Cleveland Challenge Recap: Everyone do this race next year!

When I was contacted by Cleveland Challenge Nation about this race, I really didn’t know a lot about it. Scavenger type/Amazing Race style event but I decided to do it because I rarely participate in fun races because I love competing in races so much.

Many people dress up for this race or wear matching shirts, outfits etc. Some came up with some interesting costumes like this guy who was a “wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen”

I heard he only flashed a few people.
I heard he only flashed a few people.

Before the race there is one big meeting. We literally got in 1 very large circle as the clues to the race were passed out.

2photo 2You have to keep your hand in the circle so there is no cheating and reading the clues early.

3photo 3Which really didn’t matter for Francesca and I because we were pretty stumped on most clues. After reading through the clues we decided to just run to the first location we knew and hoped we would figure the rest out as we went.

Luckily on the way to the first clue we also stumbled up a second clue!

4photo 4 Jess and Francesca

After that I’m not sure if we just got smarter or if we just started running around and got lucky finding clues. The clues were pretty tough and rather long to read.

5photo 5 photo 6

There was a lot of selfie taking as you had to take pictures with each of the clues you found.

photo 4 photo 5 photo 7

We ran to each location so we were really getting a good workout/run in. There was also a lot of laughing as we would start running to a location and then realize we had no idea where we were going or would realize we were going in the wrong direction.

photo 8 photo 9

One of the clues you had to find someone with a drivers license from another state that started with the letters N, C, M, T or L. Pretty sure this couple was on the way to a wedding but they let us take pictures with them for the Challenge.

Even though we ran most of this “race” we ran way further than we probably had to. We ended up 19th out of 185ish teams with a time of 1:19. The overall winners finished in 50 mins. I’m not sure how far this race was supposed to be but we ran about 6-6.5 miles.(I fully admit we ran out of the way multiple times so we probably could have knocked off some miles and time.

Next year when this race comes around, everyone gather a team of friends and come run (or walk) around downtown Cleveland and figure out some fun clues. I guarantee you will have a good time!


Running For Hope 5K and a GIVEAWAY

On June 29, 2013, the annual Running for Hope 5K race will take place in Avon Lake. All proceeds from this race go to benefit Love Without Boundaries.


Love Without Boundaries Foundation is a charity that helps orphaned and impoverished children in China.  The foundation works to improve the lives of thousands of orphaned and impoverished children through education, foster care, healing homes, orphanage assistance, medical assistance, nutrition assistance, and adoption assistance grants.

If you visit the Love Without Boundaries website, you can read their blog, learn more about the programs they offer, make a donation, and sponsor a child. I have to admit that I couldn’t stop looking at all the cute pictures!

How cute is she???
How cute is she???

The Running for Hope 5K race will begin at 8am at Kopf Family Reservation in Avon Lake.  It is $20 for pre-registered runners and $25 for race day registration. You can register for the race here.


You can enter to win a FREE race entry below!

  1. There are many ways to get involved with Love Without Boundaries. Leave a comment below telling me one.
  2. Like the Running For Hope Facebook page Leave a comment below telling me so.
  3. Share this post on Facebook. Leave a comment below telling me so.
  4. Follow @LoveWB on Twitter. Leave a comment below telling me so.
  5. Twitter users can get an extra entry each day by tweeting: “I want to race in the Running For Hope 5K to benefit @LoveWB on June 29th 2013 https://mojamala2.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/running-for-hope-5k-and-a-giveaway/ ″. Leave a comment below for each day you tweet this.

You have until Sunday, June 23rd at 11:59PM to enter. The winner will be announced on Monday June 24th.

Disclosure: I’m very sad that I have to miss this race but it’s the same day as my bachelorette party and my maid of honor might kill me for being late. Thoughts and opinions are my own and one of my readers will receive a free race entry.


Cleveland Marathon Weekend is Upon us.

I have a crazy busy week this week but by Friday I will be hanging out with runners at the VIP dinner, Saturday I will be shopping at the marathon expo, Saturday night I will be carbo loading with friends and Sunday morning I will be at the starting line to run my 12th marathon. Immediately after the marathon Sunday I am off to one of my best friend’s baby shower. By Monday morning I will be sporting an awesome post marathon hobble walk and a shiny new finishers medal with a spinning guitar.

