Movin’ On Up!

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Happy Tuesday, friends!

It’s gorgeous this week in NYC – I think 63 degree mornings are a runner’s idea of heaven at this time of year.

This morning I ran 8 miles, including a great set of mile repeats – probably the best this training cycle!

I’m definitely attributing part of how I’m feeling to last week’s cut-back in mileage. Here’s how it went down:

  • Monday: XT: 35 minutes spinning, 25 minutes elliptical, lifting, corework, stretching
  • Tuesday: 7.25 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 8.6 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7.3 miles (4 @ tempo pace)
  • Friday: XT: 28 minutes spinning, 30 minutes elliptical, lifting, corework, stretching
  • Saturday: 16 miles
  • Sunday: 6 miles very easy; 45 minutes easy yoga

Total: 45.15 miles

So really I just substituted an easy running day for a cross training day on Friday, but I could totally tell the difference during Saturday’s long run and know my legs definitely appreciated the break. So hooray for cutback weeks!

Confession: too many of my meals lately have been eaten at my desk, in front of my computer, at work.

I’ve been super busy, and eating while working is pretty much the norm. Sometimes the “work hard, play hard” mentality that rules the professional world in NYC can get to me.

Ok, for me maybe it’s more “work hard, work harder” as I’ve yet to master the whole “playing” thing. But in a city that’s always go go go, sometimes I feel like I’m not really cut out to handle it. Or like my head is going to explode.

I don’t really talk about my job that much on the blog, but let’s just say working at a New York PR firm is like nothing else. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes it makes me a hot, stressed out mess.

But ramblings aside, what makes it all worthwhile is the great people I work with.

And because we all deserved a break, we went out to Blue Smoke for a celebratory dinner.

Blue Smoke is all about BBQ and Southern cooking. It’s not my favorite cuisine, but when in Rome…

Eat fried things…

There is literally “fried bread” on the menu. The nutritionist in me was a little horrified. 🙂

We split a bunch of appetizers, and I had the veggie burger with quinoa, lentils and a tomato chutney with an arugula salad for my entree

It was delicious.

Even though it was only for an evening, taking some time to slow down and enjoy the company of my colleagues (and friends!) outside of the office was a great start to the week.

Back to the grind today!

Question: Tell me about your job – do you work long hours? What’s your schedule like? And/or, how often do you take cutback weeks?

Saturday’s long run was one of those runs that I think can be defined as being “banged out.” There was no high point or low point, but pretty consistent splits throughout and I felt strong.

I ran my usual Central Park/Riverside Park loops, and even though it’s familiar to me and I love it, I am getting a little sick of its predictability. Sometimes running feels easier when I have no idea where I’m going or exploring a new place. Good thing next weekend’s long run will take place in the Bronx!

When I got home, I did the usual stretching, refueling: fresh peach, grapes, walnuts and honey over Greek yogurt

And ice bathing:

Since I’m far too cheap to buy bags of ice each week, I usually just fill the tub with cold water and ice from about 5 trays that I have.  It melts a little quicker, but I think it still does the trick. My legs felt a lot less sore all day and I was able to walk around NYC like a fully functional human being.

Recently, Meggie and I discovered our mutual love for gymnastics. We were both gymnasts for many years and keep up on the sport as much as we can, so we made grand plans to watch the national championships at my apartment on Saturday night.

But first…

We needed to get our 16 Handles fix. Obviously.

It was awesome to hang with someone that “got” gymnastics, and just watching it on TV brought back tons of old memories.

On my recovery run this morning, I was still thinking about the competition and how gymnastics was once a HUGE part of my life.

I never thought I would love any sport as much as I loved gymnastics.

I also thought I’d always be able to do a round-off, back handspring, double-full. HA.

But gymnastics isn’t a sport you can do forever. It basically beats the crap out of you.

It’s funny how cough eleven cough years can change things. Even though the sport taught me a lot and I have (mostly) great memories from it, sometimes I forget I ever was a gymnast.

And interestingly, sometimes it feels like I’ve always been a runner, and I can’t imagine loving a sport any more than I love running.

