Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon Recap- 2018

“A little progress each day adds up to big results” 


Oh boy, I don’t even know how to start this one. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a recap but this one comes with so many feels.

The last couple years I’ve ran a destination half in the winter. Key West in 2016, Disney Princess in 2017, and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do this year but I knew I wanted it to be part of a family vacation. My oldest son is at that age where he wants to see everything he reads about so he was asking about the Grand Canyon and the desert so when someone posted about this half I quickly put the two together, booked flights and a hotel and marked it down as a go.

We left to fly down to Arizona the morning before the race. With a 3:30 wake-up call, a long flight with the kids, car rental, and getting to the hotel, we were all exhausted by the time we got to the hotel. We were going to try for a nap before the expo but my little one was not having that(of course).

We headed to the expo which was at the Mesa riverview shopping plaza. It was outdoors and the traffic was crazy so my husband let me out and I went alone. I picked up a few little goodies and left because I didn’t want to spend too much time away from the kids.

I was really worried about getting to the buses in the morning because everyone had told me that the traffic is horrible even at 3-4 am and they had experiences of sitting in traffic for 30-40 minutes. I talked to the people at information about the best way to get there from my hotel since I would be taking a Lyft so that I didn’t wake up my kids or husband that early.

We stayed a hotel with a kitchen in our room which I like to do when traveling for races if possible. It makes it easy to cook my pre-race meal which is unlike most pre-race meals. I always eat a cheeseburger on whole wheat bread with rice. It’s strange I know, but it works for me and I eat it every Friday night as well before I long run. They had a grill at the hotel so Justin made the Burgers, I made the rice, and we had dinner and went to bed around 7. Early- yes – but with the time change it was really easy for everyone to fall asleep.

The 2:30 wake-up call came early. I got up quietly, got ready and was out the door by 3:20. My oldest son had ended up in our room that night with me and he woke up right before I left and said “good luck on your run mom” and it melted my heart that he woke up to just tell me that. I got a lyft from the hotel to the mesa riverview parking lot where you meet the buses. The traffic was not so bad at 3:30 but as we were leaving the parking lot, you could see a long line of traffic trying to get off the overpass. I would always rather be too early than stress about running late.

I should insert here that the night before I told Justin that I had never felt so confident about a race. I almost felt too confident and that made me nervous. I told the cab driver the same thing when he asked me how I felt. I just felt good, I trained well, the weather was going to be nice, and I felt like it was a day to PR. Every single race I’ve ever done before I doubted myself and my capabilities but this time I chose to believe in myself and honestly trust my training. People say that a lot but it’s really hard to actually do, this time I did it.

They had heaters to sit by to keep you warm at the start line so I did that and met some new people and friends from IG. At 5 am(an hour before race start) I mixed my Genration UCAN packet with my water and slowly drank that for about 10 minutes. I have found this to be the best fuel for long runs and races because I no longer need to fumble around with sports beans and GU’s and Gel’s do not sit well in my stomach. At 5:30 I went to the porta potty line which was not too bad and then dropped my bag and went to the start line. I should add they had U-Hauls right at the start line to drop your bag off so it was convenient.

(I was one of the first people to line up and leave the heaters…this was about 10 minutes before the race 🙂 )

They had music playing and fireworks at the start which was really cool. I knew I wanted a sub 1:50 so I lined myself up between the 1:50 paces and far behind the 1:40 pacer. When the gun went off, I found a groove and ran with it. It was dark so I didn’t want to keep checking my watch but I know I tend to go out fast so in the first mile I checked it a couple times and did slow my pace because at one point my instant pace was 7:05 and that’s too fast for me in a first mile of a half.

It clicked at 7:58 and I just tried to maintain that pace the entire time. Around mile 8-9 it was narrow in some spots and I could feel myself slowing a bit but didn’t want to positive split so I thought of all the things to speed me up. My family that was waiting for me and that had traveled out here with me. The early mornings that I wake up and sometimes struggle with and the 9 miles behind me that felt so good. One of the best things about running a half after you have done marathons or while you are training for a marathon is the fact that you run a half almost every weekend. The distance is not SO daunting!

By mile 10, my thought process really did change to it being only 3 more miles instead of 6-9 on a really long run and I knew I could push myself to finish fast. Because my A goal was 1:47 I didn’t really know where I would end up. I knew my husband had ran his first half in 1:45 flat and that was a 8 minute mile so if I could keep up those splits I would beat a 1:45 but didn’t know what my time would be.

I came around the last corner and saw the finish line and my family. I had told my son I would “Dab” when I saw him so I did that and starting “raising the roof” and kinda dancing as I ran! I was so happy to see the finish and I didn’t even look at my watch at that point until I ran through and hit stop.

1:42.43 is what my watch said. I was shocked, honestly I am still a little shocked. My hands were freezing, I couldn’t even stop my music or text the people that were texting me because they were so numb. My family found me and I said to Justin “wow a half goes much faster when you run it fast” that an obvious statement but it was the first thing I thought of. I just couldn’t believe my watch time yet and the tracking app was frozen for him so he couldn’t tell me what my time was. I looked down at my kids and their cute little signs they made and it made me laugh. They couldn’t get in the gates so Justin told me to go do what I needed to(take pictures, etc) and then meet him later.


At that point I had no idea what my official time was, finally a friend who had been tracking me told me the actual official time from the app because the QR wasn’t working or maybe I was just shaking too much.

Official Time- 1:42.41!!! PR CITY! 

Looking back on the race, I feel like it was one of those races that you hear about all the time but rarely get. The weather, for me, was perfect. Some people were complaining how cold it was, but for this Michigan girl it was perfect running weather. The humidity in Arizona is so low compared to what I usually run in here even in the winter so breathing for me was easier. I had absolutely no GI stomach issues, which sometimes happens during races, and my mental game was just on for this race. I completely believed in myself!

I beat my 2018 goal of a sub 1:47 half in February of the 2018 and that’s an amazing feeling! I’m so truly thankful for my family, friends, and IG friends who have supported me and believed in me over the years.

I’m in full marathon training mode now and I would be lying if I said that Boston didn’t seem a little closer now. I like to set attainable goals and my written goal is far from a Boston time but I want to start fighting hard for Boston and believe that I CAN get there!

