Archive for the ‘Ask The Running Nerd’Category

Race Report: Runner’s World Half & Festival

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Larisa & Karla cheer, Mark & Kristin run (

When Runner’s World puts on an event in their hometown, they do it right.  Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.

Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers. My quest? Run four races in three days for a total of 26.2 miles.

I was only half successful, thanks to plantar fasciitis. Despite that, I had a ton of fun.

I’ve already recapped the Altra Trail 3.8-mile Trail Race and Runner’s World 5K & 10K. Now on the menu is the Runner’s World Half & Festival!

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Post-race band! (

Runner’s World Half Marathon

Thanks to shooting pain in my heel—which turned out to be plantar fasciitis and the beginning of a heel spur—I opted not to run the Runner’s World Half Marathon. Instead, I headed out to cheer near Mile 11 of the course with two other injured bloggers—my roomie for the weekend, Jess at (who’d sprained her ankle at the Altra Trail Run), and Larisa at, who’d hurt her calf and pulled out of the race.

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Along the course (

We had a blast. We clapped, we yelled, we cheered, we laughed, and had a great time. We spotted most of the other bloggers Runner’s World had brought out for the event.

Then Jess hobbled back to the hotel on her swollen ankle, and Larisa and I walked to the finish so we could cheer in Kristin at, who was walking the whole race after recovering from a broken ankle.

Working as a race announcer, I love to cheer runners on. But I’m usually at the start or finish (or both) of a race or running myself. I’m rarely on the sidelines along the course.

So I surprised by how many runners thanked us for cheering as they went by, or gave us a thumbs up, or nod, or smile, or came in for a high five, something other form of acknowledgement.

It’s funny. Because I’m the kind of runner who will often nod or smile or fist pump or some such as a way of thanking spectators as I go by. So I don’t know why I was so surprised when other runners thanked me! I guess it was just fun to be on the other side of the fence. Loved paying it forward!

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Cheering with Larisa (

Runner’s World Festival

The days leading up to the half-marathon constituted the “festival,” which was jam-packed with activities. Here are my highlights from the weekend:

Deena Kastor

What would Deena do? It’s become my new running mantra after hearing Deena Kastor speak at the Runner’s World Half & Festival.

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Deena Kastor! (

Deena shared lunch with the bloggers and gave an open seminar at the expo. At each, she shared some of the ways she uses positive thinking to pull through in races. Running is as much a mental sport as a physical one. I believe it and research bears it out. (I wrote about it for And the best runners use every (legal) trick in the books—physical and mental—to be tough on race day.

What stuck with me? Before a race Deena said she thinks of three reasons why she will succeed and commits them to memory. When she needs to did deep or is struggling in an event, she recalls those things to keep her going. I love that. Going to try it myself this weekend at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. And in a moment of doubt, I’ll ask myself: What would Deena do? Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Runner’s World 10K & 5K

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Running the Runner’s World 5K (Runner’s World & Altra)

The Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K were Day 2 of the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers. My quest? Run four races in three days for a total of 26.2 miles.

I was only half successful, thanks to plantar fasciitis. Despite that, I had a phenomenal time.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Race central

The Runner’s World Half & Festival is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.

The Runner’s World 5K, 10K and Half-Marathons courses started and finished at SteelStacks, a 10-acre music, art, culture, and entertainment campus that was once home to the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation, Bethlehem Steel. Rising over the finish line is a series of iron-forging furnaces. The “stacks” are now home to 1,000 concerts and eight festivals annually, including the Runner’s World Half & Festival. It’s an incredible setting for a race.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Steel Stacks at night (

I’ve already recapped the Altra Trail 3.8-mile Trail Race. Up now: The Runner’s World 5K & 10K, back-to-back events!

Runner’s World 5K

More than 1,655 participants tackled the Runner’s World 5K on Saturday, October 17 at 8:00 a.m. I lined up in the cold ready to for an easy jog.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Ready to run the 5K (

It was about 40 degrees at the start, so I bundled up for the first time of the season. I wore (all freebies): Sparkle Athletic Headsweats visor, Oakley Polarized RPM sunglasses, Brooks Dash 1/2 Zip, Moving Comfort UpRise Crossback Sports Bra, New Balance Tonic Tank, GORE Running Wear Mythos Windstopper Gloves, Brooks Streaker Capri, Balega Hidden Contour socks (one of the race sponsors), and Asics Gel-Nimbus 17.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

