My First Marathon Journey

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I’ve been slacking on my blogging. I’ve actually been working on this one for about a week now- a little bit at a time! I haven’t blogged about any of marathon training so one big blog post will have to suffice!

To say that this marathon training has changed the way I look at running is an understatement. I’ve learned so much while training for my first marathon so I thought I would share them with you.

  1. It’s HARD to stay healthy and not injured all the time. I haven’t posted much on Instagram about my injuries through this training. I started training with peroneal tendinitis in my left foot. For the first couple weeks I thought I would never get over it. It hurt to walk on it flat so running was hard. I started going back to my chiropractor two times a week to have active release therapy done and it helped and gradually went away. A couple weeks later I started having pain around my ankle- turns out my posterior tibial tendon was flared up as well and was causing spurs around my shins. I taped, iced, elevated whenever I could and little by little it healed or started feeling better. Then all of a sudden my right hip started hurting. My hips hurt every once in awhile after a long run but this was different. My hip hurt so bad I couldn’t sit down and still for more than 20 minutes without stretching it out. Back to the chiropractor I went for ALL the treatment he could possibly give me. My hips were very twisted from the trails I’ve been running on my long runs. My last peak week long run of 22 miles was also at the peak of when my hip was flared up. I was in so much pain the night after the run I couldn’t sleep. More stretching and tapering my miles helped though and now my hip is feeling more normal again. I’m not even going to start on the blisters…the humid summer has not been kind to my feet by any means. The point is, running is hard on the body and learning how to treat it and how to pace yourself and NOT change your gait to compensate for an injury is even harder. With a week left, I am focusing on letting my body heal before the marathon.
  2. There is never a right time to train for a marathon. I think I picked one of the busiest times in my life to run a marathon. I’m at a crucial point in my career and my job has been overwhelming this summer with SO much activity. My cousin is getting married and I am planning a trip for us at the end of September. My kids are busy little bees and I am trying to make time for my husband in there too. πŸ™‚ We have had something planned every single Saturday after I have to long run so really I only have an hour of downtime before I have to get ready and go. This has also been one of the hottest summers- training in the heat is hard but it will be worth it if the weather breaks. What I’ve learned for this is to cherish the rest days and honestly just relax on those days.
  3. ALL THE FEELS. I cry a lot lately. I cry for no reason at all. I cry because I’ve made it through training, I cry because I feel lucky to be able to run, I cry because I never thought I could do something so big.
  4. Pacing for a marathon is so different than pacing yourself for a half. For the last year my goal was to get a sub 2 half marathon. With this training I’m training to run so many more miles than I have before, so to risk not getting injured more(see point 1) I’ve kept my paces pretty even, I haven’t pushed for fast runs and I’ve focused on the long run. This took some adjustment in the beginning to my mindset. I felt like I was going backwards with running instead of forward but once I realized that I have to run smart to get through the long runs it allowed me to relax more into the runs.
  5. Find your plan and stick with it. Everyone wants to give you advice and like when I was pregnant I listened to everyone but I have picked out a few things that have worked for me. Everyone is different and I can’t run 6 days a week and 80 miles per week. I just don’t have time. Also fueling has been important for me on long runs. I bought a Nathan hydration vest and have worn it on every long run. It’s the lightest vest they sell but still with 2 liters of water it adds weight and a little discomfort with some chaffing on my collar bones. Some people can carry a water bottle, use a belt…but I can’t and I needed water on those long runs. There are so many factors but find your groove and go with it! 
  6. Your support system has to be great and you find out who truly supports you. I can’t stress this one enough! I do most of my runs while my husband and kids are sleeping so it doesn’t really affect them during the week but my long runs on Saturday have left my husband getting the kids up every Saturday this summer and taking care of them until I’m done and then after as well while I shower and decompress. But let’s talk about emotional support! I’ve spent countless Fridays stressed out about the long run the next day. I don’t know how I would have got through some of the days without messages with friends and loved ones that support me, text messages or emails that I would get after the long run from people who knew I was out and just wanted to say “they were thinking of me” or “you can do it”, my husband dealing with my schedule and emotional craziness some days, and the Instagram community. People may think the IG running community is crazy but I love all the support and virtual cheers that I get on IG, I honestly do think about a lot of the comments when I’m out on a long run. My parents think I’m crazy but have been huge cheerleaders for me the whole time and helped any time Justin was traveling so that I could still get my scheduled runs in.Finally my kids are my biggest supporters- it’s hilarious to hear them talk about me running and just knowing that I am setting a good example for them keeps me going as well.
  7. You are stronger than you think. I never thought I could run a 5k. Then I did, then I ran 13.1, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22…WOW. How I did that, I’m not sure. Your body is capable of amazing things, if you push yourself, tell yourself not to quit, and just keep going. The pain of quitting is way worst than the pain you feel when you are in the run. I wanted to quit so bad on my 22 mile run, it was pouring down rain, muddy, and the hottest day. I was a little delirious and did not feel good. It was such a new feeling and it scared me. I thought of every inspirational thing I could think of to keep myself going and when I finished I was so thrilled to be done but also did not feel great. I sat at my car for about 45 minutes before I would drive. I could really go into that story more but it’s done and I’m happy that it’s completed. Some mornings I wanted to sleep in but knew I couldn’t because with marathon training skipping a run is not an option for me. I had to do it even if I hated every minute of it. It’s all mental strength and yes I’ve had to turn down some Friday night plans because I was running the next morning but this is what I want right now so it’s worth it for me. 

