5 Reasons My Next Race Won’t Be a Marathon

by Jess on November 11, 2014

I’m taking some time off from marathoning. The last time I took time off, I took an eight year hiatus! Don’t get me wrong, I still ran. Some years I ran races and some years I just ran to run. These are my top 5 reasons why my next race won’t be a marathon.

#1. I want longevity in this sport. I’ve been a runner for 25 years and I want to run for at least the next 25 years. Physical and mental burnout will surely be the end of my love affair if I don’t take a break.

#2. I’m satisfied with my marathon experiences. I’m not sure they can be topped and seeking something even better almost seems greedy. Does that make any sense at all?

I'm looking forward to more fun runs and less stress about running 20-milers!

I’m looking forward to more fun runs and less stress about running 20-milers!

#3. I want to set purposeful PRs in other distances. I haven’t raced any distance other than the marathon distance since I went on a quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I’ve set a few accidental PRs, but zero of them have been on purpose.

#4. I want to race more often. You can’t race marathons on a regular basis, but you can race 4 mile New York Road Runner Races nearly every time there’s one on the calendar.

#5. Freedom. I need to run when I want to, not run when I don’t want to. Run fast, run slow, run without worry or concern. I need to run just because I want to go for a run, not because I’m following a training plan.

I want to run a tenth marathon and I know which marathon I want to run as a celebratory number ten but, I’m going to wait awhile. How long? I don’t know.


Race Pace Training Diaries: A PR is a PR

by Jess on November 9, 2014

Training Diaries


The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here.

Hi guys! Wanted to update you on my NCYM experience. Race week was awesome! Between the expo, taking my dad for a Central Park stroll and seeing all the Dash to the Finish Line runners kicking off the weekend- I loved every minute of it.


Sunday arrived before I knew it and I planned to head to Fort Wadsworth with fellow Race Pace Runner, Angela. It was great having her with me for the journey. We calmed each other’s nerves and runchatted the entire way.

New York City Marathon Ferry

When it was time to load onto the Verrazano I felt nervous but also excited. I knew this course like the back of my hand and was anxious to see all my friends & family along the way. The winds on the top of the bridge were rough, but Angela & I pushed through and only managed to get whacked in the face by several pieces of throwaway gear that was windblown. Awesome haha.

The first 10 miles actually went great and I was perfectly on pace for my race plan. Then things got interesting. Around mile 10.5 I got a severe cramp on my left side that almost made me buckle over. From 10.5 to mile 15 I tried to run it off but it kept coming back. By the time I hit the Queensboro Bridge I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled to the side of the bridge and vomited L. Not my proudest moment. But if it had to happen, that was actually a pretty decent place- I was out of the way of other runners & there weren’t spectators on the bridge either, so it didn’t bother (or gross out) anyone. I told myself to keep smiling. You are running the NYC Marathon. Who cares if you just lost your breakfast on the side of a bridge!

NYCM Finish Line

I re-started my run but felt slightly out of it. Thankfully, those 1st avenue crowds were just a few minutes away and they picked me right back up. At Mile 19 I spotted Jess and she ran alongside of me and gave me a little pep talk which was much needed at that point considering I was literally “running on empty.”

The Bronx & Fifth Avenue were rough, but I knew the end was in sight at that point. Once I hit Central Park I felt back “home.” The place where I had trained basically every day for the past 16 weeks. I spotted my Dad and two close friends one last time as I rounded Columbus Circle and made my descent to the finish line. Happy heart.

New York City Marathon 1st Aveneu

When I crossed the finish I felt a mixed bag of emotions. I had no clue what my time was since my Garmin had died at mile 23. I honestly think I might have still been in shock from the cramping/vomiting episode and hadn’t fully processed it yet. I followed the death march out of Central Park and reunited with my friends & family in Time Warner Center. I was a 3x marathoner.

NYCM 2014

I had an AMAZING group of friends, family & co-workers following me throughout the course on Sunday. Every single person who saw me was shocked to hear that I had not only fought a cramp for 5 miles but that I threw up along the way. They said I looked strong and that my smile couldn’t have been any larger.

This outpouring of support has continued all week. I returned to work this past Tuesday and arrived to the coolest surprise. 26 balloons for 26 miles and a card signed by my entire team.


While this day didn’t go exactly as I planned, I’m celebrating another type of victory right now. When I started training with Jess I was in a bit of a running rut. I felt like I had hit a plateau, and was delivering mediocre results and getting really frustrated with myself. When things didn’t go my way, I couldn’t mentally get passed it. But now, I KEEP ON RUNNING.

What’s next on my running horizon? Ted Corbitt, Fred Lebow and the NYC Half. Who knows, maybe I’ll even throw a spring marathon into the mix. My heart is on fire and I don’t plan on putting it out any time soon.

So thank you NYC. Thank you for showing me once again what an amazing city you are. Thank you for my five borough journey. Thank you for this incredible running community you introduced me to. Thank you for bringing out the best in so many people. And thank you for my 2 minute PR, vomit and all.


This time of year it’s difficult not to catch marathon fever. I haven’t conducted any studies to prove this theory, but I’m pretty sure more people commit to running their first marathon during the fall then when making New Years Resolutions on January 1.

Run Your First Marathon

If you’ve been inspired to conquer 26.2 miles next fall, here’s what you should do for the next 12 months.

