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.

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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!

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

-Jess

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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:

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

-Jess

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

-Jess

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

Jess

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

Headlamp

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?

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! 

-Jess 

 

Goodbye Terrible Two’s

Tomorrow my baby Hudson officially graduates from the terrible two’s to the amazing threenager I know he will be. It’s a little bittersweet for me- I always have a hard time with my kids birthdays but this one feels different because I KNOW I am done having children and this is the last day I will have a two year old- EVER. Hudson has been the definition of terrible two’s- a stage I thought people made up when Chandler was two because he was great. But is this just the case of “the second child” that we all hear about AFTER we decide to have a second child? Maybe.


Let me give you some details of our second year with Mr. Hudson:

  1. He doesn’t sleep well. This kid is the lightest sleeper and this was a big change going from Chandler who would sleep 12 hours every night and still take a 3 hour nap if we let him. Not Hudson though, bedtime is -I need juice, one more song, in and out of bed, opening his window in his room, and most recently he told me he would give me a treat if I slept with him- Okay, so I laughed and my heart skipped some beats when he said that with his cute little voice- but seriously kid- GO TO BED! Once he falls asleep he is up 5:45-6 every morning. Never fails- he is always awake and walking around when I get home from my workout or run in the morning. Which leads me to my second point….
  2. Things he has done since we put him in a normal bed:  A. Climbed to the top of the pantry and came in at 4 am eating muffins. B. Took a whole bottle of powder and exploded it around his room. C. Comes down to our room multiple times at night and sleeps in between my legs like a cat. D. Prepare yourself- he did the whole mass murder bedroom smear his poo everywhere on a Tuesday morning….oh and one time he took a poo in his toy box. SOOO YEAH! I think these things have passed now, I HOPE!
  3. This kid has a temper. He wants your focus ALL the time- most of this is focused on Chandler. Luckily Chan is a pretty good big brother and does play with Hudson but if he doesn’t- watch out Chan you might get a toy thrown in your face or your 3DS game flushed down the toilet. It’s changed the whole dynamic of Chandler too because he has to fight more which was never his personality. It’s amazing how a 6 year old can fear a 2 year old.
  4. I’m in constant fear that he is going to seriously injure himself because fear is just not in his vocabulary.


So I gave you the bad first. When you make the decision to have a second child you think “ahh I’ve got this, should be easy, I’ve already done it once”. Chandler was almost 4 when we had Hudson so we really thought we were experienced. The second child changes everything! The whole dynamic of your family changes and your first child who may have been close to perfect like my first child turns into someone else because now they are competing and also have someone else they can get in trouble. Everyone tells you a baby will change your life but nobody tells you how the second child changes your life. It’s simply put-exhausting every day.



Would I change it??? OOOOOOHHHH NO! Because he completed me- he completed our family. He made me whole and I didn’t even know I was missing that in my life.

So here are some of the AMAZING things about Hudson:

  1. I don’t know a kid with a bigger heart. He loves SO much it’s hard to be mad at him for the above mentioned things because in the same moment he will tell you “you are his best buddy” or just out of the blue he will tell me he likes my hair or sing me a sweet song.
  2. I’ve never got a better hug in my life than from Hudson. Every day. When I see him for the first time in the morning he runs and jumps in my arms. When I see him after work he does the same usually with some loving comment.
  3. He loves his brother. He is obsessed with Chandler and when they play together nicely it’s a magical thing for this Mom to see. Chandler has even commented on the fact that he is so glad he has a brother to play with and this past year this really came to life as Hudson started really talking and playing more.
  4. He loves to dance. Seriously, when we are anywhere and music comes on, he is up and moving.
  5. His personality is witty and funny. He does and says the funniest things, his sense of humor is great for a 2 year old and his laugh is contagious.
  6. He is mine- he is a little bit more like me. Ok, a lot a bit more like me. He is my baby boy. (Not that Chan is not- but Chandler is a little Justin- let’s face it).


I always had my money on Chandler doing big things because Chandler is my smart little child who would rather go to after school math clubs than play a sport right now. However, Hudson has a driven and motivated spirit that I think is tough right now on us but will pay off in the future.

So yes, the second child gets a bad rep but from my point of view it makes them stronger individuals in the long run.

Tonight I will spend 45 minutes putting to bed a two year old for the last time(I’m crying as I type this) and tomorrow I will welcome a new year of adventure, probably some attitude, and growing opinion of a three year old. Hudson completed me on 5-18-14 and I’m so in love with him it hurts me sometimes because I never thought I could love someone like I loved Chandler but love multiplies and doesn’t divide. I am so lucky to have 2 very different healthy boys that are growing up to have individual and amazing personalities.

