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I’m Back!

Hi there!

First, I would like to thank everyone who has been following this blog. This blog turned 7 on January 5th and that’s just crazy.

Second, my apologies for the past 2 years of blogging. Life has been pretty crazy and as you can see many posts are very delayed. However, I am still here and feel like I have a lot of life to pour back into this blog.

Third, I”M BACK blogging and reporting on my training for the Cleveland Marathon!

2018 CLE marathon ambassador

Fourth, I am officially running the Glass City Full Marathon and training is off to a good start. I will have to decide if I want to run the Cleveland Half or Full then as these races are rather close together.

Fifth, Ryan and I are adopting! You may have already known that. We are very excited but I have not decided if I am going to share all the details on the blog just yet. To be safe, I have all the copy ready to go in case I change my mind.

Sixth, I have 2 more race recaps to go from 2017 and I will be all caught up!

Seventh, I will have another blog post later this week to share my training schedule and plan for the year.

Eighth, I updated my About Me section for the first time in probably 4 years. It was getting scary over there.

XoXo

Jess

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Inland Trail 5K

When I was planning my year of races, I realized that for the first time in years, I would be home the first weekend in November so I could run the Inland Trail Marathon. Although “trail” is in the name, don’t let that fool you, it’s a road marathon. The plan was to run the Akron Marathon more as a long run and not for time since it is so hilly. Then I would run Inland Trail as the marathon I would race.

However, I felt really burnt out after Akron. I don’t think I over trained, I just think it was too humid. We had a very humid summer and fall so I felt exhausted all the time. I slowly decided I should probably do the half instead of the full because of this. Then I had this great idea to try a new workout class. As a runner, there are many other areas of my body that get ignored because I just want to run. I thought this new class would work out those muscles, get them sore but also stronger.

I made sure to do this HIIT workout a full week before my race just to be safe in case there was any soreness. The class itself was fun, hard and I loved it. The next day, Monday, I was so sore I could barely walk and that is not an exaggeration. I felt pain with each step I took. Tuesday, I was even more sore, major DOMS (Delayed On Set Muscle Soreness). I was so sore Monday and Tuesday that all I did was foam roll and stretch and tried to keep moving. Wednesday I attempted a 4 mile run and was extremely sore. Thursday I did my tempo and was extremely sore.

Now this whole time I mostly planning on running the half and then I thought maybe the full and then the day of, I decided to do the 5K. Talk about indecisive.

I have ran this 5K in the past so I was very familiar with the course and hoping for a pretty good time since it is flat. I knew in the past that this race was very small. Probably about 40 people for the half. However, this year was about half of that! It was crazy.

Needless to say, I didn’t go out too fast because I would feel really dumb going out too fast and dying out at a small race. I did take the lead for the females from the start and kept it the entire race.

Mile 1 – 7:19, Mile 2 – 7:40 and Mile 3 – 6:42

Official time – 21:41 and first overall female

Now I had the course at 2.91, others had the course around 3.05. However, something funky happened because I was cruising for mile 2 and I definitely did not run a 6:42 for my last mile so not sure what happened with my Garmin but definitely weird.

I didn’t take any photos apparently so enjoy this old photo from the last time I ran the 5K at this race!

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Brooklyn Heights 5K

You may remember a couple years ago Ryan and I were searching for a race to do and stumbled upon this Brooklyn Heights 5K. We were familiar with the company who puts it on but had not heard much about the race or even where Brooklyn Heights was. We were pleasantly surprised to find it was fairly close to us and had a very small town feel. Not what you would expect just outside of Cleveland. It also has some amazing views!

Once again, we were searching for a race and decided to give this one a try again since we had liked it the last time.

This race is small, probably one of the smallest I’ve run all year. Despite being small, every year there is some ringer who shows up and whoops people and this year was no different. I was shooting for a specific time so it was fine with me anyways and I was hoping they would pull me to a good time.

Right away, one girl pulled ahead and just by looking at her, you knew she would win. next was me and an older female. Now I say that with complete respect as this woman I thought was in her 60s but after the race I found out she is 67! Anyways, this woman was pushing me for the first mile!

Mile 1 – 7:01

However, I just couldn’t hang with her, 67 years old and she’s faster than me. I let her pull ahead and had secretly hoped that she went out too fast and that I could catch her. Even though I could see her the entire race, I knew halfway through the race that she going to beat me. And she did!

Mile 2 – 7:42 (this is how you know you went out too fast!)

I lost to a 67 year old female runner and could not be more proud that there is a female runner out there, at that age, still running. Not just running, but kicking butt! Kicking my 33 year old butt!

Mile 3 – 7:57

I ended up running 22:47, the course is pretty easy, some hills but I was definitely shooting for sub 22.

And for some reason I didn’t take any pictures. Totally unlike me but I wonder if I was in a rush and had to be some where after?

For those of you keeping track at home, Ryan was the overall winner for this race!!!!

