Up Your Hydration Game: Cocogo Giveaway!

That’s right, it’s giveaway time again! This time I’m giving away a 3-Box Variety Pack of my favorite on-the-run beverage: Cocogo!


I discovered Cocogo after some of my favorite Insta-peeps talked it up on their feeds, and after one try I was hooked. Because I have a hard time taking some gels and other fuel, I’ve tried a lot of sports drinks throughout my training. And Cocogo is the only thing that keeps me hydrated while maintaining steady energy levels through my whole workout. Made with real fruit and coconut water, this stuff doesn’t leave a funky aftertaste or give me stomach cramps like some other products.


Ready to try it out for yourself? Click on the pic of the boxes up there, or click here to win a 3-Box Variety Pack of all three flavors: Grape, Lemon-Lime, and Raspberry Passion Fruit.

If you can’t stand the thought of missing out, I’ve got a great deal for you too: now through 10/31, use coupon code JESSRUNSHAPPY (all caps) for 20% off your Cocogo.com purchase – that’s double the discount you’ll normally get with my code! After 10/31, you’ll still get 10% off, but why wait?

Enter for your chance to win (US entrants only, please!), share that contest link with a friend, and pick up some Cocogo of your own – then tell me what flavor is your favorite!

Beating the Post-Race Blues

After a race, you sometimes hear about folks experiencing the post-race blues: without a goal to focus on and a training plan to stick to, the motivation to do anything is hard to come by and slowly life starts to lose that spark. I’ve fallen into that pit of despair more than once, I’ll admit.

IER4cEaNo, not that pit of despair. (photo credit)

So this time around, I was determined not to let it happen again, by listening to my body and running when I felt like it. After the race, I took a necessary few days off to let my legs recover (they were really achy from that final 1.5 mile sprint), and I headed out for my first “fun” run in months.


And it was perfect.

I did a few loops up around my parents’ neighborhood and my old elementary school, didn’t look at my watch, walked when I needed, and just enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to run a certain pace or mileage. Then the sun went down and I got hungry, so I called it at about 2.5 miles.

And then I didn’t run for 3 days (insert sad trombone music). I know, I know – bad runner! But without that training schedule barking at me to put the run above everything else, I finally had time and energy to do all the things that fell by the wayside throughout those training weeks. I caught up with old friends and went to a happy hour! I had date night with my husband! I finally cleaned the house and did the 5 loads of laundry that had piled up! Do you know how exciting it is to see things that have been buried in the bottom of the hamper for weeks on end? It’s pretty sweet.

So when the weekend rolled around, I was itching for my “long run”. Because I wasn’t forcing it anymore, I looked forward to running again! So I headed out and had another delightfully “go wherever your heart takes you” kind of run around my town. Like our friend Penny of the Big Bang Theory, my plan was to “run until I got hungry and then stop for a bear claw” (in the metaphorical sense. What I really ate was sushi).


The air was crisp, the leaves were colorful, my town was filled with people celebrating a new bakery opening and the YMCA had a Halloween party on the lawn – it was a great day for a run. My knee started to ache a bit a mile from home, so I headed in early and still managed a good 3 miles and change. Again – with no preset mileage needed and without monitoring my pace constantly (although I’m pleased to report that I’m still at my pre-race short distance pace, so woohoo!), it was another “this is why I do this” kind of run.

Since the weekend, I’m pleased to report that there are no signs of the blues in sight! I started using my Desk Cycle in earnest again (12 miles before 10AM on Monday) and have a strength training session planned for this afternoon. In addition to the few shorter runs I’ve taken in the past few days, I’m feeling pretty good about maintaining the endurance I built up through training while also not making it feel like work. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about: having fun?

I’d say so!

Behind the Instagram Curtain

I love Instagram – it’s the first platform I discovered when breaking into the fitness community, and it’s by far where I’m most active. So when Angela over at Happy Fit Mama posted a Behind the Scenes Look at her Insta feed, I was so excited to jump on the bandwagon!

