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The Last Long Run Before The Big Long Run

It’s the home stretch. My body is tired, but it still has the drive to keep going. My mind is set on finishing and there has not been a single doubt lingering that I won’t be able to meet my goal. It’s my last long run before my half marathon, 12 miles on a warm almost fall day along the beach. The big one is still ahead in two more weeks. Race day. I feel confident. That’s because it’s in the training runs like this one where the magic happens. These are the runs that count, that prepare the runner for their event. Knowing that this long run is the final one before the big run brings up feelings that are so hard for even a writer to express.

I was about 7 miles into the run when this beautiful prose came into my head. This happens a lot when I am thinking and running and start to write in my head. The words vivid, painting a picture perfectly of how I was feeling at that moment. But now sitting here to see those words in the flesh is just not possible. These were fleeting thoughts that my know tired mind can’t conjure up.

I do remember thinking about how it has all come together. All the sweat and hard work bring tears to my eyes. It is emotional, to say the least about getting this far in training. A sense of pride and accomplishment warms me like a blanket, hugging my insides. I am a stronger person that I was just 12 weeks away in all definitions of the word.

I This isn’t my first rodeo so I know I can go the distance. But this training was more about letting go of fear. Fear of injury. Fear that I couldn’t perform the way I would want to. Fear that I wasn’t fast enough. I know that I am fast. And have the potential to be fast even long distance. I know that I am strong and continue to get stronger with each run.


The training cycling has gone so fast and I’ve seen results that I always felt were a bit out of my reach. This includes getting a sub 30 5k and places twice in 5k races. I’ve run my fastest mile at 8:31.85 and was almost a minute shy of a sub hour 10k (at 1:00:51). These are all goals I’ve been in my running journal this year and crossing them off one by one makes me realize how much I am capable of and I can only wish that I continue to reach for greatness in my running career since it is only a fingertip’s reach away.

I chose to run at Sandy Hook beach in New Jersey for this last long run—mostly from the advice of my coach Jen to run a flat course since race day is flat. And since my half marathon is at Sandy Hook, it served as a trial run for the big run.

I will say I had to face elements like the wind smacking me in the face. It seemed to pull my body back as if it didn’t want me to take one more step. It took a lot out of me to get through these sections.

The funny thing about a long run is how the runner goes from such highs and lows in the same workout. The beginning I took off with my two (faster) running friends and was able to keep us the pace and chat with them and it felt effortless. By miles 3-6 my tune had changed and I began to question my sanity and why it is we runners do this to ourselves. Why am I running ah half? Why am I forcing my body to push the pace and exhaust itself?

But I held on.

After fueling up, I pulled back and let my friends speed up. I wanted a good time, but I knew I was on the road to burn out if I pushed too much. My last half was at 2:28:04. I started my training with the goal of 2:27 or better. My dream goal would be a sub 2 hour, but I know that I am not quite there yet. What I think I can shoot for is a 2:15.

I was alone and locked in my focus. I picked up the pace when I felt good. And when I did, I felt so good. I thought positive thoughts and pumped my arms and lead my stride with my hips. I was in no pain (former ankle injury and recent hip soreness) and felt like I was flying. I was on target pace.

I was alone and began to slow to an almost stop. There were a few times at the end where I had to actually stop. A quick run to the bathroom and some gulping of water. And then the forcing my body to keep going. I literally said outlaid at mile 10, “I got this.” Usually, mile 10 is a great mile for me. This is because I know how far I’ve come and what is another 5k? But this time I got slower and more tired. But I pushed through and although didn’t finish fast, I finished in 2:08:28. With just one more mile to go and some extra pushing throughout those last miles, I think reaching my 2:15 is possible.

I have to be honest with myself and know how competitive I am. I know I will be disappointed if I don’t get my 2:15, but I will take anything close to it. I know anything faster than my last half marathon is a huge accomplishment. Finishing, in general, is a huge accomplishment.

It’s bittersweet to end my half training, but ready for race day!


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Two PRs In One Week: Race Recaps And Strategies For Placing At A 5k

Aside from placing in a race, getting a PR is the ideal scenario for any runner who has a competitive bone in them. I managed to do both: place in a race for the first time ever, and set my new personal record. Then just a few days later I set yet another PR.

