May Love and Laughter Light Your Days…

An Irish blessing to all my running friends…

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Updates soon!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

#runnersheart
-Jen

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Accomplishments

Today I received this in the mail:

Ohio Challenge Series 2013 Finisher Shirt

Ohio Challenge Series 2013 Finisher Shirt

It’s my Finisher’s T-Shirt and invitation to the Finisher’s Banquet for the Ohio Challenge Series that I was apart of with the Running Bestie this year. To be apart of this you have to have finished 6 races in the series. I signed up back in March and to be honest, I didn’t think that I was going finish 6 races in the series, but I did! In fact, I’ve completed a total of 10 in the series, along with the Color Vibe 5k, Hall of Fame City Challenge 10k, and the Akron 1/2 Marathon! It’s been a busy racing year and I still have a few left before the year ends. Very excited to attend the banquet and get my Finisher Medal to add to my collection πŸ™‚

Happy Tuesday!

#runnersheart

-Jen

13 Races Since MARCH!?!?!

Only 5 weeks left until I’m completely done with nursing school! To say I am excited is a MAJOR understatement. I have been working so hard to reach this goal and have sacrificed a lot to get where I am today. It all comes down to these last 5 weeks and if I can make it through them or not. It has been a long, hard road, but I am so proud of where I am standing today.

With everything with school this week and getting ready for my son’s 7th birthday, I didn’t get to update about my AWESOME 5k last Sunday morning with my Running Bestie, Sarah.

Going into this 5k, Sarah and I had talked about want to smash our current PR’s for 5ks. She really wanted under 34 minutes and I wanted more than anything to beat my most recent 5k time of 38:14 (hey I’m slow and sweaty, remember?). I was really hoping for something under 38 minutes if possible, but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it because I hadn’t really run since the 10k we did the week before and really hadn’t done much training before that.

It was FREEZING that morning. The coldest morning we’ve had for a race since the St. Patrick’s Day 5k back in March.

I wasn’t feeling very confident at the beginning of the race because I was so cold and so tired from working the night before, which is the norm for me on race days, but that day I was extra tired for some reason. I told myself at the beginning of the race that if I don’t beat my goal, then it was okay and then listed all the excuses in my head that would cause me to not get a a PR today.

The race started and we were off and running. I just decided to do my own thing and go at my own pace and not worry about everyone else around me. When I get caught up in all the hype of the beginning of a race, I tend to start off way too face and it bites me in the ass later on, but not today. Not this race.

I finished my first mile in my usual 11:22 and chugged on for mile 2, which normally I finish much slower than mile 1. Mile 2 came in right around 12:28, which is actually a lot faster than when I have been getting mile 2. I pushed on for mile 3 and I just had it in my head that there was no way that I was going to get under my goal, but I kept going in my usual 2 min run/1 min walk pace. At one point I looked down at my watch and saw that I was at almost 3 miles and I hadn’t even hit 34 minutes yet. That’s when I realized that I was going to do it. I was going to be under 38 minutes!

I crossed the finish line at 36:55! 1 minute and 19 seconds faster than my most recent PR for a 5k! I almost started crying when I crossed the finish line. I never thought that I would get under a 37 minute 5k…I had been working so hard for so long and for some reason I just felt I wasn’t getting any faster, but I DID IT! And it felt amazing! By the way, Sarah smashed her goal too! Go Sarah!

Honestly, the best race I have had all year. Lucky number 13!

Next race isn’t until the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I’ve got to buckle down on the studies and get ready to pass my finals so I can graduate in December. Once that is over, it’s back to the grind of racing as much as I possibly can. It’s going to be EPIC!

And now, I must head off to work my 12 hour midnight shift. Hoping to get a Β run in the morning when I’m off if I am feeling up to it.

Happy Friday!

#runnersheart

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Happy!

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PR BABY!

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Happy PR Smashing Girls!
Sarah and Jen

 

-Jen

10k’s and Hair Products!