I could go on and on because this has been an eye opener for me as a person and a runner. I have an A, B, and C goal and the C goal is to just finish the marathon. Conquering the distance is what matters to me right now. I’ll worry about speed on my next marathon πŸ˜‰

September 3rd is right around the corner! Ahhh! I feel ready for you Marquette! 

#runhappy 

– Jess 

Bayshore Half Marathon RecapΒ 

Reflecting on my experience at the Bayshore half marathon this weekend and decided to post my recap now while it’s fresh on my mind! 

By far the training for this half brought the most physical breakthroughs and I pushed myself harder than I ever had before. My pace is getting quicker and I’m really learning to keep my pace consistent as well as my breathing. 

The Monday before the half I had a great 6 mile run. My husband was traveling for work the next two days so I knew I wouldn’t have time to get another run in until Thursday. On Tuesday randomly my left foot started hurting on the outside. I had the same exact pain back in November and I rested for 6 days and it was fine. I chalked this hurt up to it being in my head before the race but still stayed off of it as much as possible. Thursday I decided to do my 3 mile shakeout run and it didn’t hurt during the run but immediately after it hurt. Still I kept thinking it was in my head. 

We left for Traverse City on Friday morning, the day before the race. The weather had been a point of discussion with everyone the entire week. Highs of 85 degrees and high humidity was what the forecast called for and maybe rain. Being that I live in Michigan, almost every single long run I’ve had this training round was between 30-45 degrees so I knew I wasn’t prepared for the heat but you can’t train for weather conditions and I didn’t want to make it an excuse.

We got up there, met our best friends who were also doing the race, and went to packet pickup. Packet pickup was awesome because we were able to meet some IG friends that were also doing the race! It’s really fun to meet people you have talked to for a year in real life! 


After packet pickup we went to dinner and then decided to drive the course. The half starts at a different point than the marathon and 10k and this was the first year they allowed a certain amount of people to park at the half start. In years past everyone was bused to the start. We really just wanted to see where we had to go and how long it would take to get to the start from our hotel. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and we had fun stopping at some scenic outlooks. 


Then we drove back down the course. Everyone said mile 1 was the only “real” hill but driving it made us all a little nervous. Not just one hill- rolling hills for almost 2 miles. Then it turns on to the lake and it’s pretty flat from there. The course is beautiful- I would recommend it to anyone! There is definitely a reason it sold out in 11 minutes! 

The morning of the half I got up, did my pre long run routine and taped my foot because it was slightly bothering me still. Even though it was hot I opted to not wear shorts because my crops support my knee well and I had trained more in them. 


When we got to the race start it was already extremely humid and starting to heat up at 6:45. Race time was 7:30- last year I was told that it was around 35 degrees at the start. The lines were long for the bathrooms but we all got in and to the starting line by 7:10. 


As I stood there right before the start I knew I needed to go to the bathroom again but I didn’t have time at that point. And all of a sudden we were off…

Mile 1-Surprisinly wasn’t as bad as I thought. I felt strong, my time was great, my pace was on for mile 1. 

Mile 2- I stopped to go to the bathroom- I had to. I knew it would hurt my time but I couldn’t be miserable for another 11 miles. I was ahead of my goal pace at that point so I figured it was the best time to stop.

Miles 3-8- I made up my time but was starting to fade from trying to make up my time. I passed my husband who has been injured through training and he told me to keep going and that I was on track. That made me feel strong and I pushed as hard as I could. I stopped at every single water stop- it was so humid and hot and my body needed the hydration. 

Mile 9- This is close to where it starts to turn off the water and I could feel my body hurting and sweat pouring out of me. My breathing was heavy and I tried to control it and take deep breaths. 

Mile 10-12 – I knew I was going to be close to my goal to get a sub 2 but started thinking about my B goal which was just to PR. 

Mile 13- Probably the longest mile of my life thus far. The course goes through a college at the end, up some small hills, and ends on a track. I pushed myself fast in the end and I didn’t know if I had got a PR but knew I missed the sub 2 and was already at peace with it before the race ended. 

My official time was 2:02. The same exact time I ran my first half in back in October. That day was 40 degrees and perfect running conditions and I also ran with a pacer at my first race. I said it on my IG post and I will say it again- I  feel so proud of that time in the heat and humidity. There will always be another half and maybe if it would have been cooler I would have got a sub 2, I will never know but I know that I do not at all, even a little bit feel disappointed with my time. 

What I am upset about is my left foot. It’s hurt right now. It didn’t hurt horribly bad through the half but as soon as I stopped it was throbbing! I can’t walk flat on it, for once in my life wearing heels helps the pain. If it is the same injury I had on my right foot some rest and ice will do the trick but just to be safe I’m going to make an appointment with the sports chiropractor this week. 