Finisher’s Medals

Hopefully, everyone has their bib number by now but don’t forget to pick up your packet at the expo. Every year I try not to spend too much at the expo. Every year I come back with new headbands, gu, water bottles and clothing items. Last year I couldn’t even run but still got myself a 26.2 shirt from 26.2 apparel and an awesome bag/purse from the Cleveland Marathon official merchandise area. The official items are always stellar! It’s really hard to hold myself back.

My “run” purse/bag

Please remember bags and backpacks are not allowed at the expo or at the start/finish area of the marathon. Also bags are subject to be searched.

Speaking of the start line. GET. THERE. EARLY!  The roads close early and some close earlier than listed. Save yourself the stress and leave early so that if your route is closed you still have time to find an alternate route (happened to me last year). Also get to the starting line and in your corral EARLY! The weather is looking to be nice so there is no excuse. Go to the bathroom, shed some clothes and get in your corral.

Perhaps your view will look like this on race morning

Lastly, line up where you belong. Do not line up at the front because you want to be up there. Runners in the front, walkers in the back and then line up according to pace groups. If you line up where you don’t belong it jams up the entire start line. I’ve seen it happen at many races and can be frustrating for all participants. The race is chip timed so you don’t have to be close to the front, your timing chip doesn’t start until YOU cross the start line (not when the gun goes off).

What are you most looking forward to this weekend? What is your starting line etiquette?

Good Luck to everyone! Can’t wait to see you all this weekend! Remember to have fun and make your own CLEVELAND EXPERIENCE!

Weather as of Thursday Morning.

This looks pretty good!





Cleveland Marathon Training Week 2: Wow that went by fast!

I cannot believe how fast the past week went and that I am already blogging about week 2. I guess the weeks go by fast when you are marathon training, planning a wedding and have 12 FRIENDS who are all expecting a baby in the next 6 months. How crazy is that? I guess it kind of makes sense since I was attending 10 weddings, a year, for 2 years.

Monday: Supposed to be a Rest day….but instead I did Nike Training Club (NTC) 15 min abs, 15 min arms and 15 min legs.
Tuesday: Speedwork on the track!!! 1 mile WU, 6-800’s in 3:14, 3:25, 3:22, 3:28 (barefoot), 3:21, 3:22, CD was barely half a mile. I worked so hard that I had nothing left in the tank and couldn’t get a whole mile in for the CD. I was super exhausted. I also had some weird pain in my foot or maybe it was a rock.  I got so frustrated I took off my shoes and I ran my 4th 800 BAREFOOT! It was weird and hard, you feel so many different muscles. Don’t worry, I’m not switching to a barefoot runner but I found it interesting.
Wednesday: 15 mins spinning (it was a very busy day and that’s all I could squeeze in in the morning) and volleyball double header.

Crazy awesome vball players at this place.
Crazy awesome vball players at this place.

Thursday: Tempo Run to my friends Julie’s apartment! She’s a Stella & Dot Stylist and was having people over to see the new Spring Line but I needed to get my run in so I ran to her place. I am pretty bad at tempo runs and my paces are usually all over the place but I am happy with this one. 4.5 miles in 37:04. My paces were 8:56, 8:31, 7:52, 7:35, 8:15.
Friday: Rest Day. Took a true rest day and went to dinner with 2 of my bridesmaids. My plan was to demolish some nachos at the Winking Lizard (it’s a staple with my friends). However, I failed at that demolishing part, the picture below was my leftovers. I swear I put a dent in them.

WInking lizard
Tip: Ask for a side of mild sauce with your nachos. AMAZING

Saturday: I was dreading my long run because it was so windy out. I set a bunch of small goals to get myself through the workout. 1.) run the 12 miles close to what I ran them in last week. 2.) don’t go out too fast. 3.) take GU! 4.) run the first 7 miles in an hour and the last 5 miles in under 45 mins. 5.) run a slower more even pace. The last 7 miles were pretty windy but the last 4 were even worse. I still cranked out the 12 miles in 1:41:21 (about 2 mins slower than last week. Not bad with the wind) and a 8:27 pace.
Sunday: 30 mins of P90X pylometrics. 40 mins of ab, arm and leg work.

