Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Run for Boston

As with many other runners I know, the events that took place this past week completely shook me. I don't live near Boston, but this was an attack at one of the most revered marathons in the world, the Boston Marathon. That for me hit too close to home. I've been at large races before. My first half marathon was a very large one in Detroit. My mom and now fiancé we're standing right there at the finish line, and watched me cross. I just can't help but think what if it had happened there? Or any other of the large races I've been to?

As much as the thought of that scares me, I am even more angered that someone would do that at an event for people doing something I love? Where loved ones of runners were there waiting, just like mine were. Who do they think they are? Do they think they can break our spirits? Make us stop running? Make us stop going to running events? I will not let this effect who I am, as that's exactly what they want, and why they do it, to strike fear into us. I will not fall victim, and will keep running.

My thoughts and prayers have been so much with Boston and all those effected by this weeks tragedy. I pray that they will find peace eventually, and that they too, will not let this stop them from running, or going out to cheer on those who do run. I've been living in race shirts all week, as a tribute. I also went out for a 4.09 mile run on tuesday in honor of Boston, the time on the race clock when the first bomb exploded.

It wasn't my fastest run, but it was a purposeful run. I thought of all the victims during my run, asking God to help them heal, to help their families find peace.

Today there was a Solidarity Run in a local park, to bring people together and run for Boston. It was not a race. There was no set distance, no winers, no prizes. Just a gathering of runners, together remembering what had happened, and showing that we will never give up. There were hundreds of people that came out. People of all ages, and even some that had run the Boston Marathon this year, wearing their jackets and medals proudly. It was so great to see everyone come together. They were also accepting donations for the red cross, and had shirts made, all proceeds going to The One Fund Boston.

A friend of mine had made a ribbon, which I wore proudly today. I had also gotten one of the official gear tanks to wear, in tribute to all the runners and family members, and volunteers. I ran 8 miles, and it felt awesome. The park consists of a 1.73 mile loop. Normally I would probably have hated running 8 miles there, but seeing all the people just filled my heart with joy, and made the run very enjoyable.

There are so many great companies out there creating products and donating 100% or at least a portion of the proceeds to the One Fund Boston. Here are a list of my favorites (not sure what all they have left)

And of course you can donate directly here:

Keep running everyone!

XOXO Jennifer

Monday, January 21, 2013

Runners High

This last weekend, I had an 8 mile long run. To me this was no big deal, as this was just another long run in my training plan gearing up for the half. I have run this far before, and I had even run farther. Why should this run be any different?

In the past I've always used Fruit Punch Sports Beans as my fuel source during long runs. I loved the taste, they seemed to get along with my stomach just fine, and I thought that they were actually helping me--boy was I wrong! On my long run Saturday, I decided to try something new. Everyone else uses different types of fuel, and while I like the sports beans, I really hasn't given anything else a fair try.

So this weekend I decided to give gu a try. A few months ago, I had gotten a gu sample pack on amazon, and never tried any of the gels. So I pulled out a few and gave them a whirl. I also had picked up some gu chomps at the running store when I got my new shoes, so I figured I'd mix those with the gels. I took one gel before my run, one halfway through, and I munched on my chomps every so often when I felt like I could use one. Now onto the run...

It was ridiculously windy on Sunday. Like 20-40mph winds windy. They were so bad that over night I kept waking up to the loud gusts and the windows shaking (they sounded like they were going to be blown in!) and on top of that is was not that warm out either. Needless to say, I really was not looking forward to this run which I thought would be torture, but I got up and got dressed, and off I went. We decided to break up the run by running 2 miles then walking for a few minutes, and repeating to the end. We were also trying a new trail.

The first half of the run, I felt great. The wind was at our back, and wasn't causing any issues as all. I felt like I could easily keep a 10:30-11:00/mile pace while running, and did just fine with running 2 miles before walking. The trailed was between some neighborhoods, and relatively shielded by trees most of the time, although there were a few open fields. It was very straight and completely flat.
Then we got to the halfway point and turned around. Omg, that's when the wind really hit us. I gulped down my second gu, drank a few sips of water, stretched my calves quickly, and then we were off again. At times it felt like I was running against a wall. The wind was just unrelenting and constant. But then something happened. I had enjoyed the first half of the run, but not quite as much as what happened when I was about 5 miles in. All of a sudden I was REALLY enjoying myself. I felt happy and giddy, and was actually smiling as I ran! I found that I actually loved the challenge of running against the wind. I felt like I could just keep going forever! I usually run around a 12:30/mile pace during my long runs, yet somehow, I was easily keeping a pace of 11:00/mile, and most of the time was closer to 10:00/mile. I felt like I just had so much more energy and it felt amazing!

I fully think it was the gu that did this, so I am officially a convert. Gu is my new fuel of choice! I hope it works that way every time. If so, I know I have a few PRs in me in the next few months, and it makes me so excited! I felt like I was finally faster, for the first time in a long time. Finally it felt like my training was paying off, and I think it was the gu that helped take me that extra step!