Half marathon number 3 in the books and I will definitely do Bayshore again! It’s a beautiful course and it was very well organized! Maybe next year I will get that 35-40 degree start time everyone was talking about πŸ˜‰ 


Marathon training starts in a couple weeks so I’m hoping to heal, rest, and then hop back into the crazy marathon training cycle! Ahhhh! 

Run Happy!! 

– Jess 

Get Lost in the Noise

Frequently people ask me what I am listening to or what is my favorite music to run to.

Let me start by saying I LOVE MUSIC! I love lyrics, getting lost in a song, and how hearing a song can change your entire mood.
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I’m the type of person that pretty much likes all music. I grew up listening to country music with my parents so it is still my favorite. I can always find the right country song to brighten my day. I like old school rock, rap, and alternative music that reminds me of growing up in the 90’s. I’m also a huge Coldplay and Maroon 5 fan but on the other hand Taylor Swift is always going to be one of my favorites. I listen to top 40 music and electro regularly too… So as you can see if the song hits me just right, I love it.

My absolute favorite running song ever is: ‘Til I Collapse by Eminem. If I’m in a rut and I can feel myself slowing or wanting to give up I know I can put that on and it will get me going. My standard running playlists consists of : Dr.Dre, Biggy, Blink 182, Eminem, Britney Spears, Outkast, Journey, Steve Aoki, and some other random techno songs that just make me feel speedy. One of my favorites to run to is “Pumped up Kicks” but Foster The People. Sometimes I will just throw a random country song in my playlist to change it up, it just depends on the run. I make a new playlist for every race I’m doing- even if it’s just a 5K. I use Spotify and I love how easy it is. If you want to find me on there and follow me you can see what I’m listening to on my race days.

Last year when training I stared listening to audio books on my longs runs. Initially I wasn’t sure I would like it but was trying to find something to pass the time quicker. I love reading but don’t have as much time as I use to before kids so this is a good release for me while I run. I’ve experimented with many different types of books- Memoirs, fictions, funny books, and podcasts. Now I listen to audio books on almost every run even if it’s just a short run. I love them and can’t get enough.

My favorite book I’ve listened to so far has been:

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I LOVED this book! I was so hesitant to buy this one because it didn’t seem interesting but it had great reviews and I’m so glad I did. I was obsessed with his story of going from not running to running a 50 mile ultra in a year at 50 years old. It kept me going and he is quite funny. I would recommend this book to any runner!

I also recently started listening to the Serial podcast. I finished season one and it is very interested. The only downside to this for me was that the episode time was not consistent so I didn’t like stopping in the middle of an episode if my run was over.

For a race though, I always listen to music. I just started today putting my playlist together for Bayshore next Saturday. Any must have songs you would recommend to keep me going? Leave a comment- I would love to listen to some new jams!

#runhappy

-Jess

 

What I never knew I always wanted…

I’m stealing a Carrie Underwood line from one of her songs on her latest album with the title of my blog, but the first time I heard the song I found it so relatable that I broke down in tears. With Mothers Day coming up this week I thought I would share my story about being a Mom.

Some girls grow up knowing they absolutely want to be a Mom one day. They play with dolls, babysit kids, and obsess over details about what their future children will be like. I was never one of those girls. I can count on one hand the amount of times I babysat as a teenager, didn’t play “mommy” to dolls, and never thought about having my own children. Of course when I was dating Justin we talked about it and I said I wanted to have kids one day…but it was more in passing “sure I want kids, one day”…because I think that’s what everyone says.

Quite honestly though the thought of having a kid really freaked me out. I’m an only child, I never took care of any babies, and as selfish as it may sound I just didn’t know if I could share my life with kids.

Luckily it never came down to me having a choice. Two months after I got married I got pregnant. We were not trying and to this day I will still say I wouldn’t have it any other way- I’m so glad that it happened on accident. If I would have waited until the “right” time I don’t know if I would have ever had a “right” time. Justin had just started his MBA program when I got pregnant, I was also in school full-time and working full-time. I wanted to be at least 30 when I had my first child, but I was 26(almost 27) by the time I had him and we were still newlyweds. It wasn’t at all ideal for us at the time but the moment I held Chandler for the first time my life was forever changed. I fell in love with every single piece of him. I know that’s how it is suppose to be- but I really doubted this when I was pregnant. How could you love something so much? Not many of our friends had kids at the time but other Moms had told me it was nothing like you can even imagine and they were so right!38961_425980485744_2585960_n.jpg

I never knew I wanted to be a Mom. How I would obsess over every little detail with him so much that it would keep me up at night. I’m a controlling person, I will admit that, and with Chandler I wanted to control every detail possible. I would lay on the floor and try to figure out why he wasn’t rolling yet, what the mechanics of rolling over were and how I could show a 4 month old to roll over. I was like this with every single milestone with Chandler, as many Moms are with their first child. He made me so proud and still does in every single thing he does. He became the love of my life on July 21st, 2010, his actual due date. He is a lover and a sweet soul. He is extremely smart and constantly surprises me with conversations we have. Even this morning when I kissed him on the head I could smell his scent and my heart honestly skipped a beat because he is still my baby even though he isn’t a baby anymore. He made me a Mom and gave me a gift that I never knew I wanted.