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Akron Marathon 2017

You know when you start stalking the weather before a big race and it changes a million times between when you first start checking and race day? Yeah, well, that didn’t really happen for this race. Every time I checked the weather I saw a low of 60 and a high in the mid 80s. To be honest, I really wasn’t that concerned. I kept telling myself that I am running in the morning so I will see more 60s than 80s and I’ve run in warm marathons before and did okay.
Race morning was actually around 58 degrees so I was a little chilly but not shivering and the humidity although high didn’t feel too bad. While that was some good news, I realized I left all my gels at home. All of them! I know they hand some out on the course but what if I wanted them at a specific time or a specific flavor. I got hooked on the Honey Stinger Acai Pomegranate gels and used them on my long runs so I planned on using them for the marathon too. Luckily, some friends came to the rescue and donated some gels to me before the race. But not before a roll a toilet paper fell on my head while I was in the porto-potty. Maybe I should have taken the gels and the toilet paper as a sign for how the day would go.
As I headed to corral A to line up, I couldn’t find the 3:45 pacer. I saw 3:40 and 3:50 so I placed myself between the two and hoped I could pace myself. Which never really goes well because I am the worst at pacing myself.
The first couple miles felt easy to me but every time I looked down I was going too fast. I even ran with the 3:40 pacer and they were running 8:12 per mile. My goal was in the 8:30s.
Mile 1 – 8:21, Mile 2 – 8:27, Mile 3 – 8:15, Mile 4 – 8:37, Mile 5 – 8:12.
I ran the half in Akron last year so I was mentally prepared for the hills and they didn’t feel too bad so far. The heat was creeping up but I was confident that I could beat it.
Mile 6 – 8:35, Mile 7 – 8:47, Mile 8 – 8:48, Mile 9 – 8:35, Mile 10 – 8:25.
I was starting to feel the heat around mile 7 so I tried to slow my pace a little bit. I was taking water at every station I passed so I could stay hydrated. However, I was slowly starting to get jealous of the half marathoners who were getting close to the finish for them.

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I literally felt like I was melting going up this hill.

Mile 11 – 8:50, Mile 12 – 8:56, Mile 13 – 8:58, Mile 14 – 9:34, Mile 15 – 9:48.
The half marathoners split off and I kept going on the marathon course. I decided to channel my jealousy to the relay runners who were still out there with me. However, they seemed to be feeling the heat more than I was and I saw a lot of them walking the course. Miles 13 and 14 were hella hilly! I felt like it was just a gradual uphill climb for both of those miles. The heat plus the hills and my times plummeted.
Mile 16 – 9:32, Mile 17 – 9:35, Mile 18 – 9:35, Mile 19 – 10:05, Mile 20 – 10:31.
I think around mile 15 the heat got to me and I thought “maybe they’ll cancel the race.” But I legit believed they might cancel the race because it was so hot. I day dreamed of the race getting canceled from mile 15-17. At mile 17 I saw Ryan! He looked awesome and I was like “hmm that can’t be right, it’s a million degrees right now.” But he was at mile 22 so maybe being closer to the finish was easier for him. I realized at this point that they were not going to cancel the race and I was going to have to keep running.
Mile 21 – 10:34, Mile 22 – 10:21, Mile 23 – 10:51, Mile 24 – 11:08, Mile 25 – 10:09, Mile 26 – 10:23.
I was really excited at mile 20 because I was under 3 hours. I don’t know why but little things like that excite me. Same with running 7 miles in under an hour, I always like those. The heat must have gotten to me because I thought I would finish in under 4 hours at this point.
I barely ate my gels during the race. It was so hot that I just wanted real food. Thankfully, Akron has awesome crowd support and they came out with hoses, extra water stops, watermelon, grapes and oranges. I hate to take food from strangers. More about germs than strangers but I needed every bit of the real food on the course. At one point, spectators were passing out full bottles of water and I carried that water from mile 20 something to mile 25.5. I don’t know what I would have done without that water bottle.
My goal for this race was to run 3:45, maybe a 3:50. I was way off and ended up running a 4:07:10. I know the hills and the heat played a factor in this but still hard to accept this time. I felt like I was in good shape and that the 3:45 would feel easy. Now I don’t know if I was in good shape or if it really was the heat.

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Almost done with the race at this point and was all smiles to see my family!

What I do know is even with the heat, I had a blast on the course. I haven’t decided if I want to run the full again next year but it is a strong possibility.

