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90 Days ’til Marine Corps Marathon


Barnegat Lighthouse, NJ

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus. I haven’t been able to get serious about any one blog. Really serious. To sit down, think it out, share it, and reflect on what i put out in the world. Much like my training. Funny how life events, spill over into training events. When its good, its good, and when its not, its distracting.

Ive luckily been maintaining my 30-35 weekly mileage. 3 runs, all about equal and im hitting the point in my training where i need to drop one long run down to push one up in mileage. My runs have felt so good i haven’t wanted to stop. This is where my discipline for recovery must take over. Recovery trumps all. 


My gift from Christine

As I look over the remainder of my training plan, I realize I must run 298 miles over the next 90 days before I even line up at the starting line of the historic Marine Corps Marathon. Phew. There. I put it out in the universe. Its said. Now lets get it done.


Christin and I. Finish line Philly Marathon.

This will be my second Marathon. Last November, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon with my girlfriend, Christine Candoleon. This year, we are running MCM together.The only problem is she is doing her training overseas. God Bless our soldiers. Her training in desert heat, kinda makes me feel wimpy complaining about New Jersey humidity. “Its not the heat…its the humidity”. We promise to Skype after our long runs and keep updating through Facebook. There are 6 members from Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club running MCM, Maggie, Jen, Michelle, Danielle, Christine, and myself. Each of us has a slightly different training plan, different time goals, different expectations. Go SOL Sisters! Way to represent!

Recently, I was listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast. She was discussing goals and designing your paths to reach them. She made a statement that really changed my thinking. She said, ” You have to love the journey”.

Love. The Journey. wow. Can I? Do I? Did I always? Will I always? What will happen if I suddenly…don’t.

As the president of an all women’s running club, with over 90 members, i get to hear all sorts of complaints. Its too hot, too cold, too early, too late, too muggy, too buggy, to long, too fast, too tired, too hungry, and lately too batty. haha. BUT I know these women love to run. They are in a running club. They love their journeys.

So why do we complain? Is it a badge of honor to say I ran in 99% humidity, without eating, faster than i ever have before, on a hill, forever….? Or is it a statement proving you love the journey or else you would never run in 99% humidity, without eating, faster, climbing, forever…?

I love my journey. I always have. I am a late bloomer with running (running for 2 1/2 years) and as I set each goal I put my whole heart into it. My journey is not just the run. The run is the reward. The journey is the work.


Found on a bathroom wall in Kauai

I feel like this…at this point in my life, (40’s) I am in better shape then my 20’s, my perspectives on life and who i am are all in place. I have nothing left to do but shine. I will not fail at something unless i try. I can not prove that i can accomplish what I don’t start. I can not allow a fear, a doubt, a weakness to break through my shine. So, with that i continue my journey.

I run. I calculate. I journal my food, my fuel, my work outs. I am now my body’s personal scientific researcher. I will find what works and what will not. I love this. I love learning about potassium, lactates, glycemic levels. I love it. My journey.

My training runs will get slower. Giving up speed for endurance. I will get to enjoy the views, the music, my running partners. I will give up alcohol (to not dehydrate), but  I may eat some bad foods, and it’s OK. Some runs will be awful and cut short and some runs will feel great and ill run longer, and it’s OK. I stop training like a race machine, and start training like a long distance contender. I know what it will take mentally to endure over 4 hours of running. I’m ready to put my body, mind, and soul through it’s second marathon. I’m excited, giddy, and elated. I can not wait to be a part of a true test of human strength. My journey.

90 days until Marine Corps Marathon…and i’m already considering my next marathon.

My journey.

Run Jersey Strong,




What I Learned Most from Jillian Michaels. Just THINK.

If you think you know everything about Jillian Michaels. Think again.

On May 3, I gathered up some girlfriends, and set out for an amazing evening in Philly to see Jillian Michaels on stage for her “Maximize Your Life” tour. I have read two of her books, “Unlimited” and “Slim For Life”. I have watched her shows, “Losing it with Jillian” and “The Biggest Loser” religiously. I love her quotes. I love her drive. I love herImage badass awesomeness. And now I love where it comes from.

In the first moments she takes the stage, you are brought to a sensible place. A tough love education on how we, the universe, think all fixes come quickly, in a pill form, by fed ex, for purchase, for whatever our money can buy. She asks us to think. What is the one huge, money making, history breaking exercise that will change our lives? As the audience comes to a silent pause…sitting on her every word, she whispers…”Eat Less” than “Move More”. Wow. And she proudly exclaims, we have paid her and the fitness industry bazillions of dollars for an answer that is free and simple.