As runners, we put our all into the sport. Even it is means just doing it for fun like I do. I am no professional or elite runner. I am not the fastest or have crossed the finish line in the top three spots. But I do love to compete against myself, push my body and mind to the limit and see where that limit is, and progress and get better at doing what I love.

Why Strive For The PR

It is such a feeling of accomplishment when we shock ourselves each time we set a new personal best. A PR or personal record—or also called a PB personal best—is the running term used when the athlete finishes a specific distance in the fastest time they ever completed it in.

As everyday runners, we should still strive to get that PR because we should always aim to be better, stronger, fitter and faster versions of ourselves. We are capable of so much, often of more than we think we can. Set a goal, crush it and then crush the next one.

For me, this happened in the span of a week.

Becoming And Age Group Winner

I am straight up lying if I said placing in a race hasn’t always been a goal. But it’s a goal that was shelved in the back of my brain, my mind focusing on performing the best I could be at each given race. Honestly, I just thought it wouldn’t be a realistic possibility in the past because of my average pace during a 5k. But—specifically over the past year—I have been working really hard and becoming a better and more efficient runner.

Under the guidance of my coach Jen, she has me running tempo runs to help me stay on track to beat my last half marathon PR. But there are other ways to get faster as a runner in general, including running hills to strengthen the legs and build endurance, and doing long runs.

And since I am in the midst of half training, those long runs and speed work during my shorter ones seem to be paying off nicely.

At the Labor Day Eatontown 5k here in New Jersey, I set the goal to finally officially running a sub 30 5k. Running with a friend who is a rockstar runner when it comes to her time (even if she says she still doesn’t love to run) pushed me to finish a weekday run around 28 minutes and some seconds. At a race, my best time this year has been 30:02—just three seconds away from one of my major goals.


So last Monday I was determined finally crossed this goal off my list. It was hot and humid. I looked at my Garmin and saw my pace was in the 8’s. But where I would normally feel nervous that I came out too strong and would burn out, I felt strong. I told myself to push it, take it a mile at a time. By a mile and a half, I was thirsty. I needed water bad. But I zipped past the aid station because I didn’t want to stop. I could not be slowed down.

I looped back, this time opting for a sip of water, splashing the rest over my head. I immediately felt my body cool. I knew there was only a bit more to go. This time I wanted to slow down. I did. I allowed myself to shuffle and catch my breath. In. Out. In. Out. “Okay, now pick up the pace,” I told myself.


I looked at my watch to see I was less than a mile away. It was the home stretch, time to give it all the gas I had left. Full steam ahead—without feeling burnt out—I crossed the finish line at 28:39. That gave me a 9:14 average pace. I had never been so proud to see this pace.

But my victory got so much better because I soon learned I placed 2nd for my age group. For the first time ever I would finally be awarded for my hard work. What once felt like a far-reaching goal was now in my hands. I accepted my trophy beaming with pride.


Crushing Goals

Now that I had a taste of victory, I was hungry for more. But I just didn’t think I would get an encore so soon. On Saturday, I ran at a local 5k that was just a town away from where I live. I had no intentions of setting a major goal but just wanted to run my best. If I could do a repeat time from Monday I would be happy.

The morning was grey and dreary. There was a light rainfall that felt good. It felt like fall. This is my ideal running weather, so I was ready to run. It was the Spotswood 5k, a local race held at the high school with all its proceeds going back to the Spotswood High School athletic programs.

A humble just over 100 participants joined in, which included the cross country track team. So for the jump, I had no plans on out running these kids. (But awards were given to them separately from the non-high schoolers to even the playing field.)

spotswood 5k
Photo: Paul Wasserman

Compared to Monday’s race, I felt stronger and faster. I looked at my watch less and just enjoyed the run. It’s at times like these I perform better without even knowing it. I do work well under pressure, but sometimes no stress is the way to be.

So here I was finding myself at target pace, seeing lots of 8’s when I did peek down on my watch. I wasn’t struggling at any point and didn’t want to slow down. It wasn’t until the finish line was in sight and I saw 27 minutes on the clock that I realized I just PR’ed. I finished in 27:37.4, a whole minute faster than just five days before.

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Flying to the finish with both feet off the ground! Photo: Paul Wasserman

I was even more delighted to learn that I placed third for my age group, so I was two for two this week.