Total Mileage: 22 miles

Anyone else have a crazy amount of friends having babies this year? Love all my friends and cannot wait to see and spoil their babies!

Favorite Nacho Topping? Mine is sour cream and mild sauce.


Taking Track Tuesdays to the Streets.

My past 2 Track Tuesdays have ended up as Treadmill Tuesday. Since the track surprisingly does not look like this.

Clean track
Clean track

And looks more like this.

My paint skills need work.
My paint skills need work.

Sorry, my paint skills are lacking. That’s snow and ice on the track. Not even a single lane is clear and only a crazy person would shovel a track. Although, I did drive around to 3 tracks to see if any were clear so I’m at least a little crazy.

I had 2 choices for speed work. 1.) Get on the treadmill (which would probably tell me 800 meters is 1000  meters and would run farther than I intended, more on that later) or 2.) take my speed work to the streets!

I found a short local street that is pretty much dead end in both directions and figured it would be perfect for speed work. The straightaway part of the street was over 800 meters so it was perfect and you could duck down any side street if you needed extra space.

Google Maps image
Google Maps image

The picture above is from google maps and did not look as pretty as this at all. In reality, it was dark, cold and the yards were covered with snow.

Pros of street speed work:

  • The street is completely plowed so ice and snow are not a factor.
  • Got my speed work in outside!

Cons of street speed work:

  • Even though the street was a dead end there was still a lot of traffic.
  • Too dark. Did speed work after work and it got dark fast! The street is not perfectly paved so it was hard to see dips, grooves, sewers etc.
  • Because it’s a straightaway it’s a hard to tell where you are at. Lots of looking down at your watch to see your distance. Which was too dark to see and had to turn on the light on the Garmin.
  • Times were slightly slower due to looking down at your watch to see distance, moving over for cars and watching where you were going.
  • It got boring running the same street. Which I was surprised, I thought running on a track was pretty boring.
  • Lots of weird looks from cars passing.

Hopefully, I will not have to resort to street speed work often, maybe I’ll bring a headlamp with me to see better. It is warming up this weekend so my next Track Tuesday should be on an actual track.

What do you do when you can’t do your speed work outdoors? Treadmill? skip it? street it?

My latest email from the Cleveland Marathon says 2 important things. 1.) Registration prices go up on January 10th! Register NOW! 2.) If you register by then you still get the early bird registration gift. Which is a shoe wallet! I’ve always been curious about using one of these.


My 2013 Marathon Training Plan

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to do my training differently this year.

  1. Low mileage-no more 50 mile weeks, I’ll barely even be knocking on 40 miles a week.
  2. Running 3-4 days a week. This is killing me, I want to run everyday, double digits. However, my IT band does not agree. We have compromised on 3-4 days.
  3. 1 REST days a week.
  4. More strength training. I already do tons of core and leg work but am adding in more.
  5. PYLOMETRICS. The higher you jump, the faster your 5K times. I know, I know, this is a marathon training plan but this also works as some awesome cross training.

Looking back at old training plans this is close to my first 2 training plans I have ever done (Akron and Cleveland). Simple and easy to move workouts around and less mileage. I qualified for Boston on a plan similar to this.


I’ve always made my own training plans. This year, while looking at the Hal Higdon Training plans, I fell in love with the Marathon 3 Training plan. I feel like this training plan was made for me.

Marathon 3 is designed for experienced runners, those who have been running for several years, who enjoy running road races between 5-K and the marathon, but who find it difficult to run more often than three times a week. Perhaps it is because of a lack of time or perhaps it is because too frequent running raises their risk of injury. If you are one of those runners, Marathon 3 is designed for you.

However, this plan is 24 weeks long. Considering I am already running 10- 14 miles on the weekends, I am a little ahead on this plan so I could just straight to week 8-9. Instead, I opened excel and with major inspiration from the Hal Higdon Marathon 3 Training Plan, I came up with this lovely, beautiful, PR worthy training plan.


