Mar 18

My Place In the Pace – The Newbie

It’s hump day and that means it’s time for another pacing experience courtesy of a new runner. Ohhhh ahhhhh. As an old runner (in every possible way) I love when someone I know gets interested in running and racing. Actually, that’s a lie. I like it when only certain people get interested in racing and Nellie of Brooklyn Active Mama is absolutely one of them.


Now, to understand this better, you must know that Nellie is my sister from another mister. We instantly clicked over the blogosphere and the first time we met in person, we hugged for 8 minutes. And it wasn’t even a little weird.


This was like our third get together last fall! I see Nellie (who obviously lives in Brooklyn) more then some of my friends here in CT!

This was like our third get together last fall! I see Nellie (who obviously lives in Brooklyn) more then some of my friends here in CT! Sorry, not sorry.

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Nellie any more, she declared she wanted to start running and she signed up for the Disney Princess half-marathon. I cried quiet tears of joy, while loudly encouraging her in every possible way. Nellie has been running for exactly one year and (warning!) you’re going to feel incredibly inadequate after you read about all she has accomplished in that year, in the best way possible of course, because you can’t help but love Nellie. Ga ‘hed, try.


1. What is your favorite distance?

My favorite race distance is the half marathon*.  Not sure why really but I feel the most accomplished when I finish one! I have been running now for less than a year, my previous (and current) fitness loves include spinning and Zumba.

*I’m not sure if I can have a favorite at less than a year running? (yes, you can! I will allow it)


BLING!…and a customized bib. See? She’s already a big deal!

2. What is your pace for that distance/ PR if you want to share?

Usually around 12:45 (and up!) my PR is 2:44 at the beautiful Trenton Half Marathon. It was my first “cold” race so I was happy!

3. Do you have a pre-race ritual? Do you plan your outfit, meal, sleep, etc the night before or the morning of?

I plan every single article of clothing in one pile in my guest room.  If I don’t disaster ensues. My meals vary. I try to have an awesome breakfast but most times it ends up being nothing.

(Nothing??? OMG Nellie!! WTH? We must discuss this offline)

 4. Where do you line up at the start? Front, back or somewhere in the middle?

Closer to the back for sure. I am a proud back of the packer! It’s not so intense and you make friends quickly. With all the respect to all of you competitive gals, we have a good time back there–at least I do! At the Philly Half we (Black Girls Run!) chatted, laughed and prayed before the race. It was quite the experience and it helped me to rid my nerves before the race.

Yes, that is the Quick rabbit. Get it?

Yes, that is the Quick rabbit. Get it?

5. What happens during the race? Is the vibe relaxed, tense, do people run the whole time or walk? Is there crowd interaction? Do you hear a lot of GPS watches beeping? Do people text or take pictures? Do you fuel?

All the questions Allie! (I know, sorry but people need these details!) The vibe back by me is very chill. We are all “serious” about our run but the intensity is not there. I run walk and most around me do too. There will be selfies. 🙂 I totally take pictures because the one things love about running is the ability to see nature at its best. Plus–I want the memories. There is definitely crowd interaction. I give a high five to whomever wants one and thank everyone for the cheering that they do! (That is so awesome and I wish I could breathe enough to do this too!)

Usually I don’t hear garmins beeping because my BEATS BY DRE are usually blasting some kind of crazy rap (or pop–no discrimination here folks) in my ears. Although I kept the volume low at the princess half and heard garmins beeping everywhere!

Beats raring to go!

Beats raring to go!

6. What happens at the finish? Gasping for air? Hugging friends, family? Is it crowded? Do you head for the food tent? Take selfies?

At the finish usually I am incredibly happy it’s over. I hug my Black Girls Run! Sisters and wait until the last sister has crossed the finish line. I take allllll the selfies and grab a bagel of course for my empty tummy.

7. What do you do when you get home? Ice bath? Massage? Foam roll? Wine? Cheeseburger? Sleep?

I usually try to nap right away because my head hurts terribly after longer races, then I foam roll because I have so many other things to do during the week like Bodypump, spin and of course teach Zumba! I LOVE running but I love everything else too!

