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Cleveland Marathon 2016

A couple days ago a coworker asked “Is this your favorite weekend of the year?” She was referring to the Cleveland Marathon weekend and I was like “no not my favorite but probably close.” I lied, it’s totally one of my favorite weekends of the year. Every day from Friday-Sunday is just filled with so many fun activities. I’ve dreaded writing this recap because then it means it is really over.

After feeling quite nauseous for the Cleveland Marathon in 2015, I made some changes to how I fueled for the Cleveland Marathon this year. It involved a serious carb deplete but with a more normal carb load. I tend to get full fast and don’t digest food quickly enough so I spread my foods out throughout Friday and Saturday. But on race morning, I got up at 2am to eat half a turkey sandwich and powerade to make sure I had enough fuel and went back to bed.

My alarm went off at 4:10 which wasn’t too bad since we normally get up around 4:20-4:30. Finally it pays off to be an early bird. The plan was to leave by 5:10 so that gave me enough time to take the dogs out, get dressed, eat breakfast (peanut butter toast and half a cup of coffee) and do some warm up stretches.

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It’s going to be in the 30s so I decide to wear shorts and a tank. So dumb sometimes.

Most marathons I wear shorts and a tank. However, Cleveland weather made it very difficult to decide what to wear this year. Not just what to wear to run but what to wear to the start. I stuck with my shorts and tank but added compression socks, sleeves and gloves to keep warm. I also had hand warmers and last minute decided to wear a hat because it was sleeting. Yes, sleeting in mid May.

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Pre-race with some of the best people I know!

This was by far the most nervous I have been for a marathon in a long time. I just needed this race to start so that I could start moving. Thankfully the time went by quickly and after the national anthem the race started. I was way back in the middle of corral B with the 3:35 pace group so it took us a while to get to cross the start line.

Once we crossed the start line, our pacer went straight to work. It was awesome because I just let him do his thing and maneuvered the crowds and kept us on pace. There was a lot of dodging to be had with walkers who somehow ended up in corral A and B and were being tripped over. Then there was a lot of dodging with the puddles and those weird groove things that the buses use downtown. I hated to waste time and energy dodging puddles but I wanted my feet to be dry as long as possible.

Mile 1=7:57. Mile 2=8:20. Mile 3=8:11. Mile 4=8:17

The first couple miles of the race are obviously crowded but there is a 10k, half and full all together for those miles. And by crowded it is not crazy shoulder to shoulder but it still a crowd running through the streets. I ignored my watch and let the pacer tell me whether we were on or off pace. Our pace was to be 8:12 per mile.

The one thing that could not be ignored was the weather. It was windy and hail by mile 2. I told myself there would be a break in the weather and I would be fine within the hour.

Mile 5= 8:12. Mile 6=8:13. Mile 7=8:04. Mile 8=8:22

Now the first couple miles of a marathon always feel great but its those miles after where I start to check in with myself. How do I feel? Good, the pace feel easy. Almost too easy. Does anything hurt? Yes, my hamstring around mile 8. How is my stomach, is it queasy? No feels pretty good but too nervous to take a gel (bad Jess).

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Only one who is sleeveless…

I kept looking around and I was the only idiot in a tank. All the guys had on short sleeves or long sleeves. The girls all had on tights, capris or jackets. Mile 7-9 was on a street called Train Ave. It’s a very “Cleveland” type of street (if you know what I mean, wink wink) but I was happy to see some supporters out there with fun signs. That street is not easy to get to and the weather was just awful at this point.

Mile 9=8:19. Mile 10=8:12. Mile 11=8:17. Mile 12=8:17

I finally got to see Francesca and Bethany who came out to cheer. I thought the weather would have scared them away but there they were bundled up in winter coats in May and cheering! It was around mile 9 that I finally finished my first gel that I started around mile 8. The half marathoners broke off around mile 10.5 and that’s when the course really started to thin out. I also lost Dan at this point. He was running with my pace group and doing awesome. I couldn’t talk to him because I was in the zone but it was nice to have someone I knew with me.

Mile 11 I remember very very well because once we got on to Detroit it was like Mother Nature put a switch on. We were running straight into the wind and snow/sleet/hail that was coming down. That hail hitting my shoulders was quiet painful. I am so happy that I had a hat on to protect my face!