My Runner’s World 5K race kit (

The 5K course takes runners on a 3.1-mile tour of Bethlehem’s North Side. Shortly after the start, runners climb the Phillip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge to cross the Lehigh River. On the other side you see the Bethlehem Public Library and some of the town’s original 1741 settlements. Runners are treated to scenic views of South Mountain, Bethlehem’s eclectic South Side, and Lehigh University’s campus. Then a fast downhill turn brings you past Bethlehem’s City Hall and back to the Fahy Bridge. One of the most fun parts is running through the former Bethlehem Steel complex and past the Sands Casino to finish under a flaming arch (literally) in the shadow of the steel stacks.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K course

There’s really only one major hill to speak of as you cross the bridge near Mile 1. Then there’s a gentle incline as you head up the road to the casino, near Mile 2.5. Overall, I’d call this a generally easy course.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K elevation

I’d come to the race nursing a new niggle in my left foot that I suspected was plantar fasciitis. I walked the Altra Trail Run the day before and wanted to test out my foot on the road.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Heading out

So I consciously ran at a very easy pace, especially knowing I had another 6.2 miles to run after this. I was uber tuned into my body, and my foot in particular, which felt a little achy and tight, but not too bad. Read the rest of this entry →

TCS New York City Marathon By The Numbers

TCS New York City Marathon By The Numbers

Runners stream into Brooklyn in the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. (Credit: Courtesy NYRR)

The TCS New York City Marathon is my favorite day of the year. I love it even more than I love my birthday. Amazingly, I get to spend the day cheering runners across the finish line as one of the race announcers. It’s truly an honor and a privilege.

Watching the 2006 race in Central Park is what inspired me to tackle it (and the marathon distance) for the first time. I’ve run, worked, or cheered at the race every year since then.

This year, I spent the last seven days emceeing at marathon events, and in the process learned a lot of trivia about the race. Did you know that 130 bands line the course, averaging 5 per mile? Here’s a look at the TCS New York City Marathon through all of its glorious stats.

TCS New York City Marathon By The Numbers

55 finishers in 1970, the first New York City Marathon
50,530 finishers in 2014, the largest marathon in history
49,617 finishers in 2015
1,074,404 finishers to date, including 2015
58% men
42% women
139 countries represented
62% of runners come from the U.S., the most represented country
5% of runners hail from France, the most represented foreign country
4% of runners travel from Italy, the second most represented foreign country
3% of runners come from each the U.K and Germany, which round out the top five countries
50 states represented
32% of runners live in New York, the most represented state
7% of runners hail from New Jersey, the second most represented state
3% of runners travel from California, which comes in third among states
2% of runners come from each Florida and Connecticut, which round out the top five states
1970 year of the first New York City Marathon
1976 year of the first five-borough marathon
2000 year of the first official wheelchair division
2:05:06 male runner course record (Geoffrey Mutai, 2011)
2:22:31 female runner course record (Margaret Okayo, 2003)
1:29:22 male wheelchair course record (Kurt Fearnley, 2006)
1:43:04 female wheelchair course record (Tatyana McFadden, 2015)
Human Power
665 million households worldwide the broadcast reaches
1 million+ estimated spectators along the course
10,000 event volunteers
175 NYRR staff working year-round on the TCS New York City Marathon and other programs
The Start
24,100 runners take the Staten Island Ferry to the start
915 buses transport runners to the start on Staten Island
43 UPS trucks transport participants’ bags from start to finish
8 UPS trucks transport participants’ donated clothing from the start to Goodwill
60,000 8-oz. bottles and 1,200 16.9-oz. bottles of Poland Spring 100% Natural Spring Water
40,800 PowerBars
16,000 servings of Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink
1,800 gallons of Gatorade Endurance Formula
663 pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (approximately 62,000 cups)
1,650 portable toilets
The Course
2,300,000 paper cups
1,500,000 participant photos captured by more than 150 official MarathonFoto photographers
62,370 gallons of Poland Spring Brand 100% Natural Spring Water
60,000 PowerGels at mile 18
32,040 gallons of Gatorade Endurance Formula
1,952 portable toilets at more than 35 locations, including every mile
106 official clocks
53 ChronoTrack timing systems
130+ bands and entertainment acts
5 average number of bands per mile (the most at any marathon)
10 number of hours of continuous music along the course
20 Official Partner and Charity Entertainment and Cheer Zones
35 years that the Bishop Loughlin High School band, “the original Marathon band,” has played
at the race. They will once again perform the Rocky theme (“Gonna Fly Now”) all day near the
Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Read the rest of this entry →


Nov 2015

How To Watch The TCS New York City Marathon 2015

How To Watch The TCS New York City Marathon 2015

The start of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. (Credit: PhotoRun/NYRR)

The TCS New York City Marathon 2015 is almost upon us. If you want to catch all the action from the world’s largest marathon, here’s how to tune-in on TV and online. If you’re looking for spectator tips, read this: Go Runners! A Spectator’s Marathon Guide.