Strategies To A 5k PR And Placing

I do admit that both of these races were on the smaller scale, meaning a larger shot at actually placing depending on how many other female runners were in my age group. Of course, I use these smaller 5ks as age placing goals. It did take me this long of running 5ks (I’ve done A LOT this year) to reach this goal. I still had to put in the hard work. It wasn’t given to me, and just because it is a small race doesn’t guarantee anything. I’ve walked away from many small scale races where I ran my heart out and fell short and empty-handed. I read a quote on a blog that was along the lines that its these bad runs that make the good ones even better. This is so true.

Another good strategy is to get that PR is to try to start towards the front of the pack at the starting line, but not all the way in front. This way the entire race you are chasing the fastest runners like I was with the cross country kids. Even though I never even saw them on the course since they were so fast, I knew they were just around the next bend. And don’t get discouraged when others pass you. I always tell myself that there are runners who will pass me. Sometimes even with a stroller, which happened on Saturday. But sometimes I will pass others. And even with a stroller, which I have done at other 5ks before. Don’t let this knock you off your game. Stay focused.

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I firmly believe the best way to reach a 5k PR is to train for a 5k. Often we don’t because we are seasoned runners and know that 3.1 is nothing. Been there done that. But getting a PR means getting faster. The only way to do that is my proper training. This consists of at least one fartlek run per week, which consists of speed sessions throughout the run followed by recovery. Sprint to that stop sign. Then cut the pace back to the next block. Then sprint to that mailbox and recovery. Do this the entirety of the run. Also, run hills. Hills suck but learn to embrace the suck. They will make you stronger and faster.

And finally, just believe in yourself. I set that PR goal on Monday’s race day. The night before I envisioned myself crossing that line. I put it out there in the universe and with determination, I reached my goal. Reach for the stars, runners.

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Red Bank Classic 5K Review

Red Bank is a trendy town. With its quaint yet urban feel, it has been known to be a hot spot for the past few years because of its restaurant and bar scene. Day trips are perfect for strolls down Broad Street checking out the boutiques or walking down to Red Bank Reach to watch the boats sail by. Red Bank is also great for racing, home to now one of my favorite events in New Jersey, the Red Bank Classic 5k.

Held on Saturday, June 16, the Red Bank Classic 5s is more than just a 3.1-mile race—it’s an entire morning promoting fitness and well-being while highlighting and supporting the community.

The Course

Located at Marine Park, the event kicked off bright and early at 7:15 a.m. with race day registration and pre-registration packet pick up on the top of the hill. Already setting up was the local vendors and sponsors. Most importantly, for some, was the complimentary Starbucks coffee. There were bathrooms and well as port-a-potties, with close to no wait to go before it was time to go.

After pinning on my bib, it was a short walk over to Broad Street’s starting line. This was a stroller-friendly event, so of course, my little guy came along. The street was closed, so there was more than enough room for the 877 runners to line up and get started without being too cramped. The course itself took runners-up Broad Street and around to neighboring streets, giving racers a visual taste of the community.


It was a hot 80-something degree out so when it was time to conquer that big hill felt like the sun was pushing all its heat down on the runners to slow us down and make us sweat. It was a challenging course because of its hills, but nothing crazy steep and totally manageable. We all pushed through (me quite literally).

Despite it being a hilly course, all the runners embraced it and knew because of the area that this was most likely to be expected.

The entire race was on the roads, which was completely blocked off. This made it safe for runners with lots of room to breathe. We ran past tree-lined streets and I remember thinking how beautiful New Jersey is. The 3.1 miles flew by even in the heat. We circled back to be a block away from Broad Street’s starting line, turning left and left again to the finish.

Spectators stood behind barricades cheering runners for that last stretch. “Great job. Looking strong,” boomed a friendly and encouraging voice with a baritone of a man as I floored it in the home stretch. I saved enough gas for the end, even though I felt myself start to slow and struggle after that last incline. I did kick it up a gear once the finish was in sight. I couldn’t see the clock until actually crossing, but that was okay. I knew it wouldn’t be a PR, but I worked hard during this race to get it done and gave it all I had.

I finished in 30:52.2, placing 25 in my age group and 442 overall.

To my delight, all runners were awarded medals to proudly wear on their necks for the rest of the afternoon. As someone who loves race bling and wasn’t expecting this, I was thrilled. It may be a silly thing, but each time I look at it hanging with my collection I can remember the race knowing no hill or weather can stop me.

