Cleveland Marathon Training Weeks 1 and 2

Thankfully, this winter is not as bad or as cold as last winter. However, I have been on the treadmill anyways. I love doing my tempo runs on the treadmill so that I guarantee I run the correct pace and don’t go to fast or too slow or stare at my watch the whole time. But lately it has been just cold or icy enough for me to stay on the treadmill. I would rather not get sick or risk falling on the ice outside.

Everyone always asks “isn’t the treadmill boring?” or “how do you distract yourself?” For me it’s easy to distract myself, usually music will do the trick. Other ways to stay busy are:

  • Watching a movie or show
  • Podcasts
  • Books on Tape
  • Daydreaming

I made a couple small changes to my training plan already. I’ve been spinning on Sundays so I don’t always want to run and spin those days. Sometimes I will but not always. I’ve also dialed back my Wednesday mileage. I had some ankle pain and hip pain so I figured I would take it easy and take out my easy Wednesday runs for now. I also do my workouts in the 5am time frame so I thought this quote was perfect.


Training Week 1

Monday – 7 Easy Miles (8:51 pace)
Tuesday – Speedwork – 1 mile warmup, 12×400  with 400 jog in between and 1 mile cooldown.
Wednesday – 1 hour Elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 6 mile tempo  (7:47 pace) and 1 mile cooldown
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 12 Mile Long Run (8:33 pace)
Sunday –  1 hour Spinning Class and Strength Training

Total Running Mileage: 34.52

Training Week 2

Monday – 7 Easy Miles (8:51 pace)
Tuesday – Speedwork – 1 mile warmup, 8×600 with 400 jog in between and 1 mile cooldown.
Wednesday – 3 Mile Run and 40 Minutes on the Elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 6 mile tempo  (7:47 pace) and 1 mile cooldown
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 14 Mile Long Run (8:26 pace)
Sunday –  3 Mile run easy with hills (8:49 pace), 1 Hour Spinning Class and Strength Training

Total Running Mileage: 42

Anyone else on the treadmill right now? How do you distract yourself?

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2016 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Training Plan And The Giveaway Winner.

I went back and forth between doing the 8K/Half marathon for the Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series this year and just the full marathon. In the end, I decided to sign up for the full for 3 reasons.

  1. My long runs have been at 14 miles for 2 months now so it seems silly to train for a half marathon when I am already past that distance.
  2. I looked at my old adjusted Hanson’s plan from last year and saw lots I couldn’t wait to do all over again and a couple things I would do differently.
  3. I can still remember how much fun I had last year. For days and weeks afterwards the race all I wanted to do was run it again.

To build this plan, I looked at a traditional Hanson Plan from their book. (You can probably find this online too). I then did some rearranging of the plan, I like to to speedwork on Tuesdays, tempo on Thursday and long runs on Saturdays. Traditionally, the plan only has you going up to a 16 mile long run. However, I decided I would make some changes and do some long runs past 16 miles.

I also built this plan around going to Boston in April to watch my husband run the marathon and around the races that I have signed up for already. I have 2-3 other races not on the calendar. I am waiting to see what the weather does and how my training goes.

Hansons plan


The best part about this plan is that it both scares me and inspires me. I saw some huge improvements on my times with the last Hanson’s plan I did in 2015 and when I started that plan I thought “there is no way I can hold a tempo run at that pace” or “3×2 mile repeats sounds so hard” But I did it!

Besides running, I do lots of foam rolling and attempt to be good about strength training and cross training. My favorite strength training exercises are basic situps, pushups, squats etc or anything from the Nike Training app. I find lots of good moves on there. My favorite cross training activities are swimming, spinning and the elliptical.


Last weekend, the Cleveland Marathon and Fleet Feet put together a group training run. They will have more of these throughout the year but it’s a great way to run with a group and meet other local athletes who are also training. The event is free and they had free bagels and coffee after!

There were lots of great entries for the giveaway. You guys were blowing me away with your answers! I used to pick the winner and the lucky winner is…



Alison, shoot me an email at and I will get you signed up!

If you didn’t win this giveaway, check out the other Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors for their giveaways!