But where Angela’s list is filled with beautiful, artsy shots with insightful backstories that involve cute details like her donut-crazy son, a long scroll through my photos made me realize that most of my stories center around the funny looks I get when taking my ridiculous mid-run selfies or the silly things I had to do to get the right lighting for a shot. So, in true Jess fashion, I give you my own (slightly twisted) take on a Peek Behind the Instagram Curtain:

Snow Fail

snow fail

After our umpteenth snowstorm this past February, I tried to embrace the “fun” part of winter and make snow angels with hubby. Little did I know that the snowdrift in our yard was about 3 inches of powder on top of hard packed ice and snow that I could stand on. I flopped backwards onto it and slammed into the ground, knocking the wind out of my lungs and snapping my head back. After catching my breath, I spent the rest of that day immobilized on the couch with a massive headache and slight nausea, undoubtedly due to the minor concussion I probably gave myself. But the photo is cute!

Circle Jerk


While cleaning out my closets last spring I discovered a wealth of running shoes and wanted to show them off. But it was getting late and the lighting in my house just wasn’t giving me the results I wanted, so I decided to take my babies outside! After trying and failing to balance all 5 pairs in my arms, I found that stacking them all on the lid to a nearby storage bin worked marginally better. Do you know just how ridiculous someone looks trying to simultaneously carry a plastic tray filled with smelly old sneakers and an iPhone through the house, out the front door, and across the yard? Very. And do you know how many times shoes fell off the pile and caused me to stop, re-stack, and start again? Four.

Runners, Not Jumpers


If you’ve ever tried to get a shot of yourself or a group of people jumping, you don’t need me to tell you that they take MUCH more effort than they’re really worth. Unless you’ve got perfect timing (or a photographer with unlimited patience), you’re pretty much guaranteed to never get it 100% right. Case in point: the still-not-perfect shot you see on the right up there legitimately took about 6 tries where we’d all line up, jump, the poor volunteer girl at the NYCM Expo would snap a bunch of pics, and we’d check them out only to go “One more time!”. It’s a miracle any of us had enough leg strength to run the Dash to the Finish Line 5K or the marathon the next day.

Frozen Feet


Sure it looks like a cute shot where two girlfriends stood together for a fun shoe selfie after a race. But in reality, I was closer to being murdered than I knew. See, my cousin and I were shivering like we’d been dunked in the Arctic Ocean after finishing a rainy 5K and had to walk clear across Manhattan to get back to the train station. When I say we were cold, I don’t think words can accurately describe just hot COLD it was. And when I insisted we stop to take a fun picture like this? Let’s just say I’m lucky she didn’t whang me in the head with her purse and leave me in a puddle on the side of 7th Avenue.

Race Snafu


Before each race, hubby has a habit of hanging out with me at the back of the pack where I start, and will take pics as we wait. In this pic, we were goofing off for a minute or two, and I figured I’d have a bunch of time to do the whole lace-tying, watch-starting pre-race thing. But I wasn’t paying attention. We showed up late, and while we were goofing off at the back, they were making the start announcements at the front; this pic was snapped exactly as the gun went off, and I almost got trampled. I spent the first half mile with an unlaced left shoe, waiting for my Garmin to find a satellite. That’s what I get for being a weirdo.

So there you have it – a slightly wonky look at what really goes on behind the Instagram scenes. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are similar stories for about 80% of my photos, because I’m basically the worst. If you’d like to see them, head over to my IG feed and give me a follow – I promise to keep it just as weird and entertaining as I have here!

What about you – what goes on behind the curtain of your IG feed?

Atlantic City Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap

If you’re not down for a long-winded race recap, here’s the short version: it wasn’t the race I wanted, but it was still a good time!

We arrived in Atlantic City the Saturday before the race and checked into Bally’s, where the expo was held and the race started/ended. I’m lucky enough to get a room at that hotel each year because my mother also happens to be the penny slot queen and scores free rooms (thanks, Mom)! So once we dropped off our luggage we made our way to the expo where I picked up my bib and won a $2 Dunkin Donuts gift card. Woot!


My feet and calves were still aching from my last few runs around town, so after grabbing a big-ass salad for lunch and rolling my muscles out in the hotel room, we headed to the pool and hot tub where we relaxed for a few hours.


After my standard pre-race baked chicken parm dinner we headed back to the room for an early bedtime but I ended up getting quite possibly the WORST night’s sleep ever. My nerves were inexplicably all over the place so I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 11, and even then it wasn’t a very deep sleep. And at 1AM the folks in the next room decided to come back from the casino YELLING. I could hear every. single. word. Like they were in our bed! I don’t know why I didn’t get up and pound on their door – I was half asleep and didn’t want to wake up fully, I guess? While I eventually drifted back to sleep, their spotty conversations worked their way into my weird-ass dreams. I finally woke up a half hour before my 6AM alarm, bleary eyed and exhausted – NOT the best way to start my race day!