I definitely want to do Phoenix again but the full next time! I loved the race, the atmosphere, and everyone was just so nice!

The amazing thing is that I took 20 minutes off my PR in ONE YEAR and also PR’d all my distances in this race(except the marathon, of course)

Official stats: (helps with my footpod now)


It was such an amazing day and I’m so thankful that I was able to not only run such a good race but also thankful for my family that definitely puts up with my running obsession. My husband who watches the kids and my boys who just know it is part of me and cheer me on.

If you want to try the UCAN I talked about- I drink Lemonade flavor…I also drink the electrolyte drink after long runs and LOVE the bars!

The link is : Generation Ucan- 10% off

Also, I was sporting the Run Rum gear that day because as always it’s my favorite!

10% off with code “jessicah10” at Run Gum

I have a half at the end of  March that I signed up for before Phoenix and I haven’t decided my game plan just yet. I main goal now is training smart for my marathon at the end of May so the last thing I want to do is injure myself racing. I rolled my ankle last week on the long run and it feels fine when I run but little twinges creep up once in awhile so I want to play it safe with that as well. Eyes on the prize- MARATHON PR!

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to say congrats and all the kind messages! Two weeks later and I’m still on a high!

Run Happy!!!




A few of my favorite things!

I get asked frequently what products I use for just about everything so I decided to write a post about my favorite things.


Yes, a few of the products listed I am an ambassador for, however everything I am an ambassador for I used for well over a year before I was an ambassador. They are products I love, believe in, and want to share so that is why I became an ambassador.

Lets start with clothes:

Nike sponsors me…JUST KIDDING! I like Nike pro shorts for running in the summer. I also love their tanks and I wear Nike Pegasus 34.

Oiselle – I am a huge fan of their winter clothing. The leggings, the vests, and the jackets are perfect and keep me really warm here in Michigan. My new obsession is their MAC ROGA shorts- they are the shorter version of their normal shorts and have built in underwear. LOVE THEM!

I have a $20 off your first order if you use link:

$20 off

Rabbit – I started wearing some Rabbit tanks in the late summer and love the bunny hop tank top. I also love their shorts. (Theme here- I love running in shorts). I did get the chance to try out their pants recently and they were so sleek and also provided great compression. My very favorite Rabbit product though is the Emoji tank top!

February 1-9 use code “winterblues20” for 20% off all regular tanks and shorts! Link below!


Balega Socks– I DON’T WEAR ANYTHING ELSE. PERIOD! They were the first socks that didn’t cause blisters when I started running and I haven’t looked back.

Balega Socks

Wearable Gear: 

Jaybird Sport I wear the X3 headphones right now and love them. I went through 5 pairs of Beats last summer in the heat and humidity so I needed something that would sweat with me. These are perfect and never fail me!

Wear Safe Tag – To keep me safe on those dark early runs.

Knuckle Lights – This one came through my husband. He didn’t like wearing a head lamp so he asked for a pair. I tried them out and fell in love! Bye bye headache from my headlamp. They are SO bright and give off way more light than a headlamp.


Things I can’t LIVE without: 

Run Gum– Hands down gets me through the day. I chew two pieces- you can take it 10-15 minutes before your run or even when you start to run. I have done it both ways, I usually throw it out around mile 3-4. The taste can be bitter to some at first but it’s caffeinated so it will have a little bitterness to it.  I also chew it once in awhile on a long day when I just need energy. The best part about it is that it does not mess with your stomach like food or a cup of coffee would before an early morning run! Try it-click on the link below:

Try Run Gum!! 10% off with code – jessicah10

Generation Ucan – I heard about Ucan through a podcast last spring and reached out to them to just find out how to use their product because I honestly didn’t know how drinking Ucan could sustain energy for long periods of time. It worked perfectly for me during marathon training for my long runs. I never felt that crashing feeling and I love not needing to carry any fuel with me. I love their chocolate peanut butter bars too for midday snacks.

Gen UCAN – 10% off

I am constantly trying new things and open to new products but these are my staples that need with me every day- and of course my Garmin Fenix 5s! 🙂

If you have any questions- feel free to shoot me a message on here and I will get back to you! These are just a few of my favorite things- what are some of your CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT running products?

I am hoping to have a few new blog posts soon! The beginning of this year has been crazy, but I want to share some tips on running in Vegas, running with the footpod, and also treadmill running. So stay tuned! 🙂



Find Me at the Barre

The town I live in recently opened a Pure Barre studio. I really wanted to try it because I have extreme FOMO(fear of missing out) and also because I’ve heard so many good things about it. A runner friend from my town is one of the instructors and told me I would love it for cross-training benefits. If you have read my past fitness posts you know that I did Pilates as a main form of fitness after I had Hudson and before I found running. Pilates was great but the class schedule at the studio I went to didn’t work out for me when I wanted to focus more on running.

I do the same workout routines pretty much every week- run and strength train. Even finding time to strength train is extremely difficult so I really didn’t know how I would fit this in too but it came at a perfect time. The studio opened up a week after the Chicago marathon and I had purchased a 5 week opening special so once I felt like I had recovered from the marathon I went to my first class.

I was nervous- you need special socks, I am not a dancer, what is all this lingo they are talking about…all of these thoughts were going through my head. I went to an early morning class for my first class and the instructor was amazing. She went through everything I would need, explained some of the terms(tuck, freeze, lift tone and burn) and I went with it. Due to the fact that the studio had just recently opened many newbies were in the class too so I didn’t feel like I was the only one who didn’t know what I was doing. In fact in every class the instructors walk around and help you make adjustments to your form so you are properly working the right muscle groups. I left feeling great and knowing that I had found something that would hit the muscle groups that I tend to work the least. My hip flexors and core that I don’t dig deep enough for are both a main focus in Pure Barre and that was enough to get me to my second class.


