Meet My Friends: Karen, The Ultra marathoner

Ultramarathons are technically anything over and above the 26.2 of a marathon. I once ran an unofficial ultramarathon. I ran a marathon and then ran back and ran the last mile again with Red. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I am definitely not signing up for any ultras in the future, but I wouldn’t count them out completely.

Now, meet my friend Karen. She and I met in high school (with Speedy, too!) and now she runs ultramarathons in the mountains and heat of North Carolina. Awesome, right? She’s pretty rad. You should get to know her. Ultramarathoners are cool.



Name: Karen Murphy

Age: 33

Occupation: Lecturer at Duke University, Business Analyst (whatever that means) American Journal Experts


How many years you’ve been running:~20

How you got into running: I got too tall for gymnastics, was rebelling against the wishes of my parents that I go into soccer, and do not have the reflexes necessary to actually hit an object using another object. Also, I had always had good endurance when attempting to play those sports where you hit things with other things or throw things, so distance running seemed like a good fit.

What is your most favorite race you’ve run?

This is a crazy tough question. There are two races I run every year and love with all my heart: the Bolder Boulder (16 of the last 17 years), and the Uwharrie Mountain run (each of the last 9 years), so I guess those are my favorites because I keep coming back.

What is your proudest running moment?

That’s really hard to say – I’m kind of proud of everything and nothing with regard to running, but probably my most lasting proudest moment was the first time I got to run varsity cross-country in high school. I had worked so hard and it took two people being out of town, but I finally made it!

How do you build up to running ultras?

Make friends who run long races… they will take care of the rest 😛 Okay, really it’s just a matter of increasing the length of your long run. I think I started with a half marathon, then built up to a 20-mile trail race, then a marathon. As long as you build up incrementally, you don’t really notice a huge difference ( I promise you can run 5 more miles than a marathon… just walk the hills!) …and contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to run a million miles a week. I’ve run lots of ultras running 3-4 days/week, with 50+% of my mileage coming on the weekend. It’s whatever works for you.

Who/what inspires you to run?

I don’t know that there’s any one person/thing that inspires me. Mostly, I just really enjoy running. It’s nice to be outside, in the forest, with just me and my shoes (and my water bottle and maybe some friends) to see where the day takes me.

What training plan have you followed and had success with?

I have to admit here that I don’t really do a very good job with training plans. When I’m getting ready for a race, I definitely make sure to get the long runs in, but otherwise, I have a pretty established set of weekly runs that I do with various people/groups, and for reasons that are more social than anything else, I pretty well stick with those regardless of what I’m training for.

What is the one thing you’ve done that has made the most difference in your running?

Running with people who are faster than me. Makes a huge difference.

What is your favorite non-running way to sweat?

Yoga – it’s a nice yin to my running yang (you see what I did there?)

What is the toughest hurdle you have to overcome in your running life?

NC summers. I joke and complain a lot, but I am honestly terrible in heat and humidity, and we have both in spades here from about June through Mid-September. It is a real fortitude check every year, but man does it make those first few crisp days in the fall seem amazing!

Do you run in the morning or at night?

Mostly in the morning – I think I would naturally be more of an evening runner, but it just works better in my schedule to run in the morning. …and running in the evening is pretty unbearable here in the summer 😦

What keeps you going when you’re having a crappy run?

Hm. Not sure. I guess mostly having a plan before heading out the door. On days where I suspect I won’t be feeling good for some reason, I’m pretty good about saying I can run as slow as I need to as long as I’m out there, so I’ll just plod along and get through it. Bad runs have also been known to turn into lovely hikes at times – that’s the great part about trail running!

Do you have a pre-race/pre-run ritual?

Nope – I used to always eat oatmeal before a long run or race, but I kind of got tired of oatmeal, so now I go with whatever sounds good and will keep me going.

Why ultras vs. marathons?

I always tell people the food is better and the people are nicer. Both of these things are true (in general, of course). I actually think the real difference is trails vs. roads, but I’ve had world record holders take the time to tell me ‘good job’ after trail ultras. You just don’t see that kind of thing at a road race. Also, I’m not that fast, but I’m pretty stubborn, so ultras are a natural fit 😛

Why should someone start running?

It’s a great way to get outside and see more than you would on a hike. It’s also a great way to meet people. Probably 80% of my friends here were met running.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got about running and who gave it to you?