But the show must go on! So I dressed and choked down breakfast, had a half cup of coffee, and we headed down to the boardwalk. Our room was in the perfect spot – I was able to see the start from our window and ease my nerves about the over or under-dressing. The temperature dropped sharply the day before the race, bringing frost warnings and a whole other level of stress to this destination race: fluctuating temps meant I had to pack everything to make sure I got my race day outfit right!


We hung out in the start area and soaked in the atmosphere – it’s always fun to run on the boardwalk, especially in AC. I warmed up relatively quickly so I handed my pre-race jacket to hubby, got my good luck kiss, and entered the chute (where I ran into my Insta-friend who also happens to live in the same town as me, Casey! Girlfriend was running her first FULL marathon that day and she ROCKED it) – and in a few minutes we were off!

The first 1-5 miles were fantastic. What running should always be! Easy leg turnover, awesome crowd around me, cool weather, everything was perfect. I cruised along at a comfortable pace (albeit about :30-1:00 faster per mile than I hoped to finish at), but I felt so damn GOOD that I couldn’t help but go a little faster. Besides, I thought – once I start hurting around mile 11, these faster miles will give me some insurance to stay on target for a 2:49 PR.


Oh how wrong I was. But more on that later.

The coolest thing about this race is actually something I didn’t know until later. Around mile 2-3, I happened upon a gentleman who looked awfully familiar. Like, I had to do a triple take as he kept perfect pace with me, running ahead for a minute or so, then walking and allowing me to catch up with him. Run, walk, run, walk, repeat.

At this point you probably already know who he is, but I’m going to be 100% honest: I had no idea. I mean, I thought he looked like him. But what the hell would he be doing at the back of the pack of the Atlantic City Marathon? Well, it turns out he was doing what he does best back there: Being Jeff Galloway.

Yes, Jeff Galloway paced me for like 4 miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon and I had no idea. Not until someone posted on IG that they had spotted him running at like mile 10 did I realize – holy crap, that WAS HIM! I caught up to him as we exited the tunnel and kept up with him all the way out to the marina until mile 5 when I stopped for a gel, swapped out my ear warmers for my headband and pinned my gloves to my race belt. Silly Jess.


Silly, oblivious girl.

After my first gel at mile 5 (around 1:02ish), I felt great! We took off back into the sun for miles 6-8 and that’s where the wind joined the party. This happened last year too – I specifically remember Alain’s choice words at this point – and it sucked the life out of me. I walked to fight through, appreciated the awesome support at the water station at the King Neptune statue, and told myself to hold it together until the boardwalk. Everything will be easier on the boards!


Silly, oblivious, pain-stricken girl.

Yeah, no. It’s like a switch was flipped. As mile 8 passed at 14:25 due to my walk breaks (UGH) my body felt like it was made of glass. Everything hurt. I must have gone out too fast, even though I’d felt so great! I passed the mile 9 sign and watched my average pace slowly creep up. 13:15, 13:30…. my confidence from miles 1-5 was a distant memory.

As I met Mike at around mile 10 for my bottle of Cocogo, I came to a full stop and told him my PR was shot. It wasn’t a soul-crusher, but MEH. He encouraged me to just have a good time and take it slow where I needed. After a minute or so of stretching and chatting I took off again and felt moderately better. While it was kind of crushing to know I wouldn’t PR, that meant that I could just go for it and enjoy the run. So I did.

The Gorillaz came on my ipod and I fell into a good cadence to the beat of Clint Eastwood, plodding along the boards like the Clydesdale I am. But at Mile 11.5 I noticed that my average time had gone from “shot to hell” to “hmm”. If I pushed super hard, maybe… JUST MAYBE… could I finish under the 12:57 I’d need to PR? I didn’t think twice, just scrolled to my power song playlist, cranked up the volume, and sprinted.

Yes, sprinted. At mile 11.5 of a half marathon.


Silly, stupid girl.

I cranked along at around 9:30 for most of that first mile and grimaced like a fool the whole time. People on the boardwalk cheered as I blew by them, the finish line in my sights. At 12.5ish, I thought I might puke. But my average mile time was going down! So I kept pushing, even harder. That last quarter mile was uuuhhhg-ly. Finally I entered the chute and smiled as the folks on the sidelines yelled and rang their cowbells. Screw it, I thought – PR or no PR, I ran a great race!