Pure Barre uses small movements that literally are focused on lifting, toning, and burning your muscles. Anyone can do it and it’s low impact so it’s perfect for a recovery day and I like to do it as a second workout (if I can) on an easy run day. My studio in Clarkston, Michigan has so many times each day to choose from which is a huge benefit for someone like me that is a Mom but wants to run, works a full-time job, and also wants to take a 55 minute class. In one month I’ve went to 13 classes and I feel like my core, arms, and legs are getting stronger because of it. Also when my hamstrings or hips feel tight from a hard workout it has been a good form of release and stretching for those muscle groups. I also find that it helps with flexibility and strengthens my joints.

Overall I’m really happy with the addition of this in my routine and plan on keeping it in my schedule 2-4 times a week. I think it is going to make a big difference in my performance and strength as a runner so stay tuned for more!


Have you tried Pure Barre?? Let me know your thoughts and how it has helped you!



Clarkston Back Roads Half Marathon- 2017

This past Sunday I ran the Clarkston Back Roads Half Marathon. I signed up for this race for a few reasons:

  1. It is not even 5 minutes from my house and I’ve never ran a half that I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  2. It’s all about community and I love the community I live in.
  3. I wanted to support my local gym Anytime Fitness Clarkston.
  4. Honestly I just wanted to end the year with 4 half marathons in 2017.

I ran the 5k last year and it was tough. Just the first 3 miles run you through trails and rocky roads so I went into it not knowing if this would be a PR type of race for me because I train mainly on roads and not dirt roads or trails. I didn’t know what the rest of the course would be like though, but I heard from a few people to save my legs for the last 2 miles and THEY WERE RIGHT!

All week the weather was calling for rain/snow with low temps but weather can change so I didn’t really let it bother me. The night before however it changed to freezing rain and that is when I freaked a little. Running on slippery roads and trails sounded like absolutely no fun to me but figured it’s Michigan and the weather changes by the hour so worrying about it wouldn’t do me any good.

The race has a late start, 9:15, so I woke up Sunday morning around 6:30 because I had parenting duties to do to. My husband and Mom were supposed to go to the race. My Mom has never been to any of my longer distance races because she is usually watching my kids so I was really excited for her to go. However, at the last minute my husband was sick so when he woke up he said he couldn’t go and because my Mom had never been to one and it was cold I didn’t want her to go stand by herself so I told her she didn’t have to go. I was extremely bummed though and kept it in at the race but cried on the way there. Other than Disney which I was mentally prepared to do alone because of the time of the event, Justin has been at all my races so knowing he was not at the finish line made me really sad. Especially since it is a community driven event, there were so many friends there that asked where he was and mentally it was hard for me to not have him there. I know that is silly because people do races all the time without their spouses or significant other but I was emotional about it…and it didn’t help that of course that morning Mother Nature decided to show up which made me extra emotional.

I go to the race, dropped off a bag of clothes in case I was cold and wet and wanted to change after, went to the bathroom, and then lined up to start. I chatted with a few people I know and honestly before I knew it, it started. I never ever felt nervous before, I knew that I was there to enjoy myself and didn’t really think about the fact that I was running a HALF MARATHON! Coming off marathon training I basically ran a half marathon or longer every weekend so I didn’t worry about the distance, however I had not ran the distance since the marathon so that thought started creeping in during mile 1!

The first miles are through trails and then come out to a little paved road, but it’s packed with hills. At points you run on grass, the trails have some loose rocks so its important to watch your footing. Once you get out to mile 4 you are on dirt roads which isn’t bad. For me one of my main problems or injuries I have is the bottom of my feet when I run distances. Just pushing down on rocks on the dirt roads hurt my right foot but I kept going and tried to pace myself around a 8:30 minute mile. At the 10k point I was at 50 minutes and some change. This is right where you are heading back into the park and on pavement again. I was doing pretty good until around mile 7, this is the first time I got water and I walked through the water station. A girl I know from IG came up behind me and we ran together for awhile and chatted. It had started to rain at this point and my pace was starting to drop. I told myself to try to finish sub 2 and just keep moving. Through mile 11 and 12 it is hills upon hills. Steep rocky hills that were hard to even jog up without losing my footing so I walked fast up those when I had to and also tried to watch myself coming down too.

The course is gorgeous! The whole time I was just looking at the scenery around me and how pretty it was with all the fall colors in the woods. Once I got to mile 12 I had no idea what the last mile held for me but decided to just dig as deep as I could and run. It was started to rain harder and I just wanted to get to the finish! I saw the sign on the road the pointed “Half Marathon Finish This Way” and I bolted. The finish line is sown a slight hill and on grass and I threw my hands up in the air and got it done. I laughed because the annoucer said “she knows how to finish a race, hands up for the finish…doesn’t everyone do that??

The owner of my Gym- Anytime Fitness Clarkston was there to support me and I saw him on the side and I was SO happy to see someone I knew. I gave him a hug and took one of the blankets to wrap around me. We headed inside to stand by the fire and warm-up for a little while. One of the great things about this race is the Mac & Cheese they give after from The Union which is a big restaurant in our town and they also give out craft beer. I was a little drained from so much that day and wanted to get home to my family so I just took off without getting anything. Definitely was such a different race experience for me because while it was tough and I don’t know if I’ll ever do that half again, it also seems like a blur because I had so many things going on in my head. (I was really cold in this picture)

Finish time was 1:56:10 – shocked myself with that one. Not a PR but considering the conditions and the course I was proud of myself. A friend of mine said she knows someone that runs it every year not to PR but to see if they can just beat their time from the year before. Not a bad idea considering it is so close to my house. I did hear though that they are thinking of moving the location back to closer to our downtown area which is where I run every day so if that happens- sign me up! HAHA!

I started out 2017 wanting a sub 2 half marathon time after several failure attempts. I did 4 this year and each one was under 2 hours including this non-road half marathon so I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made this year!

2018 goals…well those are for another blog post 🙂

Official Stats:


Thanks for following my journey through 2017- I hope you continue in 2018!!!



Chicago Marathon -2017

I’m usually pretty good with words and writing my feelings down however I guess the bigger the experience the harder it is to write it out so it’s taken me a week to get this post finished and I honestly think there is SO much more I could say. The entire Chicago experience from the moment I found out I got accepted until the day we left Chicago was amazing. When I applied I told myself that if I got in it was God’s will for me to do another marathon. Last year I struggled so much with marathon training and the marathon itself and I didn’t want to have those feelings again. So when I got accepted I was excited but kept it on the back burner as I tried to focus on lowering my half times in the spring and winter this year.