I don’t know if it’s the best piece, but it’s certainly the most memorable: “If you start in the front…and stay there…you’ll win.” -Morris Vogel *note – I have yet to successfully apply that advice, but maybe some day…

Rapid Fire Questions

-Run alone or with others: there is an important place for both in my world – lots of good thinking gets done on solo runs and lots of good socializing on the group runs!

-Favorite piece of running gear: an older version of this: – the neoprene makes it so your hand doesn’t sweat all over the bottle and get annoyingly slippery.

-Run with or without music: without – always without

-Treadmill, love it or hate it: ohmygosh – hate. I start counting the steps for every .1 mile. I’ve discovered I can tolerate the elliptical, though, if I watch TV while doing it and race through the commercials (as a side note, A&E has really long commercial breaks)

-Race fuel: I have recently discovered the wonders of Vespa – it’s made of Japanese Wasp magic. Other than that, a rotating variety of Gu-like products, salty boiled potatoes at aid stations, Coke, Nuun, cup o’ noodles is the most amazing thing during a cold ultra (though I disapprove of the styrofoam container, so I’m a bit conflicted here), whatever else the nice aid station people have out that looks good

-Gatorade or water: My first choice is Nuun, preferably berry, but I’m pretty flexible.

-Dream PR: All PRs are good PRs – with trail races, you almost have to have a PR for every course because they’re so different.

-Runner’s World or Running Times: Running Times, but really Ultrarunning because they have pictures of people I know every so often and their race write-ups are awesome.

-Favorite speed workout: I have two that I like in that “thank you sir, may I have another” type way. The first is 800m repeats alternating between 5k and marathon pace (no rest between) for 4-6 miles. It doesn’t sound that hard, but it’s surprisingly insidious after a couple miles. The second I discovered last fall thanks to our fearless Bull City Track Club leader: You do 5×100 at say stride pace (run 100 turn around, run back, turn around, etc.) then walk back to the starting line – do that say 8 times. It’s really really hard, but it’s over quickly. and you feel that awesome sense of having pushed yourself right to the edge of total muscle exhaustion for the rest of the day.

-Favorite running gear store: Bull City Running!! ❤ If you’re ever in or near Durham, NC, you need to stop in – everyone there is awesome and they know everything about everything about shoes.

-Favorite place to run: This is another tough one – nostalgia says the Highline Canal trail in S. Denver, but my local running home is Umstead Park in Raleigh.

-NYC Marathon or Boston Marathon: I did drink the kool-aid and ran Boston last year. It was kind of neat – the Wellesley corridor really is as amazing as everyone says, and some guy was offering fig newtons around mile 14, which was awesome. I’ll be honest, though, by about mile 17 all I wanted in the world was to turn. That’s a very long, straight race. New York would also probably be interesting, but my body has made it abundantly clear that it is not interested in any more pavement marathons, so I’m listening for now.

Sooooo…maybe I’m a little bit more swayed toward the ultramarathon route. Not this year, but Karen’s done a good job of making it seem more than possible. Walk, run, enjoy the scenery, eat food along the way–sounds like a picnic to me!

Now go out and run!


Meet My Friends: The Fit Chick in the City

Meet Jess from Fit Chick in the City. Jess and I met via social networking, Twitter I think, and I invited her to some lululemon events and suggested my team use her expertise for the lululemon Run Club. Jess has a MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, which means she’s wicked smaaaht and back up her stuff with science, a rare combination in this industry.

She’s also willing to try pretty much anything with regards to exercise and chronicles her fitness and nutritional experiences on her blog. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for a new way to sweat but you don’t want to walk into something blindly. Chances are, if it’s in the city and worth trying, Jess has tried it or one of her readers has and there’s an awesome write-up.

Jess is currently training for the New York City Marathon this fall. Read about her journey on her blog and take part in her Say It, Do It! posts every Sunday night to stay motivated. And now, heeeeeeeeere’s Jess!

Name: Jess Underhill
Age: 36
Occupation: Blogger/Fitness Professional
How many years you’ve been running: 23

How did you get into running?

I played basketball for several years and during pre-season conditioning I was faster than all the high school girls. My coach kindly suggested I switch sports.

Who/what inspires you to run?

Keeping sane inspires me to run.

What is the one thing that has made the most difference in your running ?

In my adult life I originally always kept my runs nice and easy, even during races. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to embrace working hard and loving the feeling that I’ve given my run everything I’ve got.

What is your favorite non-running way to sweat?


If you could run any race in the future, which one would it be?