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I Just Can’t Quit You

Starting in the heart of the city, downtown Cleveland.
Traveling east to run under the giant chandelier that lights up Playhouse Square.
Weaving through the city to run through Tremont, Ohio City and Gordon Square. (All favorite cheering locations)
Cruising farther west to run to the very end of Lakewood and at the same time running through the best crowd support on the entire course.
Making the turn to head back downtown.
Seeing downtown skyline get closer with every mile.
Crushing the “Shoreway Hills” with some support from the Pep Club Dance Party.
Continuing to put one foot in front of another, as every step brings me closer to downtown and closer to the finish line.
Plowing down the off ramp of the shoreway to see a crowd of people, lining both sides 0f the street. Cheering you on.
Leading the way to the Cleveland Marathon finish line.


Can you tell I am a huge fan of the Cleveland Marathon? How can you not love a race that goes through your hometown!

This year I will be back to run the Cleveland Marathon. Yes, the full marathon. I seriously had so much fun last year running the full. I smiled almost the entire time. For days and weeks after the marathon all I wanted to do was to run the race again.


This year I will once again be a member of the Cleveland Marathon Ambassador program and I have 1 race entry to giveaway! The entry is good for the marathon, half, 10k, 8k or the 5k – just not the challenge series.

To enter to win:

  1. Simply comment below and tell me something positive about the Cleveland Marathon. (Mandatory)
  2. For a Bonus entry, make a separate comment on this post and tell me which race you want to run and why. (Bonus entry)

Answer both (2 separate comments) to double your chances of winning!

Please enter before noon on Monday January 11th so that I can pick a winner and make an announcement! I plan to post my crazy training plan next Monday when I announce the winner.


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The Great Buckeye Challenge Half Ironman

I was supposed to complete my first 70.3 in June and that was going to help me to see where my training was at and how much work I needed to do. Then I came down with a horrible stomach virus and had to back out of the June 70.3. So there was a lot going through my mind for the Great Buckeye Challenge Half Ironman. This would be my first long distance open water swim, long bike race and all in some nasty heat.

After struggling with swimming all summer, this was my last chance to prove to myself that I could do this. And if I couldn’t, then reality would have to set in and I would not be able to complete the ironman.


To say I was nervous was definitely an understatement. I was pretty sure my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Then It started pouring down rain. Like cold heavy raindrops. Luckily I was close to my car so I climbed in stayed warm. I am so happy that I did because everyone else who was out in the rain was not only wet but freezing!

Once the rain stopped, I headed over to get a warm up in. But I was so nervous I just couldn’t bring myself to get in the water.


Contemplating what the hell is wrong with me.

I was so happy to run into a local runner/triathlete who went with me to warm up and calmed me down about swimming in open water.

However, I was still so nervous that I almost missed my wave starting. I wanted to be one of the last in my heat to start. I had this huge plan to walk into the water, not run. Running makes me freak out and gets me out of breath when it happens before swimming. I learned this the hard way earlier this summer.

The Swim – 40:06

My goal for the swim was to finish and not freak out, however I also hoped to do it in under an hour. Like really hoped and prayed that I would.

70.3 swim

Swim Course

I did a pretty horrible job of swimming somewhat straight. I was literally all over the place for this swim. I thought i was swimming straight and would look over and I would be 10 feet off course and swimming away from the buoys. I put my calm down, you can do this music in my head, “U Boj U Boj” and tried to stay in the zone and just get to the turn around.

When I finally got to the turnaround, I looked to my left and my runner/triathlete friend was right there! He started in a wave after mine but caught up to me. It made me feel good to have someone I know close by. I kept telling myself that I could do this and as I said that the finish line kept getting closer and before I knew it I was getting out of the water. I was pretty sure I was the last person out of the water but I think there were a few after me.

I ended up swimming well under my goal of 1 hour and did it in 40 mins!


Running uphill after a 1.2 mile swim but I didn’t care because I did it! I swam 1.2 miles!

T1 – 3:01

It was pretty easy to get out of transition. A lot of bikes had cleared out so I knew which one was mine and I am pretty fast at changing and getting ready for the next event. No dilly dallying for me!