I trained for 18 weeks through my coach Victoria, the owner of Run4Prs. I missed one 10 mile run the entire time due to my knee hurting and changed my last 22 mile run to a 19 mile run to be on the safe side. My husband Justin was training for Detroit all summer and it really helped me this year having him out there with me even though we don’t run the same pace at all. Our Saturdays were always spent getting up at 4:45 to get out to our trail by 6 am. There is a certain struggle of TWO parents training for a marathon- we definitely had some rough times but got in our training runs, even with me running at 3:30 am and him at sometimes 8:30-9pm.  Training is not for everyone- some people get really sick of training, but I actually love it. I like the clear definition of what I need to do every day. I added a lot of cross-training in this year too which really helped me although once I hurt my knee a month before I stopped cross-training because I was nervous that I would injure it more.

So flash forward to marathon weekend. We made the decision to not take our kids. We thought about taking our oldest but I am glad I didn’t now. He would have been bored out of his mind at the expo and also we did a lot of walking. It would have also been hard for my husband to navigate getting to all the spots he wanted to see me at with Chandler with him, as he used the train system to get everywhere like they suggest to do. We left Friday morning around 8 am and got to Chicago around 12:30(CST). We checked-in to our hotel and then headed to the expo.

THE EXPO- it was nothing at all like anything I’ve ever been at! Most expos have small local shops and some big name vendors but Chicago is sponsored by Nike and everything is top-notch. We were able to watch a really cool interactive video of the course and talk to other runners from all around. It was so much fun and not overwhelming to me at all like I feel at most race expos. The Nike Chicago gear is awesome- I bought way too much of it along with some special Goodr #runchi sunglasses for the race.

Saturday was all about meeting people and just spending the day in Chicago. Justin ran the 5k, which started right behind our hotel, at 7:30 in the morning. So I took a Lyft as close as I could get to the finish line to see him. He did incredibly well considering he is doing a marathon this week and needed to do an easy run.
After the race we walked to the Bean to do the WeRunSocial Meet-up and the Run4Prs meet-up! It was SO fun! We spent almost two hours there just talking to people, meeting people in person that I’ve talked to for two years, and just chatting about the race conditions the next day. Many of them had run Chicago before so I got some advice and it was awesome to hear amazing runners like Heather Schulz say the marathon gets in her head too, when she is such a speedy and great runner. This running community is truly special.


I also met up with the Run4Prs girls who I talk to all the time and a group of girls that I text all day every day about more than running at this point- Amber and Sarah(and soon to be Julia who came the next day).

After the meet-up Justin had to run more for his last long run so I went back to the hotel and relaxed for awhile before we went shopping on Michigan Ave.(my birthday is coming up) :). For dinner we went out with Amber, her family, and Sarah to a Michigan bar so Justin could watch the game and they had a little of everything for people to choose from. It was starting to hit me at dinner that I was running a marathon in the morning! We got back and I was in bed by 9:30.

I woke up before my alarm at 4- suggested time to be at my gate was 6 am, although the race didn’t start until 8. Justin walked me as far as security would allow him and then I was off by myself! Unintentionally I ran into Amber and I was thrilled to see her! We were in different corrals but she was standing outside hers when I was walking to mine. We talked for awhile and then we ran into Rebecca(runbecca_run) who was in my corral and we talked and stood in the massive porta pot lines together. We were probably in the line for a good 45 minutes to an hour. Once we finished we all parted ways and got to our corrals. I found another friend Liz who talked with me until the time we started. I was in corral F the first corral in Wave 2. The start time is 8 am, let me tell you, 30 minutes on a hot sunny day can make a difference. The corrals were MASSIVE and I crossed the start line at 8:03. I need to get my half time down so maybe at least I can be in Wave 1 next time and start earlier!


EVERYONE told me to not go out fast. The crowds are electric and it’s so easy to get caught up in that so I tried to be conservative, that is definitely hard to do when you don’t know at all what your pace is. My first mile clicked at 7:30 and I knew that was wrong because it was way before the mile 1 sign. I kept checking my pace band though and watching my time on my watch not my pace. SO SO SO hard to do if you are used to pacing yourself between miles. I had no idea what pace I was running until I would get to a new mile sign. I wanted to stay around a 9 minute miles and adding it up in my head I was around 8:50 something in the first miles.


My goal at the half was to be slower than my half PR(1:54) and at the half I clocked in at 1:57 on my watch. So I knew I was doing something right, however the day was getting hot. The roads were wet from the huge amount of water hoses and sprays(which were a God send) that they were spraying and I was pouring water on me all the time. I was definitely squishy and I didn’t care- I wanted to stay as cool as possible. After the 25k mark I could feel my legs starting to slow but I knew Justin was supposed to be at mile 16 so I tried to keep up my pace so I could see him and he could give me my Generation Ucan. I stopped and got my drink from him and he looked at me and said “I know” because he knew how hot it was just standing there, he didn’t even need me to say it but then he said “you need to keep moving” so I did. Somewhere between mile 15-17 I made the decision to walk through the aid stations. I don’t regret this at all. It was hot, I needed to make sure I was drinking the entire glass and not just throwing it on my face. I knew my pace was so off at this point but it did not matter at all to me, I adjusted my goal in my mind and pushed forward. By mile 20, it looked like a scene from the walking dead in some areas. Hundreds of sponges on the roads, cups, the ground was soaked and people were stopped stretching, throwing up, and just walking with their heads down. The sun was relentless. I started thinking about my training, maybe I should run some more longs runs later in the day next year in the sun to prepare more for sunny days. It sounds awful to do but maybe that would prep me more for the sun. In my head I just kept telling myself to not think about the pain, it will be over soon, take a little jog, don’t stop moving. Over and over I repeated that and I knew I was moving at the slowest possible speed I could move but my body physically would not move faster. I tried to do some strides or surges to speed up and it would work for a minute but then I would slow back down to a slow jog. I ran past some store front windows and I thought “wow I look so slow” but I didn’t care- I was running and that’s all that mattered to me. I wasn’t giving up on this one and I didn’t want to walk until I got to the aid stations.