It’s a different kind of love, though. With gymnastics, I was good. My goal was always to be perfect and win. And I did. Part of my love for the sport came from the medals, trophies and success I had.

With running, I’m pretty sure I’ll never win. Or come close to winning. In fact, the only person that probably cares that I run at all is me.

And I kind of love that. I can run for enjoyment, I can run to PR in a race, I can train hard for a marathon.  I can run for whatever the hell reason I want. And I usually always want to run.

So even though running is something I’ll never technically “excel” at, it makes me feel awesome every day. And if winning against myself counts, then I do it multiple times per week 🙂

Question: Is running your first sport? Why do you run?

Happy Thursday, friends!

This week my running has been either one extreme or the other. On Tuesday I could not for the life of me get in one speedy mile and bagged a planned speed workout. Even though it was just one run, I immediately started thinking negatively:

OMG, am I burnt out already? Am I running too many miles too soon in training? Am I on the brink of injury?

Bahh. Sometimes I cannot stop this annoying voice in my head. It was still going on Wednesday morning when I set out to meet Megan, Lindsay and Ali (part of the sweat squad!) for a run. I was totally worried I’d be unable to keep up with them and feel like a big wuss.

I dressed in confidence-building gear (my favorite new I ❤ sweat running shirt from Ali’s fundraiser last week!)

I do heart sweat.

And set out for a three mile warm-up before meeting the gals. Once we started running together I finally found a grove and settled into the comfortable pace we set. My legs came alive as we chatted away the miles, and by the time I headed home I was hitting a sub-8:00 minute/mile pace and felt fabulous.

The power of running buddies never ceases to amaze me, and I honestly don’t think I would have had a great run had it not been for the sweat squad. Thanks, ladies!

I tried to continue the momentum into this morning with some tempo miles, and was kind of all over the place with pace:

  • 3 mile warm-up
  • 1 mile @ half marathon pace
  • 1 mile @ 10K pace
  • 2 miles @ marathon pace
Total: 7.3 miles, 8:30/mile average pace. Not exactly where I want to be, but it’s good enough for today.

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin sprouted grain toast, peanut butter, cream cheese and berries

Why I have not tried cream cheese on toast before is beyond me. Delish.

Hopefully I’ve squashed whatever rut I was potentially falling into, but just to be sure, I’m tweaking my training plan a tiny bit more. In addition to implementing cutback weeks, I’ve signed up for a few half marathons in the next couple of months.

Even though I’m not going to be racing them (DO YOU HEAR THAT KELLY? YOU ARE NOT RACING THEM. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT), I love the atmosphere of races and want to change up my long run routes a bit. I think it’ll help break up the monotony of training a too.

First up – the Bronx Half next Sunday. I’m kind of excited to explore the borough, which I’ve only ever visited for Yankee games.

I have a weird track record with half marathons during marathon training, and always injure myself immediately after I run them (and then do not recover in time for the marathon I’m training for).

Case in point: after the Manhattan Half in January, I developed a gnarly case of Achilles tendonitis that plagued me until mid-April and prevented me from running the Eugene Marathon in May.

So not fun.

I repeat: I will not race the Bronx Half Marathon. I will run at my long run pace with a few marathon pace miles during the last half. Hold me accountable, readers. Gotta keep my eye on the prize!

Question: Do you race a lot during marathon training or other training cycles?

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I hope your weeks are going well so far. It’s still kind of rainy here in NYC, but I’d rather have a gloomy day during the week than the weekend!

Plus, a soggy run here and there is good for the soul. This morning I ran about 7.25 easy miles, and actually find the sound and feel of steady rain while running quite calming.

I could do without soggy, squishy shoes though. I guess that’s why I have, ehm, multiple pairs at the ready.

Dear Brooks: Sponsor me? Size 8.5, Adrenalines. K thx.