The race that launched many others - Disney Princess Half - DONE!

The race that launched many others – Disney Princess Half – DONE!

Now that you’re in love with Nellie, as I said you would be, you’ll want to hang in all the places she does:

Twitter: @BklynActiveMama

Instagram: glamnellie

Facebook: Brooklyn Active Mama


Do you have race experiences like Nellie?

What do you listen to while you run? Drive? Dance? (come on, you know you dance alone sometimes!)


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  1. Hollie

    I love reading about other athletes experiences during road races. Everyone has a different path and journey and it’s always interesting to read about!
    Hollie recently posted…St Patrick’s Day and Guinness…My Profile

  2. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    Oh I am so excited to be here in one of my favorite places on the web! That opening paragraph threw me for a loop, I’m all emotional now because it’s so true. I am so happy to have met you because without you I’d still be doubting my running abilities and running 5ks. I forgot to mention how you have been my unofficial official running consultant–everytime I think of doing something crazy I send you an email first lol! The thing I appreciate most though is that you never made me feel inadequate for being slower than most you always are super encouraging and that means the whole world to me. Even though you run 2 minute miles (ok 4 minute miles :)) you never look down on me in all my turtle glory. So thank you for that!

    Also. I know. I need to get the breakfast thing together. Look for a consultation email coming soon to an inbox near you!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Carver CurtsyMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Like I said, I don’t love all runners but I love you!! You are true to the sport, you are true to yourself and you just love to run. I couldn’t be happier to have you as a BIG part of this series and I am continually impressed by all your accomplishments – running and otherwise.
      I will be looking forward to that email!!! We need to figure this out ASAP 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. jill conyers

    Great read! I don’t listen to anything very often when I run but training for ultras called for lots of podcasts.
    jill conyers recently posted…Learning To Live In the PresentMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I can imagine!! I loved being able to listen to Serial during some of my long runs.

  4. misszippy

    Nellie is so stinking cute–loved reading this. Her enthusiasm just bubbles over. I have a feeling she has a long running career ahead of her; newbie not much longer!

    And Nellie–how WAS that cold, wet DC half?
    misszippy recently posted…I’ve got a race calendar!My Profile

    1. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

      Thanks Amanda!! I sure hope I have a long career ahead of me—I do love it.

      The half was um quite interesting. Not my best and slightly miserable lol! I’m posting a recap manana.
      Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Carver CurtsyMy Profile

    2. vita88


  5. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    Yeah Nellie! I love her and her race updates! She has done a ton of stuff since she started running and I couldn’t be more proud of her! Thanks for featuring her!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Big Changes…My Profile

    1. vita88

      Agreed!! She has great pictures and updates – always.

  6. Karen

    Thanks so much sharing this — I really needed it today! Nellie rocks and I’m so glad to see her celebrated here!

    1. vita88

      I’m so glad. Everyone needs a daily does of Nellie!

  7. Kim

    I do love Nellie and plan to use her race tactics (enjoying, selfies, fun!!) on Saturday!!!
    I’m like Nellie – no breakfast for me before a race or any run!
    My oldest son ends up with a headache after most of his longish runs – I think it is just the exertion?
    Kim recently posted…Some of My Favorite WorkoutsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Dehydration?? I’m going to ask Nellie about that one too!! And yes, I don’t know how you don’t eat and run so damn fast and effortless. Have a great time on Saturday! I’ll be looking for your selfies!

  8. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Nellie! Adding one more blogger to my growing list of must meets. I love anyone who can have fun!!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…3 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday RunningMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Then you will adore Nellie! We really need to all get together and RUN!