Thumbs up to Mike at the finish!

Final time: 2:54:09


After crossing the finish and grabbing my medal, I won’t lie – I almost dropped. My legs were shaking like leaves from the effort of that last 1.5 mile, so I made a beeline for the medical tent where I spotted a few folding chairs. After plopping into one and coughing for a good 10 minutes while trying to catch my breath (and texting Mike that I was OK), I finally got my legs back under me and headed for the exit to meet him at the entrance to the finisher’s party.


Overall it was a good race, not great. Honestly, I may skip it next year in favor of another more exciting race. After 3 years of running this one, the crowds have gotten smaller, the course support’s dwindled (seriously, I got more applause from the police stopping traffic). It might be time for me to move on to greener pastures. Racing season in the northeast is FULL of great opportunities and I feel like by aiming for this one I might be missing out. Hell, the Runners World Festival is around the same time and it’s practically in my backyard! I’d love to go and experience all the awesome stuff they have around those races. And who knows: maybe a change of scenery is what I need to break that PR?

All I know is I can’t wait to run my next race!

NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile Race Recap

I’m 100% aware that this recap is like a month late, but better late than never, right? Right. So when the folks at NYRR contacted me about running the Fifth Avenue Mile, I was super stoked, especially since I’d be running the Media Mile. Where the race is mainly run in age group waves, they also set up special waves for groups like FDNY runners and kids. I didn’t know what “media” meant; because they invited me via Instagram I assumed it would be a handful of other social media peeps like me. But I was only half right…


My start time wasn’t until 11:45, which gave us plenty of time to get into Manhattan, take a few subways to Fifth Avenue, pick up my packet, and hang out by a pretty fountain, cheering for the earlier age groups and warming up.



Once 11:15 rolled around, Mike headed down Fifth to meet me at the finish, and just as he left the announcer started talking up the participants of the Media Mile. This made me stop in my tracks. Remember when I said I was only half right? Yeah. It turns out that while I recognized a few awesome IG people (OMG it was like celebrity spotting), “media” actually meant media people, like on-air talent for local news stations, producers and journalists and stuff. Which meant I spent most of my time in the corral pretending like hanging out with celebs was no big deal, while inside my head I was squealing like a tween. I was about to get smoked by the woman from CBS 2 News!!


OK, maybe I didn’t hide it so well. OK, maybe I photobombed her. Sorry, Kristine Johnson.

There turned out to be only like 50 of us in this wave. And usually the smaller the race, the farther towards the end I finish. It’s just science. I started to get nervous that I could potentially be the last person to cross the finish line in a very obvious way.


I also had my photo snapped awkwardly by a NYRR photog.

Funny side note: because there were some local celebs in the corral, there was also a lot of media packed into the corral with us. Exhibit A:


This guy followed this poor girl around for a good 5 minutes.

One nice thing about the corral being so small was getting to actually talk to people. The fella you see below is Arun. This rockstar is currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon, and he’s the kindest fellow runner you’re going to meet. We chatted about our shared fear of being last, and promised that we’d stick together if it came down to it. It was reassuring knowing that I wouldn’t be last alone.


Suddenly it was time to run, and everyone around me turned into elites. No kidding: they all crouched down, fingers on their Garmins, ready to burst with energy. But instead of panicking, I ducked down with them and pretended like I knew what I was doing (this turned out to be the theme of the day), and at the sound of the gun we were off!

The actual running happened so fast that I can only recall the thoughts I had at the distance markers. At .25 I thought, “Already?” At .5, I thought, “No way.” At .75, I spotted a course volunteer wearing the same pants and we screamed for each other (Go, Skirt Sports sister!). That’s when Arun, who had been steadily pacing behind my left shoulder the whole way, asked, “I’m not slowing you down, am I?”


I glanced down at my watch to see just how fast I was going and almost shat myself when I saw 6:xx. All I could do was laugh and reply, “No way, not slow at all!” and keep going. Through the last quarter mile downhill towards the crowd at the finish line, I could hear them shouting. Once I got close enough to read the clock and saw 8:xx, I legitimately shouted out loud, “WHAAAAT?!” The girl ahead of me turned around to see what the big deal was. I was astounded – I’ve never seen an 8 minute mile in my life!


So I took off even faster, gunning for under 9 minutes – and I did it. In 8:51.


All I could do was laugh and gasp for air. 8:51! Never in my life. There had to be a mistake. It felt great. But even a new PR wasn’t as exciting as what I saw next: MEB.


