First Day of Training and Goal Setting!

IMG_5888.PNGToday is a special day! Not only is it Monday, it is also the first day of my Philadelphia Marathon training!

This training is 14 weeks long and will be tougher, more voluminous and longer than my training plan last fall. I’ll be teaming up with Josh – Speedy Sasquatch – again to try and beat my time from Marine Corps Marathon…

The facts….

· At Marine Corps Marathon (my 4th marathon) I ran a PR of 15+ minutes and it remains my current PR (3:26).

· I ran two marathons last year with 6 weeks apart, first time ever doing that! (Marine Corps Marathon and California International Marathon)

· This year, I’m running NYC and Philly (3 weeks apart only!). NYC this year also because my sister and I deferred our cancelled 2012 race until this year!

· Philadelphia is super special this year because my friend is running her first marathon! We will be going down together and I love that it will be her first (it was my first marathon in 2011!).

· I will be trying to go sub 3:20 at Philly (ahhhh!). This is a 40+ minute difference between my time goal in Philly 2011! In 2011 I was hoping to break 4 hours and ended up with 3:42.

I have made this cute little post-it reminder on my desk so that the number 3:20 is always on my mind! (Idea stolen from Mary who impressively ran a 3:08 at Boston this year!!!) Hoping somehow that post it notes and PRs are related…Add in a bit of hard work, obviously ;)
The reason behind setting this goal was pretty arbitrary… I am basically just interested in testing my limits and I feel like running sub 3:20 is something I absolutely never thought was possible. Ask me that two years ago and I would have laughed in your face. That’s what is so incredible about the human body and mind. It takes an intense amount of physical and mental dedication and I am hoping that I can muster up enough on all fronts to make this goal a reality!

Everyone who is already training – KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! And can’t wait to follow everyone’s training updates!

What are you training for? How is it going?


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Yoga Styles Gone Running! Onzie Apparel

IMG_5440.JPGThe first time I saw the solar system printed crops I knew they had to be mine! They belong to a company called Onzie who specializes in yoga clothing so I was tempted to figure out whether these amazing yoga pieces could be translated to running apparel as well. They were sweet enough to let me test out two products: the spin crop and the elastic bra.

First off the spin crop.

Amazing structure to the pants. The seams feel very sturdy and well crafted. Size wise, I’m normally a 6/8 (lululemon) or medium (Gap, Brooks, Nike etc) so I was suggested to order the S/M at Onzie. I definitely think this was the right size because they had enough tightness/compression without being restrictive (or feeling like they were going to tear (god forbid!).


I’m also unusually tall (about 6 feet tall) so I was a bit nervous about the fit of the crops. They are designed to fall right below the knee, which I found to be true so that was a plus! The material is mesh and adds a bit more flare to them. I think their other crops would be even longer so I think that’s where my next purchase is going in the pants department!

And I tested them out during spin, yoga and also during a run. How amazing are they in this black-lit room? Solar system to the extreme! I’m obsessed. They were amazing for yoga, as running. Overall definitely recommend them only would make them a *little* bit longer, but I know I’m one special case, so for the average height they should be perfect-o!

Secondly, the elastic bra top.

Holy amazing back detail. How can you not just want to wear this and only this? It fits snug but not too tight. What I mean is that you won’t be worried it’s going anywhere, but doesn’t cut off circulation or leave crazy marks. Wore this during yoga (check plus!) and running (check plus!). Perfect for both. If it were acceptable to wear this in the day I totally would but in the meantime I’ll have to wear It with some flowy tops or cut out back tops!
I would definitely consider getting the all black one to wear on a more frequent basis, but I LOVED the detail and pattern combination of this specific print. So fun!
And I also love how it combos with the solar system pants! Too much fun. Definitely was the highlight of my workout those days (guilty!).

Have you tried Onzie? What are your favorite pieces? What’s your favorite print from their crazy awesome options?

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Club Champs 5 Miler Recap

I haven’t done one of these in a while: Race recap! This past weekend I participated in the New York Road Runners Club Team Champs 5 Miler in Central Park for Gotham City Runners. It was such a cool race because it was split up by gender, so the women ran first and then there was a separate men’s race.
It really brought me back to high school cross country. Everyone was sporting their team’s colors and you had teams picked out that you were supposed to try and stay in front of. It put a whole new sense of pressure on the race! I felt like I was running for something much bigger than just myself.

I also had a few things running through my mind.

1) My training hasn’t even started, so I don’t even know how I will do AT ALL. I’ve been going to the gym and doing some strength and cardio, but my full on marathon plan has yet to begin.

2) IT IS POURING. WHY. We got to the team’s meeting point at 7:30am and it was just raining steadily. Not ideal but it was kind of fun at the same time. Everyone was in the same condition so no one had any excuses.

3) Running in new shoes (have only run in them once before), hope I don’t get blisters! (PureCadence 3’s –> I LOVE THEM, and didn’t get any blisters)

4) No music. I normally just have music in case but this was different. It really felt like so much more than just an NYRR race, and I almost assumed that music wasn’t allowed.

