New kicks to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

My new kicks arrived last week and I took them for a spin right away! It was my longest run since the half marathon and spraining my ankle and it felt great!

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I’m SO partial to Asics GT2000s it’s not even funny. I’ve tried them all (not really but close) and thank goodness for Road Runner Sports because they let you test out new shoes and you have 90 days to decide if you want to keep or return. Last summer I must have visited the store every other week. First I tried the Brooks Ghost 6 and my arches were killing me. Then I tried the Mizuno Wave Rider 16s and we stuck it out for 2 weeks before my arches called it quits. I even tried Superfeet insoles to try to make it work but my feet were just not having it. So… I did what I should have done straight from the start and bought the next model of my trusted Asics GT2000s and it was obvious we were meant to be. If you have high arches I highly recommend these shoes, they are the best and I’m on my 4th pair. (these are the GT2000-2s)

Can you believe Memorial Day Weekend just passed by? This was the LONGEST winter ever but for some reason time has just been flying since April, make it stop! For the next 100 days I will be soaking up every ounce of sunshine I can get. I hope everyone had an awesome Memorial Day Weekend and a great kick off to summer. We kicked ours off right with lots of boating on the lake. It was Finley’s first time on the boat and she LOVED it! She is just as happy as can be out on the water and even got comfy in her life jacket.

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I was also able to fit in a little 4 miler on Sunday morning around my first ever running route. Since l moved out 4 years ago I always try to fit this run in whenever I go back to my parents house. There’s just something about this little lake loop that makes me so appreciative of the town I grew up in. It’s a beautiful little suburban community in northern New Jersey and it will always hold a VERY special place in my heart no matter where we end up one day.

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This “rest” month flew by. I’ve been taking it really easy with running over the past few weeks just keeping my fitness up but making sure to enjoy relaxing and the start of summer and most of all sleeping in. BUT with that said, I’m excited to get back into training mode. I’m kicking off the marathon training this weekend with a 10k on Sunday. 20 weeks from Sunday I will be able to say I’m a marathoner. CAN…NOT….WAIT.

Weekend getaway to the mountains.

2 weeks ago we had an AMAZING weekend in Catskills, NY. This was our third year doing this little weekend getaway and each year we find a new house to rent so that we can explore new territory. The house we rented this year was the best yet; a gorgeous cottage on 5 acres in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, aka heaven… It was perfect. It had an old cozy Cape Cod cottage feel to it and a wonderful screened in porch. The best part was that they were dog friendly and half of the property was fenced in so Finley could run around off-lease. Living in a condo in the city we feel so bad that the only place Finely can really run and play like a puppy is at the dog park and when we go to my parents house so knowing that she would have all this property to herself all weekend sold us from the start.

It was pouring rain when we got there Friday night so we sat on the screened in porch with a bottle of champagne and talked for hours. Saturday we did a big hike in the morning and then spent the rest of the day relaxing on the deck watching Finley run around. I swear if dogs could smile she was, she absolutely loved it! Sunday we did some more hiking before heading home. The weekend was a blast from start to finish. It’s just so nice to get out of the city and into the mountains for a couple of days. As much as we love New York City and our life along the Hudson River we always prefer to be in the woods away from it all. That’s our happy place. 🙂

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Positive running mantras.

Last Wednesday morning I ran 5 miles, my longest run since the half marathon and spraining my ankle. My ankle started to act up around mile 3 and I felt so slow and out of breath the whole time. I had to stop at mile 4 for a sit break and was getting super frustrated. I kept thinking, how did I run 13.1 miles a week and a half ago?? During my little sit break I had a revelation; this is NO BIG DEAL. Seriously, it isn’t. Days like this happen and you just have to keep at it through the good and the bad. I went through a number of my go-to positive running mantras while sitting on that bench and settled on the most obvious one- I CAN DO THIS! So I got back up and finished out the last mile.

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I found this article from Jessica at Runladylike.com that I LOVE!

Positive running mantras are key. When you run you are basically spending anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours in your head. During this time I am talking myself up, talking myself down, thinking about what I am going to do later, what I will eat, where I want to travel to next… Most importantly I’m thinking about how I am going to survive the next hour halfway through my long run. Here are my go-to’s for times like these:

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Basically what it comes down to is that a bad run will always still be a GREAT run because you did it and you followed through until the end. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in training plans, time goals, excuses and thinking you aren’t good enough. The important thing is to think about what your body is actually doing and how great it makes you feel being able run and how lucky we are.