The wonderful volunteer who handed me mine also gave my toddler a medal. “You get one, too,” she said. My heart melted, and I thought that was very sweet of her. The gesture just goes to show how inviting the entire atmosphere of the day was.

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Kids Race

After a drink—and a splash of water on my face—we had some time to kill before the kids run at 10 a.m. my son participated in. It always makes the event more special when I can include him as much as possible. We walked back to Marine Park for samples of smoothies from a local vendor. We chose the mango flavor that my little guy loved. Booths included Jersey Shore gym that opened around the block. They had runners spin a wheel for prizes like trucker hats. Runners got complimentary foot massages, there were yoga classes on the grass, and a paddle board class from Flow and Paddle Yoga.

It was now the kids’ turn, starting them off with a pre-run warm-up. The organizer did a great job showing them how to touch their toes, swing side-to-side and jump up and down. There was a decent sized amount of mini participants, which were broken up into three age groups. My little guy was in the under 5 age group, which were the last to go. It was him and another little boy just under the 2-year-old mark, making them the youngest, but all the kids did great.

Holding my hand and a toy car he didn’t let go of the entire day in the other, my son took


off following the others, running with me for most of the way. The cheering unfazed him as he ran after the bigger kids, even passing one or two. By the time we got to the end, I let go of him so he could finish all by himself. He did so tear free and seemed to really enjoy himself. He is truly getting a hang of racing. And while I would never push him to do something he didn’t want to do, my only goal is that this gets him excited at an early age to be active, run free and playfully as a kid should. And who knows, maybe the sport will stick with him.

All the kiddies were also given a medal, the same as the 5k. This was a nice touch compared to ribbons given at other events (not to throw shade, we appreciate ribbons! This just shows how they spared no cost.)

Post-Race Events

With the running wrapped up, it was time for a snack after working up our appetites. Food was delicious including croissants and mini ham, egg and cheese wraps. There was also a post-race party at the Red Rock Tap + Frill with a special brunch menu. Kids could decorate cupcakes with Sugarush. People played out on the grass soaking in the sun as kids painted artwork and played corn-hole games, and played on the jungle gym located at the bottom of the hill.

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Last stop was the Fun Bus where kids climbed through and slide down and off the back racing the boats passing on the water in front of them.

Worth Running, Worth Coming Back

This was such a well put together event that allowed runners and families to enjoy a full day in Red Bank. Returning for the first time after a few years hiatus, the Red Bank Classic 5k does help bring people—thus customers—to the town. Or at least spread buzz on how nice it is.

I spoke to the owner of the deli on Broad St. that emphasized that it is a great event for the community. Some might assume its good doe business, and while it might bring more people to the area, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are taking out their wallets. At least the hope is that they will return.

“People are here for the race,” the owner said.

For this Jersey girl, I will be frequently visiting Red Bank throughout the summer, and look forward to the Red Bank Classic in 2019.

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Sparta Rev It Up 10k Race Recap

This weekend was all about running, having not one, but two races planned. First up was the Rev up Up! 5k/10k located in Sparta, New Jersey. I adjusted my half marathon training plan accordingly so that I wouldn’t be missing my mileage by swapping out this week and the week before, which recommended running a 10k.

So bright and early on Saturday, my sister, son and myself packed up the car and heading up north to get our run on. My sister ran the 5k, not only am I so proud of her, but I am also so grateful she came along for the ride. I got to run alongside her for just about the entire first mile before I took off and continued on the 10k course. It was her first race in a long time, and she killed it considering how hot it was and especially how hilly it was.


Let me say that I love the heat, sun and summer like temperature, but just not when I’m running. So to say the 80 degree heat was a bit challenging is to say the least. Mostly because of the steep hills we climbed. Mind you I did this all while pushing my son in the jogging stroller, the only person on the 10k course who did so. I must admit there were times climbing uphill where I thought I was crazy and needed to really dig deep and push. But there were so many runners (mostly women) along the way who cheered me on, letting me know how strong I am for doing this race with a stroller. I felt like a badass and used that to fuel myself forward.

I kept up a great pace that I am pleased with throughout the race, minus the hills which were a set up time wise, but still happy with how I handled them as well. Twice I had to pull back, slow down and walk, but regrouped and made sure I made up for that time.

