and really say that I've accomplished a lot.

I definitely didn't cross everything off of that list but I've done so many things in the last 2 years that I never dreamed I would do, things that most people will never do in their lives, things I was scared to do but jumped in head first and went for it.

I hate the idea of a Bucket List. I've always felt like if your heart really wants something, you should do it and don't just assume you have your whole life to do it. Life is too short for that. I always used to say that if I was suddenly told I had 6 months to live, the first thing I would do would take off and go to India. Why? Because I always wanted to go to India. Well, I did that. And a lot of other things.

Today, on February 29, a day that only comes around once every 4 years, I'm going to recap my 25 Before 25 list. The things I did, the things I didn't, the things I'm still doing and the things I don't care so much about anymore. But I have to say, of the 25 things on that list...the two that were the most important were running a marathon and starting this blog. Running has become me. Not part of me. Me. I love running. And I don't think I realized just how much I truly do love running until I got my pictures back from this weekend's Cowtown Half-Marathon. I didn't even see the cameras out on the course but the smile on my fave proves that I really do love getting out there and running.

As for starting this blog? I've met the most amazing people. I'm going to Spain in 2 months with one of them! I've run races with them, eaten frozen yogurt with them, drank beer with them, cried with them, laughed with them and have made such an unbelievable group of friends and it's that and my obsession with running which has absolutely been perpetuated by my blogging/running friends that makes me more than ok with not having crossed everything off that list.

So without further ado, my final 25 Before 25 recap.

1. Run a marathon. Check! 

2. Finish my college scrapbook. Haha. I think I did all of 3 pages of my scrapbook. This is something I really want to finish though, so once I finish grad school, that's my summer project. 
3. Complete a triathlon. Fail! Honestly, I'm terrified of these things. I'm starting to swim more but the idea of racing a bike terrifies me. I'll get there though. 
4. Become financially self sufficient. Well, I'm happy where I am financially. I don't currently have an income because I get paid with an apartment but I'm happy and hoping that I'll line up a job pretty soon that will make this much more true. 
5. Read the Bible. Check! 
6. Go to India. Check!

7. Start and keep a blog. Check!
8. Get my Masters. Almost! I graduate in May!
9. Visit every Major League Baseball stadium in the US and Canada. 15 out of 30 ain't half bad! I'm definitely planning to finish this one!


10. Go to a music festival. Check!
11. Learn to speak French. Check! I'm not fluent by any means but I'm actually taking French right now! I've only had 2 classes and am picking it up pretty quickly but my travel experiences in French-speaking countries means I have a pretty decent grasp of the language and can get around fairly easily. 
12. Go swimming with the dolphins. Fail!  Swimming with dolphins is hella expensive. Yea, I said hella. 
13. Watch every episode of The Office. Check!
14. Read half of the books on the BBC's Top 100 Books List. I read 49. I may or may not continue reading these. 
15. Watch at least 50 of the Top 100 Films from the IMDB Top 100 List. Blah! I watched 48. Truth is, I didn't really like most of them! Don't think I'll continue with this one!
16. Build a sand castle. Check!
17. Cook every recipe in at least one of my cookbooks. Fail! I have 12 more! Who wants to come over so I can make a roast rack of lamb???

18. Go horseback riding. Fail. I'm actually really sad about this one!
19. Go on a trip by myself. Check! I went to India and back to Rome by myself! 

At the Vatican!
20. Read a book in Spanish. Fail! I have one...I just need to read it!
21. Pay off my credit card. Check! Check! Check!
22. Take a photography class. Check!
23. Make a travel map of all the places I've been. Check!
24. Be more confident about speaking Spanish. Eh, I'll give it 2 out of 5.
25. Do everything on this list! Nope!

So that's that! I'm in the middle of big changes here on my blog so stay tuned because I may be 25 and done with this list but I'm not going anywhere!

Happy Leap Day!

February 28, 2012

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 9

Well, we're more than half way to Madrid...and subsequently, the end of my Master's degree. I don't know which one I'm more freaked out about right now.

Actually, I'm not freaked out about Madrid at all. I feel pretty good about it despite missing 2 weeks of training.  I am nervous about the fact that I'm supposed to have a 40 mile week this week when my highest weekly mileage this cycle is 28. I'm nervous about getting hurt but I'm not sure how to work around that because I need to be at 40 this week and I need to build from there.

My only choice is to take it easy, listen to my body and really take the time to RICE and foam roll after every run.

