NJ Marathon and I Support Adoptions

Hello again!

Matt and I are running on Sunday to raise money for isupportadoptions.org.  We sent an email out today to family and friends and I wanted to share it with you.

Kristy is running the New Jersey Marathon this Sunday.  I’ll be doing the Half Marathon because it’s so much fun.  Hopefully I finish before she does. 

In any event, we’re hoping you could sponsor us on behalf of I Support Adoptions, a charitable non-profit organization that provides support (financial, informational, and emotional) to families seeking to adopt.  It was started a few years ago by two of my sisters, who were motivated by their own stories.  

Laura and her husband Mike adopted their son Philip from an orphanage in Ethiopia when he was 6 months old.  Now he’s a handsome, smart, silly 6-year-old who wears his heart on his sleeve.  You definitely know when he’s happy and when he’s not!  Kris is recruiting him as her newest protégé; he can run like the wind. 

Maria and her husband Kevin are in the process of adopting a little girl, also from Ethiopia.  She should be coming home soon. 

Laura and Maria (and their husbands) are two of the most selfless people you’ll ever meet.  Their goal is to enable other families to experience the same joy they’re experiencing.  I Support Adoptions has financially supported two adoptive families so far through various fundraising efforts.  Your donation would go a long way in enabling additional “success stories”.  

If you would like to donate, click here and there’s a “donate” button on the left or go to my home page and there is a direct link on the right handside.


Friday Favorites


3 miles easy


9:32 avg pace

All I have to do now is run the marathon!

We leave for the shore tomorrow morning, stopping at my parents to drop Hawk off.  My parents live about an hour south of where the race is taking place and we initially were going to sleep there and drive up on Sunday morning.  After reading reviews on marathonguide.com about the not-so-reliable shuttle buses, we decided to get a hotel to be closer to the start.  Otherwise, we’d have to get up around 3am.  Eeek, that is just too early!

Friday Favorites time!  And you probably guessed this already but it has to do with marathons!

Best Crowd Support – NYC Marathon
I’m sure Boston has similar crowd support but NYC is amazing!  I felt like a rock star!  There was never a point when someone wasn’t cheering for you.  I got a brief glimpse of what it must feel like to be celebrity 😉

Most Efficient Expo – Marine Corps Marathon
I’m not a big fan of expos.  I like to get in and get out.  The Marines pull off a great, efficient expo…especially for such a huge race.

Most Scenic – Marine Corps Marathon
I must say I’m somewhat biased.  I lived in DC for 3 years and fell in love with running there.  It’s like a perfect (running) tour of the city.

Best Race Shirt – Philly Marathon
Another great race (again, biased…it’s my hometown) but the best part is the race shirt.  A long-sleeved, DRI-fit tee that actually fits!  Meaning I don’t give it to Matt to wear.  They even have XS.  Score!

Best Pre-Race Amenities – Steamtown Marathon
I walked out of my hotel room and boarded a bus to the start.  We started outside of a middle school so we got to wait inside and remain warm.  Bottles of water were handed out and the school cafeteria was even selling food!  It was the most relaxed and calm I have ever been before a race.  I literally didn’t have to think about anything.

The NJ Marathon does not have runner tracking.  I promise to tweet, FB, etc. when I’m done.  THANK YOU for the wonderful comments this past week.  They mean so much to me.  I will be thinking about all of them on Sunday.  Go big or go home!

Random Thursday

I’ll stop posting about the NJ Marathon eventually…I promise.  Think you have it bad?  Imagine being Matt!  He really can’t wait until it’s over.

Today’s random things are certain race day traditions/superstitions/routines that I MUST do.

  • I have to wear my Race Ready shorts.  I’m a Nike tempo shorts girl 99% of the time but I need lots of pockets come marathon day.  These shorts are NOT for the fashion-conscious; they are pretty hideous but extremely practical.  They store my iPod and Shot Bloks nicely.  I wish Race Ready would come up with a better design.  Or…Nike could design tempo shorts with lots of pockets.  Also, pockets in the back stuffed with Shot Bloks = big butt.  Did I sell these shorts yet?  😉

Hot, right? Mine are this short too. But my only other option were the longer ones and they are even more unflattering. Imagine that?