I’ve run it before & I’m signed up for it this year, but I still have to say NYCM. (New York City Marathon)

Do you run in the morning or at night?

I run when my schedule allows, but I prefer mornings. Because I don’t have to figure out when or what to eat and nothing else in my schedule gets in my way. However, my favorite reason for a.m. workouts is that Central Park is at it’s quietest early in the morning.

Why should someone (anyone) start running?

To have a life changing experience and to learn more about themselves then they could ever imagine.

Rapid-Fire Questions 

-Run alone or with others: Alone

-Favorite piece of running gear: a good sports bra

-Run with or without music: without

-Treadmill, love it or hate it: hate

-Race fuel: none or if absolutely needed honey stingers

-Gatorade or Water: water

-Dream PR: I use to focus on times and now I’m just focused on doing my best so whatever that means.

-Runner’s World or Running Times: Runner’s World

-Favorite speed workout: Cat Hill Repeats

-Favorite running gear store: Does Lululemon count? (Ummmm, hello! Totally!)

-Favorite place to run: Bridle Path

-NYC Marathon or Boston Marathon: NYC FTW! (FTW = For The Win, for those of you not familiar with the lingo)

Many thanks to Jess for taking the time to guest blog for me while I’m out. You’re the best, Jess! She’s also the reason I got to meet one of my fitness heroes, Dara Torres. More on that later.

Now go out and run!

Meet My Friends: Lesley “Speedy” Higgins

We continue on with Meet My Friends, today featuring an actual professional runner.

I am not a professional runner. I am what you would call a casual runner. Yes, I train and race and all that, but nothing like what Lesley Higgins does. Lesley and I went to high school together where she was the #1 runner on our cross country team and I was #12-15. We both ended up moving to New York City after college (she went to CU Boulder) and now Lesley runs for the New York Athletic Club.

Lesley is a bonafide bad-ass runner. Lesley is a pro. She wins races. She competes and races and works and travels. In 2008, she made a bid for the Olympics in the Steeplechase. I’m terrified jumping over puddles in the street, much less over barriers and INTO giant puddles. No thank you.

Anyway, Lesley has a pretty unique and refreshing take on running that I really like. Run Stronger Every Day community, meet Lesley Higgins.

Name: Lesley Higgins
Age: 31
Occupation: Part-time Associate at NASDAQ OMX Group
Team/Club Affiliation: New York Athletic Club & Brooks

How many years have you been running?

18 years of focused running. Several years before that of running as “punishment” while acting out during softball practice.

How did you first get into running?

I’m going to take liberties with this one and say that I got into running when I started racing assistant coaches and other player’s dads during aforementioned punishment. This evolved into trying to beat my 8th grade gym teacher’s mile PR. I believe her PR was 6:24, which sounded so fast. Then my new goal became breaking 6:00. I finished 8th grade with a PR of 5:55. I did it running in Keds. The same gym teacher then introduced me to real running shoes and we also started going on runs during the hour that I was assigned to her as a teacher’s assistant. That probably wasn’t what the school meant to be giving credit out for, but much more useful than organzing papers.

Who/what inspires you to run?

I’m not sure I can say that I am externally inspired to run, at least not in a positive way. I think at this point it’s such a way of life for me and I love the social aspects, that it’s something I carve large chunks of my day out for. A large part of my internal motivation comes from not wanting to squander the opportunities I have been given, or the last years of my competitive running career. The only external inspiration that sometimes rears its ugly head is a desire to prove people wrong when they say I can’t do something. It’s one thing for me to say that I’m obviously not going to make an Olympic team, but if someone else makes a similar off the cuff remark, my blood boils, and that can help drive me through another workout.

What is the one thing you’ve done that has made the most difference in your running?

I would not be running as well, as much or as seriously as I am today if it was not for my training partners and teammates. However, they all take second place to liquid iron. I didn’t fully grasp the impact of anemia until I ran an 11:20 steeplechase in 2010. This was after running a 9:58 in 2008, followed by two years of solid training. After that, I finally got blood work done and found out that I had really let myself get into a hole. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying on top of blood levels as a runner.  I followed that 11:20 in May with an 11:02 in early June. After that I gave up on my season and I literally just jogged and took iron 2-3 times a day for a month. I then started adding one workout a week back in and was back to running a 4:46 road mile by September at the Fifth Avenue Mile.