The Cowtown this weekend proved that I'm definitely ready for a race...not necessarily marathon distance but I'm definitely race ready. I'm really proud of the way I raced this weekend. I ran a smart race. I kept my pace steady and finished strong. The only thing I would have changed is my fueling strategy. I usually only take 1 gel during a Half but the fact that I felt the need to take one so early on in this race (Mile 4 1/2), I should have known I would need one again by Mile 10 and at Mile 12, it definitely hit me. It wouldn't have made too much of a difference time-wise but I think I would have felt a lot better during the last 5k if I had something to keep me going.

Speaking of fuel, I think I finally found something that works. After the disasters that Gu created for my stomach during all of MCM training resulting in me being bed (and bathroom) ridden after every single long run, I've been trying out some different fuel sources and it looks like Clif Shot Gels are doing the trick.

I've only tried the Mocha and Razz and really only like the Mocha. I don't think they give me quite the energy kick that I got from GU but they don't destroy my stomach and they don't taste like someone is pouring honey down my throat like the Honey Stinger gels did. I have one brand to try this weekend before I settle on the Shot Gels but so far, I like what I've seen.

So this weekend, I have an 18 mile run planned. In the past, when marathon training, I've done 2 18 mile runs, a 20 and usually a second 20 or a 22 before tapering. This time around, I'm only doing one 18 mile run. I'll go from 18 to 20 to 22, take a step back week and then bump up to 24 before tapering off. For some reason, I'm somewhat nervous about only hitting 18 once. I usually liked hitting those long distances more than once and trying to run smarter the second time around but I trust the training plan I've built and I think this is going to be good for me.

So, this week as I gear into my high mileage, I'm also taking the emphasis away from hill work and adding speed work. Cowtown proved to me that I definitely have a solid hill base and running in Central Park at least twice a week means I won't be losing anything in terms of hill training But it's time to start throwing in some tempo runs and really pushing my marathon goal pace on some of those hills.

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 9
Total Mileage Last Week: 25.2
Missed Workouts: 1
Trouble Spots: None
Planned Mileage This Week: 41 (yikes!)

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 3 miles easy
Wednesday: 8 mile tempo run (3 miles @ 8:30)
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 9 miles with 7 at MGP
Saturday: 3 miles easy
Sunday: 18 mile run

Goals for this Week: Get every run in but take it easy and be smart about recovering post-run
Current Annoyances: Extra hours at work that will make it difficult to get every run in
Things to Keep in Mind: Upping the mileage this much (28 max to 41) could be risky, just pay attention to what my body is telling me and back off if I need to.

So that's it! Madrid is less than 8 weeks away! Starting next week, I'm going to start including Fun Facts about Madrid in my training posts so stay tuned!

February 27, 2012

Cowtown Weekend Recap

God, I love Texas.

That pretty much sums up my weekend. You can all go back to work now.

But seriously? This weekend was awesome. Racing, spending time with my family, fake mustaches, riding my dad's tractor with him (and being way too big to sit on his lap...guess I'm not 9 anymore), and just spending time in the sunshine was the perfect remedy after being sick for 2 weeks and a little down about my marathon training.

After the longest flight ever on Thursday night...it seriously took us 4 1/2 hours from take off to landing (Dallas is usually about a 2:45 flight)...and playing catch up with the family, I passed out pretty early on Thursday night. I  may or may  not have almost slid off of my sister's satin sheets, kicking her out of bed forcing her to sleep on the couch where she may or may not have seriously injured her collar bone...Oops.

Friday: I woke up, spend the next 2 hours getting my 2 teenage sisters and one of their friends out of bed and we headed to the Expo to pick up our race packets for the weekend. The Expo wasn't anything too special, but it was well organized. There was a booth for an adventure race that was doing photo shoots that me and the three teenagers I was with had way too much fun with.

After the Expo, I went for a run with my not-so-little brother and spent the day resting up for the Cowtown 5k on Saturday morning.

Saturday: Bright and early wake up call so my little sis and I could toe the line of the Cowtown 5k...her first race ever! It was pretty cold in the morning and I loved that the race organizer kept the Will Rogers Center (just a few feet from the start) open so we could stay inside to keep warm and use real bathrooms! Yes, I raced both a half and a 5k this weekend and never had to use a port-a-potty. Score!