  • I need to pee at least 5 times before the race begins.  I have no idea where the number 5 came from I think it just became a habit/routine.  I’ve used a porta potty before and then immediately got back in line to pee again.


  • I eat Shot Bloks every 4 miles.  So that’s 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 during a marathon.  These numbers are embedded in my head.  Remember the “numbers” from the TV show LOST?  That’s how I am….neurotic.

Hurley, I can sympathize...


  • I wear my “special” socks and foolishly think they bring me good luck.
Check out this short video.  It’s a tour of Nike’s World Headquarters.  Can I get a job there and hang out with Kara all day?  Maybe I can pitch them my idea about pocketed-tempo shorts?

Please share some of your race day traditions/superstitions/routines so I can feel somewhat normal!

Marathon Strategy


4 miles easy


9:18 avg pace

I’m a total planner.  Insane planner.  I don’t think there is a spontaneous bone in my body.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that when it comes to the marathon I leave nothing to chance (well, nothing that I have control of…if only I could control the weather).  I’m not talking race logistics:  hotel, directions, parking…although I do enjoy planning that.  I’m talking strategy; how will you run the race?  What’s your plan?

I used to run marathons with no plan.  Kind of just go out there and see how I feel.  This is a great approach if you are a beginner (first marathon).  Your goal should be to enjoy yourself, soak it all in, and finish strong.  Once I started having a time goal in mind, I found that the more I planned and strategized, the better I did.

So what’s my plan for Sunday’s race?

Start out slow
The best thing you could ever do is to start the marathon slowly (or any race really).  Doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced.  This works every time, trust me!  You should never go faster than your goal marathon pace (GMP) in these early miles.  In fact, I plan on going slower than GMP for the first 3 miles.  It’s tough, especially when everyone around you is flying by and you have so much nervous energy.  Conserve that energy because no matter how great of a race you are having, everything will start to hurt during those last few miles.  And all that energy you saved early on will come in handy.  It’s the difference between hitting the wall and just being uncomfortable during the last few miles.  I’ve hit the wall more times to mention and, believe me, being uncomfortable is way better.

I plan to mimic my 18 and 22-mile training runs.  Starting out with 9:00 pace and take it down from there.  Around Mile 13, I plan on picking up the pace.  Hopefully I can maintain that “pick-up” until the end.

Use a pace band
Pace bands:  either you love ’em or hate ’em (I happen to love ’em).  I’ve used them in every marathon, except for my first one.  I’ll only look at it maybe every 4-5 miles, just to ensure I’m on track.  My Garmin is what I really rely on to keep me on pace.  I don’t wear it on my wrist either.  I cut it out and tape it upside-down on my bib so all I have to do is look down.  I have a 3:45 and a 3:50 pace band for Sunday.

Pace bands have also come in handy during those not-so-stellar marathons.  Call me crazy but I like to know how far off I am from my goal time.  I told you I wasn’t sane.

So that’s my plan for Sunday…slow and steady wins the race and obsessively monitor my Garmin!

What are some of your race day strategies?  Do you use or like pace bands?

NJ Marathon Goals


5 miles (2 mi easy, 2 mi @ MP, 1 mi easy)


8:59 avg pace

I’ve given a lot of thought about my goals for Sunday’s race.  I also drove Matt crazy in the process.

My current PR is a 3:58 at the Steamtown Marathon last October (great race, by the way).   For this marathon, I’m using the FIRST program to run a 3:50 (8:46 pace).  I remember thinking I’m nuts thinking I can shave 8 minutes off.  But I wanted to try and adopted the “go big or go home” mentality.

Then a funny thing happened.  I ran an 18-miler at 8:40 average pace in early March.  I couldn’t believe it.  But, it happened again.  This time during my last long run – 22 miles – before the taper.  Then Boston started creeping into my head.  What if I can drop my average pace from 8:40 to 8:34 and qualify?  The thought made me sick to my stomach with nervousness.  I had NO intention of even thinking of BQing this training cycle.

I have A LOT of motivation for trying to qualify for Boston 2012:
* I’m 34 now but will be 35 come Boston 2012, which means I can qualify with a 3:45.  Hooray for getting older and having an early birthday!
* 2012 is the last year to BQ using the “old” qualifying times.  Come 2013, I would need a 3:40.
* 2012 is also the last year the B.A.A. is allowing the 59-second grace period (meaning I could run a 3:45:59 and still qualify).
* The only (huge) drawback?  The new unfair registration process starts this year, meaning the fastest runners get to register first and then the people that qualify by the skin of their teeth (i.e., me) would register last, IF there are still slots available.  Essentially, you could BQ and not get into the race.