TCS New York City Marathon 2015 Race Week

TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion
Yours truly is master of ceremonies for the week! Located near the finish line at 67th St. in Central Park next to Tavern on The Green, the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion has a full schedule of free entertainment for runners, their families and friends, including course strategy sessions, athlete & celeb appearances, book signings, film screenings, bands, group runs, and more. You can also buy official finisher merchandise, store your gear in an Airbnb locker while you run Central Park, or grab a bite and sip some wine at the cafe & bar.

TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines
Friday, October 30
5:30 p.m. live on ABC7 in New York

Countdown to the Starting Line
Saturday, October 31
7:30 p.m. on ABC7 in New York
Also streaming on WatchABC and ESPN3, accessible on WatchESPN platforms

Get pumped for race day with “Countdown to the Starting Line,” a preview the 45th TCS New York City Marathon. I (yes, me!) pop-by to give a rundown on the top runners to watch.

TCS New York City Marathon 2015 Race Day

NYC Metro Area

Watch on ABC7, Sunday, November 1

Pre-Race Features
7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.

Live Race Broadcast
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Live streaming will also be available on and via the WatchABC app from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Watch on ESPN2 and WatchESPN, Sunday, November 1

Live Race Broadcast
9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST.

Pre- and Post-Race Coverage
Watch ESPN3 from 7:00 to 9:00a.m. EST and 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. EST
Available on and WatchESPN app

Highlight Show
4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. on your local ABC affiliate


Live Stream
7:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m on WatchABC in New York and WatchESPN nationwide
Download the app in the App Store or Google Play store Read the rest of this entry →

Ready For The Runner’s World Half & Festival

Runner's World Half & Festival

Runner’s World Half & Festival (Photo: Ryan Hulvat/Runner’s World)

Greetings from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra!

I’m seven weeks into my fall running schedule and 24-week training plan for the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, with a PR attempt at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon along the way. The Fjord Norway Half Marathon and New Balance Reach The Beach Relay are behind me.

Now on the menu is the Runner’s World Half & Festival! I’m attending as a guest of Runner’s World, and will be posting to InstagramFacebook, and Twitter throughout the trip if you want to virtually run with me.

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Crossing the finish. (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)

Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival

I had a blast at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival in 2014, despite it being my roughest half-marathon ever. Runner’s World put together a thoughtful weekend of activities, seminars, and races with dedicated runners in mind.

So I’m excited to head to Bethlehem for the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra. Once again, they’ve got a full weekend of running cooked up: as in 26.2 miles full of running.

I’ll start with the the Altra 3.8-Mile Trail Run Presented by REI on Friday, then the Hat Trick of races that includes the Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K on Saturday, followed by the Runner’s World Half Marathon on Sunday for a total of 26.2 miles.

I’ll also get a tour of the Runner’s World headquarters, led by none other than Bart Yasso; get fitted with a pair of Altra running shoes by company founder Golden Harper; take a trail running course with Yasso, Harper, and Runner’s World Gear Editor Bryan Boyle; and eat lunch with Deena Kastor, among other activities.

Basically, it’s like a running fantasy camp. Consider me sufficiently geeked. Read the rest of this entry →

Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + Body

Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + More

(Joshua Sortino/

It’s October, which means one thing: Marathon season is officially here!

Many of us will slog long miles in marathon training this month. I’m prepping for the Honolulu Marathon in 10 weeks, and I know many runners targeting the New York City Marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and other races.

Others of us will toe the line at events this month, like the Wineglass Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and Marine Corps Marathon.

Others still are thinking about committing to 26.2 for the first time next year or a marathon training challenge like Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World Marathon in January.

Whatever your quest, I’m here to help with a round-up of my marathon articles at!