Here’s to 3…and maybe a little less craziness. (Who am I kidding, I have boys- they will always be CRAZY).


Happy Birthday to my Hudson!!

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon Recap- 2017

I signed up for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon at the start of the year for a few reasons-

  1. I loved the idea of an all-female race and the impact that Gazelle has in the community.
  2. Everyone was signing up for races at the beginning of year and I had a little bit of FOMO.
  3. I wanted to add another “chance” to get a sub 2:00 half before I started training for Chicago in the fall.

So I’ll address reason number 3 first. Last year I had one half marathon in the spring(Bayshore) which turned out to be extremely hot and I finished in my exact PR time 2:02. It’s Memorial Day weekend so I had no other chances before marathon training in the summer last year to run to try to get a PR.

This year I had Disney in February but did not really anticipate getting a PR at Disney at the time I signed up for Gazelle. However, I did and I was extremely happy with my 1:57 at Disney. So going into this I had the Gazelle half, a 25K coming up on May 13th, and then also the Bayshore half marathon at the end of May. To be really honest, I felt weird going into this one because I had wanted a sub 2 half for so long that I had not really thought about what I wanted out of this race because I threw it in my schedule for a sub 2.

The two weeks leading up to Gazelle were personally and physically hard for me. I had a death in my family and also caught a bad sinus infection that lingered for two weeks. In fact, I still don’t feel 100% with breathing. Also, the Friday before the half I came home from work and started feeling very sick to my stomach. I went to bed early(too early) and then woke up around midnight and could barely sleep the rest of the night because I felt so awful. When we got up on Saturday to leave for Grand Rapids I was trying to make the best of it because it was nice to get away for the night without our kids so I was trying to be positive all day and enjoy the day.


The expo was from 11-5 at the Marriott and we were staying there as well so it worked out well. We got there and I went to the expo while Justin went for his long run. The expo was fun- they had a large amount of Nike Gazelle gear and also fun female vendors. They also had special drinks they made for the expo for the ladies attending which I thought was a cute touch although I didn’t have anything because again my stomach was off.

While I was there I was able to meet my friend from Instagram and also a blogger @mittenrunner and it was nice to finally talk with her as she gave me SO many tips about Disney this year and I was so grateful!


That night Justin and I went to dinner and then went back to the hotel to prepare for the next day. It was probably the most odd night before race I have ever experienced. We started a new Netflix series and watched a few episodes before bed. I was pretty calm about the race except for the fact that I didn’t feel too great but I figured a good nights sleep would help. WRONG! I woke up around 1 am with a fever and had horrible sweats. I took some Motrin and eventually went back to sleep but was not too optimistic about the next day.

When I woke up I felt a little better but I did question whether I should even do the race. I talked to Justin about it and he said to shower and give it some time. I slowly got ready and put some positive mantras in my head for the race. I still LOVED the idea of running with all girls and the empowerment of it all so I decided to go for it and just run my race. In my head I told myself “if you have to stop and rest because you don’t feel great, do it” but I had traveled to Grand Rapids so I wanted to do it!


Walking to the race I started getting excited and talking to other girls it made me forget that I didn’t feel good. I lined up, music was playing, everyone was dancing and then we were off. For the first 6 miles I hung around the 8:30 pace, and then around mile 7 I walked for just 30 seconds to eat my sports beans. I have a hard time chewing them and running so I like to walk and then I make up the time. The course was great, it was a beautiful day, and people were out for most of the course cheering us on. This is the first race in a long time that I didn’t wear a pace band, probably because my goal for so long was to sub 2 and I didn’t have a pace band set up for this race. I was determined to just have fun with it and was high fiving all the kids lined up on the course and the people in the parks cheering us on. At mile 10 my pace was slipping but I realized if I could keep that pace I would probably still have another sub 2, but wasn’t sure about a PR, but fought for those last three miles. This picture is from the last bridge you cross and I kept telling myself- “as soon as it ends the pain will subside, don’t stop, keep going”.

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To my surprise mile 12 was up an overpass that honestly felt like would never end, I finished that and thought “phew” on to the homes stretch. I had no idea what the course was like so when we started to get back into the city of Grand Rapids I thought I was in the home stretch until I turned the corner and saw one more hill which would take me to mile market 13. The crowd was steady and cheering and I kept pushing but honestly wanted to just walk up the hill. My Garmin had already vibrated that I was at mile 13 half way through the hill but I knew the course was a little long or I didn’t run the tangents right on so I pushed and kept going. I turned the corner and saw the finish line and sprinted as fast I I could. I didn’t even look at my Garmin to see if I needed to sprint to get a PR, I just RAN! When I got closer I could see the clock had just turned to 1:56 and I knew I had a PR. As soon as I crossed the finish line though I immediately started gagging. I’ve never done that before. I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up and then I saw Justin yelling my name and he came into the finish area and I took his arm and could barely walk. He wasn’t supposed to be in there so he was told, but he walked with me out of the finish area to get a water and I started to feel better instantly. He actually was the one who told me to check my official time, I was still a little out of it and did not even think about it at first! I was pleasantly surprised to see 1:56.06 – a 1:51 minute PR from Disney! Considering I almost didn’t run the race 4 hours prior to that I was thrilled with my time.