The course was pretty tough hill-wise but my sister pushed through despite not being able to really train because of a knee injury but she did awesome! We stuck together the whole time, sped up when she could and slowed down when she needed to and we crossed the finish together in 35:09! I'm so proud of her!

Sam-e and I running up the final hill
Post Race, beer in hand!
After vegging out post-race, we went on a fro yo date for some much needed sister time and headed back to the house to be lazy bums with the rest of my family. I have this horrible incapability of being able to nap after a race well, ever so by the end of the day, I was walking around like a zombie and ended up going to bed at 8:30 which was perfect for my 5am wake up call on Sunday.

Sunday: Race Day #2! I felt really refreshed waking up because I went to bed so early the night before and after a yummy breakfast of half a bagel with PB and banana and a bowl of yogurt, it was off to the races! As I said last week, I had no idea what to expect going into this race. I was definitely trained for the distance but not any speed but boy am I glad that I have 8 weeks of hill training under my belt because I sure as hell needed it yesterday. I ran into my Madrid partner-in-crime at the start and chatted with her before making my way into Corral 2 for the start. Before the gun even went off, I regretted my decision to wear rights instead of shorts but it ended up not being too bad.

Miles 1-3: As soon as I started the race, I knew it was going to be tough. My legs felt pretty tight and I was having a hard time running on the concrete. I had forgotten that Texas is all concrete and I hate running on concrete. There's no give! I knew it was going to be tough because of that but it was still early. The race wasn't crowded at all and I had my music on because in terms of spectators, it was on the quieter side. I was feeling pretty good and cruising around an 8:50 pace which is where I wanted to be early on in the race. I had plans of pushing that pace after the first 5 miles but that didn't happen.

Miles 4-6: Mile 4 brought a pretty tough hill but nothing too serious in comparison with the Central Park hills. The worst part about the hills on this course was that from a distance they all looked absolutely massive because you saw them from the top of another hill and then descended before climbing again so mentally that was pretty tough. There were more spectators in this part of the course than in the first part which was fun, so I took my head phones out and just enjoyed the crowd and the scenery for a bit. My energy was starting to fade earlier than I expected so I took a Cliff Shot Gel.

Mile 6 was my favorite part of this race. I grew up going to the Fort Worth Stockyards and it was so awesome to turn down Exchange and run down into the stockyards.The spectators in the Stockyards were great and despite the cobblestone streets being tough to run on, I loved running through this part of Fort Worth.
Miles 7-10: Brutal. We basically run up Main Street and up...and up...and up for 2 1/2 miles. Up until this point, I thought a PR was within reach but by the time I got to the top of that hill into Sundance Square, I knew that my only shot at PRing this race was to PR the last 5k. I saw my family cheering me on right in Sundance with the awesome signs they made and that definitely gave me a boost to try and push the last 5k to a PR finish.

My little sister and sister-in-law-to-be via The Fort Worth Star Telegram!!!
Miles 10-12: More hills. The bridge at Mile 12 was nothing heartbreaking but it definitely shattered my hopes of a PR finish. At Mile 12, we started a pretty nasty down hill that is making my quads hate me today. I started losing energy pretty quickly and really wanted to take another Clif Shot Gel but I felt like I would expend more energy trying to reach around and get it out of my belt and that it probably wouldn't even kick in until after I had finished the race. That last mile was absolutely brutal though. It felt endless. It was the same finish as the 5k from the day before and I remember it feeling just as endless the day before.

The Finish: When we finally hit Mile 13, the finish line still wasn't in site and I started sprinting to wherever the finish was. I didn't have much left in me but I gave it everything I had and crossed the Finish Line in 1:59:05.
I stole this pic from Ally
I crossed the Finish Line, grabbed my medal and headed inside to get my post-race goodies: food, Blue Bell ice cream, my Cowtown Challenge medal and my Finisher's shirt (which I wasn't expecting at all). All in all, I loved this race. Everything about this race was great: the organization, the course, the swag, everything! I walked out of this Race Weekend 1 t-shirt, 2 tech tees and 2 medals...how sweet is that?

Race Swaaaaag!
It wasn't a PR, but hey, I wasn't expecting one. I felt great and ran a smart race on a tough course. I loved everything about the Cowtown and will definitely be back next year!

I'm back in New York and pretty exhausted after a long weekend away with long flights, early race starts and late arrivals but it was well worth it!