Goal A:  try and BQ
I’m well aware that it’s going to be mighty tough dropping that pace from 8:40 to 8:34.  The weather conditions would have to be ideal and I may have to don a cape and become superwoman.  This is probably a long shot, but crazier things have happened!  If everything falls into place, I have to go for it.  If you could BQ on determination and will alone, I would have done it a long time ago.

Goal B:  3:50
This is what I trained for and I feel confident that I can maintain a 8:46 average pace.

Goal C:  anything better than a 3:58 
The weather for this race is a crapshoot.  It’s at the Jersey Shore so it can be quite windy at times (just ask my Mom who lives there; she complains about the wind all the time).  Last year it was ungodly hot; the year before cold and rainy.  Right now the forecast looks OK, maybe a little too hot.  If it is hot, I’ll have to scale back on my pace and just try to PR.

Needless to say, if Goal A or Goal B is attained I will be doing lots of this…

Jumping for joy

Told you I was a cheerleader

and a whole lotta this…

Lots of beer

...and more beer

Did you ever PR (or BQ) in a race unexpectedly?  Any race, not just a marathon.

A Steamy 10-Miler and Week 16 Recap

4/24/11 (yesterday)

10 miles


9:12 avg pace

Spring turned into full blown summer here in Philly.  It was 67 degrees when I started running on Sunday (at 8am!) with lots of sun and humidity.  Initially the weather felt great but by mile 3 I was feeling the heat.  My 9:00 pace felt hard; my breathing and heart rate were more indicative of an 8:30 pace.  The miles dragged on and on.  I wanted to end with a few miles at marathon pace but there was just no way.

I’m definitely the type of runner that needs to acclimate to hot or cold weather.  Sudden, big swings in temperature are not good.  It takes about 2 weeks to acclimate myself and then I’m fine.  Today’s run wasn’t the best confidence booster for the marathon but I know it was 100% due to the heat.  Thankfully the forecast for Sunday’s race is calling for mostly cloudy with a high of 63 and a low of 53.  I’d prefer it to be a little colder but I’ll take what I can get!

Week 16 recap of NJ Marathon training:
MON:  rest
TUE:  6 miles at marathon pace
WED: 6 miles tempo
THU:  rest
FRI:  6 miles easy
SAT:  rest
SUN:  10 miles “long”

28 miles for the week.  The taper is working because I feel lazy and sluggish 🙂

Do you need to acclimate to hot or cold weather?  

Friday Favorites


6 miles easy


9:48 avg pace

It’s Friday….and that means more favorites!

The Amazing Race
Matt and I have watched this show from the beginning and it never gets old.  Is anyone watching this season?  Go Jet and Cord!

Long before I was obsessed with running, I was obsessed with cheerleading.  I cheered (competitively…yes, it’s a sport) from the time I was 6 years old straight through to my junior year of college.   I think that’s why I started running soon after college.  I needed a new obsession.  Let’s walk down memory lane…

I think I was 6 or 7 in this picture

6th grade maybe? This picture cracks me up because the look on my face shows you just how crazy I was about cheerleading.

Senior year of high school...ouch, awkward looking.

At Nationals...junior year of college

I declare April to October “pedicure season”.  I think pedicures are a must for runners.  We ask a lot of our feet, we should pamper them once in awhile!

My first pedi of 2011

What are some of your Friday favorites?  Do you watch the Amazing Race or other reality show?

Random Thursday

Rest day!

Some random thoughts and pictures…

  • I’m having a much calmer taper week this week compared to last week.  I was a mess last week obsessing about goals and other things that are out of my control.  Poor Matt.
  • Speaking of goals, I promise to do a post next week about my A, B, and C goals.  I’m still thinking about it and it’s also a little unnerving to post your goals for the whole world a few people to see.
  • It’s all easy runs from here on out.  I want my legs to be fresh, fresh, fresh for the marathon.  Better to have more rest than less rest.
  • Some fun things people searched for and got directed to my blog:  what to do when you don’t want to run, chewed up dog bed, marathon training and green beans (my favorite), and dad running (odd…my Dad doesn’t run).
  • I apologize to the runners searching for the Penn Relays 20K results and got directed to my blog.  Since the race does no advertising, they got Run The Long Road.  Lucky runners.
  • Oh, speaking of that race…I placed 7 out of 15 in my age group (30 to 39).  Not too shabby considering it was a training run!