Overall, I would highly recommend this race to all women! Everyone was so nice, uplifting, and the overall event was just fun! It might be on my list to do every year and the medal was cute!


Official stats:

My watch was a little off again because I’m horrible at running tangents!

 

And as always thank you to my constant cheerleader for being there, keeping me positive, and holding me up at the end! We had a nice big pizza after the race to celebrate and maybe a cocktail 🙂 We will be back in Grand Rapids in two weeks for the Fifth Third RiverBank 25K!


Run Happy!

– Jess

Trail to the Victors- Big House 5k- 2017

This is my third year running this race and it definitely holds a very special place in my heart. I started running in February 2015 so as a “runner” this was my first official 5k. I had done one other a couple years prior but walked most of it and also did a fun color run, but this is the first 5K that I tried at as a runner. It also is just an amazing race, being a big Michigan fan it is so awesome to finish the race on the 50 yard line of the Big House. Over 5,000 runners do this race because of just that, it’s something special and different!


It was so fun meeting up with some of my friends from Instragram (Amanda and Angie) before the race and just hanging out with Justin(who was trying to get a sub 20 min 5k). We all talked until about 5 minutes before the race started and then lined up and got ready to go!


Since this was my third year doing the race I knew just what to expect. I got a PR last year at this race and like last year I wanted to run the race smart. The largest climb is in the first mile and I talked to my running coach @run4prs prior to the race and she told me to try to stick with a 8:10 mile for the first mile so I didn’t use all my energy which I have done in other 5k races. I ran the first mile in 8:07- perfect. As soon as my wrist vibrated and I saw the 8:07, I told myself it was time to speed it up a little bit but not use too much energy still. I think 5k’s are SO tricky, like I said in my last blog post they are definitely not my favorite. I like to settle into the run, not run as fast as I can. The second mile in a 5k is always the longest mile for me and this was no different. So many turns and corners I felt like I was never going to get to mile 2. Mile 2 clocked at 7:56 and I was happy with that. In that last mile I was running against the wind and I felt like I was really slowing down. I didn’t have my watch set to show my overall time but to just show my lap time so I could focus on keeping my pace. I really thought I was losing pace and I was a little because mile 3 clocked at 8:03 but I was still happy with that. Right when you reach mile 3 it just before the tunnel into the stadium and you can hear the loud speaker and the fight song playing. It definitely pumps you up running into the field and on the field. On my Garmin the last .18 clocked at 7:07 pace- I saw my husband on the sidelines and the clock at 25 minutes and just ran as fast as I could to the finish.

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Official time- 25:20 and a 20 second PR. My husband got a minute PR with a time of 19:47 so I was extremely happy for him because he has been trying to get a sub 20 minute 5k for a long time now!

This race never disappoints, we have had cold weather, snowy weather, and then this year it was beautiful but each time the atmosphere is just fantastic and I would highly recommend it to anyone! One of the best things for us is that it starts at 8:30 so not a very early start and we were done, took pictures, and out of there by 9:15. We can get back home to our kids and not out all morning!

I’m SO happy to say that each year I have improved. 29:46 the first year and 26:01 last year. It’s a slow process but I am feeling much more confident in all my runs lately and I definitely need that for my next two half marathons and going into marathon training this summer.

Here are my official Stats this year:


Run Happy Friends!!!


What’s your favorite 5k? I think everyone has one that holds a special place, what is yours?

XOXO

Jess

Detroit Corktown 5K Recap- 2017

I AM ON A ROLL- Two blog posts within 2 weeks, I’m going to give myself a little pack on the back. 🙂  I don’t do enough short distance races so this year I decided to sign up for some more 5K’s to just help me with my speed. My current 5K PR is 25:40, not super fast but for someone who ran her first 5k over 45 minutes, I think I’ve improved over the years!