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I could have just had Chandler, my heart was so full I thought…but I knew I wanted Chandler to have a sibling. Especially being an only child, I wanted someone for Chandler. It was different the second time around, we did plan it out, we talked about it for years and decided when a “good” time would be. No matter what though I thought I could never ever love someone like I loved Chandler. I listened to what people would say, that love is multiplied not divided, but that seemed impossible.

My labor and delivery for Hudson was quick. I pushed for 5 minutes- two pushes and he was out. He actually came out so fast that he couldn’t breath and they had to take him to the Nicu to monitor him, plus he was on the small side and a couple weeks early. I instanly thought of everything I could have done wrong when I was pregnant- maybe I worked out too much, didn’t eat enough for him, didn’t worry as much or fuss about my pregnancy like I had with Chandler. All of that didn’t matter though when they let me hold him for the first time. He was mine- he made me a Mom again- and I fell in love with his tiny features and perfect round face. At the hospital I felt such at peace being with him and only him. I enjoyed my alone time with Hudson and took every little bit of him in.

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I was older, was already a Mom, and enjoyed being a Mom of a newborn so much more with Hudson. I didn’t obsess over every detail, I just loved to be with him and watch him grow. I never knew I wanted to have two kids, two boys at that, but Hudson has made me more of a Mother than I ever was with just Chandler. He is so very opposite of his brother. He challenges me, he is fearless, and he is a rough and tough playful boy. Hudson has the funniest little personality, he loves to dance, and when he does decide to give me love he does it in such a way that it takes my breathe away and makes me feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. 11222166_10153242271240745_2488358303822845689_n

When I talk to friends who don’t have kids yet and they say they are waiting for the “right” time, I always say there is never a right time. Something will always be going on in your life and you could wait forever waiting for the right time. I never knew how life changing these boys would be for me and how much love I could even have in my heart to give. I love being a Mom, even though some days are hard, frustrating, and exhausting. They are my world and my everything. I have a unique relationship with each of them and they have made me a Mom in different ways.

“Life has a way of showing you just what you need and who you were made to be”

– Carrie Underwood

Happy Mothers Day to all of you Mom’s out there! πŸ’—

Bayshore Half Training Continues…


The last four weeks have been pivotal in my training for the Bayshore half at the end of May. I’ve really pushed myself out of my comfort zone on my long runs hitting long run paces I had never before and I think I’ve finally found my rhythm. 

The last four weeks have also been probably the most stressful and pressure filled weeks for me at work. This has made me moody, tense, and very exhausted. My morning runs have suffered from this, in my opinion. I’m getting them in but I am more tired than I have ever been and have a hard time pushing my paces in the morning because I know how exhausted I will be later in the day at work mentally. 

So I’ve embraced the long runs. By Saturday I need to decompress, to let everything go, and honestly I’ve been having some conversations with God on my long runs. I’ve always had a hard time “zoning out” like some runners can but lately on my long runs I’m learning to just take it all in and be all in the run. 

In the last four weeks my left knee has started to hurt much more but KT tape has helped tremendously with that pain. I also went through almost two weeks of a numbing pain in the arch of my left foot. So I decided to do something this girl thought she would never do- I gave up high heels!!! I’m 5 foot and I have worn heels every day to work since I started working. I haven’t worn them now in 12 days and my foot pain is completely gone. Of course I will have to wear them for certain meetings and occasions but for now, I bought some very cute flats and I’m embracing being short! 

So how are my weeks going… 

Week 5- 19 miles. This was a cut week. I was on vacation with my family and had a 5k on the weekend so I didn’t long run. That was when I got my new 5k PR! This is when my knee pain started to come back so I decided to not do any other smaller races until after the half. Racing, no matter what the distance, forces you to push your body harder than usual and I don’t want to take the chance of another injury. 

Week 6- 27 miles. This long run Saturday was the first 10 miles I had run since my half in January. I ran it 11 minutes faster than the first 10 miler I ran last August! This is when I started having more confidence in myself. I started using my virtual pacer on my Garmin and set it to 9:15- it beeps if I’m ahead of pace or behind pace. It kept me going and paced me through the entire 10 miles. 


Week 7- 28.70 miles. This was a rough week. I was traveling for work, one of my morning runs called for 8 miles but I could only get in 6. I was exhausted the entire week and my foot hurt really bad. By the end of the week I was starting to lose the confidence that I had gained from prior weeks long runs. My long run called for 11.5 and I did it- at 9:15 pace and I was proud of that especially for the conditions and the pain I was in. As you can see my splits were not great the last half as I was going up the 2% grade. 