Mile 13=8:11. Mile 14=8:16. Mile 15=8:13. Mile 16=8:13

At the half marathon mark, we got a new pacer and the original pacer dropped out. This was their plan all along and I was aware but the first pacer was doing good, I didn’t want him to go! The second pacer did really well and jumped right into pace. It was like he runs that pace in his sleep and did it effortlessly.

I forgot to mention that very early on, I don’t know if the mile markers were off or if everyone’s watches were off because my watch would beep but the mile marker I couldn’t even see yet. However, I was feeling really good and wasn’t going to let that bother me.

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Mile 17=8:27. Mile 18=8:06. Mile 19=7:55. Mile 20=7:58

Between mile 17 and 18, I finally got to see Ryan! He was pacing the 3:25 group. Mile 17 was into the wind but I was looking forward to turning around so that I could finally have the wind at my back. Now the whole race I kept telling myself I could pick it up at mile 20 0r 23, depending on how I felt. Lucky for me, my pacer started picking it up for me. Maybe a little too fast that late in the race though. I just told myself to keep holding on though and kept gluing myself to him. So much so that I kept bumping elbows with him during the race.

Mile 21=8:02. Mile 22=8:08. Mile 23=8:15. Mile 24=8:17.

Just before Mile 22, I lost my pace group. I just couldn’t hold on to that pace anymore and had to drop back. I was really hoping I would have a second wind and get back to them. However, I was happy with how well I stayed on my pace without them. Miles 22-24 are hard miles of any marathon. To hold onto your pace that late is a huge accomplishment and I was happy with it.

Mile 25=8:45. Mile 26=8:51

Everyone always complains about running the Shoreway. However, I really like the Shoreway. I love the views of the lake, the views of downtown and the fact that I am running on a road I never ever get to run on. The last 2 miles really fell off for me but not as bad as other marathons I have ran. But that whole picking it up at the end thing just wasn’t happening. There were these gusts off the lake that were borderline pushing me over. I am not even exaggerating. I was literally getting pushed.

I looked at my watch and doing the math, I knew I wasn’t going to BQ, which was sad. My training had went so well and a sub 3:35 was totally there. However, I ran a really good race, felt really good and still had a chance at a PR. A PR that I set back in 2009!

I could still see my pace group but they were way too far away for me to catch. I came off the ramp of the Shoreway and there was Dan, jumping and cheering. He was so pumped it made me pumped and got me out of my funk that I wasn’t going to BQ.

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Coming in for the FINISH!

I picked it up to finish and passed as many runners as I could. Not that it really mattered but it kept me going and kept the pace up. I ended up crossing the line in 3:37:57. The best part about crossing the finish, was that I could see Ryan right away. He was jumping and pumping his fists that I PR’d. He was so happy for me.

Below is the time from my Garmin Connect and the distance I had for the race.

Cleveand Marathon Time

So what’s next?

Not gonna lie. I thought about signing up for another race immediately. Like that Bayshore marathon in 2 weeks. However, I decided I would hold off and start a full training plan all over again and do Erie in the fall.

As for Cleveland, I can’t wait to come back next year as the race turns 40 in 2017. Rain, wind, hail, sleet and snow couldn’t scare this girl away from the Most Cleveland Race Ever.

Special thanks to every one who came out to the race on Sunday. The weather was less than ideal and I was freezing while running so I can’t imagine how cold the volunteers and spectators were and they were still out there. Special thanks to the Cleveland Marathon staff who puts this race together every year. I get to see first hand how hard it is to shut down a city for a day but every year they make it work. Special thanks to Ryans parents, Francesca, Bethany and the Nush family who braved the elements to come out and cheer. Special thanks to the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors who inspire me daily and finally special thanks to Ryan for dealing with my nerves but more importantly for being my biggest fan and pushing me to be my best.

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Cleveland Marathon Training Week 17 and 18: Race Week is Here

I can’t believe race week is finally here. It’s so crazy to think about training from January-May and to see that the race is just days away.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been pretty nervous all week for this race. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been extremely excited but definitely more nervous than past marathons. You would think after 15 marathons I would have the nerves thing figured out.

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At least I know what I am going to wear!