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Puppy love and bouncing back.

What a great weekend! I went for my first run since spraining my ankle and it felt fine-thank goodness! My endurance on the other hand was horrendous. I felt dehydrated, hot and out of breath which was a huge let down but humbling at the same time. I need to remind myself it was just 2 weeks off and I will bounce back.

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We originally planned on going camping Saturday night but it rained like crazy so we did a small hike and relaxed at home which was great because the day didn’t fly by. On Sunday we went to the beach to take Finley swimming for the first time and it was priceless. She LOVED it and it completely made my day, week, year! The water was freezing but seeing her splash around and attempt to swim melted my heart. My first dog-Mother’s Day was complete!

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Sidelined.

I’m officially sidelined with an injury. It’s been one week and I’m past the denial faze so I can finally talk about it ;). Last Monday night I was taking Finley outside and caught the edge of the last stair on the way out of my apartment complex and sprained my ankle. I immediately panicked because I heard a pop and a crack so I assumed the worst. I hobbled up the stairs and frantically screamed for Jon to come save me. I may or may not have shed some tears (I’m a baby, I know) I spent the next few hours icing and diagnosing myself on WebMD. I was a mess and of course the only thing I could think about was not being able to run. On the upside this was after my half marathon, because if this had happened the week prior and I couldn’t race I would have been completely devastated. Luckily, my marathon training plan is set to start June 9th so I prayed this was not serious. The next day I went to the doctor and she examined my ankle and declared it a bad sprain (THANK YOU!!!) I would have skipped out of her office if I could. A sprain I could handle, a broken ankle not so much.

It’s been very hard to not run this past week because I feel like my fitness level is dropping by the day but you gotta do what you gotta do. The ankle still hurts but it’s definitely getting better and I know I need to be patient. My sister (Doctor D’Amato!) is a physical therapist so she sent me some exercises to do and if I feel up for it I’m going to try and go for a small run on Saturday. In the meantime I’m catching up on movie dates with Finley. She made me watch Marley & Me and we cried together.

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I’ve also been catching up on some serious sleep and LOTS of quality family time. Finely is getting SO big! Everyone said lab puppies grow up in the blink of an eye and they were spot on! It seems like yesterday we picked her up at 7 ½ weeks old and now she is almost 5 months.

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I miss her being so small that we could scoop her right up but I love the size she is now and the little adventure dog she is becoming. Although I love training for races this month off of a rigid training plan means spontaneity and endless adventure whenever wherever! We have A LOT of new parks and trails to explore with this little lady this summer and this weekend we’re taking Finley on her first camping trip!

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Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Race Weekend Recap

The race this past weekend was beyond fun and Nashville is officially my new favorite city. Unfortunately getting to Nashville Thursday night was just not meant to be. My original flight got canceled at the last minute, then my new flight got delayed to its connection and the next thing I know I’m spending the night at a Marriott in Chicago. Luckily I got a few hours of sleep and hopped on the first flight out in the morning. When I landed in Nashville I was welcomed by sunshine and country music, heaven on earth! (Side note-Tim McGraw even does the “welcome to Nashville” airport announcements)

My sister and I wasted no time and headed straight to the race expo. I’m such a sucker for race expos, I could spend hours going from vendor to vendor trying free samples and hearing about the newest massage tools. I think it’s because it makes me feel like I’m hanging with my people- the runners, the people who GET IT. It was by far the best expo I’ve ever been to, it was massive. They even had a mechanical sneaker!

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We took the rest of the day pretty easy. We visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and went to Rippys for some live music and barbeque. After lunch we lounged at a park nearby and soaked up some sun for the remainder of the day before heading back to our place. We were both still pretty full from lunch so we decided to forgo the pre-race pasta dinner and picked up a crepe from Red Bicycle Coffee & Crepes – BEST DECISION EVER! I’m totally one of those runners who has to have everything planned and perfect. I stuck to my 12 week training plan like glue, got upset when I could only get a couple of hours of sleep Thursday night thinking it would set me back for the race, worried about not having my traditional pre-race pasta dinner and triple checked my outfit/shoes a billion times. I’m insane I know BUT this is why running is such a mental game. One day I will learn to just let it go.