The Bike – 3:52

I had heard that the bike was a 2 loop and somewhat challenging. The elevation was actually worse than Louisville so I knew if I could do this course I would be prepared for Louisville too.

70.3 bike

Bike Course


Now I don’t claim to be an awesome cyclist, I know it is something that will click eventually but I am pretty slow on the bike. I have a huge fear of crashing and I hate downhills. If I could use these downhills to my advantage I could gain a lot of speed. Instead, I end up breaking down most of the downhill. Naturally, this course was very hilly.

The roads were a little wet from the rain but it wasn’t slowing me or anyone else down. Still I went slower than expected, just in case the road was click. This cost me a lot of time on the first loop. After the 1st loop, I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal of 3:30 for the bike.


As challenging as the course was, I never felt like I wanted to quit or like I couldn’t do it. It was challenging and tough but doable. I didn’t do a lot of passing on the bike….actually I don’t think I did any passing on the bike. But I my goal was to finish and that I was on pace for….even if it was really slow.

T2: 2:32

I never practice transitions so I was pretty happy with how fast mine were. I was all business. Change shoes,drink water, grab gel and go!

The Run – 2:13

I knew this race was going to be hot and with the run being last, I knew the run would be hot. I hydrated well on the bike but was still nervous about the heat. Especially since I didn’t notice it on the bike.

70.3 run

Run Course

I was so excited to run that my first couple miles were 8 min miles and everyone was cheering me on. I felt good. Hot but good. However, by about mile 5 I decided I needed to start doing a run/walk due to the heat. Most people around me were walking by this time too so I wasn’t the only one.

At every aid station, I grabbed water or ice if they had it and poured it over my head and shoulders to stay cool. The only downfall of that was that it was washing off the sunblock I had put on.

The run course was a double loop so it was such a tease when I got so close to the finish line just to take a look and head back out on the course for another loop. I just kept telling myself, only 6 more miles though.

As I passed by the police officers directing traffic they cheered me on and told me I was almost done. It was nice that they were out there in the heat with us and still cheering for us. By this time at the aid stations, I had started to grab coke to drink. Not exactly hydrating but kept my stomach happy.

After the last turn, I knew all I had to do was run 3 miles back to the finish. As I ran past the police officers, they cheered for me again and I told them I was almost done and thanked them. They told me “no, you have to come back and run this next year too!” Very nice to hear that the triathletes were welcome in this area.


I ran most of the last 2 miles and couldn’t wait to cross that finish line and get out of the sun. I was chafing and burning in so many places by this point.


I ended up missing my goal of a sub 2 hour half but ended up with a 2:13. Not bad considering I did a lot of walking.


Yes, this is the tan lines from the race.


This is one of my favorite medals from the year

I ended up finishing my first ever HALF IRONMAN in 6:51. I had hoped for a 6:30 but it was my first one so who cares! I did it!

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Reindeer Run 2015

The Reindeer Run has always been a favorite of mine even when it was super cold. However, the past 2 years I have missed this race. One year I missed it because I was sick and another year I ran the Christmas Story race instead. However, the Christmas Story race was too pricey this year so I came back to run the Reindeer run.

Reindeer Run Sweatshirts

I mean how sweet are these!

I had also heard that the age group awards for this race were snowglobes so I was pretty determined to place in my age group. In past years they have had blankets or ornaments so I know their awards do not disappoint.

I really wished I had someone to pace me for this race but I dragged my feet on actually asking someone. Lately, having someone to pace me has been huge in keeping me exactly where I want to be. I had did my research on past times at this race and was pretty sure I needed to run in the 21s or maybe a low 22 to place.


I am not sure who is inside the mascot but this is the second time that a mascot has hugged me and not let my significant other in the picture.

It was pretty chilly for this race so I had all my layers on to keep myself warm. I think I even busted out the hand warmers for this race. I was excited for this race to start so I could stay warm too.

I went out a little fast for this race but not too bad and ended up running the first mile in 7:10 which was exactly what I wanted. My second mile is notorious for being too slow but I held on and ran pretty close to 7:10 again. For the last mile, I did everything I could to hold on and push the pace but was pretty sure I wasn’t going to hit my time goal.