I have 10 miles this weekend, and am hoping it will have a similar feel to this run. Here's to hoping this keeps going!

Until next time... Happy running!

New Shoes!

So FINALLY, after what seems like a year of saying I was going to, I got new running shoes! The shoes I've been running in, I've had for 3 years. In the beginning I ran on them a bit, every once in awhile, but never on a consistent basis. Before I ran my half marathon in October I planned on getting new ones, but that never happened. Finally this past weekend, I decided enough was enough. I have a lot of races planned for this year including 4 half marathons (if you would have told me this a year ago I would have thought you were crazy!), so I knew I needed to suck it up and finally head to the running store.

My last pair of shoes were just ones I picked based on "cuteness." They had pink, they were Nike, and that meant I could use my iPhone app with them to track my runs. I put no thought into what kind of shoe would be good for me based on my stride or how I run. Heck, at the time, I hadn't even run my first 5k yet (man that seems like forever ago!). While they were okay, I never loved them, and last year when I started training for the half in October, I kept getting blisters on the ball of my foot (which was not helped by getting good socks). So I knew that I wanted to try something different and stray away from the Nike brand.

Here are my old shoes, I don't even remember the model of these anymore.

The bottoms didn't look as bad as I thought they would, but there's still some wearing down, and the tearing of the fabric under my ankle bones on each side, so they needed to go.

On Saturday headed to my local running store to get fitted, not sure what to expect because I'd never done it. I put on some comfy pants (would I need to run?) and my running shoes. When I got there, they basically just watched how I stood, seeing if I pronate or not, watched me walk, and then took measurements of my feet both with and without weight-bearing. I pronate (which i kind of already knew) and have flexible arches so I would need some shoes that would provide stability. They brought me out a few pairs to try, and I found a pair that I loved! They felt great, and bonus, they just so happened to be on sale!

I ended up with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12's. They are last years model, but they felt great so that was completely fine with me! Also they are blue and silver, so when I dress as Cinderella in the Princess Half Marathon next month, they will match my costume! I was very anxious to try them out, so I put them on for my errands for the rest of the day to try them out. I had a long run of 8 miles (more on that in my next post!) that I REALLY wanted to try them out, but knew I needed to do a few shorter runs first. So far I've only worn them to do my errands, but I'm looking forward to giving them a try tomorrow on my run!

I was going to also post about my long run this past week, but decided this was enough for today:-) I'll save the rest for another day this week!

Until next time, happy running!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I will be spending the holidays enjoying time with my family, wearing festive clothing and sparkles like they're going out of style, and stuffing my face with lots of yummy goodies :-) Hope you all enjoy this time with your family and friends, and here's to a happy and healthy 2013 with lots of exciting new things to come!

Monday, October 22, 2012

First Half Marathon... Check!

Hey everyone!

So this weekend, I finished my first half marathon! It was the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon, and it was so much fun! Part of me still cant believe i did it! I was nowhere near as well trained as I wanted to be, but I signed up for it back in May or June, and there was no way I wasn't going to do it!

Throughout much of the summer, my training was right on track and i was increasing my mileage according to my training plan. Then fall came, and I had two months of busy surgery rotations, and my training was completely derailed. I tried to keep doing some long runs and increasing my distance, but there were times where I would go 2+ weeks without running, and then even when I did it was jus to do a long run. I eventually worked my way up to 10 miles, which I ran about a week and a half before the race. That run was done using 2:1 walk:run intervals, which was was what I planned to stick to during the race too.

On Friday night, we drove in from Buffalo, and went straight to the expo so I could pick up my race packet. I got there about a half hour before it closed and was surprised to see that it was still packed with people! Of course the packet pick-up area was in the very back, and you had to wind your way through all the vendors to get there. I went straight back without stopping to pick up my stuff. This went smoothly but unfortunately I realized when i got home later that I was given a marathon shirt instead of the half! They are still working to get them exchanged for us do hopefully it will all get worked out!

On my way back to the front of the expo I found the runRisney booth and of course had to stop and take a look at the medals! They were so much bigger and more substantial that I thought initially, which made me even more excited for the PHM in February!

I also did a little shopping along my way to the front. I of course had to get a few 13.1 stickers for my car (because it totally makes sense to have more than one sticker for one car...). There was also a section for overpriced official merchandise, but I rationalized that this was my first half, and got myself a nice pink running jacket!

That night I went home laid out my gear and tried to get some sleep, which wasn't easy!


I woke up bright and early at 5:00AM on race day. Some roads were closing at 6, so we wanted to get into our parking spot and make our way to the start early enough. We parked and walked over, made a quick pitstop at the bathroom (cant run with a full bladder!) and made my way to my corral. I was in J and it was a long way back.

The first group went of around 7, and it was a wave start so each additional group went every 2 mins or so. Each group was sent off with a countdown and a buzzer.