There may be a couple changes to this plan as I am still waiting on 2-3 races to  announce their dates. For the most part though, this is how the plan will go.

So I put my hands up...
So I put my hands up…

Cheers to racing INJURY FREE IN 2013!


Tentative 2013 Race Schedule

Never to early to start planning for 2013 races!!!! Big things are happening in 2013. Going to run painfree. Going to get married! Going to attend LOTS of baby showers (all my friends are pregnant but I love it!) and in October I’ll be joining the 30-34 age group. Official old lady club.

Why do I look so little?
Why do I look so little?

This is my tentative race schedule for 2013. I’ll add in links as they come available. Trying to be really careful with running this year, at least before the Cleveland Marathon. That means I’m missing out on the Towpath Half Marathon and the Hermes 10 miler this year 😦

Still waiting on dates for the Jig & Jog 5K in March, Spring and Fall Classic half marathons (April & November), Shamrock 15K (March?), St. Mark’s 5K early June?, Wellington Cheese 10k (July?) and the Perfect 10 miler (August).

Chili Bowl 5K-2/16/13 *not 100% on this one yet.

St. Malachi 5 Miler-3/16/13

Athens Ohio Half Marathon-4/14/13
St. Angela 5K-Usually the end of April

Ambulance Chase 5K-5/5/13
Cleveland Marathon-5/19/13

Westside Catholic Center-6/1/13
Ohio City Run & Crawl-6/15/13
Most Excellent Race 10K-6/23/13-Also my Bridal shower, my maid of honor is going to kill me for racing this day lol
Bachelorette party is 6/29/13 so no races this weekend.

Bay Days 5 miler-7/4/13
Greyt Race 5K-7/7/13
Escape on the Lake 5K-7/13/13
Winking Lizard Shot in the Dark 4 miler 7/20/13 -Last race before I change my name!!!!
Wedding Day 7/27/13

North Ridgeville Lions 10K-8/11/13

Northcoast Challenge 5 miler-8/31/13
Oktoberfest 5K-9/2/13- Hopefully we’ll have our weiner dog by then!
River Run Half Marathon-9/8/13

Nature’s Bin 5K-10/5/13
Towpath Marathon-10/13/13-tentative
Bench Bar Classic 5K or 5 Mile-10/26/13

Turkey Trot 5 Miler-11/28/13

Reindeer Run 5K-12/7/13
Gal’op 5K-12/?/13

Below is a list of “Fun” races. Maybe something for the non runner to get them out there or to run a race and not worry about time. I am not planning on running these races but just wanted you to know about them

Tackle the Tower Stair Climb-2/2/13-I’ve done this one before, it’s fun.
Rajun Cajun- 2/12/13 (it’s a Tuesday)

Cinco De Mayo Run-5/4/13

Santa Shuffle 1 Mile-12/14/13

I know I’m crazy to be planning 2013 races but what races are you looking forward to in 2013?


Santa Hustle Half Marathon

Santa Hustle Half Marathon and 5K was a BLAST! Completely worth driving to Sandusky, OH for (less than an hour drive). Santa Hustle’s are held all over the U.S. but this was the first time having it in Sandusky. Of course, I was nervous about it being a first time race but from what I saw everything went smoothly.

Santa's Reindeer cheering on runner's
Santa’s Reindeer cheering on runner’s

I got to the race pretty early because I had never been to this part of Sandusky and wanted to give myself plenty of time to get lost and find my way to the start. Luckily, it was really easy and I got to park directly across the street from the start. After running around talking to my friends and grabbing my race packet from Eli (she picked it up on Saturday for me) I headed out for a short, 1 mile warm up on the course. I had been warned that it could get windy by the lake so I ran that part of the course. There was almost no wind so I was all set for a nice warm December race.

I missed the memo that everyone was wearing red!
I missed the memo that everyone was wearing red!

Almost everyone at this race wears red or more specifically, the red Santa shirt that is given to you for the race. It’s a nice, cute wicking shirt but I have this thing with wearing race day shirts on race day. This was probably the only race where it is actually ok to wear the race day shirt (and Santa hat and beard) but I still couldn’t do it. Instead I went with a highlighter lime green outfit. Best part about that was I stuck out like crazy. All my friends could easily spot me a mile away.