Training Week 17

Monday – 1 Hour Elliptical and arms and abs strength training.
Tuesday –  1.25 mile warm up, 7x800m repeats, 400 recovery, 1.25 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 1 Hour elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warm up, 7 miles at 7:47 pace, 1 mile cooldown
Friday –  Rest Day
Saturday – 10.13 – 1 mile warm up, 8 at marathon goal pace, 1 mile cool down
Sunday –  Rest Day

Total Mileage:26.13

Training Week 18

Monday – 1 hour elliptical

Tuesday –  1 mile warm up, 3x800m repeats, 400 recovery, 1 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 3 mile easy run, 20 minute elliptical and strength abs and arms
Thursday – Rest Day
Friday –  Rest Day but light abs and arms strength work
Saturday – Rest Day – Watch the 5K, go the expo and eat carbs
Sunday –  RACE DAY!

3 Reasons this week is the worst:

1.) Running Less: The past week has been one of the hardest of my training cycle. Running and working out so little is really tough. Especially after all those weeks of hard workouts. I mean, I really missed my tempo run this week. Who knew I would grow to love tempo runs!

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Less running but more cuddles from these dudes.

2.) Carb Deplete/Reload: This past week is also rough because it’s carb deplete week/reload week. A lot of people skip the carb deplete part of carb loading. I mean who really wants to go through that. However, I love torture so I definitely do it. What does it mean? Long story short, after my last long run, I cut back majorly on all carbs. I basically cut back to less than 50 grams of carbs a day. It’s pretty rough. I basically eat lean meat, cheese, eggs and pork rinds for days. However, when it is over I can start carb loading and your body will retain more carb energy…or something like that. This article sums it up much better than I do.

3.) Negativity: I am a very positive person. I like to look on the bright side of most things. Who wants to live their life as a downer? The answer is, most Clevelanders. Sometimes I can’t blame them but man do Clevelanders like to complain about everything. Maybe it’s the weather, the Browns, the marathon (course is too shady or too sunny or too hilly or not scenic enough, etc.). And maybe that’s how some people deal with nerves. It’s Cleveland; what do they expect?! It’s still a relatively flat and fast course and besides downtown, what scenic sites do you want to see? For me, I like to focus on the positive. My training went great even with injuries. I can’t control the weather but it’s shaping up to look very comfortable, if not cold. And I get to run a marathon with 20,000+ of my friends.

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What are your favorite carb loading foods? What are you looking forward to?

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Cleveland Marathon Training Weeks 15 and 16: Taper Time

It’s crazy when you start a training plan and spend these days/weeks/months preparing and then suddenly it’s almost here! Technically, I’m on training week 17 but just typing up the info for weeks 15 and 16. But it’s officially taper time!

Taper time isn’t traditionally my favorite. I struggle with the whole taking it easier for the next 10 days. It’s hard to figure out what to do with all that free time 😉 But really it’s hard to wrap your head around the whole “am I ready?” thing. I mean, if you did the training that would make sense, right?

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Training Week 15

Monday – 8ish miles in Boston ( I lost track of the mileage this day as I stopped my watch while trying to find Ryan

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Tuesday –  1 mile warm up, 5x800m repeats, 400 recovery, and 1 mile repeat, 1 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 1 Hour elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warm up, 8 miles at 7:47 pace, 1 mile cooldown
Friday –  Rest Day
Saturday – Hermes 10 miler (1 mile WU, 10 miles, 9 miles after) – Last 20 miler
Sunday –  Rest Day

Total Mileage: 44.5

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Training Week 16

Monday – 1 Hour elliptical
Tuesday –  1 mile warm up, 6×1 mile repeats, 400 recovery, 1 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 1 Hour elliptical
Thursday –  AM Workout: 1 mile warm up, 9 miles at 7:47 pace, 1 mile cooldown
-PM Workout: 1 Mile WU, 4 miles at MGP – 5.20 total at 8:02 pace
Friday –  Rest Day
Saturday – 5K Run (15.17 miles total for the day at 7:59)
Sunday –  Spinning

Total Mileage: 40.87

So while I don’t necessarily trust the McMillian Calculator anymore, it’s fun to see what it thinks you might run based off past races. Right now it is predicting at 3:25-3:28 for me. However, I have no interest in even trying that right now. I think I could hold that pace for maybe 15 miles and then would want to quit..with 11 miles to go (which I would probably be walking if I went out too fast). Instead, I will be starting with the 3:35 pace group and sticking with them for as long as I can. If things go well, I’ll pick it up towards the end and come in earlier. If things go ok, I’ll finish with them. And let’s just not even consider options if it doesn’t go well. Positive thinking only.