It was like seeing a unicorn.

There he was, off to the right of the finish line. No big crowd, just Meb, chilling with a few peeps who popped around the corner to snap a pic with him. So I went for it, too!

Arun had crossed right behind me and as I congratulated him, I asked if he wanted a pic. I figured acting like I knew what I was doing was the best way to go (again, the day’s theme…) and before I knew it, I was stepping up to Meb, introducing myself, and shaking his hand. I wish I remembered what I’d said. Probably something like “It’s such an honor, may I have a photo?”. But he agreed and thanked me and posed graciously, congratulated me on a great race, and I was off. I snapped Arun’s pic for him, and we dissolved back into the crowd.

I was floating. I swear I’d dreamed what just happened. A PR and Meb, within seconds of each other. Mike found me and congratulated me on all the excitement, and just as we were ready to leave, a volunteer told me that my media bib meant that I got to hang out in the Media Tent with all the reporters and legit running celebs. Free danish and OJ and fruit trays while Meb and the media folks do interviews? Don’t mind if I do!


For real though, my adventure in the VIP Tent was more OMFG than NBD. Continuing with the day’s trend, I squealed inside my head the entire time but acted cool and calm on the outside, like hanging out and accepting the fruit plate tongs from Meb himself is something I do at every race (when in reality we both reached for grapes at the same time and I died four times).

IMG_1830I have to laugh when I think back on this day – it was one of those perfect days where everything falls into alignment and goes smoothly, and reminds you of how lucky you can be sometimes. It was an honor to run an unbelievable great race, make new friends, and meet some truly amazing runners. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Don’t Bare it All on Your Next Run…

As an ambassador for Skirt Sports, I’m involved in a lot of cool things: virtual races, sale promotions, etc. But I’m super excited about their latest project and I want to share the excitement with you. Behold, the new Gotta Go Running Skirt.


After sending out an April Fool’s email that garnered a TON of positive feedback earlier this year, the folks at Skirt Sports decided that this was worth looking in to. And here we are a few months later, with an actual product that you can sign up to purchase when it comes out, through Kickstarter!

The only running skirt with a trap door and relief hatch so you can answer nature’s call without baring your assets, the Gotta Go has all the great features and flair that athletes love from their Skirt Sports running skirts PLUS a discreet new feature that will have you back up and running quicker than ever after a mid-run pitstop:

  • Trap Door: A flap on the shorties secured with low profile hook & loop means you remain fully covered on the go but have easy access to the Relief Hatch. The Trap Door flap is pad-compatible for secure confidence and easy swaparoos.
  • Relief Hatch: An opening in the shorties under the Trap Door anatomically aligned with your lady bits to enable easy error-free evacuation when you squat.
  • Skirt: Mimicking the most popular skirt, the Gym Girl, the Gotta Go is 13.5″ in front, 14.5″ in back. Flattering lightweight fast drying AeroLight Jersey fabric (87% poly / 13% spandex) in black.
  • Under the Skirt: Built-in no-creep chafe-free 5.5″ shorties in black semi-compression mesh fabric (90% poly / 10% spandex). This is 0.5″ longer than the shorts in the Gym Girl.
  • Waistband: Wide mid-rise waistband with continuous drawstring. It won’t muffin top, it won’t roll down, it won’t slip, and it looks good on everyone!
  • Pockets Galore: Two side pockets under the skirt on the shorties, both big enough for a smartphone. One back pocket secure enough for car keys. And a super smart Sonic music port on the side to keep you from getting tangled in your headphones.

I know of at least 3 races where mid-run pit stops added minutes to my time while I waited my turn for a port-a-john and wrangled myself in and out of sweaty bottoms. The Gotta Go will eliminate the need for all of that, and it looks cute too!

The Kickstarter runs through the next month, so check it out and get in on the action now so you don’t miss out!

Pre-Race Paranoia

Stress fracture. Upper respiratory infection. Fever. Torn ACL. And that’s just the past 4 days.


(PS: DON’T Google “full body cast” at work unless you want an eyefull. Evidently that’s a fetish. Seriously.)

No, I’m not falling apart. I’m just deep in the throes of my least favorite part of running: pre-race paranoia. An achy foot, a few sneezes, a chill, and a twingy knee in the last 4 days all had me convinced that I’m destined not to make it to the starting line this weekend, when in reality I’m 100% ready.