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Every year Ryan and I take a photo post Akron Marathon. Always in the same position and inside the stadium.
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River Run Half Marathon 2017

Last year I thought I ran awful at River Run. Actually, when I went back to look at my time, it wasn’t awful but it wasn’t a good time for me, especially on that course. I actually still remember how I felt that race. I wanted to quit by mile 2. My legs felt completely done. Not fatigue done, just absolutely no speed in them.
For this year’s River Run, I decided to approach it with the goal of running a 1:45 half and starting out slow and conservative. However, I did not anticipate the absolutely amazing forecast of weather that we were going to get. River Run generally has good weather but this was above and beyond good and damn near perfect. Actually, I take that back, it was a perfect weather day.
To run a 1:45 I would need to run 8 minute miles. I was confident that would feel easy and if I felt good later in the race I could pick it up. The first couple miles went really well, I couldn’t help but go faster.
Mile 1 – 7:37, Mile 2 – 7:48, Mile 3 – 7:38, Mile 4 – 7:45, Mile 5 – 7:43
I 100% blame the faster paces on the perfect weather. I was working really hard to hold back to these paces.
Mile 6 – 7:45, Mile 7 – 7:49, Mile 8 – 7:49, Mile 9 – 7:53, Mile 10 – 7:50
Somewhere around mile 9-10 there is a decent uphill. I tackled it as best I could but once you are at the top, you get to cruise back down the other side of the hill. Even with the downhill I was starting to feel the fatigue at mile 10. I had to start playing mind games with myself to keep the pace. Which really didn’t work too well.

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Mile 11 – 8:00, Mile 12 – 8:02, Mile 13 – 7:59
I really wish I could have had miles 11 and 12 under 8. I mean, I was really close but I was also really tired at that point. I’m pretty sure I gave the stink eye to friends who were doing their cool down miles while I was still running.

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Official Finish Time – 1:42:41 and 7th in my age group. I will take it and extremely happy with how this race went. I’ve had some rough races the past year so it was nice to see my hard work paying off. Almost 3 minutes under my goal time.

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Hofbrauhaus Half Marathon

After training hard all summer and putting in some serious tempo miles, I was excited to take a stab at running the Hofbrauhaus half marathon. It would be the first half marathon since I ran the Cleveland half so I was excited to get some redemption on a half and also prove to myself that my training was working. My goal was to run a 1:45 half and to have it feel easy.
I wasn’t feeling so well before the race and took many trips to the bathroom so that added some extra nerves to my race. When the race started I was really careful not to go too fast and let a lot of people pass me. I wanted this race to feel easy and to run strong til the end.
Mile 1 – 7:55, Mile 2 – 7:54, Mile 3 – 7:57, Mile 4 – 7:45
I was really happy with how easy the first couple miles felt. I guy popped up next to me and we ran together for a couple miles. I was liking his pace so I was hoping he would stick around but he left me as we entered MLK.
Mile 5 – 7:50, Mile 6 – 7:44, Mile 7 – 8:07, Mile 8 – 7:50

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I ran through MLK the weekend before so I was pretty familiar with the stretch we would be running. I knew exactly where the hill was and was mentally prepared to pick up the pace on the way back. As you can tell by my splits, the hill was at mile 7. It’s short but steep and you turn around pretty quickly and get to come right back down it.
Mile 9 – 8:15, Mile 10 – 7:58, Mile 11 – 8:01, Mile 12 – 8:06, Mile 13 – 6:46
I was not familiar with the area outside of MLK and was taken by surprise by the hilliness of mile 9 and 10. I had to work really hard to get my paces down. The hills weren’t huge just seemed like a lot of small rollers or gradual incline that slowed my pace. I am fairly certain miles 11-13 were flat but I had lost my speed at that point. I held on as best I could and I am happy looking at my splits that I was not too far off and didn’t drop my paces too much.

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The course was a touch short, about 12.95 on most watches instead of 13.1. My official time was 1:45:12 and was lucky to snag first in my age group and 8th overall female. I’m very interested in running this course again next year to see how much I can improve. However, we did have great weather for an August half so you never know what next year will be.

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Escape on the Lake 5K

I have been wanting to run in this race for years but it has always fallen on a day when I was not free or was already committed to another race. However, this year, the stars aligned and I was finally able to run this race! Why this race though? Because it’s put on by my high school and my family lives down the street.

The weather for this race was perfect for July. Humid, yes but temperature wasn’t too high and there was a nice breeze coming off the lake. The race starts right in front of VASJ high school and continues to Wildwood park and back. As I was running this race it hit me, I have never raced in the neighborhood I grew up in! But also, I have not ran through this neighborhood since high school and I’ve become much more serious about running since then.

Mile 1 – 7:11

As the race went down Lakeshore towards the park, it’s pretty flat. However, once you turn into the park and start on the all-purpose trail, you start to get some rolling hills. Nothing major but definitely not flat. There is even a nice little climb at the turnaround point.

Mile 2 – 7:31

Mile 3 – 7:41

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I was actually okay with how I ran at this race, I felt that I ran smart. Hopefully next year I can run it a little faster….OR maybe I can get my sister to run in it since she now goes to school there!

Official Finish time was 22:26, 6th overall female and 1st in my age group. For this race they do 30-39 instead of 30-34.