I admire Jillian. Her success is incomparable, her advice is easy. She is a straight shooter. If you want something. Go get it. No one will give it to you. She describes the important factors in your life as “key buckets”. Family, home, career, health are key buckets. You have to keep them even. Don’t let one empty, don’t let one over flow. Keep balance.Watch your buckets. She commands the audience, “Stop quitting.” Think of all the things you want to do, lose weight, change jobs, buy a home, and ask yourself..”…NOT?”

The evening continued with lessons on calories, fat burning, cardio, and exercise. It rolled over into organics, pesticides, high fructose corn syrups and the food industries tricks into making us think we are eating healthy, and what is healthy? She broke down each topic and yet did not lecture or bore us. She asked that we invest an extra $20 a week, make some food changes. Just think…$20.

ImageWhen you look at Jillian, her persona, her yelling, her attitude, her physique. You think, “Here is someone who has it all together, she knows how to get it done.” It wasn’t really until this night, i understood where it comes from. I read about her relationships in her books. I read about them and interpreted her words and emotions safely on my couch in my living room. It wasn’t until this night, i heard her tell her story that I felt how raw it was.

Jillian describes her relationship with her dad, as a child always looking for approval. She has carried this with her through relationships her entire life. She lost her job on Biggest Loser, she ruined relationships, and she destroyed anyone who became close to her. She is honest about her self-destruction, her weight gains, her anger at her father. She has made ALL the mistakes we try to avoid. She abused herself because she did not feel worthy enough to be anything better. Then she found herself. She found her balance, in martial arts, and fitness. She no longer looked for approval from anyone but herself. She openly admits to years of therapy and concludes her revelation was her decision was to finally forgive her dad. Just think…forgive.


Jillian on Stage. Terrible lighting. Sorry.

The last piece of Jillian I took from this night was validation. Validation for being happy to want something and go after it. She gives permission to eliminate negative people from your life. She gives permission to exclude them from your dream process. “If someone keeps telling you, you can not reach your dreams, STOP telling them your dreams”. If someone is negative, sarcastic, unsupportive and not helping you achieve what you want. They are in your way. Let them go. Move forward. Just think…forward.

What I learned most from Jillian? I don’t think i can narrow it down to one thing. I think that if i saw her again, on some other night in some other city, i would take something different away each time. I would take away something I needed at that moment. That is the secret to JiIlian’s success. She is always that “right” thing for someone at that moment. Whether it be tough, hardcore, in your face, or open, honest, gratitude for her fans, she is a motivator.

She ended the night, embracing the audience with inspiring words. ” I Believe In You”. And you know what? At that moment…in my moment. I think she does.

Run Jersey Strong,


Shamrocks for Sandy Success

Its been almost 4 weeks since the Shamrocks For Sandy Run. I have delayed a final blog, because I wanted to be able to report all the final numbers AND I needed time to collect my thoughts. I can only compare it to planning a wedding. Months of planning and in a few short hours its all over and your left with an empty ballroom and alot of gifts, or in this case the Elks parking lot and generous donations.ImageImage

 The preparation for this event was more than i imagined, and while i can honestly say it was not totally overwhelming, it could not have possibly been but together without the assistance of the 70+ members of the Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club. You saw these women in full force in their ” I Run With Sol” shirts, working side by side all morning. THEN turned around Imageand ran in the race they built with all their heart. Proud and smiling.

Over the last few months these women have built incredible real friendships. They came together for an amazing cause, gave up hours of their lives, and stepped up for every challenge, request, need no matter how big or small. Whether it was buying 700 bananas and loading them into her truck, (Karin)or hammering signs into the frozen ground trying to avoid traffic, (Tara,we will remember this next year), everyone was willing to do what was needed for the run’s success. I love these women for who they are, for what they helped create, for being in my life, and letting me into theirs. I am truly blessed by this group.


(My daughter ran her first 1 mile race with her bff, Reagan. They have been friends since birth so this was one of those moments I hope she never forgets.)