February 23, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Sick, sick, sick - Well, as you all know, last week I was sick with asthma an upper respiratory infection that kept me sidelined and in bed almost all week. Yesterday, I woke up with what felt like the worst hang over I've had since my college graduation party...except that I hadn't been drinking the night before. I had a horrible head ache and was *sniffling* all morning (apologies if you don't get the HIMYM reference). I ate a bowl of oatmeal and 6 Ritz crackers all day...I couldn't keep anything else in my stomach. I was so sick, I wasn't even able to make the migration from my bed to my couch throughout the day. It sucked. Needless to say, I didn't take advantage of the 60+ degree weather we're having in NYC and go for an 8 mile jaunt through Central Park, but  you know what, I don't care because the planned forecast for this weekend in the DFW area is mid to high 60s!

2. Race Weekend - It's going to be warm and sunny in Texas this weekend and it'll be good to race and spend some quality time with my little sister who I think could really use having her big sister around this weekend. Texas is going to be interesting, to say the least (it always is), but I'm excited to see my family, run a lot and catch up with some old friends. It's going to be beautiful in Texas and it'll be good to spend some time away from the city. I haven't left all year! (And you know that's a lot coming from me!)

3. Reach the Beach - It's official! I've added a new race to my race calendar and I'll be running the Reach the Beach Relay in Massachusetts in May! I'm running with a fantastic group of people and I couldn't be more excited! Reach the Beach is a 200 mile relay that goes from Wachusett (who makes the best blueberry flavored beer ever) to Westport, Massachusetts in 24 hours. Ever since NUUN hosted a blog team to run Hood to Coast last year and I read everyone's recaps, I've been hooked on the idea of running a relay. The fact that it happens to be the same week that I graduate, move out of my apartment, celebrate 2 1/2 years with The Pilot, and host my favorite Brewers fan for a Mets/Brewers show down at CitiField means that the week will be a little bit crazy to say the least, but hey...crazy is the only way I know how to do things. Bring it on RTB!

February 21, 2012

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 8

8 weeks down, 8 weeks to go!

After a hiccup of being sick and taking almost all of last week off, I'm back into my running routine and feeling pretty good.

As crazy as it sounds, with 8 weeks to go, I'm starting to think about my post-race recovery plan. This will be the first time I'm running more than 1 marathon in a year and I want to be sure that I'm just as recovered and in shape for New York as I have been for my past races.

So yesterday I hit the pool for a 45 minute swim workout...by far, the longest time I've spent inside a pool for a workout ever. Saturday, I headed to Central Park with Emily for 16 miles. Despite my chest still hurting from being sick all week, I was determined to get all 16 miles in.

It definitely wasn't easy. Emily was a total rock star and added a few miles on to her run to make sure I got my run in because I definitely wasn't having an easy time and, according to her, I was looking pretty  pale. So, Emily and I got through 13 miles together before I made my way back to where I could catch the subway. As soon as Emily left, I put in my headphones and started off but within half a mile, my knee was hurting so badly, I had to stop every few minutes. When I realized I was putting all of my weight on my left foot, I made my way out of the park and hailed a cab home.

I used Sunday as a day to rest and ice my knee and Monday, I took the day off from running and did 10 laps in the pool with 3 laps of pool running. I could definitely feel my joints loosening up in the water and I could tell it helped because my planned 5 miles for this morning went great.

This weekend, I'm racing the Cowtown Half-Marathon. Honestly, I don't really have a plan for this race. I'd like to try and run the whole race at my Marathon Goal Pace. Since I've just started incorporating MGP runs into my training, I think it's reasonable to try and run the full race at that pace and see how I'm doing with it.

As far as the 5k goes, I'm planning on just having fun and getting my little sister to the finish line. It's going to be a fun weekend for racing and the weather in Texas is supposed to be gorgeous, so I'm excited to spend some time with my family and run a couple of races and have some fun!

So here's what training this week looks like:

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 8
Total Mileage Last Week: 15.5
Missed Workouts: 4
Trouble Spots: Lingering chest pain from an upper respiratory infection and knee pain after Saturday's long run
Planned Mileage This Week: 33.2

Monday: Rest Day/Cross-Train
Tuesday: 5 miles easy
Wednesday: 8 mile hill workout
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 4 miles easy
Saturday: Cowtown 5k!
Sunday: Cowtown Half-Marathon!