What are you top reasons why you are ready to run a race?

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Hermes 10 Miler 2016

You can go ahead and file the Hermes 10 Miler under one of my favorite races. I have run this race many times, even when it was a downtown race! I do love the Edgewater/Lakewood course though. Minimal hills and turns like this race are perfect for PRs.

In most years that I have run this race, I have overdressed. This year I was not only determined to not overdress but to wear shorts. I have no idea why that crazy idea was in my head but I showed up to the race in shorts and was freezing! At least I had a long sleeve to run in and wasn’t crazy enough to wear a tank or tee.

I was smart enough to bring pants and a jacket to warm up in. (thanks for capturing our cold walk Will)

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I warmed up as close to the race time as I possibly could so I could keep my warm up clothes on. Poor Ryan was being a champ and planning to pace me for the race and he also wore shorts! To tell you how cold it actually was, he ran in pants!

I don’t normally have Ryan pace me or run with me but I really wanted someone to keep me from going out to fast or fading too hard after I got tired. We normally run the same races but since he wasn’t racing I took full advantage of his pacing duties and told him my aggressive pace of 7:18. Which is no problem for Ryan to run. Yay!

Mile 1 – 7:11 – A little fast but there is some downhill at the beginning that is hard not to take advantage of.

Mile 2 – 7:18, Mile 3 – 7:20, Mile 4 – 7:19 – To be completely honest, these paces felt too fast. I felt tired and winded and had to dig deep to tell myself to keep going and not give up. Thank God Ryan was pacing me because I probably would have given up and slowed down.

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Can you see how pink my legs are from the cold? I do have pink compression socks on.

Around mile 2, a heavy breather got close to me and I actually prayed that she would pass me so that I couldn’t have to hear her breathing anymore. My goodness, I thought I was tired and winded but she sounded like she was hyperventilating. She did end up passing me and I was totally ok with that…Until we caught back up with her.

Mile 5 – 7:25, Mile 6 – 7:31, Mile 7 – 7:34 – At this point in the race we had reached the turnaround point and were on our way back to the finish area. Ryan was doing a really good job doing all the talking and telling me not to talk as we were running. At one point he wanted me to pick it up but i didn’t have anything left to pick it up.

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Just a walk in the park for Ryan

We were also on the tails of the Heavy Breather and I was hoping that we would pass her and she was just fade fast so that I wouldn’t have to hear her. As we neared her, she was still breathing heavy. Like how are you not tired of breathing that hard woman!

Mile 8 – 7:44, Mile 9 – 7:53 – Ugh, looking at this paces and seeing how much they were dropping hurts a little. To be honest, I started to feel a little sick and knew if I pushed any harder that I would indeed puke. Ryan tried to get me to pick up the pace but I just couldn’t without the thought of puking.

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I was pretty sure that woman in black was going to pass me at the finish but she never did. phew.

Coming in for the last mile has a lot of downhill so that felt awesome to not have to push my pace. I had a big lead on Heavy Breather which was a relief because that noise was nauseating. I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:13:28 a 7:20 pace. Not too far off what I was aiming for but I did want to go sub 1:13. Next time!

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After the race, I came home to the funniest thing in the world…my dog had climbed into my sweatshirt and got stuck in the sleeve!

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He looks sad here but I promise you his tail was wagging.

 

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Cleveland Marathon Training Weeks 11-14: Training and Busy Season at Work

I apparently never pressed publish on training week 11 & 12 so you get 4 weeks of training in 1 post! You are all so lucky 😉 April is my busy season at work so times gets away quickly.

Anyways, I’m still basically only running 3-4 days a week. It’s not ideal but I am able to get in a speed work day, a tempo day and a long run day. My leg, hamstring, psoas is feeling pretty good but not 100%. However, I can still run so it sounds like 100% to me!

I have to do A LOT of extra exercises to warm up and cool down. Then I also have A LOT of strength exercises that I also have to do. All just to be able to run. Moral of the story, don’t get old…I’m 32.