This past Sunday, I ran my 12th race of the year…back in March when I ran my first race of the year, a St. Patrick’s Day 5k, I never thought I would run 12 races this year, let alone finish a half-marathon (!!!) and three 10k’s within those 12 races.

The race was the Mark’s Place Healthy is Beautiful 10k and of course I ran it with my Running Bestie, Sarah πŸ™‚

Can’t run a race without her now πŸ™‚

I have to be honest though, we both were not feeling like running this race on Sunday. We’re not sure why, but we both admitted to each other that we were not feeling this race, but we decided to do it anyway because we knew that we would regret not doing it.

This race a little different for me because it was scheduled for the afternoon and not first thing in the morning, I’m used to. What I’m used to is working midnights and running my race first thing in the morning after I get off…crazy I know, but if I’m not running a race after I get off my midnight shift, then I’m working out or running at least a 5k myself anyway…so why not run a race??

Anyway…

I must say, that I am so very glad that I ran the race. I PR’d my 10k time (AND my 5k time by the way…go me!), and it was a beautiful fall day with the leaves changing and falling from the trees as we ran.

The best part about this race was the loot we got for running. The 10k was sponsored by a salon and for running we got a travel sized Matrix shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray (along with our t-shirt)…AND when we were done got a 2 bottle combo pack (big bottles) of Matrix shampoo and conditioner that costs $32 in the salon. We were suppose to trade our bibs for those, but Sarah and I asked if we could keep our bibs because we save them and lucky for us, they let us keep them. I don’t think I could give up my bib, even if that is the exact type of shampoo/conditioner that I use for my hair and it’s expensive…I earned my bib and it’s important to me that I save it for my wall…

It’s a runner thing…

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Post-Race Selfie

Another 5k coming up next Sunday! I’m actually excited about this one! Race number 13! When I started again at the beginning of this year, I had a mental goal to do a few races, maybe 2 or 3 over the summer…never thought I would be where I am today. I am very proud of myself.

Big plans in the works for 2014…it’s going to be EPIC!

I am a runner.

Happy Monday!!

#runnersheart

-Jen

Who’s a Half-Marathoner? Oh yeah, ME!!!

I did it!!

I completed my first HALF-MARATHON!!

Here’s the play-by-play:

I woke up at the butt-crack of before dawn, and went to pick up my running bestie, Sarah (who ran her SECOND Half today!). We got up to Akron early because 1. We didn’t know exactly where we were going and 2. We wanted to beat the crowd because there were over 7000 (!!!) runners running the Akron Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Relay.

I was a bundle of nerves when I woke up and was having MAJOR heart palpitations…but by the time we got to the starting line, I was pretty calm.

On my way to pick up Sarah, I had to give myself a little pep talk in the car. I told myself that it doesn’t matter how fast I go. Today I was going to accomplish one of my dreams and my time didn’t matter. I also had to remind myself to not get caught up in the hype of the starting line and try to pace myself with anyone. The last time I did that at the Hall of Fame City Challenge 10k, I ended up sabotaging myself by mile 2 and it nearly killed me. I told myself that I wasn’t doing this for anyone else, but myself and I was the only person that I needed to worry about.Β 

That seemed to work because when they let our corral (C) go, I just turned up my music and just told myself that I was going on another run. It totally helped. I just let myself run and I didn’t worry about anyone else around me. I just did my thing and it felt great.

I kept up with my running intervals pretty well through out the race. I even PR’d my 5k and 10k times by a full minute each! I ran up and down every hill and made sure I took the water and powerade at every single stop and I even tried GU for the first time (vanilla flavored…wasn’t too shabby). Then right between mile 8 and 9 I hit a wall. My ankles were screaming at me and my was hurting pretty bad too. I had been keeping pretty good time for me (about a 12:30 pace) and then I had to start walking more. I walked most of miles 10-12 killing my pace time, but I had to keep trucking along because my time didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to finish. I just wanted my damn medal! (and to sit down!)