If you are anemic you are better off sitting on your couch drinking liquid iron than you are doing any workouts. And, don’t let your doctors take care of deciding your health. Every doctor I have had in New York has told me that I am fine when I have been deficient because the levels that you need to workout on the elliptical for 30 minutes five times a week are not the same as what you need to run at your full potential and absorb workouts to maximize their benefits. Get your hands on the results of your blood work and do your own research. I would also suggest tracking your free iron number to make sure that you don’t overdose. Taking too much iron is as bad as being anemic. If you’re having a hard time getting your numbers up, also take a look at your B12 and folate. I give myself B12 injections when I’m feeling really run down. There are a couple other biological factors that I pay attention to, but none have had the impact that iron has had.

Vitamin D is one that I am trying to work up. Also, especially if you live in NYC and have all that city stress, or have a real job that stresses you out and deprives you of sleep, checking your cortisol and DHEA levels can tell you a lot about your adrenals and if you need to work on managing stress. If you are already stressed out from life, then it’s hard for your body to also adapt to stress from hard running. (I cannot stress how important this is for every person to be on top of their health. Well said, Lesley!)

What is your favorite non-running way to sweat?

I like to take ballet classes at Steps on Broadway when I have the time. It can be hard to fit in 90min classes when I’m working and feel like I need to devote all my spare time to running, but I do it when I can.

What is the biggest (current or past) hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your running life?

I think the biggest hurdle is trying to balance work with running. It’s undeniable that a full time job makes it very difficult to train. I do workout one night a week – Tuesday nights at a track out in Mamaroneck, but my other key workout is always during the day, usually at Columbia or Rutgers. So, if I had to work normal office hours five days a week, it wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable or beneficial. I am lucky that I found a company that wanted to give me both flexibility and a future career.

What keeps you going when you’re having a crappy run?

Anti-inspirational fact of the day: nothing keeps me going when I’m having a crappy run. If I’m having a crappy run, I throw in the towel and call it a day. There is always tomorrow. I personally think the secret to having a long running career is to not force it on the bad days. You only have so much motivational energy to dole out during the week, I don’t like to burn it on crappy days. This also applies to key workouts – for example, last Saturday I was supposed to run 6×400 in 70s and 68s, followed by 3×400 over hurdles in about 78. After the first couple 400s, I knew there were no 68s in my future. My legs were just dead. So, I changed the workout so that my last 6×400 were all over hurdles and shortened the rest.  It felt like less of a battle and I finished the workout feeling positive. Each day is just a small puzzle piece, and if you miss a run or key workout, that puzzle piece isn’t a hole, it becomes a day of rest and rejuvenation.

Do you have a pre-race/pre-run ritual?

Every run is different. My favorite pre-run days have to be weekends, when we usually run later (9 or 10), so I have an hour or so before the run to drink coffee, eat a couple Chia Chargers and maybe stretch a little. Pre-race is pretty much the same, I basically drink coffee and make sure I’m not underfed, whether the race is at night or in the morning. Before workouts and races, I have a set of drills I do, in addition to a 15-20min run, but I don’t care what order I do them in. While I was in Europe this summer, I did “backwards warm-up” with my friend Nicole Bush at every race. She flips the order of her warmup from what most runners do and does drills before her jog. We had a lot of good chats on these warmups & I ran two PRs back-to-back, so I learned that it really doesn’t matter what order you do stuff in, as long as you’re ready to go when the gun goes off. There is a benefit to not being set in my routines, as I don’t panic when something prevents me from following a set of rules.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got about running and who gave it to you?

Dr. Dave Martin gave me all of the best advice that I’ve ever gotten. The top 2 are: get fit and you won’t be fat (as in, worry about training, not starving, and leanness will follow); and the DoDo Rule. The DoDo Rule is basically: “it’s not the work you do, but the recovery from the work you do that matters. If you don’t recover properly from the work you do do, you’ll end up sick, injured or anemic, and then you’re really in deep doodoo.”

Lesley (2nd from left) and her teammates who won the Distance Medley Relay at this year’s Millrose Games.

Rapid-Fire Questions
-Run in the morning or at night: both
-Run alone or with others: others
-Favorite piece of running gear: GPS watch
-Run with or without music: always when I’m alone
-Treadmill: love it or hate it:  HATE
-Race fuel: Chia Chargers
-Gatorade or water (or something else): both, whatever they’re handing out on the course
-Dream PR (time & distance): mile, 4:29
-Runner’s World or Running Times: neither
-Favorite speed workout: 24×200
-Favorite running gear store:
-Favorite place to run: Central Park
-NYC Marathon or Boston Marathon: NYC of course

Meet My Friends: Ali On the Run Rocks

Don’t you just love spring? It’s my favorite time of year. One, it was my birthday this week. Two, it was Justin’s birthday last month. Three, it signals the end of the spring semester of school and a *short * break til summer school starts.