17 Things You Should Know Before Running Your 1st Marathon


This one was just plain fun to write. I don’t usually write “Listicles” but I couldn’t pass up sharing the wisdom I’ve culled from my seven marathons… in GIF form. I think #8 and #11 are my faves. Pretty sure they’ve happened to me during every single marathon.

What else would you add? Check out the list at

Marathon Training for Your Brain

You’ve put in the miles, training your body for the rigors of running 26.2. But is your mind ready too? Running a marathon is as much a mental battle as a physical one. Inevitable doubts and fears creep into many a marathoner’s mind. Train your brain while training your body with seven tips meant to help flex your mental muscle come race day.

Danielle at even shares her thoughts on “chunking.” Read it at Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: New Balance Reach the Beach Relay

Race Report: New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

Girls Run Beta! (Reach The Beach)

6,000 runners. 500 teams. 201 miles. 32 hours. 12 women. 2 vans. 1 state. Put New Balance Reach The Beach Relay in the bag! I ran as a guest of New Balance, who covered all my expenses and kitted me out in gear for the event as part of the “Girls Run Beta” media team. And it was amazing.

Race Report: New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

Girls Run Beta! (Carrie Kabat)

The New Balance Reach The Beach Relay, in partnership with the Ragnar Relay Series, takes teams of 12 runners 201 miles across New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore.

The scenery was lovely, my teammates fantastic, and the overall experience amazing. It’s no wonder I’ve only heard great things about this race.

The fun levels were off the charts. We giggled, we danced, we ate, then ate some more, we told ghost stories, high-fived, commiserated and cheered. While looking for Jess during a night run, I busted out an impromptu rendition of “There’s a Light (Over At The Frankenstein Place) from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Another team called “Snoop Joggy Jog” inspired some “Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay” at our side-of-the-road dance party. Carrie and Dani played DJ with boy bands greatest hits. And the gummy bears flowed like water.

Race Report: New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

Van 1! (Photo:

We worked as a team. Carrie finished her legs with a cart-wheel (true story) and chauffeured us from spot to spot. Dani was co-pilot and speedy anchor leg. Rachel recruited her dad’s team to cheer us on, and taught us the art of the silent scream (pictured). Jess kept a log of our start and finish times, and shared her Aleve when an afternoon migraine threatened to derail my second run. Kylie gave me her seat in the van to lay down. When it was time to suit me up mid-run with reflective vest and lights, the entire team swarmed me as my pit crew.

I was water girl, filling up and passing out water bottles to the finishing runner or the runner on the road—in one case jogging along side Dani for a brief stint so she didn’t have to stop. I also shared my massage stick with the team and Carrie shared her foam roller, so we could all stay limber.

In other words, the race was truly a team effort. You can see for yourself in this video New Balance put together for us.

Read the rest of this entry →

Tips & Tricks To #RunForFun

Tips & Tricks To #RunForFun

Make your next run fun! (Photo:

Want to put more fun in your run? I do! Check out Shape and Fitness Magazines30 Day #RunForFun Challenge, designed to get you moving each day and having fun.

Fitness reached out to me—along with 29 other runners—for a fave run-for-fun tip. I promise you’ll find a few new-to-you ideas that will refresh your next outing. I certainly did, like…

Day 9: Play ‘I Spy’
Day 11: Pick A Feel-Good Scent
Day 16: Let your S.O. or BFF make your playlist
Day 22: Wear a Sign
Day 23: Collect Coins

I’ve never done any of those! Some of the other tips are oldies but goldies that I keep in my arsenal, and seeing them again is a great reminder. 

My tip is Day 12 of the challenge. If you’ve ever read my blog before, you can probably guess it pretty easily. Did you guess right?

30-Day Running Challenge: 30 Ways to #RunForFun

But in addition to my tip in the 30-Day #RunForFun Challenge, here are five other tricks I use to keep me fleet of feet and young at heart.

RunKarlaRun’s #RunForFun Tricks

Tips & Tricks To #RunForRun

We can make believe… (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Play Mind Games:
Who says pretend is just for kids? You’re a great white shark chasing seals. You’re running to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Watch out, a velociraptor is chasing you! Ahhh! My favorite? I’m a lion hunting gazelles. I don’t sprint, I stalk. And I pick off runners in front of me slowly. One. By. One. Playing pretend while I run keeps me entertained for miles and miles.

Put Your Music On Shuffle:
When you have no idea what song might come next, every few minutes bring a pleasant surprise. I’ll put my entire MP3 player—all 700 songs—on shuffle to keep my music unpredictable. Sure, I have to skip a song here and there, but shuffle is one of my favorite ways to keep my run fresh.