But backing up to last week’s training:

  • Monday: 50 minutes vinyasa yoga & stretching
  • Tuesday: 7.6 miles (4 @ MP)
  • Wednesday: 9 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles (4 @ “easy” tempo pace)
  • Friday: 5.5 miles very easy
  • Saturday: 18 miles
  • Sunday: 5.8 miles easy

Total: 53.4 miles

I was pretty tired all week, and really felt it on Saturday’s 18 miler. Even though I kept a pretty decent pace, the legs were definitely screaming for a little break (especially my IT band). So this week I’m thinking of cutting back to five running days and 1-2 cross training days, which will reduce my mileage about 20% from last week.

I’m kind of in “be extra careful so I don’t get injured” mode, and think I need to start taking cutback weeks seriously if I want to get to the starting line on November 6 in one piece. So every three weeks or so I’m going to try to cut back on mileage like this to give my bod a little break.

Now, onto some refueling…

The rain on Sunday was a perfect excuse to try a new recipe I found on Shayne’s blog that looked delicious AND healthy.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Prep was pretty easy. And green!

And it turned out delicious

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (source)


  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2-2/3 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your loaf pan. Combine the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and combine the wet ingredients, except for the shredded zucchini. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, and then fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Bake for 75 minutes.

I loved that this recipe didn’t even use sugar, and instead of maple syrup in the original recipe, I used agave nectar. I’ve never thought to do that before, but am now intrigued about how I can incorporate it into my other baking recipes.

The bread has a nice, hearty taste, and the chocolate chips add the perfect amount of sweet. Excellent post-run refueling.

Question: How often do you take cutback weeks? Ever bake with agave nectar?

It’s a rainy, rainy Sunday in NYC.

Even though I really love sun, sometimes a rainy day is just what I need to force me to relax.

But rewinding to Saturday, a.k.a. long run day. I was up even earlier than usual to bang out 18 miles before heading to New Jersey to see a few of my favorite people.

Confession: I’ve been wearing all black on my long runs because it makes me feel a kind of bad ass. And speedier.

My goal for this run was to not be as wiped as I was after last weekend’s 17 miler. I read a while back that Magdalena Lewy-Boulet started taking gels on every long run because she found they helped speed up her recovery and she could actually do things like play with her kids, run errands and feel like a functional human being during the day.

I’ve only taken Gatorade with me on all of my previous runs so far and usually save the gels for my 20 milers, but decided that Magda (an Olympic marathoner) probably knows a thing or two. So I grabbed a mint chocolate Gu (a new flavor for me – I’m partial to vanilla Power Gels) along with some watered down Gatorade to take on the road.


I took the Gu around mile 10 and a). it was delicious, b). it definitely gave me more energy during the last half of the run.

After getting the first couple of slower, junky miles out of my system, the run felt pretty good. I did notice a few niggles here and there, so I’m glad this coming week is a cut-back one!

Even though the Gu helped keep my energy up during the run, I was pretty pooped afterwards. But I had places to be – New Jersey, to be exact.

My friend Meghan (who got married last September), was having a baby shower for her sister Erin. I hadn’t seen either of them since the wedding and it was SO great to finally hang again.

And eat all of their food (kind of. But that tub of hummus was no match for me).

One of my favorite things about baby showers:

Cake. And pink things (Erin’s having a girl!).

It was refreshing to get out of the city and hang out at an actual house with a yard, a pool, a washer/dryer…

Meghan and I

Sometimes I forget how different Manhattan is from other areas. We have cabs, delivery of anything and everything, the best restaurants, culture and nightlife.

But forget owning your home, peace and quiet, having a backyard, driving a car or having an apartment that could even remotely be called “spacious.”

I guess there are always tradeoffs. Besides, I’m a disaster behind the wheel, get freaked out by total quiet and actually consider Central Park a pretty great backyard.

When I think of New York compared to other places, I’m always reminded of a quote from Sex and the City.

Miranda: Why do I think living in Manhattan is so fantastic?

Carrie: Because it is.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Question: City or suburbs? Why? And, any tips on how not to be totally wiped after long runs?

Intuition & Tempos

Recently, Amazon.com got the best of me and I ordered a few new running books (because who ever buys just one thing when online shopping? Not this girl…).

