Marla Horenbein

Enjoying the Post-Race Glow

Marla warms up before conquering the race course!

Marla warms up before conquering the race course!

Mission accomplished! I hope all of you participating had as fabulous of a day as I did on Sunday. Crossing that finish line felt totally unreal, but I have to say, I was happy to finish when I did! If I had to run up another hill, I might have keeled over and died. How killer were they? I am going to have to start training now for next years race so that I can bust through them!

And how about that amazing weather? The sun was shining, the temperature was just right, and if you ask me, we could not have had a better day!

I started the race feeling really strong, but by mile six, I could feel my energy level start to wear down. I have tried using all of the different types of energy replacements in the running world, but have found that none of them really help me—and actually make me cramp—so I decided against them on race day. I probably should have been more prepared, but after a quick sip of Gatorade at the refueling station and I was feeling a little better. The best feeling of the whole race was getting to mile 12 and realizing that I only had one more mile to go. I think I started running faster in hopes of finishing sooner! Such a feeling of accomplishment!

I wasn’t really prepared for the soreness to kick in, but to reward myself, I took Monday off from work (so happy that I did because I could barely walk up and down stairs!), and treated myself to a massage and a mani/pedi. I would say that I totally deserved it!

How did you recover from Sunday’s race?

Gearing Up to Run

Marla will soon receive her hard-earned medal. (Photo by John Herr)

Marla will soon receive her hard-earned medal. (Photo by John Herr)

Two more days to go! Hope you are all ready for the big day. It’s crazy how fast time flies! Just 10 short weeks ago I was only running two to three miles and now I am gearing up to run 13. I am so proud of myself for getting this far. All that’s left to do is cross that finish line!

This past week’s training has been pretty low-key. I only ran and did some core work on Tuesday, and have decided to give myself the rest of the week off. I want to let me body repair itself so that I am in tip-top condition on Sunday morning! I have also been incorporating more carbs into my diet these past couple of days (loading up!) so that I can store some much needed energy. Instead of eating two servings of carbs a day like Stephanie Middleberg, my nutritionist, had me doing in the beginning of my training, I am now eating around three servings of carbs a day. Bring on the pasta baby! What are you planning on having for your pre-race dinner?

Before 8 a.m. on Sunday (race time), be sure to check out the expo, where you have to pick up your race number, as well as plenty of other fun goodies! I’ll be working in the Digital Lounge, where you can check out the new Fitness iPad app, tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feel free to stop by! I would love to meet you.

Best of luck to all participating on Sunday!

Stretching Out the Last Week of Training

Time to stretch and prepare for the race. (Photo by Karen Pearson)

Time to stretch and prepare for the race. (Photo by Karen Pearson)

We are down to the final week! I can’t believe that the big day is almost here. The past 10 weeks have flown by a lot quicker than I had expected them to, but I am happy to say that I am ready to do this! There’s no turning back now. How are my fellow half-marathon trainers feeling?

After running 10 miles last Saturday, I could sense that my body needed a little break. I was tired and needed a few days to rest. To stay active though, I took a dance class on Monday night at JoAnn’s Dance Studio in South Plainfield, NJ (I danced there for 18 years!), and I made sure to pop in an abs DVD every morning before work, to strengthen my core. Later in the week I picked my running back up, but kept it in the five mile range. I dedicated Sunday for my last long run before race day, and ran 8 1/2 miles. I was hoping to get in 10 miles again, but the wind was pretty harsh, so instead of pushing myself to the point of possibly getting sick or hurt, I called it quits and am crossing my fingers for nice weather on Sunday! As we move into this last week, I plan on keeping my  runs light and quick, sticking to no more than four or five miles.

On a side note, in one of my first posts, I mentioned that I had gotten stretched by Nick Nicholaides, who is a Fascial Stretch Therapist. I went for a stretch session again on Saturday morning and could totally feel the difference. Prior to being stretched, my muscles were tight, especially on my right leg (I am a righty). My muscles felt longer, lighter and not as tight after the hour session. Fascial Stretch Therapy is such a great stretching technique for athletes, especially runners, and I strongly recommend looking into it for after race day! I know I’m definitely going to need it.

Have a great last week of training everyone! We’ve all come this far and are almost there. I’ll see you all at the starting line!

Conquering the Longest Training Runs

Marla's getting ready to toe the line on race day! (Photo by John Herr)

Marla's getting ready to toe the line on race day! (Photo by John Herr)

Only two weeks left to go! Hope everyone is getting excited. I know I am (and a little nervous too!).