The race started on time and I tried my best to stick to a decent pace. mile 1 was 7:15 and miles 2 and 3 were 7:25. If I could keep that pace I was headed for a PR Holla! My goal for this race was to run smart, have fun and run under 1:45. By mile 4 I had eased into a 7:45 min mile and was very comfortable and could hold that pace for the rest of the race.

Running past Cedar Point roller coasters.
Running past Cedar Point roller coasters.

Miles 5-7 flew by, we were running around Cedar Point and I was checking out all the closed rides. No spectators were allowed into Cedar Point to watch the race but with all the rides to look at, before I knew it we were heading back out of the park and onto a bike path next to the lake. This is where the wind started to kick in.

So tired
So tired

Miles 8-10 were windy. But I kept telling myself that it will let up and I’ll be fine. By mile 10 the wind had picked up even more. My pace had slowed by an entire minute. I was trying to push against the wind but it was hard. Mile 11, my cheeks were actually getting sore from the wind. Cheeks on my face, not my butt cheeks sickos.

Eli ran the 5K and then met me for the last mile or so of the half marathon. Which was awesome because it was so windy and I was exhausted from pushing into it. You would think from a half marathon your legs, butt, knees, feet etc would be sore but no, my arms, back, abs and face cheeks were sore. I’m actually sore there today and still not sore in my legs yet.

By the time I made one of the final turns in the race I was ready to lay down on the sidewalk and take a nap. Instead I pushed and gave it what I had left (wasn’t much) and finished with a time of 1:47:12 a 8:11 pace and 6th in my age group. At first I was mad I didn’t run a 1:45 but then realized I was only a little over 2 mins off that time and without the wind I would have easily been under 1:45. Then I also remembered that this was my first half marathon since April and I HAD ZERO IT BAND PAIN FOR THIS RACE! ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NULA, BABU.

Sweet Medals
Sweet Medals

Although this wasn’t my goal time, it’s still a pain free half marathon finish. Half Marathon number 17 is in the books. Also, the girls below are bridesmaids in my wedding! They are awesome and makes me 1000 times happy to see them.

LOVE that these girls were there. Also, standing on my toes for this pic and still the short one.
LOVE that these girls were there. Also, standing on my toes for this pic and still the short one.


  • Fun Themed Race
  • Easy Parking (there were multiple lots around Castaway Bay and Volunteer Elves were very good at directing cars where to go)
  • Cool shirts, hat and beard
  • Cool medals for the half marathoners. Would be cool if the 5K got mini versions and got a finishers medal too.
  • Minus the wind the temperature was perfect. 50s in December!
  • I’ll definitely be back for another Santa Hustle.


  • It was super windy
  • No race day packet pickup. I know a lot of people from Cleveland would have made the drive if they could pick there packet up race morning.
  • Course short by at least .25 (I compared my watch with many runners at the finish and we all had it short but that’s ok for a first time race)

In case you want a good laugh, check out the picture below. The picture on the left is what I wore for the race. The picture on the right is what I should have worn for the race. However, my friend Anna pointed out to me that I have my beard on wrong! Why I thought the mustache part went on your nose I’ll never understand.

I'm so silly
I’m so silly

This was my last race of 2012, is anyone else still racing? I know there are a couple NYE races but I’m done for the year.

What are your thoughts on race day shirts? Wear them on the race day or any day but on race day. I will wear mine any time after the race, even immediately after, just not for the actual race. More of a superstitious thing.

Other Santa Hustlers in attendance: (I’m sure their recaps will be up soon)



Jingle Bell Run 5K

This was the first year that this race was being held so instantly I was hesitant to sign up. New races rarely go well. Blocking off streets, getting volunteers, designing shirts, ordering enough shirts, getting food and water for after the race, timing systems/race chips/bibs, course maps and who knows what else goes into planning a race. So many things to look into so it would be easy to overlook other details. Luckily, Alicia from Poise in Parma was in charge of event planning for this event so everything went smoothly.