Goals for this Week: Run a smart half-marathon and keep my knee healthy
Current Annoyances: Missing an entire week of training and having to cut my long run short
Things to Keep in Mind: It's still early enough in training that a week off won't affect me too much and will probably be better for me in the long run.

So that's that! Week 8 is in progress! 8 weeks until Madrid!

February 14, 2012

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 7

So, let's just assume that from now on I'm probably going to write these posts about my training every other week. Oops. Last week, with The Pilot's birthday and being swamped at work, I just never got around to writing my Week 6 training recap.

Training has been going really great. I've been really happy with all of my runs, my pacing, etc. and up until this weekend, I was really excited about the Cowtown Challenge which I'm racing in just under 2 weeks. I was really excited...until I got sick.

I'm still feeling awful. My chest is so tight, I feel like I've been walking around with bricks strapped to my chest. So needless to say, I'm not running right now. I'm kind of surprised that I'm not freaking out about what that will do my training, but I'm not. I'm just trying to focus on getting better...despite the fact that I keep getting worse...and I'll worry about running when I can start running again.

Hey, maybe a few days off will be good for me.

In the mean time, I've been thinking about Marine Corps a lot. The fact is, I was really disappointed with Marine Corps. The 5 1/2 minute PR wasn't good enough. I wanted that sub-4, and I had it until Mile 25 and I hated that everything just feel apart and that I had to climb up that gargantuan hill at the very end of the race. I mean, I literally blacked out at the finish line.

I could barely stand up straight post-race. Lucky I had a handsome  pilot to lean on!
In looking back on my training, I realize a lot that went wrong in training that could have avoided my downfall from Mile 25.

First off, I was racing way too often - I ran 2 back to back half-marathons during training...both of which were in my last 2 weeks before taper. Since I was racing all the time, I was constantly adding miles before and after races, which often resulted in something like a 20 minute lag between runs. I don't think I ever went out and ran a distance of longer than 15 miles without stopping during MCM training, so when I hit Mile 14 of the race itself, I started to slow down. I stopped to stretch and drink some water...because that's what I had done in that point during all of my training. I didn't think about it that way at the time, but that's what my body felt so that's what I did - I listened to my body.

Even though I set a PR at one of those half-marathons, I seriously regretted it at my worst race ever the following week. 
Second, I changed my goals...a lot. my initial goal was 3:59:59. Then I started thinking I could race a 3:50, then a 3:55, then back to a 3:50. So every one of my Marathon Goal Pace runs was done at a different pace. This definitely presented a challenge when I was trying to clock into a pace on Race Day.

So, now, I'm into Week 7. I haven't raced once this training cycle and while it's been hard to not succumb to the peer pressure of signing up for fun races with friends, I've held my ground. I know what my Madrid goals are and I'm not balking on them. I'm feeling good and I know I won't make the same mistakes this time around.

Next weekend, I'm running the Cowtown Challenge. I'll be running the 5k with my little sister on Saturday and the half-marathon on Sunday. My training plan calls for a half-marathon during that week as a sort of midterm test to see how training is really going. The 5k run is, well, just for fun...although my 17-year-old sister who has never been a runner has been throwing back 8:00 miles like its her job. And, well, I signed up for both races because you get a really sweet medal for completing any 2 races on Race Weekend and who doesn't like some new bling?

So, Cowtown, I'm coming for you. I just have to get better first =/

No Week 7 plans or goals since I'm not too sure what they'll be. My biggest goal is to be well enough to run 16 miles this weekend! Cross your fingers!

Oh and Happy Valentine's Day! 

February 10, 2012

Shoe Dogging

I've been competitively running for just about 2 years now. In March of 2010 I started training for my first half-marathon. Since then, I've run a number of races ranging from the 5k distance to the marathon and I've run almost all of them exclusively in Nike shoes. Nike Pegasus shoes to be exact. I tried a pair of New Balance 890s for a while but they barely lasted me through one half-marathon training cycle before falling apart. I've tested out the Vibram Five Fingers, but never for a race. At the end of the day, I always come back to Nikes.

Since I've been running longer distances, I've always had an issue with blisters, calluses and black toe nails. I took this to be normal until Katie A. and I had a conversation via Twitter and she pointed out that with the right shoes, this shouldn't be happening. So I started thinking about getting new shoes. Shortly before Marine Corps, I went to Jack Rabbit to try out some new shoes. After trying on about 7 different pairs of Asics, I finally just decided to go with what I know and I ran in the new Nike Pegasus 28s for Marine Corps. I knew I wanted new shoes but I couldn't find anything I liked and just decided to go with what I knew.