Week 8- 30.5 miles. This was my heaviest week of miles so far in training and my most consistent. I did speed work, kept my easy paced runs easy, and pushed myself on my long run! Another factor in my training right now is my husband. He has bad shin splits. We only run together on Saturdays but I’m worried about him and want to run on whatever path and grade that will be minimal pain for him. My kids were going to my inlaws early on Saturday morning so we decided to try a new route. I urged him to not do this route because it’s all pavement and I heard it was a little hilly but he said he would be fine. So we went- and it was HILLY! When he passed me in mile 2 I was instantly worried about his shin. I knew he wouldn’t want me to worry and would want me to just finish my run. He always finishes before me which means he waits awhile for me. We had 10 yards of mulch waiting for us at home with a storm coming so I kicked it in high gear in my last 4 miles so he wouldn’t have to wait as long… Maybe this is a tactic I need to use more often πŸ™‚ Negative splits and a sub 9:00 minute average on 12.5 miles. My fastest long run yet and I felt good after too! I can tell my endurance is building and my ability to push myself and pull back when needed is really working now! 


When I started training for my first half my paces were ALL over the place. I ran by feeling and would burn myself out early. I’m learning to calm down in those early miles, take it easy when needed, and push harder when I know I can! While training for Detroit my long run pace was 9:45-10:00 and when training for Key West my long run paces were around 9:30. 

I have 4 weeks until Bayshore, still chasing my unicorn- the sub 2 half! I know for so many that seems so easy but for me right now, it’s my goal and I hope that on race day I can achieve it! Either way I have pushed myself harder for this training than ever before and in the end I’m proud of that! 


4 more weeks of training – hoping for no more injuries, praying my husband will heel, and hopefully continuing to make small progress that will help me on race day. Earning my medal- one training run at a time! 

#runhappy 

– Jess 

Big House 5K Recap!

This past Sunday I ran the Big House 5k, a race that ends at the 50 yard line in the University of Michigan’s football stadium. Last year it was the first “real” 5K I did after I decided I would give the whole running thing a try. Last year I finished in 29:46. It’s a hilly race, the city of Ann Arbor is not flat and the elevation change is quite significant. The first full mile is up a hill. When I went back the night before the race to look at my Runkeeper from the previous year I realized that it was a long 5k. My Runkeeper said 3.25 but Runkeeper was always off a little so I thought it could just be that. Also, the forecast called for 25 degrees and snow the morning of the 5k so I honestly was not pumped about this one. I told Justin the night before that I just wanted to have fun with it and do my best but was not expecting a PR.

We got down there, picked up our packet, and then sat in our car for about an hour until it was time to walk to the start line. It was too cold to stand outside. I decided to play around with my Garmin and set my virtual pacer to 8:15. I’ve never used it before but I ALWAYS go out fast in the first mile and burn myself out. I didn’t want to do that this time, especially knowing the first mile was a hill. All my training has been a easy pace first mile so I wanted to stick with that and let my body get into the swing of things. I don’t think I’ve ever been so calm before any race. It was freezing and I was dancing around to the fight song before the race, just trying to have fun with it.

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Once I crossed the start line, I did something I’ve never done before in a race. I didn’t bob and weave through people! I found a spot, watched my pace, and started up the hill. My virtual pacer kept beeping “ahead of pace” and I would slow a little and take it easy. I watched people pass me and didn’t care about it! I knew that I was running at my pace and was hoping it would help me in the long run. Once I made it up the hill and to mile 1 I felt good with a 8:23 pace so I picked it up. I ran my second mile at 8:06 and knew if I could keep it up I would PR! The people that had passed me in the first mile were slowing and I was passing them. I was finally listening to what my running coach has always told me to do!  I ran my third mile at 8:09- I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands at that point but temporary pain because it was only a short distance run!  You cross into the third mile right before entering the stadium. It’s SO fun running down the tunnel with “Hail to the Victors” over the loud speakers and the cheerleaders cheering you on. My watch was already past 3.1 when I hit the field to finish. I could see the time and knew that even with the extended length of the race I still finally had a new PR for a 5K!!

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Every race is a lesson and this one was no different! On the way to the race that morning I said to Justin “maybe I’m just not good in racing conditions”, I can run good training runs but under certain circumstances, maybe I just can’t do it. I don’t think I was being hard on myself, I think I was just really trying to understand WHY I can’t run the same runs I run outside or on the treadmill 4 days a week when I do a race. I let it get inside my head and with this race I went in with no expectations but to do my best and have fun- to remember that I love doing this!

This race proved that I CAN do it! in March when I did the Get Lucky race, I came 30 seconds short of a PR on a 3.09 mile course on a beautiful perfect condition flat race. In freezing weather I came in 33 seconds faster than my PR on a 3.20 mile hilly course. EVERY run is different, the conditions, your body, and your mentality for the race. If you get down on yourself and give up then you will lose the love and the fun of racing!

If the course would have been 3.10 my time would have been a sub 26 but instead I came in at 26:01 at 3.20 miles(8.09 average according to my garmin) and my previous PR was 26:34. You would have thought I ran a marathon, I was so happy with that PR! Some of you will laugh at that because it’s still not fast compared to many and my hubby who was disappointed with his 6:49 average pace run(insert mean face emoji). Just kidding- I’m always ridiculously proud of him!!

