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.


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!!


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!!!


As always – Run HAPPY!!

-Jess πŸ™‚


Bayshore Half Marathon Training- Update


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.


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!!


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


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!!!!!!





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.


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…







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.


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.


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!!!!




The Marathon Leap

So I did it, I registered for a marathon. When I hit the submit registration my palms were sweaty, I felt like throwing up, and I was extremely excited all at the same time.

Coming into 2016 I had a goal to run a marathon and I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I didn’t tell anyone but my goal was to run the Chicago marathon for St.Jude. I have a special place in my heart for St.Jude and I wanted to be able to run for a purpose. On the same day I posted my goal on Instagram my beautiful little cousin Nikki got engaged. You are probably wondering why that is relevant. Well I’m the Matron of Honor, her wedding is the last weekend of October and her bachelorette party(in Las Vegas) is the first weekend of October. The Chicago marathon is the second weekend of October. In no way did I want my running to interfere with her wedding …and let’s be honest, running a marathon a week after being in Vegas is just not a smart decision. So I had to change my plan and I still plan to fund raise for St.Jude but not in one of their sponsored races. Timing just didn’t work out this year.


I started looking at other marathons. I narrowed it down to Detroit on October 16th or Marquette on September 3rd. I drove my husband insane talking about it and going back and forth with pros and cons for each. Here are the reasons I chose Marquette:

  1. It’s on Labor day weekend- which gives us another day to recover.
  2. I will not be training during my cousin’s bachelorette party or wedding.
  3. The course looks amazing and I got great feedback from IG friends who have done it before.
  4. My husband said he would do it too if I did Marquette.
  5. My husband’s family lives in Marquette and graciously said they would watch our kiddos while we did the race! (THIS PRETTY MUCH SEALED THE DEAL) . Since it is the last weekend of the summer I didn’t want to leave my babies at home.

So I’m going to run a marathon. I really cannot believe I’m going to do this. I still can’t believe I’ve ran two half marathons with a third coming up in May. I’m not the fastest, I’m not trying to qualify for Boston, I’m just trying to push myself to do something WAY out of my comfort zone. I don’t have a goal time in mind, I just want to cross that finish line. I’m scared of training and I’m scared of the pain- but I’m telling that little voice in my head to shut up and I’m going to put my big girl pants on and try to kick some butt this summer!Β e343eb65daf31a2d3922653d727bba51

I have so many questions and research to do on marathon running. I need to learn how to fuel better during long runs. I currently don’t wear a fuel belt or camel back for hydration. I also don’t use any GU’s because I have silly stomach issues. I need to be a smarter runner on my long runs if I’m going to do this.

So I’m asking for suggestions and help! What advice would you give to a first timer?




Crushing on Compression Socks!

I still consider myself a new runner- it’s been less than a year since I threw myself into this sport and I’m still trying to figure out what works for me. I’ve been eyeing compression socks since I started running and read countless articles on the pros and cons. I have RLS(Restless Legs Syndrome) and I’ve had it since I was a little girl. I feel like I have growing pains when I sleep every night and sometimes during the day. It’s awful and honestly the cramping in my calves from running has not helped it. For me, compression socks seemed appealing for this reason alone!

Team Tiux reached out to me about trying out their socks a few weeks ago and I jumped on the chance to see if they would work for me.

They came in such cute packaging- I was so excited and happy to get them in the mail!Β IMG_9940.JPG

I go to the gym very early in the morning and I’m there with the same few people every single morning. When I walked in with my neon colors and my compression socks on at 4am one guy said to me “you look like you are about to dominate that treadmill”, I laughed because I did feel a little silly at the gym with them on but I couldn’t wait for the weekend to try them out! My first run in them felt great, I loved how they supported my ankles. What I loved the most was that later at work my legs did not feel fatigued or in pain like they usually are.Β IMG_9941

Last weekend I was very sore from running, leg day, and cross-training. I decided to try putting them on to just lounge around my house. After an hour my legs felt more relaxed and not in so much pain. I actually slept in them that night and put them on every night now when I get home from work. My husband and oldest son think I look crazy but I have noticed such a change in the way my legs feel and how quickly I recover after a run.


A little about Team Tiux – They are a small company and they are making big waves by keeping their costs low and offering free shipping to their customers. Their socks are high quality material but they cut out the middle-man so that they can offer their customers the best quality and price.

I’m SO in love with these socks. As a newer runner I actually wanted to not love them so much because it is just something else I am going to want to buy, but I can’t help it. If you are spending money on races, coaching, gym memberships, etc…why not spend $35 on something that will improve your performance and help you recover faster after your runs? Socks are so important and that was another reason I didn’t want to love these. I went through a few months last summer with bad blisters because I didn’t have the right socks but then found socks that I loved and prevented blisters so I was nervous that these would bring them back. I worn these multiple times now with no blisters and my feet feel great!

If you are looking to try out compression socks or even want to try a different kind of compression socks, researchΒ Team TiuxΒ they come in three different fun colors. They also always offer free shipping!

I already have ordered my next pair and can’t wait to rock them out in the gym and on the road!

Enter my contest on my Instagram page to win a pair!!!