Fast forward to this Wednesday which was my wonderful boyfriend's birthday. The night before, I headed out to New Jersey to spend his birthday with him. Wednesday morning, after getting breakfast at our favorite bagel place in town, The Pilot told me he had a surprise for me. "But it's your birthday," I said. Didn't matter, he had something up his sleeve. So we rolled up to Road Runner Sports, a running store near our home town and he said, "Happy Birthday, we're getting you some new running shoes." I was slightly hesitant because well, I always get my shoes from Jack Rabbit and I always run in Nikes. But I guess The Pilot really does listen to me babble on about running and I guess he really does read my blog because he knew I needed new shoes and he knew Road Runner would be the best place to go.

First, we sat down with one of their shoe experts who asked me a bunch of questions about my running habits: what I'm training for, how often I run, what my weekly mileage is, what kind of surfaces I run on, etc. He took  my measurements and put all of this information into a computer and then had me stand on this weird mat thing that generated an image of my feet onto the computer and showed where the pressure points on my shoes are. Turns out, I'm putting a lot of pressure on my left heel even when I'm just standing still. So, after looking at that, I stepped up on the treadmill and started running barefoot. Then, we looked at a tape of my running. Turns out, I'm under-pronated and have a tendency to roll my ankles in with each step I take. The diagnosis? A stability shoe...a huge difference from the neutral shoes I've been running in. The next step was to fit me for some custom insoles.

After spending close to 45 minutes discussing all of these things, then, it was time to go look at shoes. My trusty shoe guy brought out a stability shoe from just about every brand out there: Brooks, Nike, Asics, Mizuno, Saucony, etc. I really appreciated this because I feel like every time I go to Jack Rabbit, they really try to push me on the Asics, which just don't feel right for me. I tried each of the different shoes with my new custom fit insoles. I really liked the Brooks, Mizunos and Sauconys so after I had narrowed it down to those 3, I tried them with and without the insoles and after a few runs on the treadmill in each, finally made the decision to go with the Saucony ProGrid Guide 5s. I love these shoes. The best part about them? Road Runner gives you 90 days to try out your shoes and insoles and return them if you don't like them.

Last night, I had a 4 mile marathon goal pace run on deck. I didn't want to test out the new shoes on an interval run just yet so I took the insoles out and put them in my Nikes to see just how much of a difference they make. I've never been one to really trust insoles but let me tell you, my Nikes, which have some 270+ miles on them, which I've run at least 2 half-marathons and a full marathon in (I know, I know!) felt like brand new shoes. So I'm sold on the insoles. But after the short treadmill runs I did with my new Sauconys yesterday, I know I won't be disappointed when I take these babies out for an easy 6 tomorrow.

I was amazed at all of the information Road Runner gave me and I really appreciated trying on so many different pairs of shoes without any bias from the store. I always thought I was a neutral runner but after really sitting down and analyzing my form and looking at so many different factors, it turns out I really do need more of a stability shoe. So this year's birthday present from the boyfriend? A+. I can't wait to break these babies in for Madrid!

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review. The opinions reflected in this post are solely mine.*

Have you gotten new running shoes lately?
Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to running shoes?
Have you ever had your gait properly analyzed like this before? 

February 9, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Workout & Wine - A few weeks ago, I signed up to get email updates from a new NYC based company I found called Kiwisweat who hosts pop-up fitness classes at fun locations around the city. When an email came across my Inbox for an event called "Workout & Wine," I knew I was in before I even knew the details. So I called up my trusty cross-training buddy and we signed up. Tuesday night, we made our way to Top of the Garden for a killer workout followed by wine and hors d'oeuvres with some amazing ladies. Kiwisweat had partnered up with Rogue Female Fitness for the event and it was awesome! Leanne, our instructor had fantastic energy and a killer playlist. She's running Boston this year and was super friendly. She invited Emily and I back to a class with her at Rogue and I can't wait to take her up on her offer! I will definitely be back for Kiwisweat and Rogue!

Emily and I...slightly drunk and somewhat sweaty
2. New Kicks - Yesterday, while I was in New Jersey for The Pilot's birthday, he decided to take me out for a little birthday surprise of my own. The Pilot brought me to our local running store for an expert shoe fitting before buying me the shoes that are going to get me across the finish line in under 4 hours in Madrid this April. I have a whole post planned on just how fantastic this whole experience was and you can check that out tomorrow, but what's important right now is that me and my new Sauconys are at the start of a beautiful relationship.