709855_263064049_Medium (1)

When I got to the final mile I felt a huge lump in my throat, I had MADE it. The crowds were cheering and it was nothing like I’ve ever been a part of, but my mind felt fuzzy and I just needed to get to the finish and climb that last hill. Then there it was 400 meters, 300 meters, around the corner and the FINISH LINE!


After I finished I cried, and just kept moving forward afraid that if I stopped I would fall down. I knew at mile 16 that I wouldn’t hit my goal of 4:00 hours but I didn’t know what would happen to be honest in the heat. At that point I put no time goal in my head except to PR. I crossed the finish like at 4:14.58. A 33 MINUTE PR! So a sub 4:15 on my second marathon ever! I will take it!! I was happy- SO happy!!! I could feel buzzing going off in my flipbelt, I knew it was friends texting me that were tracking me so eventually when I could gain strength enough to take my flip belt off and get my phone I looked at it. So many people thought I would be disappointed but I did not feel that way AT ALL! I haven’t even been running for 3 years yet, I was not a runner until I was in my 30’s, and I have asthma so to run a full 26.2 miles in hot and sunny conditions in 4:14 was a great time for me. Honestly it just made me realize that in good conditions I could do probably do much better and fueled me to want to do another marathon! The exact opposite of how I felt last year when I did my first full.

So then I went and sat in a porta john(just keeping it real with you guys)…this is because honestly I just needed to sit and get out of the sun and also because I had awhile until Justin was going to be at the runner reunite area. I texted my friends back and thanked God for letting my body do what it did that day.

There is a reason only 1% of the population has done a marathon- it is HARD. It requires commitment and training and if you don’t put that in, it will really hurt you on race day. Even though I didn’t reach my goal, I know that had I not trained like I did and if I would have missed runs or trained like I did last year I probably wouldn’t have even had a PR in the conditions.

I loved Chicago- and I will be back! It was by far the coolest experience I’ve ever had as a runner! I want to do every World Major now- HA!

So what’s next for me- My goal over the next 6 months is to cross-train more, I am starting a Pure Barre class too, and also get a sub 1:50 half marathon before I start training for my next full. Based of my time at the Crim 10 miler I should be able to do that with proper training. But right now I’m resting and making sure my body is fully recovered so all short and easy miles for a couple weeks. I’m excited to see my husband run his marathon this weekend- I’m so proud of him for training hard this summer! I also have a lot of other friends running the marathon and half in Detroit so I’m ready to ring the cowbell and be a spectator this weekend!

If you want to do a marathon- Chicago is awesome. It’s in early October so the weather historically can be iffy but it is so well put together and I would recommend it to anyone!


Official Stats:

Well my match said I ran 29 miles with a few 4 and 5 minute miles just to give you an example of how off my Garmin was.

Official Time- 4:14.58

Place Overall – 14,716/44,258 finishers

Place Gender- 4,938/21,476 finishers

Place Division- 947/3,587 finishers

Thank you to everyone who followed my journey over the summer and for the constant love and support!

Run Happy



The CRIM- 10 Mile Race 2017

“Running is not about being better than someone else, it is about being better than you used to be”. I really don’t think there is a quote that more defines this years 10 mile Crim for me than that quote. I signed up for this race this year because it’s local, it’s a huge race here in Michigan, and I knew it would be a perfect time to do a race before the Chicago marathon. I did the Crim in 2015 when I first started running however it fell on the weekend before my marathon in 2016 and I did not want to race so I opted to sit it out. It’s an extremely fun environment and its draw people from all over the world, which is just so funny to me because of it’s location.

My husband was away so I picked up my bib Friday. The expo is huge, but I managed to get and out with only buying one pair of Balega socks that were on sale. I have a really strange pre-long run dinner and race dinner that I have every week. I eat a certain cheeseburger with wheat bread and brown rice. Every single week. I actually look forward to this meal because I don’t eat a lot of red meat. I went to my parents for dinner who live very close and brought my food to be cooked specially(high maintenance…haha).

The race started at 8 so much later than I’m used to running on a Saturday but I figured it would be good prep for Chicago and we had to be shuttled in to the race area so I was able to fuel somewhat like I will for Chicago too. I rode with my friend Katie to Flint and we met our friend Valerie and hopped on the shuttle to the race. I drink Generation U-Can before long runs and this was my first time using it before a race. I’m a huge fan because GU’s or any other type of race fuel has upset my stomach. We did the bathroom dance and then got in our Corrals.

I was in Corral C and by myself so I texted my husband that I put my live track on my Garmin and stood there telling myself over and over “It’s 10 miles, you are strong, you can do this”. My A goal for this race was 1:25, B 1:27, C. 1:30. I ran it in 1:40.38 in 2015 so I figured a 10 minute PR would be great and I wasn’t sure how the hills would affect me in the back half of the race!

The gun went off for my corral and I was on my way. I felt amazing as you always do in the first mile on a race.

Mile 1- 8:11- I looked down and thought NO WAY, I felt like I was running so comfortably and sticking to my race plan which was to run the first 4 miles around 8:40-8:30 so I wouldn’t be burned out for the hills. I told myself to slow down…but..

Mile 2- 8:06

Mile 3: 8:12

Mile 4: 8:08

Mile 5: 8:06

With each mile I felt stronger but when I turned the corner I saw the sign for teh Bradley hills and I told myself “this is going to slow me down. Little signs on the road say “3 more hills to go, 2 more hills to go…and I just grinded through that mile.

Mile 6: 8:38 and at the top of all the hills there was a water station that I stopped had a glass of water and then went on my way.

I wanted to gain some more momentum and knew I could get my 1:25 if I just didn’t fall back so I pushed harder than I ever have in a race and it paid off.

Mile 7: 8:07

Mile 8: 8:22 (more hills) This picture was taken right around the end of mile 8 and I knew I was going to get the time I wanted! At that point you just have to smile and wave!!!

Mile 9: 8:18

Mile 10- 8:14

.16 – 7:29.