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Training Week 11

Monday – 1 Hour elliptical
Tuesday –  1 mile warm up, 4×1.5 mile repeats, 400 recoverey, 1 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 3 easy miles and 30 minute elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warm up, 10 miles at 7:47 pace, 1 mile cooldown
Friday –  Rest Day
Saturday – 17 miles at 8:15 pace
Sunday –  Rest Day

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Total Running Mileage: 40.6

Training Week 12

Monday – 7 easy miles at 8:51 pace
Tuesday –  Rest Day
Wednesday – 1 hour elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warm up, 10 miles at 7:47 pace, 1 mile cooldown
Friday –  Rest Day
Saturday – 15 Miles – 1.5 mile warm up, 10K Hop for Hope and then the rest of my long run.
Sunday –  Rest Day

Below is my legit normal Lunch and Breakfast. I am a creature of habit and eat the same thing everyday.

Total Running Mileage: 34

Training Week 13

Monday – 1 Hour elliptical
Tuesday – 1 mile warm up, 6x1mile at 7:20 pace, with 400 meter recover, 1 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 1 hour elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warm up, 9 miles at 7:47, 1 mile cooldown
Friday – 1 hour elliptical
Saturday – Rest Day
Sunday –  19 miles – 1 mile warm up, Towpath Half Marathon, 5 mile cooldown

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Total Running Mileage: 39.25

Training Week 14

Monday – 1 hour elliptical
Tuesday – 1 mile warm up, 3×2 mile repeats at 7:18 pace, 1 mile cooldown
Wednesday – 1 hour elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warm up, 10 miles at 7:47, 1 mile cool down
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 10.16 miles @8:16 pace in Boston/Cambridge/Newton
Sunday –  Rest Day

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Total Running Mileage: 31.66

I’m kind of in shock that the Cleveland Marathon is 22 days away! 22 DAYS AWAY! Holy Cow! I have my last 20 miler this weekend and then it will be taper time! Ahhhhhh

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Cleveland Marathon Training Weeks 7 and 8: Hello Pain Train!

I wish I could say that Week 7 and 8 were the “Pain Train” because I was lacing up my shoes and crushing some hard miles. However, I have been on the “Pain Train” for some hamstring issues. In the past, I have had IT band issues, piriformis issues and plantar fasciitis issues. These hamstrings just couldn’t wait to join in on the fun.

By the end of week 7, I had so much pain that I could barely get through an easy 8 miler. Luckily, my husband has had hamstring injuries and was able to help me loosen up but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. I ended up having to make an appointment with a specific sports chiropractor in the area but couldn’t get in for a full week! I ended up doing the elliptical a couple days for week 8 to be able to do my key workouts.

Training Week 7

Monday – 7 Easy Miles (8:51 pace)
Tuesday – Speedwork – 1 mile warmup, 3×1600 (in 4:57 not sure of pace)  with 400 jog in between and 1 mile cooldown.
Wednesday – 1 hour Elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 9 mile tempo  (7:47 pace) and 1 mile cooldown
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 15 mile long run – Treadmill! – (8:24 pace)
Sunday –  4 Mile Run with lots of pain

Total Running Mileage: 42.6

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Bodhi and Bandit recovering after one of many long naps.

Training Week 8

Monday – 1 hour Elliptical
Tuesday – 1.23 mile warm up, 6×800 and 1.23 mile cool down
Wednesday – 1 hour Elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 9 mile tempo  (7:47 pace) and 1 mile cooldown
Friday – Full Rest Day – What do I do with my free time!
Saturday – 16 Mile Long Run – 4.5 outside on the ice (8:53 pace) and 11.5 on the treadmill (8:23 pace)
Sunday –  4 Mile easy run (8:39 pace)  with Francesca and then Runner’s Yoga at Second Sole in Rocky River

Total Running Mileage: 38

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Yoga! With Runners! At a Running Store!

I’m really looking forward to getting some hamstring answers. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to run through most of the pain but it’s not too enjoyable. I look forward to giving you an update on this minor issue! (Spoiler – I’m going to survive, my leg will not be cut off and I can still run the marathon!)

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Putting my legs up, drinking a beer and cuddling with the pups.

My Schedule

I’ve had a few emails inquiring about my workout/work/life schedule and how do I do it all! That’s easy, I love to run so it’s never a challenge to get my workouts in. Most of the time I have to hold myself back from running too much!