Here are my last year stats compared to this year stats! Seeing how much I improved in one years time was an eye opener for me. Just pacing myself, learning how to breath, learning my stride and everything that comes with training is finally starting to kick in! As a newer runner, it’s amazing what you can do with practice. Don’t give up on yourself if you think you are not making progress- because not everyone makes progress fast- it takes practice and a lot of good and bad training days! I’m proud of how far I’ve come in a year!!

It was a great race and we had fun running in the Big House- definitely a race worth doing and for a great cause! GO BLUE!!!

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As always – Run HAPPY!!

-Jess πŸ™‚

 

Bayshore Half Marathon Training- Update

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So I’m a little behind- I wanted to write a blog post about each week of my training and progress but life happens and I honestly just didn’t have time. I’m such a slacker! Β So to make it easier I thought I would give a status update about the last four weeks. I’m currently in the middle of week 4.

I’ve still been going to the gym quite frequently in the morning because it is cold when I need to run and because I also lift when I go to the gym so I can hybrid train. Today while I was running on the treadmill my mind also started running and I was thinking about how my husband really does have a good thing going for him. HA, sorry Justin.

He sleeps in until 6 am while the kids are still sleeping and I’m running. He does his run right after work, so I pick up the kids, feed them dinner, put my youngest to bed, and do homework with my oldest son. On top of that he gets to run outside because at that time of the day its warmer and easier to run outside. I started to think I was getting the raw end of the deal, but then remembered that I like getting it out of the way in the morning and I can always pour myself a glass of wine right after work if needed and not have to run. So the perks are there, plus I never have to worry about missing a run if something comes up at night! πŸ™‚ As it gets warmer though in the morning I will start doing some of my weekday runs outside because I miss running in the dark. It’s so quiet and lovely at that time of the day!

Ok- rant over- I’m honestly so proud of Justin! He is a much faster runner than I am, but has never been fully dedicated to training. He decided to get a custom plan from my trainer Run4PRSΒ and isΒ killing his training right now. He doesn’t post much about running but once in awhile he will – his IG handle is Jhads13 if you want to follow him. I’m absolutely certain he will have a big PR at the Bayshore half!

Back to my training:

Week 1- 20.10 miles. I ran the Lucky Dash 5K that Saturday so I didn’t have a long run.

Week 2- Cut week – 17.60 miles. My entire house came down with the flu that week so I missed one run. My long run was 6.5 miles and it was such an awesome outside run that Saturday!

Week 3- 26 miles. I ran 8 miles outdoors for my long run. I was nervous going into it because it was my longest run since my last half in January. The trail I run has a 2% grade going north on the trail. For some reason this gets in my head. I know my first miles are going to be good but coming back is all slightly uphill. When I run from the south I’ve never been able to get good negative splits.

My splits were: 9:19, 9:12, 9:18, 9:13, 9:14, 9:27, 9:30, 9:14.Β 

Not only was I extremely happy with my consistent splits but to have two of the uphill miles negative made me feel so confident about how far I’ve come. This goes back to my last post about the love of running. I want to enjoy the run and not look at my watch the entire time. I enjoyed all eight miles of this run! My only issue was weather! When we started it was about 25 degrees. I wear very warm running gloves but for some reason when I’m done running I lose all feeling in my hands if they are cold. This lasts about 10-15 minutes and it is very painful. If you have any suggestions or tips please leave me a note or comment πŸ™‚

I think you can tell how happy I was coming in to the end of this run by this picture my husband took.

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Week 4 – I have 26 on my schedule again for this week. I have ran two 6 mile runs on the treadmill. The first one was speedwork with some intervals. The second was a progression run. I laughed when I finished and looked at my time because they were off by 3 seconds and such different runs. I love the consistency though and again it builds my confidence for the upcoming half.

My normal schedule is run- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday long run. I lift and cross train on Tuesdays and Fridays. Sunday I have a complete rest day.

Next week is my son’s Spring Break and we are going on a small family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge so I’m using it as a cut week.

I’m feeling very excited about the Bayshore Half Marathon in Traverse City on May 28th! Hoping for the 1:59 but will always still be happy with finishing the beautiful course along Michigan’s Lake Michigan! Look at those views…I’m so pumped to run this and can understand why it sold out in 11 minutes!!

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I will try to be better with my updates and as always keep running happy and enjoying every step I take!

-Jess

The Love of Running

This past weekend I ran a 5K. It was a fun St.Patrick’s Day 5K and I had been looking forward to it because my training runs have been so much quicker and I really had no doubt in my mind that I would PR. That morning I woke up not feeling my best but still thought I would have no issues beating my personal best. I go into every race not looking to place, but just to beat my last race time. It’s way easier said than done and every run is different but when you are competing against yourself you want to WIN even more!