Forgotten jams often inspire a fist pump. “I Got A Man” by Positive K anyone? Or “Wonder Woman” aka the ’70s TV show theme song? Or “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring? And sometimes I discover unexpected songs that are great for running like “Trying My Best To Love You” by Jenny Lewis. Would have never put that one on a running mix, but it really peps me when it pops up. I get lost in the lyrics and dig deep for those few minutes. Read the rest of this entry →

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay (Photo: New Balance)

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” New Balance has revealed yet another pair of Disney shoes, this time modeled after Disney’s favorite duck. The Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay is coming to Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in honor of Disneyland Resort’s 60th Anniversary celebration. The shoes will be available at the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo starting September 3.

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

Red bow tie (Photo: New Balance)

Donald’s signature look is woven throughout the shoe, from his red bow tie to a black heel tab evocative of the ribbon on Donald’s hat. The Donald Duck kicks will sell for $140.

New Balance’s Fresh Foam Boracay is a neutral cushioned shoe meant to carry runners for many a mile. I tried and reviewed the new kicks; read all about them here:

Testing 3 New Balance Shoes: Zante, Boracay, 890v5.

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

Donald’s signature (Photo: New Balance)

Along with Disney shoes for adults, New Balance is also releasing kids versions of the Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay and Tinker Bell Fresh Foam Boracay. They will also debut at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.

Here are a few more views of the new Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay Disney shoes. Read the rest of this entry →

Run Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 with Charity or Tour

Run Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 For Charity

Nick Arciniaga wins the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

UPDATE 8/25/15: runDisney has announced a second Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Florida. Check it out:
Star Wars Half Marathon Comes to Walt Disney World

* * *

So you didn’t get into any of the Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 races from January 14-17 at Disneyland in California, including the Star Wars Half Marathon, Star Wars Rebel Challenge, Star Wars 10K, Star Wars 5K and runDisney Kids Races? You’ve still got a chance. Charity and travel providers offer limited entries for runners who register and run with them.

Contact the following organizations directly to find out how to run the races with them. Charities will ask runners to raise a certain amount of money and tour providers may require purchase of a travel package.

Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 Charities

runDisney Charity Groups offer guaranteed entries to sold-out races. Some charity teams include other perks for the Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 races like complimentary or discounted entries, party party tickets, training resources, and other benefits. Check with each group individually for their fundraising requirements, benefits, and to register with them.

Run Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 For Charity

The Star Wars Half Marathon start (Photo: runDisney)

Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 Travel Providers

Runners can also register for the Star Wars Disney races through a runDisney Travel Provider. They offer packages for runners, including guaranteed race entry and specially priced Disneyland hotel rates and theme park ticket options. Contact each tour provider individually to learn more and to register through them. Read the rest of this entry →

What I Learned From My Years As A Model & Runner

What I Learned From My Years As A Model & Runner

Me as a 22-year-old model

We all know that Women’s Running magazine made a splash for putting shapely model Erica Schenk on their magazine cover last month. I’ve written for Women’s Running (check out: Kauai Is The Ultimate Vacation For Runners), and praised their move on Twitter.

I’ve watched with interest how the fashion industry and the running world alike have started to—but not fully—address the normative images of beauty, health, and fitness. Most recently, France banned the use of models with a BMI of under 18 from working in the country. Israel, Italy and Spain have similar measures in place.

I used to be one of those models. That’s me 15 years ago. Thigh gap? I had it.



I rarely talk about my former life as a model. In fact, this is the first time I’ve written about it here. My brief stint in the fashion industry left a sour taste in my mouth. Working as a model made me susceptible to unhealthy habits that may have made me skinny, but certainly not fit. When I started running—12 years younger and 12 pounds lighter than I am now—I fit the stereotype of what a runner “looked” like. People used to assume I was fast because I was skinny. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

All too often we equate fitness with thinness. And that’s why I was happy to see Schenk on the cover of Women’s Running. Because we all know that a runner doesn’t look like any one thing, doesn’t run at any one speed, and that fitness has little to do with weight. You see people of all shapes and sizes toward the front, in the middle, and in the back of the pack at races.



It’s taken time, but I’m more comfortable in my skin now than I was then. These photos (all un-retouched) were taken about 15 years apart. Don’t I even look happier?