Over the weekend I tackled my longest run yet, the big 10-miler. All week I had been psyching myself up for it, and on Saturday morning I set out for it feeling strong. I met with Stephanie Middleberg, my nutritionist here in NYC, on Friday afternoon, and we discussed how I should be eating on days that I run hard. Because I like to wakeup and do my runs in the morning, Stephanie recommended that I eat a banana and half of a Nature’s Valley granola bar an hour before running, to ensure high energy levels. I took her advice, waited an hour, and then hit the streets. With the sun shining, the fresh air, a brand new running outfit from the Helly Hansen team, and my iPod blasting my favorite tunes, I felt like I could take on the world!

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Fit Fashion for Training Runs

The Nike Lunar Glides are a treat for Marla's feet! (Photo by Bryan McCay)

The Nike Lunar Glides are a treat for Marla's feet! (Photo by Bryan McCay)

Some people can throw on a basic running tee, a pair of black tights and some old running shoes and be all set and ready to run on race day. Me, on the other hand? Not so much.

Whether I am lifting weights at the gym, taking a yoga class or venturing out on a long distance run, I always make sure to dress in super cute workout clothes (because let’s face it, you never know who you are going to run into, right?). So naturally, I have started planning my race outfit. Call me crazy, but this is important!

April weather is so unpredictable and I have a feeling that I am going to end up changing my outfit a million times. I would normally wear a tank top with a bright jacket or pullover top, but I’m thinking that a cute tee, like this Lululemon one (I have it in neon yellow and it is so cute!), is going to be my go-to piece. The moisture wicking fabric will keep me dry and the comfortable fit will allow me to move with ease.

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Songs to Power Through Training

Finding the right music will motivate nearly any runner! (Photo by Laura Doss)

Finding the right music will motivate nearly any runner! (Photo by Laura Doss)

I looked at the calendar this morning and had a minor panic attack. This race is creeping up on me sooner than I would like it to! In four short weeks I will be running my first half-marathon with thousands of other women. Ahh! Mentally, I feel like I need another month to prepare myself, but physically I think I will be able to do it. In the past month alone, I have noticed such a change in my stamina, my willpower to run and my physique. I am so happy to have gotten this far, and am even more excited to cross the finish line!

My iPod really helps me to push through long runs. I have a few playlists that I alternate between, but I have compiled a pretty good list of songs that pump me up and keep me going. I’m definitely going to have to add some more tunes to my iPod before race day, but here are some favorites that are currently on my playlist:

Misery Business,” Paramore (For the rebel in me.)
Who’s That Chick,” David Guetta, featuring Rihanna
Push Push,” Kat DeLuna, featuring Akon (Great for running up hills!)
Animal,” Neon Trees
Side by Side,” Blessed by a Broken Heart (Every girl has a little metal chick inside her, right?)
Better Than Revenge,” Taylor Swift
Blow,” Ke$ha (Such a great beat.)
Memories,” David Guetta, featuring Kid Cudi
Boom Boom Pow,” Black Eyed Peas (This song makes me feel like I am Superwoman and can do anything!)
Yeah 3x,” Chris Brown

What songs are you currently running to? I’d love to know so that I can add them to my race day playlist!

P.S.: As a follow-up to my last post I just want you all to know that I made that white bean hummus over the weekend and it’s AMAZING! Definitely a tasty and healthy snack to get you through the day.

Spring (Half-Marathon) Training

Marla enjoyed the spring-like weather by training with her Mom and dog Dolce.

Marla enjoyed the spring-like weather with a run in the park!

I don’t know about you guys, but I was feeling strong this week. Between the AMAZING weather we had over the weekend and my excitement to get out and run, I set some high standards for myself this week and I succeeded!

I started the week off running hills on the treadmill. Not ideal, but since it was dark out, I didn’t really have any other options. As you all know, I hate running a lot of mileage on the treadmill, so instead of working on distance, I decided to take advantage of the incline. I ran for 45 steady minutes and I kicked that treadmill’s butt! It felt awesome. If it wasn’t 9 p.m., I probably would have kept going, but my hungry stomach was telling me to go home and eat dinner!

I felt my strongest during Thursday night’s run. I’ve been training on the indoor track at Seton Hall University’s Rec Center every Thursday for a change of scenery, and this week I set a goal for myself to run 50 laps. Just as I was about to start my last mile, the gym was closing so I did not complete my goal, but I was pretty psyched that I was able to get through as much as I did!