ShaImagemrocks For Sandy was an amazing success.The Leprachaun Chase was by far the largest kids run I have ever seen. Our Leprachaun RAN HIS HEART OUT! (I have to admit, I was a little scared for him. I looked at the kids behind the start and I was thinking…”oh, boy, he better be FAST!” and he was!) As Cole Johansen, sounded off the air-horn to start the chase,  it was a sight to see. Moms, dads, kids, strollers, everyone smiling, cheering, helping each other through the crowd, truly a memorable moment.

Those kids did a wonderful thing that day and I hope when you show them their photos 10,15,20 years from now, you take an extra moment to tell them why they ran that day. It wasn’t for the medal, the bib or the donut at the end. They ran that day to help save a child, a class mate, a boy in their own community. He walked the mile along side his mom, and his best friend ran “for” him. (We should all be this lucky in life and friendships.)

We raised $5500.00 for Cole Johansen that day, but more than any monetary amount, we raised his hope, we raised the spirit of our community, we raised awareness that our children are precious and we should embrace all these moments, crossing the finish lines, running their own race.

Our main event exceeded all of our numbers, and i thank all of you that ran without bibs, or Imagechips, and ran because you wanted to be a part despite your own personal success. You ran for a good cause, to raise money, to help ALO help our beaches. It was the most fun, positive, colorful 5k/10k event EVER!

The costumes, the tutus, the wigs, were Imagefabulous! I really wonder what the drivers on Bay Ave. were thinking when they saw what was coming at them! AND i hope they join us next year. ALO was given over $16,000.00 in donations from our run. We were able to help fund the upcoming clean ups and planting projects. Please, take some time and research ALO and the projects they are working on. Join their summer camps, get involved, they have been working on the environmental aspects of our waterways for over 20 years, they are knowledgeable and invested in saving our beaches. They always need volunteers and are eager to share information on how you can help.

Overall, we raised close to $28,000.00, and approximately 820 runners participated. (Not counting the people who chose to run without timing) we approximate there were 1,000 + people at the event overall.

We are happy, pleased, thrilled, ecstatic and excited to announce we will be holding our event again next year. We plan to make it bigger, better, greener! We hope to see you there.

The 2nd Annual Shamrocks For Sandy Run – March 16,2014.

Run Jersey Strong,


April Fool U Protein Waffles

I admit it. I love waffles. I love making them for the fam, I love the way my daughter oohs and aaahs that they are the best waffles EVA! and i love that I usually make leftovers and pop ’em in the micro the next day and eat one on the way to work. Its really not a problem as i see it, but I have been in the habit of using the “just add water” easy mix and not by scratch. It is a shame to get the waffle iron out and put little to no effort in to the mix. So, I’ve changed. In search of a healthy recipe, i found a website called My Trainer Paige. She had a great recipe and so i doubled it and threw in a few of my own ideas. Here it goes. BTW, I made them on April Fool’s day, not for any reason, just because.

Dry Ingredients: (mix together in large bowl)

Happy Spoons make Happy Waffles!

Happy Spoons make Happy Waffles!

2 c. Whole Wheat Flour,

2 scoops protein powder (vanilla), You could probably use another flavor? and no particular brand, something you like. Mine has 26g protein per scoop.

2 Tbsp sugar (Or what you use as sweetener) ,

1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, sprinkle cinnamon,

Wet ingredients: (mix together in small bowl)

2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups skim milk,

Stir  wet ingredients into the dry. Do not over mix.


Now that they are happy-get’em steamy.

Read the rest of this entry

March-Out Like a Lion(?)

I began March with a completely new approach to my health and fitness. I took on I ❤ To Run, “Run Every Day Challenge” to run at least 1 mile every day and I survived. It’s ironic that the last day of the challenge would land on Easter Sunday. It’s the last day that it is weighing on the balancing scale of “family” time vs “me” time. I wasn’t sure how I was going to run today, until Bigpoppa actually suggested it. “Why don’t you go for a run?” he says. “Yes, why don’t I ?” and that is how 20 years of coupling works. Because, tomorrow, on April Fools Day, marks the 20 year anniversary of our first date. Awe.

ImageI have discovered  that the Run Every Day Challenge is really more about finding the time for yourself than being able to run a mile. It just took me 31 days to gain that perspective. Kudos, I ❤ to Run peeps for teaching me a little more about myself than i knew. The time was always there, i just had to claim it as mine. Kids activities, work, cleaning, house stuff, had taken away the “me.” The lion had to take it back.