The Corktown 5K is just one of the races here in Michigan. It’s huge, it’s followed by a parade, and it’s in you guessed it- Detroit’s Corktown district. This year was the 35th Anniversary of the race so it’s older than I am and every year people from all over Metro Detroit flood the streets for this event. I LOVE ST. PATRICK’S DAY- I’m 33 and since I’ve been legal to “go out” on the day I’ve taken a vacation day for every St. Patrick’s Day except for the two years I was pregnant with my sons. My family is Irish and do the same- it’s just always been a tradition. However, I’ve never done this race but to be fair I’m still somewhat new to the running game.

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I’m off track so back to the recap. My friend Katie was running the race this year and I decided to sign  up too. Coming off of the Princess Half two weeks ago, I am just ramping back up my miles this week so I was a little bummed to not have a long run on Saturday. Actually I hated it- my husband had to run 13 miles for a half he is doing in two weeks and I’m so used to running on Saturday mornings, I really just felt off all day. I don’t like to run the day before a race, even a 5k, so I took the day off and pouted a little all morning.

I also have to back up and say that the week prior to the race was quite the week! We had the second largest power outage in Detroit’s history this week. A horrible wind storm came through on Wednesday and knocked everyone’s power out, we somehow were nestled in a area with power but my office was out for almost 4 days. Saturday before the race at 4 pm I got a text from a neighbor saying we lost power(they had to take ours down to fix others) but we got it back around 7:30 so it wasn’t too bad but I guess it was just enough for me to not remember to charge all my devices.(That part of the story coming later)

The race was the day of Daylight Savings Time and even though the race didn’t start until 10, we had to leave by 8 and I had to meet my friends by 7:30 so I still got up fairly early.The weather high for the day was 20 degrees- at the start of the race it was 14 degrees with a real feel of 5. I will be honest, I do not like running in the cold- I find no pleasure in it and I have two little guys in my house that get me sick ALL the time, I don’t need another contributing factor and if I get sick they get sick and I’m sure all parents can relate that it’s just not pleasant having sick children. I had already signed up for the race so I figured I would layer, layer, layer and just go with it at this point.

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I wore 2 pairs of running pants which I’ve never done, three layers of shirts gloves, mittens, long socks, and a hat…I was still freezing! We got there and it wasn’t tooo bad to park, alot of the bathrooms were open, and it was a quick walk to the start line. On the walk to the start line I tried to turn on my wireless earbuds and they were dead! I instantly started to panic, that is a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM, but I’ve never ran without music or an audiobook in my ear so I freaked out a little bit and had nowhere to put them so I would have to run with them in my ear anyway.

The race is big, did I mention that? The Boston Marathon race director, Ryan Hall, and Desi Linden were all on the stage talking before the race and I thought that was really fun. I tried to stay warm, move around, and stretch out my legs before the start. I was in the first wave of runners so the time went off and out we went. My first mile felt good- cold but good- I ran it probably too fast but in a 5k you don’t have much time to make up time like in a longer distance race so I wanted to run as fast as I could. My first mile was 7:49 on my Garmin and I was trying to slow down a little because I knew I was running too fast for me. In the second mile I started to notice my breathing much more. I have asthma and running in general can be hard some days but in the cold it’s really hard. Not having music at this point I think hurt me. I couldn’t drown out my breathing and instead I started to worry about it and pulled back a bit. My second mile on my garmin was 8:34. Coming back down the course I wanted to try to gain some speed, I was doing good at maintaining around a 8:30 pace in the third mile until I got to the brick road portion of the run and I hate running on uneven brick roads. My third mile clocked at 8:40 and the .14 on my Garmin to finish was a 7:42 pace. Official time was 26:04. Not a PR, but I will say this about something I noticed with me in this race- last year when I ran a St.Patty’s Day race I stopped a couple times and walked when I was tired. I feel like I’ve reached a point in races where instead of stopping because I know I’m not going to PR, I still keep going to try for the best time possible, and that is a breakthrough for me!!! For some this might seem like common sense but for me when I can’t breathe, stopping to catch my breathe has always been my fall back, and I’ve been consistently working on that in training. No stops, no pauses, just pull back to a slower speed if needed.

The race was very organized, the medals were nice and festive, and although it’s a large race and did feel a little crowded it wasn’t too bad. It was fun and I had a great time with friends after to kick off my favorite holiday.

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Since the 5k and I’ve had time to think about it, I really do feel like maybe short distances are just not my thing. I can run a 8:30-9 minute mile now and maintain that in distances and I like doing that more than running fast for a short distance. I just burn myself out too fast I think. Maybe I will get a 5k PR in one of the other races I have scheduled this year, but if I don’t I will always still celebrate that I’m out there running and doing something more than I thought I ever would with these lungs of mine.

Here are my stats:

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What is your favorite distance to run? 

Check out my new upcoming races page- Are you running any of these this year?

Upcoming Races 

RUN HAPPY!!!

Jess 🙂