I ended up actually hitting my goal and crossed the finish line in 22:10 a 7:08 pace. However, I knew 2 other girls who were there in my age group and was pretty sure I missed placing. However, I gave it a good shot and was happy with my time.

As they were annoucing awards for my age group, they called my name! I placed 2nd!!!! I got one of the snowglobe awards I wanted!!!! Jillian took first in our age group and Ryan was 1st in his age group. Not a bad way to finish out the year!

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Turkey Trot 2015

There are so many great things to talk about from this years Turkey Trot! The weather was amazing, like seriously the best it has been in years. I’m talking shorts and me not shivering at the start because it was so warm. But this race was also great because Ryan’s cousin came with us to do the 5K that they added this year!


I love running this race because it has been about 8 years in a row that I have ran this race but its nice to get out and run on a holiday. Its also nice that this race is so big that I know I will never place in my age group so I can truly run my own race and don’t get trapped up in the excitement and go out too fast.

The start of the race was delayed because there were so many people who showed up to register the day of. I’m pretty annoyed with this at this point because it has happened at so many races this year. Its especially annoy to warm up and think the race is starting but then have it pushed back so your muscles get cold. And sometimes there is not enough time to warm back up or you are stuck in your corral.

Anyways, the race eventually started and for once it was nice to have traction and not be slipping all over wet snow or ice. I was hoping to keep my pace around 7:20 and the first mile was a little faster than that. Second mile has some uphill but I still hit close to 7:20. The 3rd and 4th miles absolutely sucked. I have no idea what happened but my time slipped big time.

The 5th mile was awesome! I ran just under a 7 minute pace and was weaving in and out of runners because the 5K runners were now merged with the 5 mile runners.


I ended up running 37:56, a 7:35 pace. Not 100% what I was going for. I was hoping to be anywhere in the 36s.

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Dead Sprint 5K 2015

My plan in running the Great Pumpkin 5K was that it would prepare me to run awesome at the Dead Sprint 5K. Or at least prepare me to run a time where I don’t go out too fast and die out before the first mile.

I thought this was the 2nd year for this race but I couldn’t find any results for this race from last year. I assumed it would be a pretty good sized race since it is right by Halloween. Who doesn’t love a themed race? Or if you are me, you love themed everything.

For this race, I hoped to go 22:35 or faster, didn’t matter how much faster. I just wanted to improve on last weeks’ time. On my own this time because my pacer was also running the race.

Dead sprint

It was really hard not to go out too fast for this race because there were a lot of kids at the race who sprinted out right away. I picked a few people in my sight and tried to keep them there for the first half mile of the race. This way I wouldn’t fall too far back but hopefully not go out too fast too.

Dead sprint start

I was feeling pretty confident most of the race and never really felt like my pace was drifting too much. I have this new thing where I try not to look at my watch when racing and just push myself no matter how I feel. This way if I look down and feel like I am dying but see a slow pace, I won’t feel so bad. Or if I feel good and see an awesome pace I won’t slow down and think I have time to relax. If that makes any sense.

At some point, past the halfway mark, someone passed me and I thought, Hmm they look familiar. It took me a minute but I recognized their Cleveland Marathon Ambassador shirt and realized it was Joe Fell! I secretly hoped I could catch up to him but he was crushing it and there was no way I could keep up.

Towards the end of the race, I couldn’t tell if I was starting to slow up or if I was just tired. I saw 2 people in my sight before the last turn and assumed I could only catch 1 of them. I caught the first one faster than I expected and the next one in the sight was a girl and I couldn’t tell if she was in my age group or not. Her pace was slowing so I took off and passed her and hoped to gain a lead so that she wouldn’t catch up. How embarrassing would it be to pass someone at the end of the race only to have them catch back up and pass you!

I mean, look how close she actually was!

Jess DEAD sPRINT finish

After I had passed her, I assumed there was so distance between up but I heard fans on the side cheering a girls name and I assumed it was her catching back up! Luckily, the finish line was close and I finished with a time of 23:13 and 2nd in my age group. Definitely not the time I was looking for at all but overall, what did I really expect after doing long course events 90% of the year.

Ryan Finish Dead Sprint

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