I did have a great moment between mile 11 and 12 when I was crossing over the “Y” bridge (if you were from Akron, you’d know where I was talking about). I was coming down one side, while the racers on mile 12 were coming back up the other side. I knew my running bestie, Sarah, was probably about a 1 to 1.25 miles ahead of me. I looked up and across the bridge and I saw her running towards me. And as we passed each other, we gave each other a high five. That really gave me the motivation to keep going. She texted me throughout the entire race to help me keep pushing through. I don’t know if I would have made it without her.

It was so awesome to see all the spectators throughout the course, holding up signs and cheering everyone on. I have never been apart of such a big race and yes, there have been spectators, but never this many. I was really blown away by all the people that were in Canal Stadium cheering the racers on as the crossed the finish line.

What really helped me through were some of the songs I put on my playlist. I picked a few songs that made me think of important people in my life and how they would help me through this race.

I picked the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles because it makes me think of my mom because of her, I choose to be brave and do the things I do between taking care of my son, furthering my education to get my nursing degree, and to be brave enough to start running and complete something so great as my first half-marathon.

Another song I picked was “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy. This song always makes me think of Sarah because we dance to it in Zumba and it’s one of my (and I think hers too) favorite dances we do. And Sarah is also one of my big inspirations when I run. She has come so far from when she started and I am so proud of her and I hope to be as great as she is some day.

One song I picked, may sound odd, but it really helped me keep going (and also almost made me cry during the race). “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. I picked this song for my Grandma who passed away when I was 15 years old. It was her favorite song and it is so special to me and it seem to come on my iPod at the EXACT time I needed to hear it. It made me think that she was looking down on me today during the race and I know she would have been proud of me today.

I picked “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins because that is my son dedicated to my 6 (almost 7) year old son, Antonio. I used to sing it to him all the time when he was a baby and a toddler. It started playing right before mile 13 and it nearly brought tears to my eyes because he is one of my main inspirations as I run.

This journey to complete my first half marathon has been a very fulfilling one for me. At the beginning of the year when I decided to start running again, I never thought I would be completing a half-marathon. That was always a thought I had in the back of my mind for way down the road. I didn’t think I would be able to do it this year, but I did. And it feels great (other than my aching back and ankles).

I am so glad that I made the decision back in May to sign up for this race. It has been the best thing I have ever done. It was hard, but it was so worth it. I cannot wait until I do another one…though it’s going to be a little while before that happens. I am signed up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half-Marathon in April of next year…that will probably be my next one. Until then, I have a few more races (a few 5ks and a 10k). And I plan on stepping up my game on my training. There are few things that I need to work on that I didn’t do for this one (like strengthening my ankles more).

What a great day!!

Now I need to go ice my feet πŸ˜‰

Happy Saturday!

I’m a Half-Marathoner!!

#runnersheart

-Jen

Sarah and I at the starting line!

Sarah and I at the starting line!

Highlights!

Highlights!

13.1 Baby!

13.1 Baby!

The Excitement/Nerves are Killing Me!

This is it…tomorrow is the day that I have been working so hard towards. What happens tomorrow is the very reason I started this blog in the first place. Tomorrow is when I run my first HALF-MARATHON! (Insert dramatic music here)

I am excited and nervous all rolled up into one package. I woke up this morning with heart palpitations. Picking up my bib and race packet at the Expo, I became very emotional. This is what I have trained for these past few months and sometime after 9:30am tomorrow I will officially be a “Half-Marathoner”. I can’t describe what it is I am feeling right now. Only know that it is probably one of the scariest/best feelings I have ever had in my life.

And that’s really all I have to say about that. Look for updates the next few days with pictures of me probably balling my eyes out at the finish line with my running bestie, Sarah.

Happy Friday!
And BEST WISHES to everyone running the Akron Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Relays tomorrow!!

#runnersheart
-Jen

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