Monday – up at 4:30 am, at the gym or running by 5am, work by 8, home sometime after 5 unless I have errands to run and then music practice from 7-9.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – up at 4:30 am, at the gym or running by 5am, work by 8, home sometime after 5 unless I have errands to run.
Thursday – up at 4:10am, at the gym by 4:45 in the hopes that they open early ( tempo runs take awhile to complete), work by 8, home sometime after 5 unless I have errands to run.
Saturday – up by 6 or 6:30 in the winter (once the sun comes up earlier I get up earlier too). If the weather permits and the sun is up I am running by 7, if I have to go to the gym I start at 8.
Sunday – up by 6:30 running by 8 or earlier. On Sundays I alternate between yoga and spinning.

As you can see, my schedule is monotonous. I do the same things over and over again but it makes it easy to fall into a schedule so don’t miss any workouts. And yes, I go to bed by 9pm every night to be able to get up this early.

Anyone else on the pain train? Anyone else with a specific schedule or an early bird like me?

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Cleveland Marathon Training Weeks 5 and 6: Olympic Marathon Trials and Expectations

I stayed pretty close to my training plan for Week 5 and 6, minus a spontaneous rest day because I was just too tired to run that day. I normally hold 3 workouts in high priority in my training plan. Speedwork, tempo and long runs are the keys to a great training cycle for me. The easy days are just junk to me anyways. Okay, not really junk but if I am going to skip a workout, I would rather it be one of my easy days rather than my speedwork, tempo or long run days.

Right now my speedwork and tempo runs are a little faster than they need to be for my marathon but I really want to PR in the half marathon this year. So my paces are more for a PR half than a PR marathon. I honestly haven’t decided what I want to run for Cleveland yet. I’ll likely start with the 3:35 pace group.

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“Mom, you done running yet? Time for puppy cuddles” – Bandit

Training Week 5

Monday – 7 Easy Miles (8:51 pace)
Tuesday – Speedwork – 1 mile warmup, 4×1200 (in 4:57 not sure of pace)  with 400 jog in between and 1 mile cooldown.
Wednesday – 3 mile easy run (8:55 pace) and 45 min Elliptical
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 8 mile tempo  (7:47 pace) and 1 mile cooldown
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 15 mile long run – Treadmill! – (8:24 pace)
Sunday –  3 Mile Run with hills (8:46 pace) and 45 minutes on the Elliptical

Total Running Mileage: 44

To say I was excited for the Olympic Marathon Trials was an understatement. I LOVE THE OLYMPICS so this was a nice little teaser to get me excited. It was also cool to see the many talented athletes who got to run this race, especially since I follow a lot of them on social media. I was especially excited to see all the Hoka athletes compete.

Training Week 6

Monday – 6 Easy Miles (8:50 pace)
Tuesday – Spontaneous Rest Day
Wednesday – 7 mile easy run (8:49 pace)
Thursday – 1 mile warmup and 8 mile tempo  (7:47 pace) and 1 mile cooldown
Friday – 1 hr Elliptical
Saturday – 15 Mile Long Run – OUTSIDE! – (8:25 pace)
Sunday –  4 Mile easy run (8:29 pace)  with Francesca and then Runner’s Yoga at Second Sole in Rocky River

Total Running Mileage: 42

I got to run outside!!!! I’m a freeze baby who gets sick easily so I opt to run inside a lot during the winter. I also start my runs around 4:30-5am so it’s too dark to run outside by myself at that time. However, Saturday was warm enough that I got outside and ran in shorts! I was hoping for a 15 mile run with an 8:05-8:10 pace. However, I ended up hitting a wall around mile 8, after I went up a steep hill and then I hit another wall at mile 13, probably from the crazy winds. My fastest mile was a 7:45 and my slowest was a 8:37 so it really wasn’t that bad, I just had high expectations 🙂

If you go to the store after your long run, it’s crazy the things you will buy out of hunger. I didn’t think twice to grab these pork rinds.

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Oh Yeah

What is your favorite post long run snack?

Currently, I have been loving a glass of milk, a hard boiled egg and cookie butter straight from the jar.

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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.

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Key

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.

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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 Random.org to pick the winner and the lucky winner is…

——-Alison!—–

Winner

Alison, shoot me an email at mojamala2blog@gmail.com 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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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!