The CRIM is awesome because you finish on old downtown brick roads. I saw the finish line and that the elapsed time was 1:25 which meant I was definitely beating my time since I was in Corral C. I honestly have never felt SO good and strong at the end of a race.

My net time was 1:23.32 – 17 minutes faster than in 2015. I proved so much to myself in this race. It was the perfect race to give me confidence for Chicago and to finally see some major improvements. We all train so hard to reach our goals no matter what they are. I may not be the fastest yet but in my mind I’m blown away by how well I did because I can see so much change in my endurance over the past two years.

For those of you who just started running and feel like you will never get anywhere with it- keep going! Keep having good runs and bad runs because they are all building you for the day when you have a breakthrough race!

Here are the stats as usual:

Less than 40 days until Chicago and I’m ready for whatever 26.2 will bring!

I got a new bin holder from Gone for a Run and I was ecstatic to use it first for this medal!

Check all their medal displays and more here: I have a 15% off code: JESSBUG15

Gone For a Run

What was your first breakthrough race?

Run Happy



Are You Afraid of the Dark?

The number one question I get asked is how I feel safe running so early in the morning in the dark. When I walk out of the door on even the longest days of the year I know my first hour of running will be in the pitch dark. In the winter I have a hard time running outside in the dark because the roads in Michigan are not pleasant and sometimes very icy so I usually use the treadmill but 90% of my spring, summer, and fall runs are outside.

There is something different about running early on a summer morning. It’s dark, but the birds are chirping, the sprinklers are on, and it doesn’t feel as creepy to be outside.

With all that being said, it is still scary running by yourself at 4 am. I would have to admit that every morning when I stand at my mailbox and look up the hill to go out of my neighborhood I wonder what is waiting for me on the other side. Another downside to running in the dark and so early is that your mind is just not fully awake yet. It usually takes me a couple miles to wake up and you have to be very aware of cracks in the road, animals around you, and cars that may not see you.

So what do I do to ease my fears?

  1. I run in a lighted area if I can. I take a route that is not the easiest but it goes over a freeway that has lights lining it and also through my town that for the most part is brighter than if I was just running in my neighborhood.
  2. I use a head lamp to see in front of me. It also helps cars see me although they are probably annoyed with my light coming towards them.
  3. I wear as much reflective gear as I can. (Including on my clothes, hats, and a light on my flipbelt)
  4. I wear a tag by Wear Safe that can be pressed if you are in danger and it will alert ALL of the people I have put in my network. At that point they will get my GPS location, hear live audio, and have the option to call 911 right from that screen. I have never felt SO safe when I run. It’s small and discreet so someone approaching you wouldn’t notice you pushing the tag like they would if you had to get your phone out of your pocket.
  5. I wear Road ID. If I passed out and something happened at 4 am I would like to think that someone could call my emergency contacts to let them know I am hurt.
  6. I carry pepper spray. It is very small and I’ve never had to use it but it makes me feel safe to know I have it just in case.

Running in the 4 am hour is not for everyone but for me it’s my time to fit it in. I do have to take extra precautions but most of these are things you can use in the daylight too. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times when you are running and especially if you are running alone.

If you want to check out some of the products I use click on the below links:

WearSafe Tag  – Discount code “Jessbug1122” for 15% off

Road ID


Nathan Reflective Vest

Flip Belt & Light

Note: I was not paid to promote this on my blog or review the products. I am an ambassador for RoadID & WearSafe and truly love both products!

What’s your favorite time to run?




OBX- Sunset 5k 

“The quickest way to gain self confidence is to do exactly what you are afraid to do” 

I’m beginning to think we can’t take a vacation without running a race. I was definitely okay not doing this race again though. We ran it in 2015, it was my 3rd race ever, and it was awful! Running a race on the sand is no joke- sure running for leisure on the sand can be fun but when you are fighting for a good spot on sand with multiple other runners it can be difficult. Justin really wanted to do it again this year so I took one for the team and decided I would run it again. 

The race is very well put together by The OBX Running Company. The Outer Banks is a huge tourist vacation area so they hold multiple races throughout the summer for visitors. Leading up to it, I wasn’t sure if I was going to wear shoes or not wear shoes. Last time the tide was so high that I ran in wet shoes most of the time and I was miserable. When we got to the race to pickup our packet we walked down to the shore and I could tell it would be the same way this year so I decided to opt for no shoes. I lathered my feet with 2 Toms Sports Shield(that stuff is the best!) and took a chance! The last thing I wanted to do during marathon training was hurt my feet but I have a pretty good gait so I figured I would roll with it! The book “Born to Run” was playing in the back of my mind the whole time! We waited in the holding area until it was time to walk to the Corrals. I thought it was a cute touch that they had Corrals for a beach 5k! 

The horns went off and we were out of there! You start on the dry sand and run down towards the water. Of course everyone goes out extremely fast and it’s hard at first to realize you are running on sand not on a road or path. 

Once you get down to the beach there is not a lot of room so it’s either run in the water line or run up on more of the dry soft sand. Since I didn’t wear shoes I could run at the water line which was great BUT I also used muscles that I normally don’t when running. Really pushing my feet into the watery sand and at times doing high knee strides just to get through waves that were coming up. My first split was 9:37, so much slower than a normal 5k pace for me but this is not a normal 5k. At 1.55 you turn around and there is one water stop. This is the only time I stopped, had my glass of water, and threw it away before taking off back towards the finish. I knew that would slow my overall pace for my second split. My second split was 10:47. Did I mention it was 86 degrees at start time and sunny? This Michigander does not love that but I kept moving which was my overall goal. In the third mile I could tell some of the people in front of me with wet shoes were slowing and couldn’t find good spots to run so I started to look for people to pass. I’m usually not very good at this but this time it kept my mind off the pain in my legs! I knew many people were not ahead of me from the turn around so I just kept moving, didn’t worry about the pace, and plunged on towards the finish. My third split was 9:55. When you reach the end you have to run back up on the soft sand to get to the finish line. Not easy but none of this was so .16 would not kill me! 

I crossed in an official time of 31:50. 

Got my medal and a water and found Justin who said not many people between him and I had finished. This candid picture that was posted of us cracks me up- I don’t even remember fist bumping him but I guess we do that! 