Finally it was our turn, they counted down, the buzzer went off, and we were off! My thoughts as I crossed the start line, "Wow, I'm really doing this... What did I sign myself up for??"

The first couple miles felt awesome. I really had to fight myself to not keep running and to stick to my 2:1 intervals like I trained for. The adrenaline took over, and I was feeling great. First thing we did was run to the ambassador bridge. There was a huge wind up to get to the bridge. I felt a little like I was running in circles.

Running on the bridge was one of my favorite parts of the race. The sun was just coming up, and there was a mist over Windsor. It was absolutely beautiful to see! The hill of the bridge was not bad at all. It was gradual enough, and My legs were fresh enough that I didn't really notice too much. There was one lane of traffic going on the bridge while we were running, and all the trucks were honking and cheering us on which was great!

When we got into Canada, I shed my outer sweater (they collect, launder and donate everything along the course). We looped around from the bridge to run along the river. Another amazing view, this time of Detroit.

There were so many people along the streets in Canada cheering us all on it was great. There were even a group that had some cut up oranges outside of their house for the runners! Even though I didn't stop, it was great to see, and so nice of these people to do for us! As I crossed mile 6 in Canada, I was feeling great. I actually couldn't believe how good I was feeling.

Just as mild 7 ended, we entered the tunnel to head back to the US. This was the part I was most anxious about before the race. The thought of running under water for a mile was just a little unsettling. So I originally had this plan to run the whole tunnel, so I could get myself out of there. That was a mistake. I set off at a much faster pace than I was used to running (although I have no idea what my pace was since gps service was cut off in the tunnel obviously). It seemed like the tunnel went on forever. I also learned what happens when you try to take pictures while running:

Eventually I gave in around the halfway mark and had to walk and get back into my intervals (which I really should have stuck to from the beginning). Finally I reached the end of the tunnel, and after I got back to the main street just after finishing mile 8, I saw my mom and the BF who had come to watch, cheering me on! I was feeling pretty crappy at that point after my self-sabotage in the tunnel, but I kept going!

The next few miles were a little tough. We ran back towards the bridge and through Corktown before heading back to the finish. The cheering people really kept me going through those last few miles.

Finally I rounded the corner and there it was! The finish line! I kept up my intervals for one more round before breaking into my final run to the finish! I threw my hands in the air as I finished. I did it! My mom happened to catch this great shot of me coming across the finish.

After I finished I got my finishers medal and kept walking. There was a huge area I still had to get to until I could meet up with my family. They had free massages (wish I would have done this!) and we're giving out chocolate milk (absolutely delicious), bananas, apples, pretzels and hummus.

Overall, I had such a great time, and felt awesome about this race. I am so happy with how I did, and so proud to finish under my goal of 2:45, at 2:42:25! And I know I could probably have even been a little faster if I had stuck to my intervals. Lesson learned, stick with your training!

It was such a great experience and I really hope to be able to do it again next year with better. Training and go for that PR!

XOXO Jennifer

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finally some results... And other news

So I have been running consistently about 3x per week now for around 2 months. While I do not have a ton of weight to lose, it is still a goal of mine while training to do these half marathons. I had about 15-20lbs to lose when I first started, and was starting to get very frustrated with the fact that my weight really wasn't changing much. When I first started a few mints ago I was looming around 143-145, and after the first few weeks, started hanging around 140, where I seemed to have become stuck. I understand that when working out, even running, you build muscle, and that can cause you to weigh the same or even gain some because it weighs more than fat, but i thought i would has seen something sooner. Well finally this past week, it started to change. Yesterday after my short 2.3 mile run, i weighed 137, and again this morning. In total so far I have lost about 5-8lbs since starting, and it feels great. It may not be a ton, but relative to the total amount I want to lose, it's a good chunk! I'm happy with this result, and hope it will continue.

In other news, today I also officially registered for what will be my first half-marathon, which will be in Detroit on October 21st. Its a very cool race where you actually run over the bridge into canada, and then back into the US through the tunnel. Im slightly concerned about anxiety and becoming a little claustrophobic when running through the tunnel, but its about a mile, and I can always plan to step it up that mile so I can minimize my time in there :-) I think I'll be okay though. I'm still a little concerned that over the next 3 months when I start working crazy hours for school that ill fall off the wagon, but I feel like running has now become a good part of my routine, and I'm used to running 3x per week, so I'm hoping it will stick! Wish me luck in these next 3 months in terms of pushing through and running even when I feel very tired!

Another princess update, I now have a running buddy!! A friend of the BF's wife has decided to run with me :-) They have two young children who have never been to Disney, and will be taking them there for the first time! I am SO excited that they will be joining us, and even more excited to be a part of their kids first trip to Disney. Now the fun of planning with a buddy begins, although all that's really left if getting an idea of which parks to go to on what days, and where to make dining reservations. So exciting!

Until next time!

XOXO Jennifer