Me and my trainer, Laura Roman, @seaofwellness

March, I grew, as promised, I met and surpassed my push-up goal, I completed a 15 miler without thinking about it, AND even got in some nasty hills and intervals in my training runs. I am back to 5am Bootcamp, spin, and weight training with a regimen. My trainer knows my goals and has increased them as I met them. I’ve learned that if you ask for help in your training, routine, supplement, diet, that there are alot of people who will help and follow through with you. You can’t do it alone. I am blessed to have met amazing smart women in the health and fitness fields, and though not every tip will work for me, I get to pick their brains and take away my own decisions.

March, my food journal was all the feedback I needed to clean up the loose ends and the sabotages in my diet. I highly recommend it to anyone who is feeling like they are slumping on the food aspects. It only  took a week of journaling and some wiser shopping choices for me to see where the calories were, and why I wasn’t able to make any changes. But you have to be strict in what you journal! I seriously, caught myself not picking at work because I DID NOT want to have to write it in my journal. You need to be honest with yourself. MImagey snacking staples have changed, I am now in constant supply of carrot sticks, celery sticks, cheese and nuts. Ive embraced the world of hummus and what seems like a million new flavors. (Thank you, Sabra) I switched from apples with peanut butter to PB2, and I am back to protein drink before i go to bed, which i believe to have partially helped my insomnia.

March, the Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club has competed it’s first organized run. The Shamrocks For Sandy 5k/10k Run and 1 Mile Kids Run was a tremendous success. The details of the event will be in my next blog, i feel it deserves a blog all its own, as well as the amazing women that put it together. I actually tear up each time i try to compose it, because my heart is so over filled with joy and pride for my friends and all that we have created.

I have 5 races coming up n the next 54 days. Each one holds its own importance and priority to me, and each one I will approach in my own way, whether it be a 5k, a relay (with my amazing, beautiful friend, Jen) or a half, I am planning on some great times, and lots of perma-smiles. April begins with I ❤ to Run‘s 1-3-5 Challenge, and my club has a push up challenge going on the side. I have lots of work left to do, but am confident that March  has set me on a successful path. I am ready to “BRING IT” every, run, every work-out, every race, every day.

 I am the LION. I feel like the lamb i left behind in February was the planner, the LION is the executer. I am strong.

 Happy Easter!

Run Jersey Strong,



Shamrocks 4 Sandy Race Day Countdown

ImageLucky 7. Luck of the Irish. Lucky Charms. Lady Luck.

Seven days left until the “Shamrocks For Sandy 5k/10k Run and the 1 Mile Kids Leprachaun Chase”. The community is talking about it, the word is out, this will possibly be the largest, funnest, greenest running event our town has ever seen! The Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club has done a fabulous job organizing this race and has had a lot of fun doing it. We ended registration at noon today with 609 participants! The irony is uncanny that 609 is our area code. This must mean good things are to come.

As the date is getting closer, I am finding more things that need to be done, and I am finding more help than ever from my club. This week the bags will be stuffed, shirts ordered, registrations organized, vendors placed, signs out, and daily social media flashes! (I call flashes, those moments when i post and everyone “likes”. We plan these out so we can flood facebook at once with our status. It works. It just takes timing and alot of participants.) I can not even begin to thank everyone who has helped create this event. The club, the sponsors, the vendors, the registrants all have joined in making it a success.

The Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club has worked tirelessly on the plan and the execution. When I first had the idea for this race,  I sent a text to my to officers, Tara Leary (VP), and Dawn Centanni, (Secretary)  and they ran with it. (Literally!)  The first club meeting we had about our run was full of ideas and suggestions of how we wanted a race to be. Our specifics about being “green”, our specifics about helping 2 local charities, and our specifics about its distance and location were things we would not sacrifice to do this the way we wanted. I hope it works, and i hope everyone has an amazing time. This is our first organized race as a club, we are open to all suggestions, and ideas for the next one. Please be kind about your observations, we have put our hearts into this to make it great!

Barnegat Bay Beach 3/10 taken by our runners on a group run.

Barnegat Bay Beach 3/10 taken by our runners on a group run.

Storms in or area last week flooded beach and bay areas, hindering the clean up works of ALO this weekend, and flooding area businesses and homes..again.

I am finding more and more people feeling defeated after each storm and tide swell. I watch other area towns receive so much media attention and I watch our beautiful LBI get very little. It’s hard to be able to grasp your head around the effects this will have on our economy and summer as so many others may flock to other areas for their vacations instead of ours. I have hopes our small businesses will persevere, and our families will be well. With all of our help, we can recover and prove LBI is ALIVE!