For any other 5k I would be so disappointed with my time but this is not your normal 5k and you have to have that mentality if you are going to run it! Justin and I talked to the Overall Winner who actually took our picture together. He was a younger guy who obviously runs track. He ran it in a little over 20 minutes. His normal 5k time is around 15 minutes. 

I finished and got a seriously good workout at the same time. I don’t feel bad for missing leg day while on vacation this week! My feet are great- no blisters- but my calfs were pretty sore that night when I went to bed. Sore like I had just ran a hard half marathon! 

You can see me on the paper- 35th Overall, 3rd in my division however only 14 people were in my division and 233 people finished the race. Hey- I’ll take it though. I didn’t stop, I stayed strong, and I made myself proud! 2 years ago I finished in 38:58 so that’s an improvement over that time and PR for this course! Justin finished 1st in his AG and 8th overall with a 26 minute time- his normal 5k time is a sub 20.   I try to gage things like that by how I did. I am stronger than I was 2 years ago both mentally and physically! 

After that had a great Carolina BBQ set up for everyone with different Carolina beers. I’m not a beer drinker but took it anyway and it definitely hit the spot! 

Would I run this race again? Well I would say no because it’s HARD but this is my second time doing it so who knows?! I have a feeling if I’m down here and a race is going on we will do it again! The t-shirts and medals are nice and I have ran half marathons that were not as well organized as this! 

Have you ever ran a beach race? Tell me about it! 

As always – Run Happy!!

– Jess 


The Bayshore Half Marathon- 2017

I must start by saying- this is my favorite race that I’ve ever done by far! Even in 2016 with the horrible heat and humidity, I just love how beautiful and scenic the run is. 

This is my last half marathon of the year(I think). I’ve had such a busy spring of races and knowing that it was my last I wanted to end on a high note. I was hoping to PR with a sub 1:55 to just give me the confidence going into marathon training. Last year i hurt my foot pretty bad at this race and took 10 days off after the half. I really didn’t have as much time between this half and my Labor Day full so it threw everything off because I took it easy on my foot and then ended up hurting my other foot while training in the summer. I’ve been feeling pretty good so ending on a healthy high note was the plan.

I didn’t feel as nervous this year though, I felt very prepared for the race and I’ve had a really good training cycle this spring. The day before Justin and I drove up to Traverse City, we got there early and had lunch at Bubba’s which has the BEST sweet potato tots I’ve ever had! We did a little shopping and I got some OOFAS which I’m obsessed with already and just walked around downtown.

 The expo is at the local high school and it is really not an expo, they have some gear and I bought a shirt, a hat, and 2 pint glasses. It’s mainly because this year was the 35th Anniversary and they had retro gear that said 1983 and that’s the year I was born! After we went to dinner with my Michigan Runners group again! It was so fun to see everyone and talk about our goals for the race. Also, my friend Amie(@Amieontherun) is part of the group and she was the very first runners I followed on Instagram. Her sister lives across the street from me so I followed her as a friend but then watched her journey and thought it was awesome and also a little crazy! Now I am just as crazy as she is, but it’s always nice to see her at races because she is crazy good and has a similar story except she is faster than me! 🙂

The night we were in bed by 9:30 with a 5 am wake-up call. We bought the parking pass out to the start line at Devils Ridge Drive which is great because you do not have to wait for the buses to shuttle you out there. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone running the half. The half and the marathon start at two different locations. We have been able to park at the starting line two years in a row and it’s so much better than waiting for a shuttle and you can sleep in a little longer.

We got there and immediately went to the long bathroom lines. We were in the bathroom lines for probably 15 minutes and then had to go put our bibs on and get to the starting line. This half does not have corrals or pacers so you line up around your “pace time” but so many people lie about this. I lined up around the 8 minute mile because the next option was the 9 minute mile. It’s not a big to-do at the start, they sing the National Anthem, and a horn sounds you off.

The first mile of this half is the hardest. It is straight up a hill. I felt like my legs just could not move fast here and I was trying to go faster but not yet burn myself out in mile 1. Add in the people who were fast walking ahead of me so I was dodging around people, mile 1 is rough. Since I’ve done it before I knew mile 2 was a lot of rolling hills, which are my favorite to run since we have a lot of rolling hills in my area. Last year I had to stop right after mile 2 to go to the bathroom so this year once I passed those same bathrooms it was a relief for me because I always have it in my head that I have to stop at mile 2.

Splits Miles 1-6: 8:46, 7:55, 8:11, 8:32, 8:33, 8:37

I was cruising and I felt great! My goal was to finish around a 8:40-8:45 average to get the sub 1:55 and I was ahead of that so far. I saw the first marathon runner coming at me right at mile 4 and then from then on I started to see so many of my friends who were running the full pass me and it kept me busy seeing them and giving some of them high fives!

The whole race I felt pretty good, even when my pace started to slow. I tried to just look out at how beautiful it was and enjoy the run.

Splits Miles 7- 10: 8:39, 8:46, 8:46, 8:58.
Right around mile 10 is ALWAYS when I start to fatigue and this was no different. The sun was starting to get stronger and I started to get in my head a little. No matter what I tried I couldn’t get my legs to move faster and I felt like I was running at the same pace as I was in the beginning but NOPE!

Splits Mile 11-13.1: 9:04, 9:11, 9:16, 8:09

Definitely not negative splits but the end of this race is my least favorite. It has multiple turns and even though I’ve done it before I had no idea when the finish line was coming. I wanted to just walk so many times but I knew I would miss my goal if I did this so I just kept running as hard as I could even though I knew it was slower than I was running at the beginning. The race ends on a track and the crowd gets heavier at the end, I turned left onto the track and ran as fast as I could to the finish without even looking at my watch or what I would be finishing at. My official time was 1:54:54- I had barely got a sub 1:55, but I did it!! I stumbled around looking for someone I knew that had finished before me. I finally found Justin and found out he had got a 19 second PR which I was proud of since he was injured for a month. 

I don’t usually eat or drink much after a race because I usually don’t feel great but Justin and I split a Pepsi and some cookies. We never drink Pop so it was weird but tasted SO good! While standing there I ran into some girls I know from Instagram who run a local running club Buns On the Run and it was awesome to meet them in person and chat for awhile!