Race shirts-Actually really soft too!
Race shirts-Actually really soft too!

The weather for this race was pretty awesome for December. A little bit of wind and a misty rain but it was also almost 50 degrees, in December, in Cleveland. I told myself that if it was at least 40 degrees I would wear a running skirt since it would probably be the last time for the year. Hello bare pasty legs.

I did my usual 1.5 mile warm up but did so on the second half of the course. It was in an unfamiliar area so I wanted to see how it was. Slightly hillier (that’s probably not a word) than I wanted for my last 5K but you get that when you head to the east side of Cleveland for races. At least now I was prepared for it and could pace myself better.

I’ve been working really hard at getting my 5K splits more even. First mile had a nice down hill followed by an uphill but I still managed a 6:47 for the first mile. Second mile we were still climbing up the hill but it eventually flattened out. Reached the 1.5 mile turn around and felt pretty good. Tired but ready to tackle the rest of the course. It was a down and back course so I knew exactly what was coming. The last mile has a huge uphill. Not very fun for the end of the race but it gave me a chance to catch some runners on the hill. Before I knew it I was heading into the home stretch and crossed the line with a time of 22:50, top 10 women and 3rd in my age group. Almost immediately after the race Ryan and I (Ryan was 2nd overall) headed out and did the course again and a couple more miles so we could have 10 miles for the day.

Running skirt in December and coffee stain on my shirt.
Running skirt in December and coffee stain on my shirt.

I would have liked to get back into the 21s for the last 5K of the year but with the hills in this race it wasn’t going to happen. Honestly, I’m just happy to be running/racing again and had zero IT band issues for this race.

Age Group Medal
Age Group Medal

Next race up is the Santa Hustle! Very excited for this race, it looks like it is going go be a ton of fun. Also, I get to close out my last race of the year with a half marathon. Let’s just hope for some nice weather!….or the same weather as we’ve had 🙂


2nd Annual Pre-Turkey Trot 5K

Since I’m finally back to running and racing I’ve been trying to get in as many races as I can before the bad weather hits. After taking a weekend off racing I was itching to run again. Since it’s getting cold it’s harder to find races. Luckily, I found a race nearby that happened to be super cheap. $15 with the option of no shirt and $20 if you wanted a shirt. Since I have a ridiculous amount of race shirts I opted for the no shirt option.

Sterilite Closet Drawer White Set of 3
I have 2 of these stuffed with Tshirts. Plus an entire dresser drawer. Not even including running wicking clothing.

When I woke up in the morning my first thought was that I didn’t feel like racing. Weird because I love it. I felt like going for a run and getting my miles in but didn’t really feel like racing. I figured once I got to the race I would be fine and snap out of it.

At the race I met up with some friends for a warm up. 2.39 miles at a sub 8:15 pace. Hmm slightly too fast for a warm up but it felt good. Also longer than I normally go but I figured that would be less miles I would have to do later. We ran most of the course so it was cool to see what it would entire. Which would be flat and neighborhoods.

This race is really small but draws out some people because of the prize money. First male and  female get $100. Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. There were some speedy chicks there.

The race started and instantly I was slower than normal. I was ok with that since I ALWAYS go out too fast. I figured this was my chance to stick to my mile paces. Usually I go out hard and hold on for as long as I can. Not the smartest race strategy, I know, but it works for 5Ks…sometimes.

By the second mile, I felt fine, not winded or anything but just felt like I couldn’t push myself. I tried but never went any faster. I did have some killer runs the past few days so perhaps my legs were more tired than I thought. I wish this race was more exciting but really it wasn’t. It is a good flat course though and technically I should have ran better than I did.

I finished 2nd in my age group, maybe 6-7th female overall? The results aren’t online. My official/Unofficial time was 23:08. Pretty slow for me but still a decent run for the day. I wouldn’t have ran that fast on my own.

That’s right. Laminated age group awards.
To finish my miles for the day, I ran the course backwards with some friends and then drove to a park closer to home to run a few more. Total mileage for the day was 13 miles.

Next up: The Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 Miler! Really looking forward to this race and the cool shirts we get this year.