It was a gorgeous day, the second day in a row with hot temperatures. I am happy I had my new Goodr sunglasses on—which I highly recommend. I am also happy I had a water bottle in the stroller since I did have to reach for it in between the water stations. The course was scenic, on the road in the mountainside, giving me a feeling like I was in the country. I am happy I had music with me since I originally planned not to—something I would’ve really regret. I needed something to take the distraction away.

My son sis a great job too, taking in the sights for most of the race before knocking out to sleep at the last mile.

I had not officially run a 10k race before. It has been about 3 years from my last 10k that was a virtual race I did on the treadmill with a time of 1:17. I have since then run this distance, but as a training run. My goal was to get as close to an hour as possible. I finished at 1:10:14, which I am super proud of considering how challenging this race was and the fact I did so while pushing a stroller!

I am half crazy for driving over an hour to a race, but was happy I got to experience with my family and have a healthy memory of our fitness ventures.


My son couldn’t wait to run around once he was up and out of the stroller. Just like mommy, we had a runner on our hands. Have to start them young!

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Official Time: 1:10:14

Distance: 6.2 miles

Avg. Pace: 11:19

Relive ‘Rev it Up Sparta’


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Shamrock ’N’ Run 5k Race Recap And Review

Despite the cold pre-spring chilly weather, there was a sea of green that filled the streets in Rutherford, New Jersey for the 7th annual Michael Cassidy Shamrock ’N’ Run 5k on St. Patrick’s Day. And I was among the 387 participants who came out to support a good cause, challenge ourselves as runners, and start the holiday festivities off in a healthy way—before drinking that green beer.

I was also not alone. Joining me was my 16-month-old son in the stroller, as we proudly joined the other moms and dads who pushed their little ones along the course as well.

This 5k was the first “real” race I participated in few ways. While I did do a fun run last spring, this was my official first timed race post-baby. It was also my first physical race to do with my son in the stroller. We have done two virtual races together, not to mention the countless times I’ve been out running with him throughout my typical week.

With that said, it felt really good to be back in the race atmosphere and be around other runners. It felt really special to be doing it with my son. Throughout my current half marathon training, I’ve had time for reflection during my runs and have been thinking about how I want my son to be able to be proud of me and one day know that he too can do anything he puts his mind to and works hard for. That’s why having him along for these small victories is very meaningful.

The weather was pretty cold and windy, but once I began running the weather wasn’t an issue and actually turned out to be great conditions for running fast in. It was the course that was the challenge, taking runners throughout the local neighborhood. This included lots and lots of steep hills. There were times I had to stop running and actually walk to the peak of these hills. I found ascending and pushing a stroller difficult, but welcomed the challenge and put my all into climbing them.

There were people of all ages running this race. An elderly man huff and puffed past me at one particular hill. Some ran together in pairs, some with their families. A father holding the hand of his small daughter running made me smile as this time I passed by, proud at the determination of the girl. There was lots of strollers, which was motivating for me to know I wasn’t the only one and that I could push on, quite literally.

Looking at the results from the previous year, I wasn’t expecting on placing in this race, but had a goal of finishing as close to 30 minutes as I could. I ran fast and hard, and have it my all. I finished in 35’06”, with a pace of 11’18” and was 256 of 387 overall. I was 129 of 222 for females overall, and 21 of 29 for my age group.

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This might not be the fastest for many, but I could not be more proud of this accomplishment.

I know now where I currently am at, where I need to go to reach my goals. This serves as a great way to get back into the race circuit, and was also suggested for that week’s half marathon training. It was a great morale boost. It also officially kicked off my race season, with lots of other 5k and 10ks planned leading up to and after my half marathon that is almost a month away.

The race was nicely organized, complete with bagpipes playing before and a medal ceremony after to award the top runners. A huge congrats to them on their impressively fast times considering the amount of hills. And all proceeds of this race went to the National Brain Tumor Society, and it feels just as good to be helping a good cause as it is to cross that finish line.

Of course me and my running buddy celebrated after at a St. Patrick’s Day party! Here’s to the next big race.

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Here’s What It’s Like To Run A Night Nation Run 5K

Just in time for beach season, I have been on a running streak as of late. While the now warm and sunny weather has me feeling good, being consistent with my runs and fueling my body with healthy foods has me feeling even better.

I noticed that for the past three weeks I’ve really been sticking to workouts mostly because I knew I had a 5K race coming up. And let me just say that setting a goal like signing up for a race is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable and making sure you keep up with you regimen because you have to be prepared.