Remember when I told you I’d be having some guests on the blog while I’m recouping?

First up, the very fabulous and popular Ali from Ali On the Run. I found Ali’s blog when she was chosen for Jackrabbit Sports’ Run For the Rabbit campaign last summer. I was so excited to see a fellow IBD-er running for the CCFA and sharing her journey through marathon training while battling Crohn’s disease. Then I randomly crashed Ali’s date with Brian at 16 Handles and totally fan-girled her. Happily, I didn’t scare Ali off and we have become allies in the never-ending search for open bathrooms in Central Park and the best way to style hair with moon face. Seriously, it’s been awesome having a runner friend with IBD who understands what it’s like to fight for your right to run. Ali is also hilarious. Enjoy getting to know her!

IBD runner heaven = plenty of POJs.

Name: Ali

Age (optional): 27  — I’m happily nestled comfortably in the 25–29 age group these days.

Occupation: Runner by 6 AM, Blogger in the 8 AM hour, Deputy Editor in Chief at Dance Spirit magazine by day and professional Cadbury Mini Egg eater 24/7. Only one of these jobs truly pays the bills, though.

Blog (if applicable): Ali On The Run

Ali always has rockin’ leg warmers. Go Team CCFA!

How many years you’ve been running: I went for my first “real” run — a whopping six blocks — in 2008. It didn’t take long before I was hooked, and I toed the line at my first race, a 4-miler in Central Park, in September of that same year.

How you got into running: When I moved to NYC, after years as a dancer throughout high school and college, I found myself poor and living with a runner. Dance classes were too expensive, so I put on some clunky old Nikes, set out for the East River Promenade (Spanish Harlem all the way) and ran for a few blocks. My roommate taught me all about fancy things like “half marathons” and “running shoes.”

What is your most favorite race you’ve run? Everything aligned for me amazingly during last year’s National Half Marathon in Washington, DC. I didn’t go out with any fanfare. I didn’t have a pace plan — I just wanted to break 2 hours — and I didn’t over-think the race. I showed up at the start line on a gorgeous March day, took off on my own, felt incredible, took in the sights and just plowed my way through those 13.1 miles. No one was more surprised than I was when I crossed the finish line in 1:44:48. I was so proud of my time, but looking back I remember that race fondly because I ran happy and stress-free the entire time. I didn’t obsess over my splits, I didn’t stare at my Garmin and I didn’t care that I didn’t have spectators waiting for me at the finish. It was my race, and no one else’s. It was a perfect day.

What is your proudest running moment? You kind of have to say your first marathon here, right? I ran the Hamptons Marathon on September 24, 2011, and I did it for something so much bigger than myself. I trained with JackRabbit Sports through this huge campaign that I applied for and miraculously got selected to participate in. The whole experience was incredible. I got to work with Jonathan Cane, a professional running coach, and he taught me so much. He got me to the start and finish lines healthy, which he kept saying was his goal! Plus, I raised $20,000 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in the process. So when things started to really hurt and really suck at mile 22 of the race, I thought about all the people who donated and believed in me, and I got through those final miles.

Who/what inspires you to run? Just the fact that I can run makes me want to run. It’s truly something I enjoy doing because it makes me feel good. I love the fresh air of Central Park and the wicked runner’s high I ride for hours after a long run or successful speed work session. Over the past few years, my health has really been a little bitch, and there have been days — many days — when I physically couldn’t get out of bed (or, uh, out of the bathroom), let alone slip into my beloved Brooks for a run. So now, every day that I can run inspires me to get out there. Simple.

What training plan have you followed and had success with? Run when it feels good, rest when the body wants it and respect the recovery runs. Run hard a few times a week and run long on Saturday mornings. Clearly I should be a coach. But really it’s about pushing it and not expecting to magically improve. Run faster to get faster.

What is the one thing you’ve done that has made the most difference in your running (add/delete music, cross-train, run with a buddy, etc.)?