Months 1-4 (November – February): Build a strong endurance base and a strong body.

  • Strength train 2-3 times a week
  • Focus on fixing any imbalances or weaknesses you’ve identified
  • Improve your running form
  • Build a solid running base by consistently running 3-5 days a week.

Months 5-8 (March – June): Develop speed + Race a Half Marathon

  • Continue to strength train 2-3x a week
  • Incorporate fartleks & hill repeats
  • Race a Half Marathon in late May or anytime during the month of June

Months 9-12 (July – October): Follow a Marathon Training Plan (Read: How Long Should My Marathon Training Plan Be?)

How Long Should My Marathon Training Plan Be?





The lovely Toni C!

The lovely Toni C!

A nod to Jens Voigt.

A nod to Jens Voigt.

Race Pace Runner Gabby smiling all the way!

Race Pace Runner Gabby smiling all the way!

The happiest face in the crowd! Giavanna

The happiest face in the crowd, Gianna!

Race Pace Training Diaries Blogger, Jess

Race Pace Training Diaries Blogger, Jess

Race Pace Runner Angela

Race Pace Runner Angela

The one and only Pavement Runner aka Brian

The one and only Pavement Runner aka Brian

Random blurry runner eating pizza just past mile 19

Random blurry runner from NYC club team, Warren Street, eating pizza just past mile 19

Men's lead pack

Men’s lead pack

Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher

Women's lead pack

Women’s lead pack


The one and only Pamela of Sparkly Soul

The one and only Pamela of Sparkly Soul

Sam running her first marathon and fundraising with Stop the Clot

Sam running her first marathon and fundraising with Team Stop the Clot



Training Diaries

The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here.

NYC marathon week has finally arrived! If you are anything like me, this is probably a very emotional week for you. Whether you are running or spectating, there’s something magical about this week in NYC…nothing compares to it!

The NYCM finish line being built in Central Park yesterday morning.

The NYCM finish line being built in Central Park yesterday morning.

But race week didn’t arrive without any hiccups along the way. Just when I thought I would be cruising right into the last leg of my training, the unexpected happened…a horrible virus. I was out of work for 3 days and could barely get out of bed. This washed out my last 20 miler, and pretty much all of what would have been my “peak week.” I may or may not have cried myself to sleep just about every night thinking about the sabotage that was happening to the 13 weeks of perfect training I had put in up to that point.


When the virus finally passed and I started to feel my strength coming back, I had a trip planned for months to visit a girlfriend in Colorado. I had visions of beautiful mountain runs with the wind blowing through my hair. WRONG. Can you say altitude fail? I could barely breathe. It literally felt like someone was pinching my lungs shut. It was a struggle to bang out a 4 miler and I chugged the entire time.

By the time I get back to NYC I was busting at the seams to get back into the park. To try and see what my body could handle after so much unplanned forced rest time. The taper crazies were setting in way too early. Well that first run ended up being done on a treadmill due to a downpour and it was rough. I felt like I was working really hard to hit paces that came easy to me prior to the virus. My confidence was starting to rattle. Jess assured me that by the weekend I should be back on track…and as always, she was right.


The next day I hit the west side highway for a 10 miler. All I could think about was kicking this run in it’s a$$. Nothing was going to ruin this marathon for me! And just like that, I clocked the fastest 10 miles I had during my entire training period. Even managed to squeak out mile 5 at a 7:48. WOW. I was back.

That 10 mile west side highway run was followed by another glorious 10 miler this passed weekend- the last 10 miles of the NYCM course. Jess organized this group run through Girls on the Run and everyone had a great time. There were so many runners out running the course- the energy was on fire.

GOTR Solemates New York City Marathon

I’ve learned that you can’t control the unexpected. But you can make the most out of every minute you’re given and hope for the best. I plan to enjoy every part of NYCM week. Walks through the park to see the finish line and flags, morning runs to finish off my training, the expo at the Javitts Center…I’ll be there, smiling ear to ear and feeling grateful to be a part of this special time in the city I love.


It’s New York City Marathon Season! As always, I couldn’t be more excited. It’s definitely my favorite time of year even when I’m not running the race. This year I’ll be out on 1st Avenue cheering. I’ll be sure to let everyone know where exactly I’ll be so I can high-five you on the course or so you can join me in cheering.

If you are running the race, I know how difficult race week can be. Since all the physical work is complete, sitting around and resting up during the taper can bring on quite a bit of anxiety. One way to squash those uncomfortable feelings is to do something daily that helps you prep for race day.  Being organized leaves you with very little to be anxious or nervous about. If you cross your t’s and dot your i’s early on in the week, you won’t have to worry about forgetting something on race eve.

To help, I’ve made a calendar of to-do’s for each day of race week. Just remember to add in anything that you need to do that I haven’t listed here.

Happy Marathon Week!!

Click on the image to download a printable version or to save to your computer.

NYCM Race Week To Dos



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The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here. The last couple weeks of training have been amazing. I started seeing […]

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{Printable} Marathon Packing List

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In 2004 I ran my third marathon, the Chicago Marathon. Having had a grueling experience while foolishly running the New York City Marathon while injured the year before, I was thrilled to be injury free and running a flat race. I ran my first three marathons in a pretty simple fashion. I wore cotton, didn’t have […]

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