And it doesn’t stop at imaginary illnesses either. Yesterday I’m not ashamed to admit that I left the office at noon and worked from home when one co-worker came in coughing every 3 minutes because of the “bad upper respiratory infection” he’s had for 6 days. If you’re here spreading germs, I’m out of here. The same goes for large crowds and public spaces – we avoided going pumpkin picking this past weekend because I was afraid of all the germy kids swarming around the farm. #sorrynotsorry.


Listen, any other week I wouldn’t care. I’m not 100% irrational. I know getting sick is a part of life and I won’t demonize the people around me for having weak immune systems. But if I paid $100+, trained for 3 months, and I’m traveling 2+ hours and staying overnight for a damn race, I’m going to do what it takes to stay healthy for the thing!


Am I the only one who goes insane with worry in the weeks leading up to a big race? What’s the most drastic thing you’ve done to stay healthy and in one piece before the big day? And no, I will not judge you if you say you wore a SARS mask in public, because I considered that but it would mean I’d have to go to a store filled with people to buy one.

Oofos Recovery Sandals Winners

WOW – you guys really love recovery sandals, because this was one of my most successful giveaways yet! I received almost 300 entries (!!) and have selected the three winners, so let’s hear a drumroll please….


Congratulations to Madeline Brubaker, Ronald Marcin, and Amanda Lee!! Check your emails for details on how to claim your prize 🙂

Thank you to everyone who participated, and stay tuned for more fun giveaways in the weeks to come!

Training Turning Point

This weekend I was really looking forward to my long run. The week was super stressful and I didn’t get to run as much as I wanted, so I couldn’t wait to pound it out on the pavement. But because I was a little rusty, I went into it with no expectations. I just aimed for the usual super-hilly ~7 mile loop around town for one last solid long run before race day.

So after a good 9 hours of sleep, I set out later Saturday morning in 65-ish degrees and immediately attacked the first hill at mile .5 with a vengeance. As a result, mile 1 clicked by at 10:30 – waaay too fast.


(I may or may not have been singing along to music at this point)

After mile 2 went a little better at 11:30, I reached the big downhill next to my old middle school – normally I scream down this hill to pick up some speed, but this time I felt like taking a detour so I went up the hill into the school parking lot, did a lap around my old alma mater, and ran down the hill connecting the middle school to the high school, retracing the steps I used to take every day in gym class when we’d march down to the HS track.


In a moment of perfect timing, Just a Girl came on my ipod, giving me vivid flashbacks to those days 20 years ago when me and my friends would spend our lunch periods doodling “Mrs. Gavin Rossdale” on our bookcovers and leaving notes in our lockers for each other… Ah, 8th grade. I miss you so much.

Once I sailed down the hill and around the high school, I rejoined my usual route and maintained a slower pace for the rest of the run. At mile 4, the mile-long, flat, sunny stretch across town is usually where I start to fall apart, but once I got to the end and turned back around for the final 3 miles back to my car, I felt good. I took a Gu, sipped on water and walked a bit, then attacked mile 5 as ready as ever.

My legs felt strong, calves weren’t tight, knees were relatively happy – this was just the confidence boosting run I needed! I was feeling so good that by the time I neared the street I’d run back up to get to my car, I decided to keep going for the extra ~3 mile loop around the bottom of town and make it an even 10 miles!


At that point I was averaging about 12:10/mile, and told myself to try to stay there for the last three unexpected miles. I had pushed pretty hard at the beginning of this run, and worried a little that I might fall apart in the final miles, but I kept it together better than expected! At the end of mile 7 I stopped for a good 2-3 minutes to stretch everything – since I hadn’t planned on the extra mileage I felt a little tight – but once I started up again I plodded along at a solid 12:15/pace for mile 8 and most of 9! Not until the end of the final mile did I feel the fatigue in my lower legs, which I’m noticing is creeping up later and later in my runs. So once I hit mile 10, I was so happy to see an awesome pace of 12:19/mile!


This run was a turning point: I ran more double-digit runs this training cycle than ever before, and I’m feeling more confident in the 10+ range than I have for previous races.


I also realized that this will be half marathon Lucky #7 in Atlantic City, so I’m taking it as an omen and picked up these fun little socks that I may have to incorporate into my day-of outfit (or if not, at least wear them at the expo the day before)!


So when it comes to long runs, that’s all she wrote! I’m excited to ease out of full-on training mode this week and into pre-race mode for Sunday. I’ve started stalking the weather and have already begin obsessing over what my race day outfit will be. In short – I can’t wait!