I’m done rambling…here are some random pictures.

Pompeii, Italy: supposed to be marveling at old ruins but this was much more fun

Matts turn

Bar crawl in Montreal = very good time

Not sure...

Then I made Matt pose with him

That’s all the randomness I can take.

*If you don’t mind, please “like” this link on Facebook.  Mark Keeley, a Philadelphia Gas Works employee, was killed in a gas explosion in January (he was only 19).  He was a diehard Mumford and Sons fan and was planning to travel down south to see them live this year.  His family and friends created a Facebook page in hopes of bringing the band to Philly this summer so everyone can see them live.  They were told it can happen if the idea “gets enough attention”.  They already have 13,000+ “likes”.

Running Pet Peeves


6 miles tempo


8:36 avg pace

2 miles easy, 3 miles at 7:54 (actual:  8:07, 7:54, 7:58), 1 mile easy.

I thought it’d be fun to do a post about some of my running pet peeves.  Please feel free to share yours as well.  We can vent together 🙂

I’m sure this is at the top of everyone’s list.  I purposely do not run on roads for fear of getting run over.  Especially with so many people talking on their phones or texting while driving.  Thankfully, I have a great paved trail near my house that I run on almost all the time.  The only scary part is that I have to cross 2 mini streets near train stations.  It’s fun in the morning when people are rushing to work and flying over these streets so they don’t miss their train.  Seriously, yield to pedestrians means nothing to these people.

Smoking is a big pet peeve of mine in general.  I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke.  On this paved trail I also run by 2 businesses where there employees are allowed to smoke pretty much right on the trail.  Which means I run by and get a whiff of smoke in my face.  Good times.  I swear these people spend more time smoking than working.  So gross.

Usually when I pass another runner, I’ll give some form of hello…be it a nod, smile, or “hi”.  The people who don’t reciprocate piss me off!  Not sure why this bothers me so much but it does.  There’s this one girl that I’ve been seeing for years and she refuses to say hi.  I’m talking like 5 years of completely ignoring me.  We run at the same time on the same days.  Jeez, we should be on a first name basis by now.  I give up!

Well maybe not stalkers but more nosy people.  The ones that look out their window or stop and watch you run by.  You know, the nosy people in your neighborhood.  In my case, it’s the older people that gawk.  People run all the time; it’s not an uncommon occurrence!  I feel extremely self conscious when people watch me run (with exception of races, of course).  This isn’t a huge pet peeve, just more of an annoyance.

What are some of your running pet peeves?

Week 15 Recap


6 miles


8:40 avg pace

First things first, let’s talk about Boston!  Unbelievable, right?  Desiree Davila taking second place and missing first by a mere 2 seconds. Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon ever, 2:03:02, but it won’t be considered a world record since the Boston course is point-to-point and has a net downhill elevation.  So how fast was Mutai running?  Oh, you know, just your normal 4:30 pace!  I can’t even fathom that amount of speed for 26.2 miles!  Impressive finishes all around.

Kara Goucher came in 5th place with a 1-minute PR just 6 and a half months after having a baby.  Damn!  Check out the Runner’s World post-race interview and video here.

Onto today’s run.  I was supposed to hit the track for my last round of speed work and decided a marathon-paced run would be a better fit.  I just don’t see the point of tiring out my legs with 1000m repeats.  I’d rather practice my goal marathon pace (8:40); which I followed precisely 🙂

Week 15 Recap of NJ Marathon training:
MON:  7 miles easy
TUE:  5 miles speed + yoga
WED:  rest
THU:  rest
FRI:  5 miles tempo (fail!)
SAT:  rest
SUN:  12.5 miles (Penn Relays 20K)

Only 29.5 miles for the week.  I was hoping for 32 miles but Friday’s tempo just didn’t work out as planned.  The good news is my asthma is much better and I’ll still be on antibiotics for another week.  Yeah, no germs can catch me!

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