I’ve been wanting to read RUN: The Mind Body Method of Running by Feel (by Matt Fitzgerald) for a long time – a lot of my running/blogging friends have found it to be pretty helpful towards their running and mindset.

I’m only 80 or so pages in, but am already digging what seem to be the overarching theme(s):

  • Running and training is extremely individualized (i.e., 100 miles/week works for some people, 50 works for others, etc.)
  • Runners can benefit from relying more on their intuition when deciding how far to run and how fast

It seems like a no brainer, but I for one am definitely someone who can get caught up in a training plan and set mileage or speedwork goals for the day or week. Sometimes I think it’s easier for me to ignore what my legs are trying to tell me and push until I’ve met whatever goal I have for the day.

Not that I think we shouldn’t push ourselves during workouts, but what I think Fitzgerald is trying to say is that sometimes our bodies intuitively know how fast or far they can go on a given day. We just need to hone in on that and listen to them more, and understand that deviating from a plan is ok.

Aside from the mumbo jumbo that may or may not be going around about “listening to our bodies,” I think he has a great point. When I set out for a run without any sort of pace in mind, I’m often surprised that my legs seem to get a little speedier as I go along and it doesn’t seem as hard as when I’m consciously trying to run at the same pace.

Has anyone else ever experienced this?

I’m definitely intrigued by this theory, so I decided to try it (somewhat) on this morning’s scheduled tempo run. Instead of following my plan exactly for four tempo miles, I’d run at whatever pace felt comfortably hard this morning.

Interesting… Usually I focus on 3-4 miles at a sub-8:00 min/mile pace, but on this run my legs were feeling a little beat up and there were a lot of hills in my route. I forced myself to not look at the Garmin so much, which was really hard! But I’m pleased with the run overall. I felt pretty strong during most of it, rather than wanting to die after my last tempo mile.

Not sure I’ll do this for every tempo run, but it was a good experiment!

Breakfast – Kashi Heart to Heart, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk

I’ll report back when I finish the rest of the book!

I’m excited to delve into the other one as well – Nancy Clark is a sports nutrition superstar and definitely someone I look up to (as in, I would like her career someday). I want to read this one before classes start in September to get me all excited for lots of nutrition-related studying.

Question: What are your thoughts on running by “intuition” rather than following a set plan? Do you/would you do it? Favorite running book you’ve read recently?

Happy Tuesday!

Today was one of those mornings I wished I had a camera as I rounded the Central Park reservoir on the bridle path – the sky was a soft purply blue and the sunrise so perfect. 7.5 progression miles later, I’m still thinking about it.

From earlier this year:

Corny, but when my love for running isn’t enough to get me out of bed in the morning, the promise of seeing a great sunrise always does the trick.

Anyways, I’m really happy with my training last week and got in a lot of quality miles. Here are the deets:

  • Monday: 35 minutes spinning, 25 minutes elliptical; lifting
  • Tuesday: 2 miles w/u, 3×1 mile repeats (7:47, 7:37, 7:45) 3 miles cooldown (8 miles total)
    Wednesday: 8.65 miles
  • Thursday: 7.35 miles, 3 @ MP
  • Friday: 5.5 miles easy
  • Saturday: 17 miles, 5-ish miles @ MP
  • Sunday: 6 miles super easy

Total: 52.5 miles. This week I’ll bump up my long run to 18 miles and then scale it back the following week to 15-16 miles for a little break (heh, love that I’m already considering 16 miles a “break”. Oh, marathon training…).

When my mom was here last weekend, we talked a lot about food choices both at restaurants and while grocery shopping. See, she is making a huge effort to change her eating habits from a heavy cheese and red meat diet to one with more vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.

Sometimes I take for granted how much I know about nutrition, or at least forget that not everyone has been sitting in lectures and labs about nutrient structures, optimal carbohydrate/protein/fat ratios and vitamin/mineral absorption (etc., etc.) for the past bajillion few years.

My mom has no nutrition background, so for once it’s time for me to teach her a few things.

Since we’re basically starting from square one, here’s what we’ve done so far and how I’m going about it.