Saturday was my favorite workout of the week. Since the sun was shining and the air was crisp, I headed to a local park to do my training. I brought my mom and dog Dolce, along with me too! The park used to be a golf course, but after closing a few years ago, the town turned it into a gorgeous park with bike, running and walking trails. Since I had worked on running hills earlier in the week, I was excited to get on the hilly course to see how I could do. I ran for about an hour, and even though the golf course hills whipped me into shape, I decided that I need to hit the gym this week to strengthen my legs a little more.

I’m looking forward to seeing how I progress this week, and I plan on setting some more goals for myself. These targets motivate me to work harder and I always feel good when I accomplish them! One goal that I have already established for this week is to master this white bean hummus recipe. It’s a healthy snack that will keep me energized throughout my runs, but also tastes yummy with some pita chips!

What’s Your Motivation?

Marla cleared her head beachside.

Over the weekend I traveled to one of my favorite places in the entire world, Narragansett, Rhode Island. I know Rhode Island seems like a random place to fall in love with, but after living there for four years while studying at the University of Rhode Island, I have considered it my home away from home, and jump on any chance to visit.

One of my favorite things in Narragansett are the beaches—they used to be my “go-to” spot when I needed to clear my head and think—but when the weather was nice I used to run along the shore line. Since I had not visited for a while, I decided that making a pit stop to the beach before heading home was necessary. But with the crazy wind and bitter cold, I opted to save my run for when I got back to New Jersey. In the midst of reminiscing, I reflected on how much my life has changed since living up there—training for this half-marathon being one of them, and the motivation behind my training being another.

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Pushing Through Running Roadblocks

Marla's ready for some sunny, treadmill-free running.

So I hit a rut this week. I don’t know if I was stressed from work, tired and lazy, of maybe even a combo of both, but I did not have a great week of training.  Since it is dark when I wake up AND get home from work, I don’t feel super comfortable running outside (even in the crimeless residential area of New Jersey that I live in). So I have been training on the treadmill at my gym. However, I had a few late nights in the office which completely threw off my running schedule. It’s been too late to train when I get home (after 9 p.m. one night!), and I’ve been so tired that I hit snooze on my alarm clock when it’s time for me to hit the gym in the morning. Not good! I need to get myself back on track.

I realized that I was stuck in a runner’s rut during my training on Wednesday. I have been so tired of running on the treadmill and the idea of having to run for another 30 minutes was torture. I tried to push through as much as I could, but at 25 minutes, I got so frustrated with staying in one place, that I jumped off the machine and headed for home. Looking back, I should have just pushed myself for the last five minutes, but at the time, going home seemed to be the only option. It must have been my stubborn side kicking in!

The week ended on a semi-good note though. Even though it was chilly out on Saturday, I bundled up and headed for the streets of my neighborhood where the sun was shining—finally! I ran for 40 minutes and felt pretty good. It perked up my attitude about my progress a bit and it made me want to push myself a little more for this next week. With the warm weather settling in for a the next few days (as long as Mr. Weatherman is right), I don’t think that will be a problem!

For those of you training along with me, keep up the good work. We only have seven weeks to go!

Marla’s Running Strong

Shin splints are cramping Marla's style.

Shin splints are cramping Marla's style.

Energy, energy, energy! I feel like this was my mantra for the week. I felt so energized during all of my workouts, and am starting to realize that I can maintain a steady pace for a longer period of time than I thought. I think the diet that I have been sticking to–minus all of the chips and dip that I ate during the Super Bowl!–and my adrenaline were huge factors in my endurance boost. A good night’s sleep before running days didn’t hurt either!

Those of you following the beginner plan like me started off the week running for 20 to 30 minutes. Since I usually incorporate running into my workout a few times a week, I found running for a half-hour to be pretty painless and actually increased my speed on the treadmill so that I could get some more mileage in. By Sunday, I was running for a total of 40 minutes (pretty boring on a treadmill!), so I slowed my speed down slightly from my workouts earlier in the week. This allowed me to maintain a healthy and reasonable pace, which is similar pace to the one that I hope to run on race day, for the duration of the workout. I felt amazing after that run…well, besides some minor shin splints, which are expected from running on the tread. Any suggestions on how to get rid of those? (You’d think that after running cross-country for 4 years in high school, I’d know how to ease the ache!) Bring it on, week three.