I wrote about my experience as a model—and lessons learned—for It wasn’t even my idea. My editor twisted my arm into writing an essay after she learned about my past life. After some hesitation, I finally gave in. Here it is.

From Stilettos to Sneakers: How Quitting Modeling Made Me Healthier and Happier

Confession: I used to model. I was young, I was beautiful, and I didn’t know it. I stumbled into modeling as a lanky musical theater performer in New York City. After one model scout, then another, stopped me on the street, I found an agency. I figured it beat waiting tables. I was 22 years old and had an “underweight” BMI of 18.2. “Normal” starts at 18.5, according to the National Institutes of Health.



But I didn’t think of myself as a model. I was shocked every time someone hired me: major-market magazines, brands you see in Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, boutiques, hair care companies, and morning talk shows. Showrooms—where I modeled a brand’s wares for buyers from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and other big-name stores—were my bread and butter, but I did some print, TV, and runway too. I was never a top girl, but one of the nameless, sometimes faceless minions selling an image of beauty of which I didn’t believe myself worthy.

At go-sees (modeling lingo for auditions), I faced a barrage of physical critiques. I heard I was too short, too tall, too old, too young, too fat, or too thin. I was too everything and not enough of anything. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

My sis high-fives Mickey at the finish. (Photo: MarathonFoto)

How much fun did my sister and I have at the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon? Her Mickey Mouse high-five at the finish line pretty much says it all.

When my sister decided to run her first half-marathon, there was no doubt which race it would be. She’d run her first 5K with me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in 2012. As a family, we did everything there was to do at the time: Pasta in the Park Party, Kids Races, 5K, and my husband and I ran the Half Marathon.

So naturally, we decided to return for my sister’s 13.1 debut in 2015. I attended the race as a media guest of runDisney to write a story for about our experience. You can read it here: Why I’d Rather Run With Women.

First, we tackled the Disney Princess Frozen 5K dressed as Disney’s most infamous sisters, Cinderella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella Tremaine. We had too much fun, despite wearing tank tops in a 33-degree race.

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5K

Anastasia and Drizella (Photo: runDisney)

Then, I ran the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K on my own, dressed as Cinderella in tatters, just so I could earn that beautiful Glass Slipper Challenge medal.

Finally, for the half-marathon, our choice was obvious. My sister and I are totally Elsa and Anna. Right down to our birth order, hair, coloring, and temperaments, she’s definitely an Elsa and I’m completely an Anna. We’re a match made in runDisney heaven.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Elsa & Anna! (Photo: MarathonFoto)

Yup, we learned to love team costumes from an early age.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Twinsies! (Photo:

Disney Princess Half Marathon: The Course

The Disney Princess Half Marathon takes runners from just outside Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

The Course

The first five miles are a long, and sometimes lonely, stretch of road on the way to Magic Kingdom. Disney lines this section of the course with bands, DJs, and character stops, but at other parts you’ll simply hear the sound of 20,000 pairs of feet pattering away.

Highlights of the first five miles include the car entrance to the Magic Kingdom near Mile 3, which makes for a great photo opp.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Friends Tara and Lesa are runDisney photo superstars! (Photo: runDisney)

Throngs of spectators and Taiko drummers at the Ticket & Transportation Center near Mile 4 always give me a boost.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Drummers! (Photo: runDisney)

And a dancing DJ pumping tunes at the overpass leading to the Contemporary Resort near Mile 5 is also a fave of mine.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Dancing DJ at the overpass (Photo: runDisney)

Mile 5 to 6 is by far the most exciting of the course: the run through Magic Kingdom. No matter how many times I do it, it never gets old.

From the Mile 5 marker, the course is lined with Disney cast members and spectators cheering you on. You’ll hear them before you see them—the roar of the crowds waiting on Main Street USA as you run toward Cinderella Castle. I get so pumped every time.

But before the castle, you’ll turn into Tomorrowland, run through the back of Fantasyland, then through Cinderella Castle from the carousel side and out the front. There are tons of characters, photo opps, and course photographers along the way in Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, before the castle, through the castle, and in front of the castle.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

We nailed our Cinderella Castle shot! (Photo: MarathonFoto)

Then you’ll turn into Liberty Square before exiting the park through Frontierland. You’ll find a few more characters awaiting you in this section as you pass the Mile 6 marker and again once you exit the park. Read the rest of this entry →

Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae Running Workout

Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae Running Workout

Mirinda Carfrae leads a class at Mile High Run Club. (Photo: Ironman)

Want to learn to run fast on tired legs? If you’re a half-marathoner, marathoner, or triathlete, methinks you do. I’ve got a Miranda Carfrae running workout for you from the best runner in Ironman, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae herself.