Slow and Steady
I think it’s important to implement change in patients like my mom gradually. Forcing them to give up everything they’re used to and totally overhaul their diets in one day is never something I would do.

Here are some of the small changes my mom is making now:

  • Cooking with lean ground turkey instead of red meat; limiting red meat to once per week
  • Limiting (but not removing) her cheese intake
  • Incorporating one additional serving of vegetables that her usual on most days
  • Drinking water instead of soda while at work (right, mom?)


  • Starting the day with a balanced breakfast – usually Kashi cereal, milk and a banana

My theory is that making changes is easier if you actually understand why you’re making them. So for each change she makes, I make sure to explain why. For example:

  • Cheese and red meat contain high amounts of saturated fat (in addition to lots of calories), and are likely one of the reasons why she has high cholesterol
  • Red meat may also be associated with a higher risk of some cancers (‘nuff said)
  • Vegetable intake is associated with a lower risk of some cancers, they pack tons of necessary vitamins and minerals and are low in calories


  • Soda is a pointless, nutrition-less beverage and I’m annoyed that it was ever invented (ok, I guess I’m a little opinionated on this one). Drinking lots of water flushes out toxins and keeps the body working properly
  • Eating a decent breakfast will help keep her satisfied until lunch and give her more energy at work. Kashi cereals pack good doses of fiber, which helps keep you full, and are low in sugar


Continuous Dialogue
My mom emails me what she eats on some days, and asks questions about cooking, recipes and her meals on a regular basis. This is important because it helps keep her nutrition goals top of mind, holds her accountable for food choices and decisions and I can give her feedback and answer her questions before she forgets them.

Since I want to make sure my mom keeps making progress, once she gets comfortable making the changes above we’ll revisit them and I’ll give her new goals. For example, eventually I’d like her to limit red meat intake to once per month (or even less) and branch out on the vegetables she eats.

I will also bother her until she does it strongly encourage her to start an exercise routine.

So far, so good (right, mom?). She’s a great patient, because in addition to wanting to make changes, she understands that it takes time to see and feel results. And she has me to help her stick with it 🙂

Now if only I could get her to quit smoking…

Question: Do you ever “teach” your parents anything? I love being able to help when I can, even if they don’t always listen (ahem, Dad with the never eating vegetables, ahem). I guess it’s payback time for my teen (uhh, and pre-teen) years…

Sweets & 17 Miles

Running 23 miles in two days plus entertaining momma Meals for Miles, who was visiting, is kind of tiring.

But despite the fact that I almost fell asleep at Cirque du Soleil on Saturday night, it was a great weekend.

Sometimes I like to think I can do it all – work, school, weekend trips, plans with friends, blogging – while marathon training and it will all go extremely smoothly. Other times, like this weekend, I’m reminded why people don’t typically train for marathons all the time.

Because it’s exhausting, yo.

When you’re working the body hard six or seven days a week, getting the proper rest isn’t optional, it’s essential. In fact, I may just go to bed before the sun completely goes down tonight…

I also don’t think I could afford to feed myself if I trained for marathons year-round, because I am hungry ALL THE TIME.

At least my mom was kind enough to feed me this weekend, and did not judge when I refused to share desserts with her.

ABC Kitchen carrot cake – to fuel my long run the next morning, obviously.

Sidenote: our entire meal at ABC Kitchen was amazing – simple and subtle with tons of flavor at the same time.

Mexican Chocolate Brownie with caramelized banana, vanilla mole ice cream, toasted pecans and chocolate ancho sauce from Candle 79

Sidenote: Our trip to Candle 79 was my mom’s first vegan restaurant experience. She survived and liked it!

I had planned to run my long run on Saturday morning, and mom was a good sport regarding an obnoxiously early bedtime after our trip to ABC Kitchen (bless her). Since I was going to be running for ~2.5 hours, I wanted to make sure to get it done early so we had the day to do some very important shopping.

So it was out the door by 6:15. My first couple miles were pretty slowish, and I was a little worried the run would be somewhat of a struggle. But once I got to the Riverside Park part of my run (around miles 6-9), the legs noticeably pepped up and stayed that way when I returned to Central Park.