I went out really fast(for me)- my first mile was 7:40- way too aggressive and not my usual pace. I knew I hurt myself by doing that, by mile two my legs felt like bricks and I had to slow my pace big time. At one point I couldn’t breathe and walked for a few seconds. Every thought was going through my head “this never happens in training runs, why now?”, “you are never going to be able to do a full marathon if this 5K is causing you pain”, and many more self-destructive thoughts. When I came into the finish line my husband was waiting to take a picture of me like he always does and I didn’t even want to look at him. I was mad at myself!  

  I met up with Justin and found out that he had set a PR and also finished first in his division. I was really happy for him but still mad at myself. We sat down in the bar where they had awards and chatted about the race. Justin kept telling me to “not beat myself up” and I knew he was right. It was a 5K- a year ago I couldn’t even run a 5K and here I was being sad over finishing in 27:05.I started thinking about why I started running and finding the love of running again. I don’t want to constantly be checking my Garmin or putting myself down for any run I do. EVER. That’s SO easy to say but hard to actually change your mind set. When I started every run was exciting and each new distance I met was a huge achievement for me. My time was just part of it, but not everything. My goal is to run a half under 2 hours and I want to spend those two hours loving it, not watching my time or trying to be faster than what I know I can. I don’t want to go out fast and try to make up ground because I know that doesn’t work for me, I want consistency at a pace that I know feels good for me and that is my goal.

This week I decided I wanted to fall in love with running again. By running my training runs on my schedule it gives me a nice combo of speed intervals, easy runs, and tempo runs. The paces my trainer has set for me are perfect. Yesterday I had 5 on my schedule with intervals of my 5K pace and it was hard but I was proud of sticking to the fast intervals. This morning I had 3 at my easy pace on my schedule. “Easy pace” is always a struggle for me because again I have a hard time pacing myself and SLOWING down in the first mile. This morning was different though. I ran outside on a path that I haven’t run most of the winter. It was still and quiet outside and the temp was around 45 degrees. It felt amazing- I wasn’t going fast, I was just running with my heart. I didn’t look at my watch once through the entire run. I took it all in!!

This is my goal- to love every step when I’m running. 

Oh and I am still coming for that 5K PR and will still try to beat myself in every race, but if I don’t I know there is always another race and feeling sad or beating myself up is just not worth it! Running is a blessing- running has changed my life in many ways that I haven’t even described yet in this blog, and I refuse to lose the love I have for it because I had a bad race. I plan to RUN HAPPY!!!!!!

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Xoxo

-Jess

 

The Plan Behind my PR’sΒ 

 

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Very frequently people will ask me what training plan I use or how I have improved so quickly. I know many people use plans from Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, etc. I looked into all of them after signing up for my first half marathon. They are everywhere- you can google training plans and find them easily. My husband even put a training plan together for both of us to stick to using some of these internet plans. I think they probably work great for most, it worked for my husband for his first half marathon. In my mind, I wasn’t a runner at that point, I needed more and I needed customized help. As I’ve said before my schedule is hectic. I found myself missing a lot of the runs I had on my schedule due to work or travel. Sure, I could find a way to make it up, but my mileage always lacked and I wasn’t getting what I needed to build my endurance.

One of my Instagram friends posted about Run4Prs so I looked at her page and was very inspired by her story. She did not grow up running like some, started running later in life, and is now a Boston Marathoner. I emailed Victoria about her customized plans and asked her what the difference was between her plans and other plans on the market. She replied promptly that her plans are more customized to your needs. What does that mean?

  • I can’t run every day. I just can’t with my schedule. I needed a specific schedule that I could follow that would allow me to get my miles in but also not take over my life. She asks you for your schedule. If you can only run 3 days a week, no problem, she will customize it for your schedule. She also put vacations and events into the equation too. Since I was training in the summer I had many family vacations. Those weeks would be “cut back” weeks so that I would only run short mileage and then build once I return. This sets you up to succeed and not fail. 
  • She builds your plan based on your current PR’s and pacing goals.
  • She builds “workouts” in your plans. Any experienced runner will know what that means but I had no clue. I just got out there and ran each time. I  did not worry about getting certain speed or recovery days in.
  • She is very responsive about changing your program to fit your needs. For example, I had a goal that I knew was pretty much unattainable for my first half marathon. As I started training it became even more evident. She went back and changed some of my paces to fit ME and my goals.
  • You have your own cheerleader. This is a huge one!! Once in awhile when I get done with a good “workout” run I want to email her right away and tell her how I did exactly what she told me to do and I feel great!

These are just some of the highlights. If you look at her Instagram you can see her transformation into a 13 time marathoner. Sometimes it is a little intimidating because she is SO fast and can just jump on the treadmill and run 20 miles but she never ever makes you feel like you are asking a stupid question, or slow, or not good enough to run a marathon.