On Tuesday afternoon, I headed to Mile High Run Club in NYC at the invitation of Ironman to meet Rinny, try one of her favorite run workouts while she coaches on the mic, and interview her for a Q&A at

Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae Running Workout

Running with Rinny (Photo: Ironman)

As a reporter and broadcaster, I’ve met and interviewed some of the world’s best athletes—from runners like Meb Keflezighi to winter Olympians like Apolo Ohno. I’ve watched them cruise to gold medals and major marathon wins, interviewing them before and after.

But getting to run a workout led by one of them? Like a Visa ad, that’s priceless.

Ever since I watched Rinny cruise to her second Ironman World Championship victory in Kona (on TV, not in person—I wish!), I had an instant girl crush. She’s such a fierce and confident runner, perhaps the best in the world of Ironman. That fierceness and confidence lacks in my own running. I tend to admire in others what I lack myself. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Fran

Race Report: Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Runners in Golden Gate Park (Photo: Nike)

Want to take part in the Nike Women San Francisco Race Weekend from October 16-18, 2015, including the Nike Women’s Half Marathon? Registration for the random draw is open until Monday June 29, 2015 at 11:59 a.m. PDT. The random draw will take place July 8, 2015.

Registration is $200, and only runners picked through the draw will be charged. You can enter the lottery as an individual or as a group, and men are welcome too.

If you’re one of the lucky runners to get a half-marathon entry, you’ll also be able to register for other Nike Women San Francisco Race weekend events at no additional cost, until events have reached capacity. For more information or to register, visit

Race Report: Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Running San Francisco!

I ran the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. I went in with high expectations and, somehow, the race managed to exceed them. I love, love, love this race. I’d never run a Nike event before, and I’d never run in San Francisco before. From start to finish, I was thoroughly impressed.

From the start at Union Square and on-course signage that let you know the next bathrooms were 1.4-miles away to the red carpet finish and free race photos after the fact, it was a superbly executed race and incredibly fun, too. Not to mention, instead of a finisher medal, I got a Tiffany & Co. finisher necklace. Yep, I’ve been wearing mine all the time. And Tiffany will be back for 2015.

The course’s natural beauty was among the most scenic of the 90 races I’ve run—behind the Kauai Half Marathon and Bermuda Half Marathon. Even through San Francisco’s famous fog I was able to appreciate the beauty of the city’s architecture, Golden Gate Park and the beach. No, we weren’t able to see the Golden Gate Bridge on race day because the fog was so thick. Thankfully, I got a shot in front of it the day before at a shakeout run.

If you’re thinking of registering for the random draw, here’s what you can expect come race weekend! Read the rest of this entry →

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend Info Is Here

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Registration Information

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris (Photo: Disney)

UPDATE 10/13/15: Registration is now open for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. Pricing, schedule, and more information is available here:
Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Registration Is Open

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Finalement! More information about the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend has finally arrived. Disney’s first race weekend outside the U.S. will take place September 22-25, 2016, kicking off with a three-day runDisney Health & Fitness Expo starting Thursday, September 22 at Disneyland Paris Disney Events Arena.

The Disneyland Paris 5K and runDisney Kids Races will run Saturday, September 24, followed by the main event, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon on Sunday, September 25. Runners can also buy tickets to a Pasta in the Park Party at Walt Disney Studios Park and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Disney Village in the evenings before the race.

“We could not be more excited about the upcoming runDisney event,’’ said Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S. in a press release. “It will make Disneyland Paris the world’s third Disney destination to host this successful sporting series that offers a whole new running experience for the young and young-at-heart.’’

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Info is Here

Mickey Mouse and friends escort runDisney finishers across the line. (Photo: runDisney)

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend Registration

Registration through runDisney Travel Providers is slated to open October 13, 2015. The list of tour companies offering travel packages for the weekend has not been released yet.

Runners can also register to run for charity starting October 13, 2015. The list of participating charities will be released on that date.

For individuals who want to register without a travel package or charity partner, limited race registrations will open January 12, 2016.

Pricing for all of the weekend’s events has not been announced yet.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Race Information

The Disneyland Paris races tour runners through two Disney Parks. Read the rest of this entry →

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