Bay Days 5 Miler

The Bay Days 5 Miler is one of those races that is hit or miss with decent weather. The past 2 years we have had awesome weather for this race. It’s hard to get that lucky in the middle of the summer in Cleveland.

BayDays1I wasn’t planning on any big PRs or anything for this race since I did an hour swim and 3.5 hour bike ride the day before. I wasn’t sore or anything but I didn’t think my legs/body would have anything left in them to run a good race. I did a 1.5 mile warm up though and felt pretty good so I was hopeful that I would have a decent race.

Start of Bay DaysThis race is huge so  easily went out too fast for the first mile…sub 6:40 and definitely felt it for miles 2 and 3. I tried to just keep pushing and hold a decent pace. There is a local woman, Maureen, who whoops me at every race so I knew she was still behind me so I was holding my own.

Suddenly, out of nowhere she came out from behind and passed me! Like didn’t slowly pass me, like sprinted by! What in the world! This woman is a wonder! I tried my best to keep up with her and I couldn’t so I tried to keep her in my sights instead. Holy Moly is she fast though.

I kept pushing the rest of the race to catch up with Maureen but I’m no match for her. She probably got my by a whole 30 seconds. The whole race is really flat, almost to the point where you want a hill just to switch it up and get the downhill on the way down.

I must not have pushed myself enough during the race because I had a huge kick at the end and finished with a 37:05 which was actually faster than last years time! Not what I expected at all after a huge workout the day before.

Bay Days has become a Fourth of July tradition for Ryan and I to run and I look forward to it every year now.


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Run Puritas 5K

The past couple years Ryan and I have been participating in the Run Puritas 5K. It’s a local race that supports the West Park community’s housing, senior, and youth services so we make sure to attend every year and show our support. This year the attendance was amazing so I was so happy to see how much it has grown.

Modified Race shirt

Modified Race shirt

I have so many basic race shirts that I have been experimenting with cutting them to fit me better. Making the sleeves shorter, making the bottom not so long, sometimes cutting neck line out. Makes the shirt a little more fitted!

Race day I wasn’t going for a PR but was hoping for a time in the low 21’s. I had a goal for the summer that I am going to slowly chip away at my 5K time. So when the race started I let lots of people blow past me and tried to go out slow. I looked down and saw a 7 minute pace and thought “Perfect!”

The race director’s son pulled up next to me and I was pumped because I knew that we could run together for the next 2 miles so I would have someone to help keep me accountable and on pace.

However, after the first mile, I lost my friend and we both lost our paces. I don’t know what happened. The race is flat and I felt like I was pushing hard but when I saw my pace way off my goal I immediately picked it back up.

I fought hard to catch the girl who was in first but in the end my second mile really hurt me and I ended up in second place. 5K’s lately just haven’t been my thing when I am training for marathons. I can’t keep the speed and long distance, it’s one or the other.

IMG_4027Naturally, since I was 2nd overall, I was first in my age group! My official time was 21:42 which really wasnt’ that far off from what I was aiming for. And in case you were wondering how Ryan did, he won, obviously.

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Hermes Run Like A God 10 Miler

Yes, I am almost 2 months late on writing posts but I still want to keep up with my race recaps because that was the whole reason I started this blog. To remember my races and my running journey.

Back in April I ran the Hermes 10 Miler. I had some unfinished business on that course/race and had been looking forward to it all year. My Hanson’s training plan was the perfect recipe for a 10 mile PR.

Before the race, I had spent a lot of time calculating my race plan and how I would attack the course. I looked at my tempo runs and dialed into a very specific pace that I wanted to run. The pace would have me finish sub 1:15 which would be a 10 mile PR for me.

Race day morning was a little colder than I had expected but I still tried to dress as light as possible. Which meant capri’s and a jacket. I don’t do cold well.

For the first 3 miles of the race, I paid very close attention to my watch and to the times I had written on my hand. I wrote the 3 mile mark, 5 mile mark, and 8 mile mark on my hand. My goal was to get to each mile marker on time. Not too Early and not too late.


I ended up hitting the 3 mile mark early, not too surprising since the course has some downhill at the beginning. I had gotten past the phase of passing or being passed and was in a groove with some runners where we were all running similar paces. By mile 5 I was running with another runner who was keeping the pace pretty even but I still hit mile 5 a little early.


I knew there were some hills towards the end so I told myself to ignore them all and just get to my mile 8 split on time. I had hit all my other times early so I had some cushion if I needed it.