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I start training for my third half marathon tomorrow and this will be my third time using her customized plans. If you want to check her out her website is Run4Prs and her Instagram handle is Run4Prs. My goal is to have a sub 2:00 half marathon. That’s a 3 minute PR! I have come a long way in the last year with the help of a running coach and I’m hoping to kill it in my training cycle for the Bayshore Half on May 28th! The best part is that since I started with Victoria I feel like I’ve made a new friend- I don’t think you get that experience with Hal Higdon πŸ™‚ 

As always…

#RunHappy

Jess

 

 

 

 

My First Trip Around the Sun as a Runner

Tomorrow is my running anniversary so I thought what better time to post a blog about my journey into running so far!

On Sunday February 22, 2015 my Dad said he wanted to come over to spend some time with my kids. He told Justin and I we could go get lunch or run some errands but we decided to go to the gym together. Up until this point we always did separate things. Justin always ran and I would do fitness classes. It was snowy and the treadmills were open so I decided to hop on one and give it ANOTHER try. I should back up and say that at this point I had ran 1 real 5k and finished in 43 minutes. I was in shape though, I was just not a runner. I remember before we had kids trying to run with Justin down our street and could barely make it a half mile without feeling dizzy or like I was going to have an asthma attack. I had pretty much chalked it up to “I’m never going to be able to run, it’s just not for me”.

This is the official results from my first 5k in 2012 when I decided I would NEVER try that again:

Female 25 to 34
Place Name City Age Overall Chip Time Gun Time
14 Jessica Hadley Davisburg 28 122 43:35.0 43:35.0

 

 

Back to the story of what happen that day. For Valentines Day I had registered Justin for the Mackinac Bridge run. A run over the bridge that connect Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula. It was Memorial Day weekend and I figured it would be a good night away for us. It was 5.06 miles and when reading the requirements you had to be able to run it at a 12:00 minute mile. 1. I’m terrified of bridges and 2. CLEARLY I couldn’t run for 5 miles. So I registered just him and was happy with a night away.

Then I got on that treadmill that Sunday. I started at 5.0-5.5 on the treadmill(a 12:00 pace) and ran 3.64 miles without stopping. Justin kept looking at me from his treadmill and I kept giving him the thumbs up because I really didn’t know how I was doing it. I got off the treadmill and right then and there I WAS ADDICTED! I started not doing as many classes and would opt for running instead. This is one of my first Instagram posts about running, it was the first time I ran 4 miles and I remember feeling on top of the world! IMG_0560.JPG

So you know what obviously happened then!? I signed up for the bridge run with Justin. And honestly I was more nervous to run over the bridge than the actual run. The weather got nicer and I started running outside and realized it was harder to pace myself outside than on the treadmill. Also, breathing was much more of a concern for me outside because of the elements. I honestly still struggle with that the most. I really just LOVED having something to do with Justin. My parents were very good about watching our kids early on Saturday mornings so we could run together- even though he usually doesn’t run with me because he is faster than me, it was still something fun for us as a couple.

We ran a trial 5k before the bridge run because I wanted to try out another race. It was at the University of Michigan and little did we know we would be running a 5k with 5,000 other people. I did well in my opinion for my first real 5k and a little over a month of running under my belt.

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My running bug was a little out of control and before we even did the bridge run I signed us up for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon. It was scheduled to be on my 32nd birthday in October and seemed like a perfect way to start a new year! I was so proud of myself when I crossed that finish line after running 13 miles, I started crying when I talked to my oldest son on the phone after.

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In the span of a year I have done:

Six – 5K’s ; One- 10K; 1 – 5 miler(bridge run); 1- 10 miler; and 2 Half Marathons.  

My race 5K PR is 26:34 and my half PR is 2:02.04. I’ve now had faster training run 5ks and 10ks.

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WHAT?!? I honestly ask myself that everyday! Sometimes I will say “Oh I only have to run 5 today” and then I think “who am I?” When I hear myself say “I’m a runner” It seems strange and not right coming out of my mouth.

What I love the best about running is the feeling after you are done. The feeling that you accomplished something and that you gave it your all, even on the bad days when you are not running at your best! I still feel great just knowing that I put it out there and did it. Every single run is a reminder to me that this is something I couldn’t do in my twenties. This is something that I just started doing at 31 years old and I have to work for it with every single step. I’m a Mom of two, with a full-time career, and I have to make time for this because I love it SO much!

I also fell in love with the inspiration I get from new found friends on Instagram. I see the dedication and pride in each workout and run and I feed off of that. I’m so thankful for it because I think it has kept me even more dedicated. I’m also lucky enough to have a husband who loves to run and a best friend who loves to run too- they both inspire me in different ways and always push me to keep going. I’m thankful for the encouragement I get from my family and friends- and thankful that the people that love me understand my crazy new found love of this sport.

I have recently started working on just speed with short mileage and I’m amazed at the times I’ve been hitting. 7:30 paces…WHAT?! Oh and I signed up for a marathon in September, still freaking out about that! In fact I ran a 10k over the weekend and I thought “how the heck am I going to be able to run 20 more miles on top of this”… Still processing that in my mind!

Running has changed my life, my body, my soul, and my goals in life. I love that my oldest son is proud of me and talks to me about running. I am so proud to call myself a runner and I am excited to see what improvements I can make in the next year!!!!

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RUN HAPPY!!!!!!

-Jess