Now, instead of leaving you with thoughts of desperation and despair, I want to TRY and be a small source of positive for you. Stay with me. Remember my education here. I’m a Physical- Therapist Asst, by license not a Psycho-Therapist.

On Sunday, we will have over 600 runners, kids included. We have the opportunity to change the course in 600 people’s lives! Participation in this event shows that you want a change, that you want your beach, you want your homes, you want your businesses back. 600 people will stand together in one small parking lot and prove to other communities that, “Hey! If no one is going to do this for us..we will do for ourselves!” Image

This is our time for a little “Community Outreach”. MEET  the women from Southern Ocean Ladies Running Club, MEET the volunteers from ALO,  MEET the Dunkin Donuts staff that came a long way to support, MEET the vendors, MEET your fellow runners, MEET Cole Johansen and his family and come MEET ME!. 🙂 This is our community, find a way to help, make a connection with someone. There will be 600 runners on race day. Leave with one new friend.

Grab your tutus, your water bottles, your cheer signs, your friends. Come show them how strong Southern Ocean County is!

“Something Positive, Starts Here” and now I put it in your hands to keep it going.

Run Jersey Strong,


My Munchie Makeover

March. My overhaul month.

I vowed to participate in the Run Every Day Challenge, and i decided  it would be a good time to reevaluate the things that may still need changing or tweaking in my training. Spring is the time for new beginnings, filled with possibilities. So, why not try to break some habits too.

I am a confessed nacho addict. I enjoy baked tostitos, salsa, cheese, with a glass of wine. This is my “go to” snack. I have these 3 ingredients in my cabinets at ALL times, and if one is missing, trust me, Im calling Bigpoppa to bring one of the above home. I need to quit nachos. Between the carbs, and sodium, I am undoing my doing. AND i need to change my attitude toward my snack choices.

“Do Not Reward Yourself With Food, You Are Not A Dog”-One of my favorite Jillian quotes, i should have it tattooed somewhere as a reminder. I work so hard on my training, and then i blow it. I call it sitcom sabotage. I sit, watch tv, and eat. Sometimes I justify that I worked out, sometimes I bargain with myself that my snack options could be worse, sometimes it is just really really yummy. But now Im up for a challenge, Im ready for change. I vow i will no longer troll the cabinets for snacks, just because its “time”. I will find good snacks to eat!

I decided to ask my club members, (SOL Running Club), for some advice. The answers I got were confusing! Ice cream, vs yogurt, cheeses, vs peanut butter. No carbs, litte carbs, no fat, just the “right” fat.It seems everyone was confused or challenged with the same issue. So, i hit up the store and scanned the shelves for some options.

I came across this Greek Yogurt Dip, low in calories, low in fat, and a little protein..hmmm. I decided on ImageCucumber Dill for a little tangy taste. Then, i scored Sabra Spicy Hummus. This may be my godsend , because i crave spicy heat!

I picked up this little trick somewhere. I cut my celery thin and half my baby carrots, they  last longer, it appears that there is more on my plate and my brain is fooled and i don’t want more.

I am happy to say, both snacks were completely satisfying and i was not left feeling guilty about the things I ate. I was able to squeeze in another serving of veggies at the end of the day and i actually enjoyed it. The spicy is VERY spicy, just a heads up. I LOVED it! Im excited for snacks again!

Since Im on a roll with the munchie makeover, I decided to makeover up my lunch also. Usually, I enjoy a cup of soup when im home, or fruit with yogurt while Im working. Well, check this out…Portabella Stackers! Super easy! and Super Yum! I grilled portabella mushrooms and red onion on a grill pan, topped it with tomato, avocado, and a thin slice of cheese, with a hard boiled egg on the side. Heaven. Image

This month is all about making a change for me. Making a change for “me”. Time to step up to challenges, time to reduce the waste. Stop throwing away progress with calorie intake, start arming myself with better options. I am ready to meet these goals and surpass them!

Remember my last post? I announced my 20 push up goal (on toes)…today, i DID IT with my trainer, Laura, at the gym. There to witness, was my runner girl friend, Serena, yelling my name and cheering me on while she was running on the treadmill. We caused a quite a scene. Classic. Thank you Serena babes! I LOVE my running club. Next goal 25!

Run Jersey Strong,



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