We caught the first bus back to the start line and talked the whole way with other runners. It was such a great race and I absolutely LOVE Traverse City. 

I always wish I could have a negative split half but I also feel like even if I would have ran a little slower at the beginning I would have still slowed towards the end. This is definitely something I will be working on in marathon training as I would like to just run a equally paced marathon. 

Official stats: (2774 people finished the half, 286 women in my category)  I also had a 1 second 5k PR 🙂 

I would highly recommend this race to anyone. The half sells out extremely fast, within 10 minutes so if you plan on doing it be look up the information and be ready on December 1st when it goes on sale! I was lucky enough to win 2 free entries into the race next year through a photo contest on Facebook- thank you to everyone who voted for me!! Thinking of doing the marathon… we will see! 

I’m happy with how the spring racing season ended for me and I’m ready for the next big step…Chicago marathon training!!

What is your favorite race that you MUST do every year?

Happy SUMMER marathon training!! 

Run Happy! 




Fifth-Third River Bank Run- 25K

Have you ever just spur of the moment signed up for a race without really thinking it through? That’s exactly what I did when I signed up for this race. I’m in a running group in Michigan and everyone had signed up for it and the prices were going up so I signed both my husband and I up. Justin has never ran more than a half marathon and I was texting him asking him if it was okay but he was in meetings so when he got out- SURPRISE a nice email from Run Signup saying you registered for a 25K. I’ve ran 15 miles in training, but when I signed up I had not ran it since last summer and really didn’t think about my spring schedule as a whole. It was Mothers Day Saturday so I figured Justin couldn’t be too mad at me and “why not”… “Just go with it”.

The race is in Grand Rapids which is close to 2 hours from my house. I had just done Gazelle in Grand Rapids three weeks before but the course is the complete opposite way of Gazelle but have similar starting and finishing areas. Leading up to the race I really wanted to use the race as more of a training race because my final half of the spring is two weeks after and I didn’t want to injure myself or not be able to do any speed work before Bayshore. My goal was to finish between a 9:00-9:30 average pace and I didn’t have a previous PR for this distance so as long as I could keep my average in that range I would be happy.

Justin and I drove out on Friday and went to the expo. I personally didn’t love the expo, maybe I’ve been to many expos lately but I’m one of those who like to buy at least one thing from the expo but it was all pretty much the same as always- nothing different.

We both had to work so we worked after the expo and then got ready to meet our running group for dinner. There were a total of 32 people meeting for dinner which was amazing. It’s always fun to put faces to people you see every day!

We got back to the hotel around 9 and pretty much went straight to bed. This is the truth- I’ve never slept so well before a race! When my alarm clock went off I didn’t even know where I was, I slept like a baby. Maybe it was the fact that I had not put pressure on myself for the race but either way it was nice to get a good nights sleep.

The morning was calm, we turned on the local news and the race coverage was on. This is a HUGE race. It’s the USA 25km Open Championship race so it draws attention from many elite runners. The 5k started at 7 am and the 10k at 7:40 so we were able to watch some of the coverage on TV and also from our hotel window which was really fun. We were about a block away from the start line so we were not in a hurry to get there since the race didn’t start until 8:30. We were able to watch the 5k male and female winners cross the finish line and that was awesome!

I decided to wear shorts and a tank for the race because by the time the race ended it would be almost 70 degrees, the sun was out, and it was humid. I also wore my Wearsafe tag in case I needed immediate help when I was on the course- or I died…one of the two. My essentials included Run Gum, Sports Beans, Flipbelt, a small Momentum sparklet, and my wireless headphones. I was ready to do this!!

So about the race- it’s a beautiful course. Like I said earlier, my goal was to finish comfortably so with that in mind I tried to keep my pace as even as I could.

Splits: Miles 1-9 : 8:46, 8:55, 9:05, 9:08, 8:59, 8:57, 8:53, 8:52, 9:03.

Various parts of the first 9 miles are tree covered and I felt really strong and good during those miles. I took two sports beans at mile 7 and kept pushing. It was told to me over and over that the hills come at mile 10 so I was preparing for it mentally but I was also starting to get tired. Something in my head said “instead of just a few more miles like in a half, you still have another 10k to go”.

Mile 10: my pace dropped to 9:29 but this is the largest hill on the course so I was happy that I kept the pace up and didn’t stop during this time. I powered through it.

Race during

Mile 11: I gained a little back with a 9:12 split. I owe this to the Katy Perry song- refer to my Instagram for more details 🙂

Mile 12: This was my slowest mile of the race. I ran it at 10:00 even this is because I stopped to drink water and then gatoraid and just catch my breath. I don’t do this typically in a race but mentally I needed it at that point. As I was coming from the aid station I started running with someone on the course that I didn’t know but we kept each other going and paced each other towards then end.

Mile 13- 15: 9:05, 9:38, 9:46. I was obviously dying out towards the end and the hills were beating up my legs but I kept moving and that’s what I was proud of. I didn’t walk, I just ran slower.

The end: Well my watch says it was .73 but I’m horrible at running tangents. The pace for that was 9:04. Another race that ends going up a hill and I was struggling to push through but the crowd support was amazing so I pushed through it and finished.

Official Time vs. Garmin Time

I was extremely happy with my time. Not negative splits like I would love to see in a race but I stuck with my goal and finished in the time I wanted. This really gives me so much confidence about Chicago in the fall and training for Chicago. I can tell I am getting stronger in distance running and proving it to myself in races. Even though this was a spur of the moment sign-up I am so happy I did it. The city of Grand Rapids really does put on an amazing race and I got TWO medals for running both the Gazelle half and the 25K!

I’m also so proud of my husband who had never run that distance and had only ran 7 miles in the last couple weeks because he had been injured and was resting. It was not his best time or his goal time but he was happy that he did it and it gave him the confidence to change from the Detroit half to the FULL in the fall!

My motivation right now is so high. I have big goals for the future but I know that I need to take incremental baby steps to get there! Keep pushing, keep grinding, and one day I WILL meet my goals!

As always…RUN HAPPY!