When I hit mile 8, I started doing the math in my head and was pretty confident I would PR but was not sure by how much.

Coming in for the finish

Coming in for the finish

The last part of the race winds around so you can see the finish line but it’s a lot farther away than it looks. As I started to get closer to the finish line I started to feel like I would puke. Awesome! That must mean I am pushing myself hard! I slowed down just a bit but then sprinted the last straightaway.

PR Smile

PR Smile

I crossed the finish line so proud of myself. A HUGE 10 Mile PR. 1:13:44 a 7:22 pace.

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Cleveland Marathon Recap: Give It To Me Again!

Going into race weekend I had a very specific game plan for this marathon. I trained hard and planned to give it all I had but I never shared with you my goal. My goal was to run with the 3:35 pace group until mile 20 and then push the pace then to a 3:33:30 finish. It sounded easy enough to me and based off my training plan I was confident I was ready.

A lot of people were concerned about the weather but I decided to ignore the weather all week and pray for rain. I trained for a specific race and I was determined to run that time. The only thing I needed to know from the weather was what to wear.

My Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Friends

My Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Friends

I got downtown early this morning and met up with the rest of my ambassador crew and stayed calm before the race as I have some major race nerves. The Ambassador crew was absolutely amazing this year, I loved hearing about their training throughout the year! As I got into my corral I realized that my pace team was not in my corral but that actually all the pace teams were in the A-B corrals. So I broke a race rule and went up snuck (snuck is not a real word) into the corral where my pace team was. I absolutely hate when people do this so I am sorry for being a hypocrite but I had a plan!

This is the face of a girl with a plan...or a girl with nerves, talking to a friend before the race and lacking all forms of caffeine.

This is the face of a girl with a plan…or a girl with nerves, talking to a friend before the race and lacking all forms of caffeine.

When I got into my pace group, I ran into a fellow Second Sole runner, Crystal as well as fellow Ambassador PAM! Just before the race started, it started to rain. Not a downpour (I don’t think) but enough to get wet…and cool everyone down. I had went back and forth on if I wanted to wear a hat today so I was suddenly second guessing that I didn’t have my hat!

When the race started it was the normal start and go until we actually reached the timing mat to start the race. Naturally, it was crowded and I did a lot of weaving but I finally got to the pace group again and literally glued myself to them. Also part of my plan. I will literally run on my pacers heels or right next to them.

Miles 1-7: 8:17, 8:08, 7:58, 8:00, 8:04, 8:00, 8:12

A little in front of the pace group here, oops!

A little in front of the pace group here, oops!

As we ran through the streets of Cleveland I was very focused on my race and put a smile on my face to keep me relaxed throughout the run. I let the pace group dictate the pace even when our watches had beeped when we weren’t at the mile markers yet.

Running through Ohio City

Running through Ohio City

My plan was to take a Gu at mile 7 but I was feeling kind of full and not really wanting a Gu yet so I pushed it off to mile 8. I had a plan and it didn’t include eating Gu at specific miles, it included gluing myself to the pace group. I was still with them so that’s all that mattered.

That weird smile is because I was mid chew from chewing gum.

That weird smile is because I was mid chew from chewing gum.

 Miles 8-16: 7:57, 7:53, 8:19, 8:02, 8:02, 8:12, 8:09, 8:07, 7:59

At mile 8, I finally took my first Gu and immediately felt a boost from the sugar and caffeine. You see, the week of the marathon, I gave up caffeine. As if running marathons wasn’t crazy enough. Throughout the entire race I had grabbed water at every water stop. I took a small sip and then poured a little on each arm to keep myself cool.

Normally, I run with music to keep my nerves in check. However, I waited til almost mile 9 before I finally put them in my ears. I was enjoying the race and the crowds and my friends who came out to cheer.

Especially this little one who had a road runner sign and kept asking “Where is Jess going?”

Best Cheerleader!

Best Cheerleader!

Now as much fun as I was having on the course, I realized I was having a slight problem…I was full! I felt like I had demolished an entire meal. I couldn’t even think about opening my second Gu. Luckily, I had packed some Run Gum with me so I was able to get a little boost from that. For the record, Run Gum tastes pretty gross but I have noticed the caffeine in it helps me on my runs.

At mile 16, I slowly started to drop back from the pace group. I hoped that if I slowed down, my stomach would settle/make more room and I could just catch back up. I told myself that I had just carb loaded too much and that I would burn it off and be fine.