How about you, is your training going well? Did anyone race this weekend? Tell me all about it!

Treadmill Musings

My long run last weekend was a perfect example of how running is – at times – more of a mental sport than a physical one.

As the weekend approached, I found myself inexplicably dreading having to run around my town. Is there such a thing as being allergic to a route? And Hurricane Joaquin was barreling towards us, bringing with him much cooler temps and torrential downpours. I convinced myself it just couldn’t be done. So I decided to take to the treadmill instead and felt a little better… Then I thought of something to turn it around. After doing both of that week’s training runs on the treadmill, I discovered something mind-blowing: I never connected MPH and my average pace on the treadmill before.


I know. I’m just as shocked as you are. How could I be so stupid? As soon as I jumped on any treadmill, I would immediately jump up to 5.8MPH, and wondered why I needed so many walk breaks. That’s GOT to be a good pace, I would tell myself – 6PMH is a nice round number and like 10/mile, right? 5.7 is so much slower, it should be easy!

What the hell was I thinking? I have no idea. But once I realized that and managed to pace myself to a perfect 5 miles in 57:28 (for an 11:27/mile pace) that week, I knew I was on to something. I was excited: How low could I get my mile time if I paced myself properly? Would it be completely effortless? Would I need as many walk breaks? Needless to say, when I hit the mill on Sunday I had high hopes.

Miles 1-4.5

I packed up my fuel (two peanut butter & chocolate Gu’s, a bottle of grape Cocogo, and a big bottle of water) and hit the corner treadmill at the Y. I started at a 12:00/mile pace – a little faster than my race goal pace, but I figured I could back off if it got too uncomfortable – and rocked through the first 4.5 miles relatively easily. I took a few water walk breaks at each mile just like I normally would in a race, a Gu at mile 4, sipped on Cocogo throughout, and clocked in at 56:30 for 4.5 miles (or 12:33/mile, not bad considering my walk breaks and quarter mile walking warm up!)


Miles 4.5-9

Since the treadmills at our gym stop after an hour, I hit the start button again and plugged away at a 12:00 pace once more, feeling OK. At around mile 7, this song came on and renewed my love of South Park, and I took a Gu at mile 8. Unfortunately, at around mile 8.5, I ran out of water and Cocogo, and the wheels fell off the wagon when I developed nasty paste-mouth. I plodded along and finished the second set of 4.5 miles in 57:44, or 12:49/mile.


Miles 9-12

I know you’re probably thinking, “Why didn’t you just go to the water fountain, Jess?” Honestly, I’ve got a germ-phobia about those things. Especially now that everyone around me seems to be sneezing and coughing, and the YMCA is home to tons of cold-carrying kiddos that I’ve seen slobbering all over that fountain. And I’mma be real here: after two hours on that machine, if I got off it for a drink, I wasn’t going back on willingly.

Instead of being a normal human and getting a drink despite my germ fears, I told myself 3 miles wouldn’t be THAT hard. I do 3 miles a day, no problem. Let’s get it done – pump up the pace! Instead of maintaining a slow and steady goal pace, I cranked it up to 10:30/mile for the first mile to “get it over with”, like an idiot. And the only thing that did was shred my legs, making those last 2 miles pure agony.

My joints suddenly ached, my calves were getting tight, and the insides of my knees – yes, knees – started chafing from brushing up against each other with each step. I just wanted it to be over. But instead of pushing any harder and risking injury, I made the smart decision to walk those last two miles. The final tally on those 3 miles was 42:48, or 14:16/mile (OUCH).


It killed me to do that, because I love finishing strong. But in those last few miles I looked for learning opportunities. I reasoned that if I hadn’t burned myself out pushing to a 10:30 pace after my legs were fried from 8 miles, I’d still be feeling relatively strong in those final miles on race day. With a good warm up to trim some time off the first mile, smart pacing and my usual walk/stretch/fuel breaks every mile, maintaining that 12:30 pace might not be too hard. Instead of being disheartened at the end of this run, I was hopeful! Where some might see a failed ending, I see self-growth. Too often we beat ourselves up about a “bad” run – I decided to take the high road on this one, and I can’t wait to see how it pays off come race day!


How about you? We’re in the thick of marathon/race season now, I hope everyone’s training is going well, and if you’re just running for fun, enjoy the change of seasons!