Anyway, started the race and felt great! It was raining for the first part and by mile 4 it had subsided.

Mile 1 – 7:07
Mile 2 – 7:04
Mile 3 – 7:17
Mile 4 – 7:18
Mile 5 – 6:52

I thought my pace would have been around 7:15-7:30 (at best!) due to my lack of training but I was surprised to see these fast numbers. It all just makes trying to run sub 3:20 seem much more possible!
Gotham City women ended up in 5th overall but we were missing some key runners! Happy and excited to jump into marathon training soon!

High school cross country flash back!

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Easy (& Affordable) Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

I’ve been experimenting – more so than usual – with food recently. I’ve found two recipes that I’m definitely going to continue making, one breakfast and one that can be used for lunch or dinner.

Overnight Oats

I know, I know, I am late to the game. But the other week I was over at Jen’s apartment and she was making them so I took careful note and altered mine just a little bit!

1/3 cup regular oats
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter (I love adding the ones from Peanut Butter Co because they add an extra flavor level – like my honey PB and the maple syrup one!)
Generous amount of cinnamon
Pinch of ground flaxseeds

Mix it all up and store overnight. I had mine in the fridge for 2 nights and it was still fine the 3rd morning so don’t worry if you don’t get to eating it right away.

Greek Mixed Salad

1 green pepper, chopped
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 red onion, diced
1 can or jar of quartered artichoke hearts
Diced/cubed chicken (I bought the Perdue pre-cooked chicken strips so it was easy just to cut and put into the bowl)
Feta cheese
Kale (massaged and chopped) as much or as little as you like

Pasta and/or couscous

Toss the vegetables, chicken and cheese with olive oil, salt, pepper and other spices you may like. I also add salad dressing over it before eating to freshen it up.

By having two bases (pasta and couscous) it adds a nice level of variation so you don’t get as bored!

It definitely makes a lot! I had enough for dinner Sunday night, lunch Monday and today, and a snack yesterday before spin. I still have more left over for 2 meals. All of the ingredients (minus the feta which I already had at home) cost $14! So at this point, each meal will cost around $2!

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Pre-Season Training and Scary Goals!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday! My attitude towards Mondays has gone 180 degrees because at work, they provide us with bagels on Monday morning. This is probably one of the best perks you could give a runner-employee. Pass the carbs, please.

As we are nearing the middle of summer, I have definitely become more conscious with the amount of running I am doing/was doing..and by was doing, I mean the LACK of running I was doing. After the Brooklyn Half in the middle of May, I hadn’t gone over 8 miles until two weeks ago. Normally this would be fine, but I’m gearing up for a pretty hefty training cycle this fall (training for both NYC and Philly full marathons) so two weeks ago I got more serious with my running routine.

Week of July 7-July 13
Monday: 4 miles PM
Tuesday: 3 miles PM (on treadmill testing out NYHRC with a one week guest pass)
Wednesday: no miles
Thursday: 4 miles PM
Friday: 10.5 miles AM (early before work)

Saturday: 6 miles PM (barefoot on beach)
Sunday: Rest (wanted to give my legs a break from barefoot running the day before)
Total Miles: 27.5 miles

Week of July 14-July 20

Monday: no miles
Tuesday: 5 AM treadmill miles (1 mile w/u, :30 seconds at 6:41 pace, 2:30 seconds at 7:40 pace (10 sets))
Wednesday: Yoga in the AM, Grid Release in PM, 20 minutes stair master PM

Thursday: 6:30 AM Personal Training Assessment at Crunch Gym (.5 miles on treadmill)
Friday: 12 miles AM with Nicole before work

Saturday: 1 hour hiking
Sunday: 13 miles with Lara PM

Total Miles: 30.5 miles

Things that I’ve been thinking/doing/feeling:

Barefoot running: See previous blog post!

NYHRC vs Crunch Gym: I’ve been long considering joining a gym. Being an NYU student I really took for granted the ability to just jump on a treadmill or an elliptical during bad weather, so once I graduated and I realize that that wasn’t an option, I knew that I needed to find one. During training, I rely on the treadmill a lot for speed workouts. Training for Marine Corps Marathon I even did my last long run (20 out of the 22 miles) on the treadmill.

NYHRC’s prices were much higher than Crunch’s and the facility near me was in poor condition. Girls and guys had to alternate days of using the locker rooms, whirlpool was out of use – (not that I’d use it frequently, but if that’s one of the main perks of the gym, why would I pay $120+ per month to not have access to it?).

I met with Crunch, was able to negotiate a fairly good deal and am so in love with it! I have the all-city pass and there is one location near my home and one on the way to work. They have great classes and new equipment. ALSO, they have Bliss products in their locker rooms. I choose to shower here sometimes instead of my house simply because I don’t have as nice of products!

Grid Release: I think I’ll write a longer post describing this class, but basically, it is a 30 minute class centered around the Trigger Point grid foam roller. I have one at home and use it during training so I was very curious! The class is a core and strengthening class that then uses the roller periodically to release the points of tension you have created from your training. Loved it but definitely thought it could have been 60 minutes long!