Last Saturday I ran the Night Nation Run 5K, a fun run for those who love to dance.

For those who have never run a Night Nation Run or similar EDM-themed night 5ks before, here is what you can expect.


About The Night Nation Run

The Night Nation Run is a music-themed 5k that featured DJs spinning Electronic Dance Music,with lights, lasers, and lots of glow sticks. Participants can other run, walk, or dance through the course that includes music along the way, with a dance party located at the main stage afterwards that usually features celebrity performers.

While there are a few similar 5ks like this one to there like the Electric Run, Night Nation Run is the “world’s first Running Music Festival,” with Stand Up To Cancer being the official charity.IMG_2574

It’s All About The Party

The first and foremost thing you need to know is this is not a 5k to do in hopes to beat your PR. In fact, there is no time chips or clocks, so unless you are using your own running app you won’t know what your finishing time is.

Chances are you will be surrounded by those who are more interested in the dance after party than running a race. This also means that you should be prepared to see lots of young teenagers walking along the course who just came to party.

In fact the motto is “I run for the after party.”


And that’s totally fine, and who doesn’t love an awesome dance party—just know the emphasis on this type of fun run is the “fun” not the “run.”

The Course

With that being said, the run itself is enjoyable in itself because of the music pumping, high energy from both the music and the crowds of people, and how the course is set up.

Along the way there are boots set up with DJs playing live, where runners can take a break from running and instead dance it out. This is why time is not of the essence here. You will want to stop and enjoy yourself along the way.

While each course differs depending on where you are running yours, the one I ran was located at the Aviator Sports & Event Center in Brooklyn, NY. I have done many 5k here before, so now the course pretty well. However, they set it up where runners had to lap the same trial twice in order to have reached the 5K distance by the time they cross the finish line.

Keep in mind that this is a night run, so it can be hard to see despite many people wearing glow sticks and neon colors and lighting set up along the way. There were times when the only light was from said glow sticks, so I made sure to be alert as to where I was going since my sister suffered from a serious ankle injury after tripping at this same venue—at that was during the day.IMG_2567

What is also fun and different about this 5k is that they had a “Selfie Station” set up at about the mile and a half mark, so that runners could pause and pose for social media. This station was essentially a tent with some really good black lighting, but who doesn’t want a good race photo?

Don’t Do It Solo

I honestly had a blast doing this run, but only as much fun as someone can have while trying not to feel awkward for doing it alone. These types of runs are best done with a group of people, or at least another running buddy.

Originally I was going with a group of people in New Jersey, but had to postpone it and this was the best option for me to still complete it. However, no one could join be down the course.

I wasn’t the only person flying solo, and I had no shame in my single game. I also met people along the way running alongside me for singing and dancing and lots of laughs.


And since I was alone with my sister and son waiting nearby for moral support, I didn’t stay for the dance party afterwards, so can’t report much on that front besides the fact that other similar main stage events I went to were the best party of the whole night. It serves as a bonus opportunity to get extra sweaty, but continue to have a good time.


Who A Night Nation Run Is For

Because this kind of event that is more about the fun and many people don’t take the running part seriously, it’s the perfect 5k to register for if you are only starting your fitness journey, or not big into running but want a fun way to get moving. It’s also a good practice 5k for those looking to get their feet wet in the racing world.

It’s also the kind of run for runners looking to switch up their typical miles for the week, good to use as a training run when going for a half marathon, or for those who just love to run.

It’s ideal for those who are into fitness, as well as EDM and dancing who is looking for a group activity for a warm summer night.

What You Get

As part of the registration, runners get a Night Nation shirt (black with neon letters), a race bib, glow necklace, admission to the after party, with free giveaways passed out at the starting line and the after party.

There might not be any race bling, but there is the kind of dance party you won’t regret taking part in.

Night Nation Run is next being held in Philadelphia, PA tonight, Washington, DC on June 17, Hartford, CT on June 24 and more during the rest of the summer.

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Fun New Jersey 5K Races: Sign Up For Night Nation Run

Fun runs are a great way to stay motivated to keep up with fitness goals. And like the name suggests, are a really fun way to celebrate living a healthy lifestyle.

What is a fun run? They are 5ks that are not focused of the racing aspect of running, but rather on enjoying the run thanks to its creative course that may or may not include obstacles.