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I highly recommend staying in Germantown if you plan to run this race in the future or if you are ever visiting Nashville. It was super cute and we were able to walk to the expo and starting line in 25 minutes. On the morning of the race we woke up at 5am and had the standard bagel, peanut butter and banana. It was a chilly morning but we knew it would be in the 80’s by the end of the race so we sucked it up and froze our butts off in tank tops and shorts. The morning race vibe was AMAZING! There were 30,000+ people racing and each corral was lined going up the hill on Broadway (aka Honky Tonk Highway). The pump-up music was a mix of everything and the entire start was extremely well organized.

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My sister and I were in corral 13 with a projected finish time of 2:00. We had both been training really hard and hoping to finish around 1:56. Unfortunately the race had other things in mind for us so lets get down to it… It was a great starting location, we ran down Broadway with crowds of people standing in front of the old honky tonk bars but right away the hills started. At mile 1 we went under a hotel underpass and my Garmin lost satellite signal so the whole race it was off by about .3 miles which was a little annoying. I had read a couple blogs and knew the hills were going to be there but I did not know they would be there THE WHOLE TIME. I’m not lying when I say there wasn’t even a ½ mile of flat terrain the whole race. I knew I should have done more hill training! Luckily none of the hills were straight up and down; they were more like long ascending ups and long descending downs but by about mile 5 my shins were screaming at me and I knew I was not going to finish in the time I had hoped for. Another thing that threw me off about this race was the crowd. From mile 1 to mile 13.1 the streets were packed. I was constantly weaving in and out of people, clipping ankles with people and struggling to get my stride down. It was a slow slowww start and I was frustrated but there was literally nowhere to go at times.

On the upside! Despite the crowd and the hills this was definitely one of the most fun races I have ever done. The spectators were there every inch of the course and there were about 7-8 live bands. The bands were GOOD, really good, but then again this was Nashville. The scenery was amazing and a little bit of everything. We started downtown, went through the Gulch, the Belmont suburbs, then back through downtown and finished outside of LP field. I truly fell in love with the city during this run and that is why destination races are the best.  At mile 11 the marathoners went one way and the half marathoners went the other. I was secretly itching to go for the 26.2 but I know that time will come in October :). I felt good throughout the whole race, my body felt strong and my stomach held it together thankfully. At mile 11 I saw the 2:00 pacer and sprinted past her desperate to beat 2:00. Luckily it worked and I finished the race at 1:59:40. It wasn’t exactly where I hoped it would be but I did shave 5 minutes off my last half marathon (Providence RI –my first half marathon ever) back in 2012. I think the thing I was most happy about after the race was feeling good and being injury free. Afterwards we hit up the chocolate milk stand and cheered on the marathon finishers as they came in.

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Later that afternoon we met up with my friend Hana for lunch. We went to The Pharmacy in East Nashville for burgers and beer, it was AMAZING. I had a burger with ham egg and bacon on it and 2 beers, hey I deserved it! That night the race held a concert at the Bridgestone Arena featuring the cast of the ABC show Nashville. I love the show so I was really looking forward to this and it did not disappoint. It was funny, you could tell everyone in the crowd just ran a ½ or full marathon because everyone was wobbling down the stairs of the arena and taking sitting breaks in-between songs. To cap the night off we got ice-cream at Jeni’s and it truly was as wonderful  as everyone told me it would be. On Sunday we had brunch and then visited the Belle Meade Plantation to get a little history fix followed by some wine tasting- highly recommend!

The weekend was a blast. It was so great to see my sister and spend some quality time together. The race was awesome; we could not have picked a better half marathon or location. It was also great to see my friend Hana who recently moved to Nashville about a year and a half ago. She’s been dabbling in some production work with a lot of the big country artists so we were able to see some pretty cool off-the beaten path things with her (aka all of Taylor Swift’s hang outs and celeb houses). Nashville is officially one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to. If you love country music especially live music everywhere you turn, gorgeous weather and southern hospitality- this is the city for you. The whole time I was there I was thinking about how I can’t wait to come back with Jon, so another visit is in the near future for sure!

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