Personal Training: With my membership to Crunch, I was given a 1 hour free personal training session. AKA an hour of feeling like the most unfit person on earth. We did a series of exercises that were targeted towards runners – reverse lunges, squats (multiple variations), standing leg lifts, planks with leg raises, wall sits with the trainer pulling on a band that was behind my knees. WOW. Basically I found out that I have a lot of things wrong with my form and I really need to ramp up my strength training. Apparently my quad muscle rotates inward while my calf muscle rotates outward which is bad? I told him it was a skill that I’ve perfected, sarcastically.

Needless to say, I think strength training is SUPER important, and I would definitely use the trainer more if cost weren’t an issue.

Upcoming Marathons: BQing twice last fall led me to really be interested in how fast I can go. Essentially, what is my limit? So now that I’m running NYC and Philly (3 weeks apart) I’ve decided to set my sights on running sub 3:20 at Philly while using NYC as my last long run. This is pretty frightening and two years ago this would never have been a goal of mine. Going from 3:42 to 3:26 last year was incredible so I can’t wait to see where this training (with the help of Speedy Sasquatch) will take me!

Questions for you!

How often do you strength train?
Do you use a personal trainer?
How many miles do you run a week leading up to marathon training?


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Tips for a Successful Beach Run

I am pretty lucky that my roommate is from the beach originally so whenever we go back to her house to visit there are major perks involved: salt water taffy, New Jersey peaches, homemade ice cream and beach running. Growing up my family never went to the beach (because we would go back home to Finland during the summers) so beach running is a fairly new endeavor for me.

This past weekend, I had one of my best runs – probably ever. I’m also not very good at sitting still on the beach, it’s hard for me to just nap or lay calmly, so my legs were itching for a run even before we stepped foot in the sand. I’ll spill my tips for beach running and feel free to add your own!

There are two options. 1) Running with sneakers and 2) running barefoot. The latter scared me but the lazy human being trapped inside the marathoner felt it was too much of a hassle to pack running sneakers, so barefoot it was!


- Run on the sand that gets covered by the incoming water. This area is hard enough to give your foot some solid ground so you don’t roll an ankle but also soft enough that it molds around your step and gives some cushioning.
– Be cautious of shells, rocks and glass. Who knows what’s actually on the beach and if you’re running barefoot you want to make sure you scope out the sand first to make sure that the tide hasn’t washed up a million small, sharp shell pieces. My sister ran on the same beach at a prior time and her feet were succumbed to blood blisters and small cuts. Not ideal.
– Understand that you are running on uneven terrain. Move your body as lightly and in an agile manner so that you can easily recover if you hit some unexpected bumps, holes or changes in hardness.
– Don’t go too long or too fast if you are not used to the terrain or used to running barefoot. My sneakers have a ton of support and padding so switching to barefoot is a huge shock to my feet and ankles. Stretching after for your knees, hips and especially ankles is a MUST.
o One of my favorite ankle stretches is sitting down and writing the alphabet in the air with each ankle. I’m not coordinated enough to do it with both ankles so I do each one separately.
– If you feel anything that doesn’t feel right, stop as you don’t want to get injured. One beach run isn’t worth having to take more days off.
– Don’t forget sunscreen! Visors and sunglasses definitely aid in keeping you safe in the sun.
– If you are using music, keep it low or make sure you are paying full attention. Flying footballs, running toddlers and planted fishing lines are your worst enemy.
– Best part? Dipping your feet or running near the water’s edge so you get cooled off instantly!

Hope you have found my experiences helpful and let me know what additions you have to help everyone run successfully barefoot on the beach! It was impossible to be in a bad mood after this run. It was one of the best and happiest runs ever! (Also listening to Pandora Disney station definitely amplified the bliss -> highly recommend.)


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How to gain speed in the pre-season

Hi folks!

Writing to you again from the wonderful world of Helsinki, Finland! My trip is just coming to an end as I am soon wrapping up my last day here. Tomorrow I will be getting on a flight and landing back home in the – arguably – best city in the world. I can’t wait!

I’ve been doing a whole lot of eating here and also a bit of running. I have been taking it pretty easy after Brooklyn half so I can recharge my motivation batteries. Will definitely need them come July when I start my journey to sub 3:20!

While I haven’t started my official training yet, I already feel less speedy than I know I am usually. It’s tough when I know I need to be light years ahead of what I normally run in order to meet my goal…

On my run today I naturally fell into this mini speed workout that is adaptable to everyone. Here it is:


For me this is a super fun way to incorporate speed into my workouts or runs. Pick a great playlist and speed away! (I’ve noticed with EDM songs it is hard to distinguish when the chorus starts and ends so your speed workout my tire you out faster if you choose these kind of songs :) )

Normally, speed workouts are pretty daunting if you don’t have any speed built up so for me I am excited to use this trick so that when my super speedy workouts are given to me, I can tackle them with no fear!

Happy running and we’ll see each other on the other side of the (big) pond!

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