They include the popular Color Run, Electric Run, Foam 5k, and Zombie 5ks.

Expect to get a T-shirt, race medal and other cool freebies as part of many of the race packets for these fun runs.

Those looking for a fun 5k to run or walk to should check out the Night Nation Run, which is coming to New Jersey on May 13.

This is a great type of race to do with friends and family since after the 5k there is a dance party with EDM music spun by DJs.

While I haven’t done this exact race, I did the Electric Run which is similar, so I can say that these kind of runs are F.U.N. You will forget you are running an easy 3.1 miles because everyone is so pumped while listening to the live DJs along the course as they take in all the light displays along the way.

It’s all about getting to the end to start dancing away by the main stage location. This makes it more like a fit music festival than a race.

I’m happy that this is the first 5k race I registered for (so far) this year!

Those looking to join me and register for this fun run in NJ can do so by clicking this link here!!!

Hurry and do so before 12 a.m. tonight to get the early bird race entry price of $29.99 (plus processing fee). The Night Nation Run has dates coming this spring all around the U.S.


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Are You Ready To Race? Just Sign Up And Set That Goal

If you ever contemplate whether or not you should go for a run, just do it. You won’t regret it even if it winds up being a slow and steady jog.

The same applies to when contemplating whether or not you should make that jump and go ahead and sign up for your first race.

Don’t worry about if you a ready; just sign up!  Of course pick a race date that gives you enough time to properly train.

It might be a leap of faith you take since you may doubt if you will be able to do itl, but put in the hard work and see this goal through and you will not disappoint yourself.

I am no stranger to races, having a few 5ks, half marathons and even a Spartan Race under my belt. But after taking a few weeks off to have a baby, returning back to running has me feeling like I am starting over from scratch.

And that’s okay.

Whether you fall off the wagon and take a long break, have to take a long break because of an injury, illness or happy live event like bringing a new life into the world, running will always welcome you back with open arms—your legs might just be a little bit more sore than when you were at your best.

For me, one of the best ways to hold myself accountable in my fitness and running goals is to sign up for races. It’s that end goal that I strive for, something work towards and look forward to. It’s experiencing and learning about myself physically and mentally through the journey along the way, and the satisfaction of succeeding and following through on a promise I made to myself on race day.

But at 9 weeks postpartum I find myself debating if I should register for my first half of 2017, a race that would take place in April. My running senses are tingling tonight, and I want nothing more than to get up and out and start training. But the other part of me is worried I won’t be able to juggle being a mom, going bak to work full time, and getting in scheduled runs.

Superwoman much?

Well, that’s exactly what I’ll be.

Yes, I might get tired and might doubt myself throughout the training. But it’s rising above those feelings that will make it so worth it. You might not feel ready now, but in 12 weeks time (for a half, for example) you will be.

And no matter how busy your life is, scheduling your runs can be done. Just think about it, the longest run during the week will only be say 5 miles. And then one day of weekend will be set aside for long runs. This means, for me, hopping on the treadmill after work while the baby naps or plays nearby. Or having the hubby keep the baby entertained while heading to the gym for cross training.

And by the time spring rolls around, baby will come along in the stroller.

My advice would be to go for it, sign up for that race and set that goal. It will be so worth it.

Then again, you might want to think twice if you a frequent flyer— these runners can tell you that racing becomes addicting!


Photo: daveynin | Flickr

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Leprechaun 5k Race Recap

I was so excited for the Leprechaun 5k race in Freehold, New Jersey, but I feel like it was doomed from the start. At first, I didn’t have a ride and was worried I would have to cancel. I was able to secure a ride, but then woke up at 5 a.m. not feeling too well. After an oatmeal breakfast, I was feeling better and headed off to the run.

When I got there, I was freezing and confused about where the start line was. The 10k runners started first, but the 5k start line was a short walk away from their start line, so it was a scramble back and forth to figure it out. I didn’t have anyone there with me, so threw on my race shirt ad put on my bib, not realizing that my time clip for my shoelace was on the back. I was in the front of the pack before the two mintue warning until they announced time chips must be worn. So I became frazzled and drop it while putting it on as I moved to the back of the line. When I looked up, the race had begun and I was pretty much the last runner.