What is your favorite non-running way to sweat? Spinning! I get a total high from being in a dark, packed room spinning my guts out next to fellow riders. By the end of a 45-minute class, we’re all on the exact same spots on our stationary bikes, but we’ve been on one heck of a ride. The music, the sweat, the adrenaline — it’s so different from running, but it makes me giddy.

If you could run any race in the future, which one would it be? I had my sights set on the Eugene Marathon this April, but my body wasn’t on board. So I’d love to make my way out to Oregon next year to conquer a marathon that finishes on Hayward Field. I think a track finish is the coolest thing ever.

Do you run in the morning or at night? I’m a morning runner. I always say I do  my best work between 5 and 11 AM. After that I’m pretty much worthless. I can think of no better way than starting my day with a sunrise sweat. It sets the tone for the entire day, and it’s nice knowing that when 5 PM rolls around, your workout is done and your couch is waiting!

What keeps you going when you’re having a crappy run? Uh, having Crohn’s disease brings a whole new meaning to the term “crappy run.” You just have to get through them. It’s a mental battle. I think about how great I’ll feel when it’s over, and I remind myself that you have to get through the bad runs to appreciate the great ones. Every run won’t be perfect — and every run won’t suck!

Do you have a pre-race/pre-run ritual? Bathroom, bathroom, BodyGlide, bathroom. And a six-minute ab workout to help get things moving. Before longer races, I take a shower to warm up my muscles and wake up. And then I go to the bathroom again.

What song, if you heard it, would get you to run faster no matter how tired you are? “Brand New Day” from The Wiz. It was playing on my iPod when I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon and it still brings tears to my eyes when I hear it. I actually refuse to listen to it unless I’m running.

Jazz hands are always appropriate.

Why should someone (anyone) start running? Start running to get healthy. Keep running because it’s fun. Stop running when it stops being fun. Start running because Dry-Fit clothing is more flattering than cotton. Run to clear your head, or run for clarity. Run because seeing the sunrise is cooler when you’re sweating than when you’re commuting. Run because a runner’s high is better for your body and mind than a hangover. Run to get rid of your hangover. Run because a box of Tagalongs tastes better after a bunch of miles. Run because it’s awesome.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got about running and who gave it to you? “If you don’t appreciate the rest days, it’s because you’re not working hard enough on the run days.” My coach’s wife, Nicole, is my ever-present voice of reason. When I started training for my first marathon, I was gung-ho about exercising every single day. She told me that if I didn’t get to a point where I felt I needed a rest or recovery day, it was because I wasn’t pushing hard enough on the other days. Soon I found myself begging for a Friday in bed.

Hot as hell long run, oy. But awesome picture!

-Run alone or with others: Both! Ideally during a long run I’ll knock out a few miles on my own and then join up with friends midway through to cruise through the later miles together. It’s the best of both sweaty worlds! But if I had to pick one, I’d say I’m usually more of a solo runner.

-Favorite piece of running gear: Moving Comfort Juno sports bras. These bad boys saved my life, my boobs and my chafing.

-Run with or without music: With. I love bringing my friends on my runs with me. Britney, Rihanna, David Guetta — we work up our best sweats in tandem.

-Treadmill, love it or hate it: Hate it. Respect it, but man it’s tough.

-Race fuel: Happy thoughts. They digest better than Gu.

-Gatorade or water (or something else): Water.

-Dream PR (time & distance): I’m currently vying to break 4 hours in the marathon.

-Runner’s World or Running Times: Runner’s World. There’s usually at least one article per issue that unexpectedly brings me to tears.

-Favorite speed workout: I psych myself out a bit when it comes to mile repeats, but m an do I feel great afterward. I like a 2-mile warm-up, 4 miles of repeats with quarter-mile breaks in between, and a 2-mile cool-down to wrap it up. And then ice cream.

-Favorite running gear store: Lululemon.

-Favorite place to run: Central Park Reservoir. It’s flat, it’s beautiful and for one glorious week each spring it’s laid out under a never-ending canopy of cherry blossom trees.

-NYC Marathon or Boston Marathon: I’ve never run either, but as a current New Yorker, I’ve got a spot in my heart for NYCM. I had a blast spectating it last year and screaming for my friends (and strangers, and friends-to-be) — and I spent 2011 doing the New York Road Runners 9+1 guaranteed entry for the 2012 race, so on November 4 I’ll become a New York City Marathoner myself. I can’t wait!

Keep running, Ali!

We’ll be ready to cheer you on in the Fall as you take a bite outta the Big Apple, Ali! Thanks for sharing. 

Now go out and run!