  9. Tara Newman

    Oh hey! Some of my favorite girls! Love you ladies. I am obsessed with the song Uptown Funk right now. Crazy dance parties are happening.
    Tara Newman recently posted…From Uninspired to Awesome: A Case StudyMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s a good one. I use it in spin class on a regular basis 🙂

  10. Jess@Flying Feet

    I absolutely adored this post! Thank you for sharing Nellie with us. And yes, you are correct. I adore her! She seems like a fun gal oozing with optimism. New runners are the BEST because of their enthusiasm for the sport. Helps recharge us who’ve been around the block a time or two.
    Jess@Flying Feet recently posted…Making a Difference Link-Up with Miles-to-GoMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing better then a new runner who embraces the culture 🙂 Thanks Jess!

  11. Dana

    So not everyone runs a super fast mile? Good to know. I listen to my heavy breathing when I run – maybe that’s part of the problem!
    Dana recently posted…Never will I everMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Definitely not…in fact, most don’t! Get some good music going and you just may like to run!!

  12. Melissa Burton

    Is it wrong that this post made me tear up? Nellie has always radiates positivity but seriously, you could feel it leaping through the page here!!!

    I love how you have embraced running, Nellie. I wish that I had had the same experience when I started running. I needed yoga to help appreciate what running could be and that it is different for everyone.

    Seeing those smiling photos of you with those medals are mementos of hard work but they also inspire joy!

    I agree that you NEED to eat something before you race though (it might be the cause of those headaches, my friend).

    Much love to two of my favorite blog peeps!

    Melissa Burton recently posted…In Susie’s Kitchen: Review of Flavor Flours with Alice MedrichMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Nellie has that effect on people so, no it’s not wrong at all! You’re absolutely right about her photos – pure joy. Nellie runs on her terms and I think that’s what I love most about her philosophy. And, don’t worry, between the two of us we’ll have her eating at least a banana with peanut butter before her next race. I agree that my be the headache culprit…I will also quiz her on hydration 🙂 Thanks Melissa! xo

  13. GiGi Eats

    EEPS! So excited to meet you NELLIE THIS JUNE!!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Notsa CarbonaraMy Profile

    1. vita88

      So excited to meet YOU this June!!

  14. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    That was so much fun to read! I love Nellie too, and I’m sad I didn’t get to see her at the Princess half but now that I have gone once, I am going back and maybe she will too! It was fun. I have to go back and read her race recap because I haven’t had a chance to. I am putting one on too, but I of course am delayed…but it will be up by the end of the week. Back to Nellie, though, she really is amazing and has accomplished so much in a year! It’s impressive!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Gnocchi with Cabernet Cream Sauce and Braised Beef Short RibsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It really is! I think I saw your recap posted and I need to check it out. I can’t wait to read all about your experience, now that I’ve read Nellie’s 🙂

      1. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

        No, it posted and I deleted! It wasn’t supposed to post! Operator error! I did post a copycat recipe from a meal I had while we were there, the Gnocchi from The Wave restaurant, which was amazing, and I absolutely had to re-create! So that has a little of the trip. I’ll be posting the rest of it on Friday. 🙂
        Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Gnocchi with Cabernet Cream Sauce and Braised Beef Short RibsMy Profile

        1. vita88

          Well that explains it!! I’ve done that myself. Pesky publish button can be sneaky!

  15. NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner

    I was so encouraged to hear Nellie’s story! I’ve just started running and set some goals for around this time next year so it was really cool to see Nellie’s accomplishments for her first year!
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted…March GoalsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You should read some of her earlier stuff too – you will be even more inspired. Good for you and I hope you keep it up!!

  16. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    I love Nellie and it has been so cool watching her running journey evolve!! She is a superstar.
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Fitness FavoritesMy Profile

    1. vita88


  17. Tamara

    I definitely want in with that eight minute hug. Can I sign up?
    I love hearing about the post race, but sad about the head hurting! I’ve found that as I get older I have less bounceback after a stressful or grueling experience. It still happens but I think my anxiety sort of shades it in as headachy or queasy, when really, I should be dancing with relief!
    Tamara recently posted…How To Fall In Love, Part 2.My Profile

  18. Jen

    Nellie is absolutely adorbs!!!! And she has a contagious smile:) great job Nellie ! ( ps I love your name:)
    Jen recently posted…I Am Woman – Hear Me RoarMy Profile

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