So I gave it my all to make up for lost time, running sub 10 minute miles according to my Garmin. I stay within the 9:30-10:15 min/mi pace, but it was cold and there were hills which made my lungs a bit sensitive. Plus, booking it in the beginning made it hard for me to find my groove and steady my breathing.

But I caught up quickly, running close enough to see the runners leading the pack. I really ran my heart out, and actually the 3.1 miles went by so fast. I was so happy to have ran faster than ever it seems all while feeling like it was almost effortless.

If it wasn’t for the minor hiccups, it would’ve been an overall amazing run. I was listening to music during the run and headphones were asked to come off as you finish, but in the heat of the moment, I forgot and had one of the race organizers yelling at me. I was just focused on finishing strong and that’s all that mattered to me. When I was crossing the finish line, the time was 32 minutes, which is 2 minutes slower than my last race, but still impressive after starting late and climbing a few hills.

I wish I got to stick around for the award ceremony because those who placed received adorable four leaf clovers and leprechaun-like garden gnome statues that were engraved.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 12.09.47 PMI am proud that I was able to get over the hurdles this race threw at me, finishing strong with another 5k in the books! Fingers crossed I was able to place in my age division and will give an update with my official time soon!

Anyone else do a St. Patrick’s Day race? Ever get flustered before a race or had something go wrong? How did you overcome it?

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Virtual Race 10K Snow Day Run

I am so over this winter weather and all the snow. But I must say that it looks gorgeous outside my backyard, blankets of fluffy whiteness tucking tightly onto tree branches. I am so tempted to go outside and run in the snow, but decided to stay nice and warm inside. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t get a good run in.

I recently signed up for TNT Virtual Races Run Like a Girl 5k, 10k, and 13.1 race. If you aren’t familiar with virtual races, you can read all about them here. I love signing up for races because they keep me motivated, especially during half marathon training when sometimes I get tired and find excuses to not get a schedule run in.
FullSizeRender-1I also love virtual races because I get to compete and only against myself, which makes me feel strong and allows me to push myself hard. I always feel good after the run because I gave it my all and having some bling as a reminder of the accomplishment never hurts.

And this race bling is awesome.

I love the message behind the whole run like a girl trend right now. It first sparked up during this year’s Super Bowl by an ad from Always. The commercial features people showing the camera what it means to do something “like a girl.” Males and even some females run foolishly when asked to show what it looks like to run like a girl. They are asked to fight and throw like a girl as well.

Young girls are then asked to show the same things, and they use movements to prove that girls are just as strong as their counterparts.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday, Always released another #LikeAGirl video called “Stronger Together” that aims to take the negative meaning behind the phrase like a girl.

I totally support the message behind these ads. I love being a girly girl, doing my hair and makeup and am obsessed with fashion. But I am also strong. I can lift weights. I can run. I can sometimes run fast. I have completed half marathons and a tough Spartan Race. I am proud to run like a girl because to me that means strength and endurance and giving something all I got with so much heart and passion.

I am proud to be a girl.

So once I saw this race on TNT’s Facebook page, I knew I had to sign up. It was only $17.50 and you can chose your distance and they day and time you wish to run. The race is still open so those who want to dedicate a run to women worldwide (medals ship in 2 weeks.) Proceeds front the race goes to the children of St. Jude, so you get to actually be running for a great cause.

I was originally going to run just a 5k, decided last night that I want to do the 10k. I wanted to push myself hard and allow myself to think about my movements and strides and how empowering running makes me feel. So I spent this snow day on my treadmill and I couldn’t be happier.

I had never done a virtual race on a treadmill and I am slower on it than outside, but actually really enjoyed myself. I finished in 1:17 minutes, which is decent and something I am proud of considering all 6.2 miles was on the tread. I would like to run a 10 in 1 hour so now I have a new goal to work towards.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 5.56.49 PM
I placed the medal right in front of me as I ran on, so each time I felt tired, I just looked at the woman on it and thought about my goals and how I can do anything I put my mind to. I now can proudly hang my bling up with the others.
blingI spent most of the run at a 5.0 and 5.2 pace, which used to be my pace when I was sprinting it out hard. It’s great to see that now this is an easy speed for me to maintain and when it was time to speed things up I can increase to 5.5 and 5.7 comfortably.

Plus it was a great training run of my half only six more weeks away, which will be the More/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon, a women’s race, so more girl power to look forward to!

afterDid you stay active even though it’s a snow day? What does #likeagirl mean to you?