The second half of the run was much stronger than the first, and I actually felt good picking up the pace. Runs like this gives me much-needed confidence that I’ll be able to hold a similar pace for the marathon, and hopefully PR the crap out of it 🙂

Even though I do prefer to chill out after long runs, sometimes walking around a bit helps prevent stiffness. So my mom and I shopped for a bit and hit up the High Line, which is an elevated park on NYC’s West side, constructed on some old railroad tracks.

It’s kind of awesome. And has a gelato stand.

Mint gelato with chocolate chunks – delicious.

I think my sweet tooth is officially out of control. But I’m ok with it.

I actually haven’t hung out with my mom one-on-one in maybe years. When you’re a twin, this can be somewhat difficult. And while we missed my sis up in Boston, having my mom all to myself was probably the sweetest treat of the weekend. 🙂

Question: Do you make sure to save room for dessert? I always, always do. Also, what do you prefer to do after long runs – rest? Hit up the town? Take a trapeze class?

Your comments to my last post on how you started running were great! I love me a good story with a happy ending.

And any story involving running has a happy ending, yes?

This week has been pretty busy at work, but quite stellar running-wise and I’m feeling strong. Tuesday I set out for some mile repeats (I bagged my last mile repeat workout because of the heat), and I was determined to get in some quality speedwork.

It was a gorgeous morning, and despite some leg fatigue/soreness at the beginning of my run, each repeat was pretty much right where I wanted them to be.

  • 2 mile warm-up
  • Mile 3: 7:47
  • Mile 4: 7:37
  • Mile 5: 7:45
  • 3 mile cool-down
  • Total: 8 miles

Eventually, I’d like to get these down to 7:30 (and under), but I know developing speed takes time. If only I had more than an ounce of patience in me…

Wednesday was an easy longish 8.65 miler with Megan, Ali and Elyssa – like always, we chatted away the miles and I loved every second of it. Ali has termed our morning crew the “Sweat Squad.” I kind of think we should get this printed on matching tech T-shirts.

This morning I ran a solo 7.25 mile progression run ending at about marathon pace and am ready to take on the day. But first…

A few weeks ago, my running buddy Sara brought some watermelon over to my apartment to accompany a quick dinner I had prepared. It was so juicy, delicious and refreshing!

And it was also the first time I’ve had watermelon all summer – terrible, I know. But ever since then I’ve been slightly obsessed with it, and decided to create an easy recipe featuring tons of delicious juicy goodness.

Simple ingredients: Watermelon, Cucumber, Shrimp, Farro, Mint, Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

And a super easy prep (i.e., I’m so lazy this summer in terms of cooking!)

Tupperware version:

Watermelon, Cucumber, Shrimp and Farro Salad with Mint, Goat Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts (yield: 4 servings)

  • 3-4 cups chopped watermelon
  • 2 cups chopped cucumber
  • ¼ lb cooked shrimp
  • 2 cups dry farro
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 3-4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • Juice from one lemon

Cook the farro according to directions on the package – I just boiled mine with 3 cups of water and then let simmer for 15 minutes. Let the cooked farro cool completely, and empty into a large bowl. Add in watermelon, cucumbers and mint and mix together. Add lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Top with shrimp, goat cheese and pine nuts. Mix as much as desired.

About Farro
This was my first time cooking farro. I originally wanted to use quinoa, but Fairway didn’t have a ton of affordable options ($7 for quinoa = hell to the no). Don’t worry Fairway, this is your one and only flaw, and I forgive you.

Anyways, farro is also a great grain and super easy to cook. It’s a member of the wheat family and tastes similar to brown rice but chewier (in a good way) and a bit nuttier (also in a good way). Farro is also a great source of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. So, a perfect runner food!

This salad can work as an entrée or side dish, and is super versatile in terms of subsitutions – for example, cashews instead of pine nuts or feta in place of the goat cheese.

Today is my Friday – hooray for long weekends!

Question: Have you ever had/cooked farro? If you do speedwork, when do you start seeing improvements in your workouts/races?