Miles 17-22: 8:32, 8:30, 8:22, 8:37, 8:47, 9:04

I kept the pace group in my line of sight and looked forward to the turnaround which was quickly approaching which meant that I would finally see Ryan! Sadly, I had hoped that when I would see him I would still be with the pace group. Luckily, I was still very close to the group but I gave him a big smile so that he knew I was okay.

At the turnaround, I felt a nice surge of energy and knew all I had to do was run back downtown. Sounded easy enough. I even talked myself into taking my second Gu around mile 20. The second Gu didn’t go so well. I literally opened it, took a tiny bit and threw it on the ground. Instead, I popped my second piece of Run Gum to keep myself distracted from not getting any Gu.

Running down Lake Ave

Running down Lake Ave

It had been drizzling on and off during the race but by mile 21, it had cleared up and was starting to get warm. I kept running, even though my pace group had slipped out of sight. I figured I might get a burst of energy and catch them on the Shoreway or I could still PR.

As I was running down Lake Ave, I saw a woman with a tray of watermelon that she was holding out for runners. I avoid unofficial water stops most of the time but I couldn’t pass up that watermelon at that time. I grabbed a small piece and slowly took tiny bites out of it and carried it with me for the next mile or so. I wouldn’t find out til after the race that the woman I took watermelon from was my friend Beth from Zumbercani! The must have really been getting to me!

The further down Lake Avenue I got, the closer I got to the Shoreway and I knew the Shoreway was only about 2 miles from the finish. The 3:40 pace group had not passed me yet so I was still on pace for a PR. I was assuming that I was on pace to finish in 3:38.

Miles: 23-26.2: 9:09, 9:11, 10:19, 9:33

I know most people dislike running on the Shoreway but for me, it’s the only chance I ever get to run on the Shoreway. It makes me feel like a rebel getting to run on that wide open road along Lake Erie.

As I was running down the shoreway, I was tired but not anywhere near walking. I could still hold a running pace and I intended to. I caught up to some runners that were in my 3;35 pace group who had also fell away from the group. Then up ahead, I recognized a runner and I pointed at him, caught up to him and decided I would run the rest of the race with him. That runner was fellow Ambassador, Andrew Runs A Lot who was battling some painful blisters from the wet course earlier in the day.

Literally ran into fellow Ambassador, Andrew Runs A Lot

Literally ran into fellow Ambassador, Andrew Runs A Lot

Andrew and I didn’t say much those last few miles. We were hot and we were tired but we had the same goal and it was to get to the finish line and finish the race. I was still battling nausea but was happy I could run with a friend those last few miles to distract me.


As we reached mile 26, Andrew picked up his pace and headed to the finish line. I was right behind him and smiled the whole way to the finish. I wasn’t going to PR at this race and I wasn’t going to BQ but I could honestly say that I had a blast and enjoyed every minute of 14th marathon. As soon as I finished all I wanted to do was run the race all over again.

299677_197869578_XLargeI ended up 5th in my age group with a time of 3:42:51, my 3rd fastest marathon.I could easily be disappointed in not meeting my goals and following my plan but instead I feel encouraged. I feel like I was close to my goals and I know that the PR and BQ are in my near future.

I think it is pretty obvious that I will be back again next year. I love this race so much! Thank you Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for yet another great race!

Give It To Me AGAIN!

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Training Week 14: Confidence

[kon-fi-duh ns]

1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing:

2. belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance:

I can honestly say that when I started this Hanson’s training plan, I had no idea how it would go. I looked at some of the workouts and thought ” that’s too easy” and others I looked at and said “I can’t hold that pace for that long”. However, I  have heard many success stories from using this plan and decided to give it a shot.

I went into this new, unique and challenging plan and let it push me to new a new level. It took me out of my comfort zone and gave my confidence a boost.

As you head into this final week of training, remember that you have trained for your race. You put in the work and know what you are capable of running. Go into your race with full confidence. The more confidence you have for your race the better your running performance will be. Think happy positive thoughts.

Bodhi showing his confident face.

Bodhi showing his confident face.

Training Week 14

Monday – 6.48 Easy Miles
Tuesday – Speedwork 1 mile warmup, 1×1 mile at 7:34, 7:34, 7:34, 7:25, 7:25, 7:20 with I have no idea how much “jog” in between and skipped the mile cooldown because I had to get to work!
Wednesday – AM workout – 6 Miles, PM workout- 2,400 yd swim
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 6 mile tempo run at an 8 min pace
Friday – 50 minutes elliptical
Saturday – 10 mile long run run
Sunday – 4.24 mile run and spin class at Ride+Workout

Total Running Mileage: 40.72

For the rest of taper week, I am planning on doing the following.