3.  Madrid Training - I know, I"m terrible...I skipped another Madrid Training post this week. I hate that because I really do love writing those posts as I think they're a great way for me to reflect on my training but this week has just been insane. Work has been absolutely insane with my boss leaving and with The Pilot's birthday and heading out to Jersey, I just didn't get around to it. What I would have said in my post in a nutshell is this: Training is still going really well. I've gotten back into the habit of strength and cross-training after missing a week of both and I'm still feeling really good. I have 15 miles on deck this weekend and I'm 2 weeks away from the Cowtown Half. I still haven't decided on a race strategy for that just yet but as I'm increasing my speed work in the next week, I know I'll decide that sooner, rather than later. I had a killer hill workout this week what I busted out in what may have been one of my fastest 6 mile training runs ever and I'm still feeling pretty high from it. My Marathon Goal Pace runs are feeling easy and I'm still feeling really strong. So all in all, training is going great.

That's what's going on this Thursday!
Do you ever drink post-workout? How excited do you get over new running shoes?
Are you training for anything right now? How's it going?

February 1, 2012

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 5

Week 5? Am I really in Week 5? I'm not sure if it's because I didn't post a training recap last week or what but how is it already Week 5?

Training is going fantastic. I really couldn't ask for much in terms of this training cycle. So far, everything just feels so right.

Ally and I are finally starting to talk travel plans now that the Madrid course map has finally been posted.

Let me tell you something, 42.2 kilometers looks a hell of a lot longer than 26.2 miles. This will also be the first marathon I'm running that doesn't have any loops or out and backs, it is a straight 26.2 mile run through the city of Madrid and that.is.awesome.

I can't wait to run here!
So yea, I haven't cross-trained in 2 weeks. Oops. 2 weeks ago, I wasn't feeling so hot on either of my cross-training days so I bailed. Last week, I just didn't get around to it. I have continued strength training and doing some ab work though so I'm not ruling it out completely and hey, I went to the worst yoga class ever yoga tonight so I haven't fallen off the band wagon completely.

Last week should have been a step back week, but since I've been eliminating my Friday runs, it was just a natural build up which is fine. I think I'm going to start adding the extra run in in another few weeks or so but we'll see how I'm feeling. So far, I've felt better than I've ever felt during a training cycle and I really think it's the strength training. My runs feel easy, I never feel sore the next day and I've felt really strong on all of my runs.

I've been looking over my training for MCM the last week and I've realized that I really just wasn't ready for MCM. My training cycle started when I was in India and those few runs I tried to get in while abroad were absolutely impossible. When I got back to the states, I was so jet lagged for a week that it was awhile before I actually started training meaning I was coming off of no running at all and jumping straight into a training cycle. The Staten Island Marathon...which should have been my dress rehearsal run was an absolute nightmare and really just destroyed my confidence. I was on pace for a sub-4 all the way until Mile 25 and I distinctly remember hitting the wall and thinking "This is Staten Island all over again." This time around, I'm much more prepared for my runs and I'm racing a lot less. I turned 2 half-marathons and 2 shorter distance races into long training runs last fall and I just can't do that this time. So far, the only race I have planned is Cowtown, which comes during a week that my training calls for a half-marathon. I think I'm going to be much better prepared for Madrid because of that.

So, here's what this training looks like:

Madrid Marathon Training: Week 5
Total Mileage Last Week: 25
Missed Workouts: 1 - 1 mile time trial
Trouble Spots: None
Planned Mileage This Week: 28

Monday: 4 easy miles
Tuesday: 7 mile hill workout + Yoga
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: 4 miles with 2 miles at MGP
Friday: 13 mile run
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: Strength and cross-train

Goals for this Week: Have fun!
Current Annoyances: The MTA's inefficiency
Things to Keep in Mind: Despite lackluster training for MCM, I still PRd by over 5 minutes and came within 2 minutes of my sub-4 goal. I can definitely run a sub-4 race in Madrid.

So there we have it, longer runs and picking up the pace this week. The next three weeks bring me up to 16 miles before stepping back and running the Cowtown Half. I'm picking up the pace on my easy runs and adding in some goal pace runs while continuing to get my hill workouts in. I'm feeling good and strong and with 11 weeks to go, really excited!

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