Monday – 6 Easy Miles
Tuesday – Speedwork, 1 mile warm up, 1 800, 1-1 mile at race pace, 1 mile cooldown. I will likely do strength or conditioning work this day too.
Wednesday – AM workout – 4 Miles, PM workout- 2,000+ yd swim
Thursday – 3 miles or just the elliptical or Rest
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Rest
Sunday –  RACE DAY!!!

Lots of hydrating and hanging out with this guy.

Lots of hydrating and hanging out with this guy.

From this point on there is nothing else I can do prepare. The training is there, I just need to taper, rest, and at the end of the week I will start carb loading.

Who is ready to race on Sunday! See you all there!

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Training Week 13: The Final Stretch, Happy Hour & A Giveaway Winner

It’s no wonder my but is sore with all the biking that I did on Sunday but it’s officially taper time so I am looking forward to some rest on my legs. I’ve had to make a few adjustments to my Hanson’s training plan these past 2 weeks. Mentally I just had to get a 20 miler in, the Hanson plan has 16 as the longest run but I feel good that I got in at least 1 20 miler. Then for week 13 I decided to do 800 meter repeats instead of the 3×2 miler on my schedule. I just wanted to see what I could run my 800s in since that is typically a predictor for marathon finish times.

This guy makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning

This guy makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning

Training Week 13

Monday – 6 Easy Miles
Tuesday – AM workout – Speedwork 1 mile warmup, 8×800 at 3:34, 3:30, 3:30, 3:28, 3:28, 3:20, 3:20, 3:20 with 400 jog in between and 1 mile cooldown.
Wednesday – AM workout – 6.2 Miles, PM workout- 2,500 yd swim
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 10 mile tempo run at an 8 min pace
Friday – 48 minutes elliptical
Saturday – Run Puritas 5K – 12 miles for the day
Sunday –  11 mile bike ride, 20.8 mile spin class, 3 Miles and then 10 more biking miles on my slow hybrid.

Total Running Mileage: 46.2

Nooma sent me some drinks to rehydrate with in this final stretch of training. Thanks!

Nooma sent me some drinks to rehydrate with in this final stretch of training. Thanks!

Now that it is Taper Time, I have more time for things like Happy Hours. The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is putting on a Happy Hour at Southside this Friday (May 8th) from 5-7.

I want to thank everyone who entered the giveaway, the lucky winner is Julie! Julie, I’ve sent you an email with the details to register. There are still other giveaways going on if you didn’t win mine! (Hint)

With the weather finally warming up, I am looking forward to seeing the 10 day forecast for May 17th!

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Training Week 12: Traveling, Training and a GIVEAWAY

Training Weeks 11 and 12 were a little crazy because I spent 10 hours in the car driving to Boston and then running through Boston and then driving the 10 hours back home. Obviously, I wasn’t in Boston just for a change of scenery, I was in Boston to watch Ryan run the marathon!

On his way to a PR

On his way to a PR

Ryan killed it in Boston and ran a 2:55:35! Crazy Amazing!

               IMG_3740 IMG_3720

Some people think I am crazy for training while on vacation but I actually look forward to it. I love getting out and exploring a city all on my feet. It’s a little hard to get up when I am the only one who needs to get up early to get a workout in but then I remind myself “I’ve got dreams and they’re worth more than my sleep”

Training Week 12

Monday – 10 Crazy Miles – I ran 5 miles to Boston College to watch the marathon, then I ran to the finish area so I could see Ryan.
Tuesday – Rest Day/Drive Home Day
Wednesday – Rest Day/ Recover from driving and not sleeping
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 10 mile tempo run at an 8 min pace or faster
Friday – 52 minutes elliptical
Saturday – 20 miles (1 mile warm up, Hermes 10 miler and 9 mile cool down) I haven’t wrote my post yet but I PR’d in the 10 miler!!!!

IMG_3753 IMG_3750
Sunday – 6 Miles

Total Running Mileage: 47

Now I only have 1 more week left before I start tapering. The way I like to think of it as is I have 3 major workouts left, speedwork, tempo run and long run. After that my body gets to rest and taper!

And now drumroll please

As an Official Cleveland Marathon Ambassador for 2015, I have a free entry to giveaway! (To the Cleveland Marathon race distance of your choice!)  Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the race this year.

To enter to win, simply comment below on which race you want to do and why. Please enter before noon on Monday May 4th so that I can pick a winner and make an announcement!

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