Cinderella’s New Shoes

You know that saying “the grass is always greener”? Turns out it applies to running shoes too.

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Back in November, I noticed my knees ached after running even shorter distances. The two pairs of trusty Brooks Transcends I rotated (1’s and 2’s) were both getting up there in mileage, after getting one pair in June and the other in July. So I went back to Road Runner and had my gait analyzed, where I discovered that while my Transcends would still be just fine for my over-pronation, their most popular shoe, the Adrenaline, would also work.

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I’d been running in my Transcends for years. They were like a piece of well-loved furniture. Comforting, molded to me, you know how it goes. But I was intrigued by a different style. I had the seven-year itch, but for another pair of sneakers. So I caved and bought the Adrenalines.

The first run was great – this shoe is much lighter than the Transcend, and as a result I felt quicker. But there wasn’t as much cushioning. It felt almost like a pair of well-loved Transcends when all the oomph was gone; not like a hug for my foot, but still comfy. I ran shorter distances for two weeks in them, when suddenly I noticed a new kind of ache after a longer run of 6 miles: my arches were killing me and my calves were tight. With super high arches I’d experienced this before, but never like this. Could it be the shoes?

To test it out, I switched back to my old Transcends for my next run and it was like heaven. The aches and pains disappeared, I ran long and steady, and while my knees were kind of ouchy at the end because they were older shoes, my arches and calves felt like new. That’s what I get for cheating on my old lovers!

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After a few more experimental runs in the Adrenalines vs. the Transcends, I deduced that it was in fact the shoes that were causing me those pains. This is by NO MEANS a knock against Brooks – I’m one of the  brand’s biggest fans and would never think of jumping ship because of this. It just proved to me once again that there is most definitely such a thing as “the right shoe for you”. I’ve heard horror stories from other folks about switching shoes for a cute style or new color only to get sidelined by injury because of the wrong shoe.

So I returned my slightly used Adrenalines (thanks for the full refund, Road Runner Sports!) and went back for good. Because the Transcend 3 is now out and the 2’s gave me a tiny top-of-the-arch issue, the 1’s will forever have my heart. And without knowing what the new style has in store for me, I got 2 pairs of 1’s for the same price as ONE pair of the new 3’s. Bargain shopping for the win!

Have you ever cheated on your perfect shoe before? How did it go?

Race Recap: Toys for Tots 5K

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Prancer (left), and Dasher (right).

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Yes, that’s me and my sis-in-law Meredith, dressed as elves/reindeer. And YES, we get extra points for style in case you were wondering.

Since Mer and I had such a great time dressing up as turkeys for a Thanksgiving 5K in November, we decided to kick things up a notch and go all out for a Christmas race too! So we hit the dollar stores for some fun gear and headed to the Freehold Area Running Club’s annual Toys for Tots 5K.

The night before the race, I was up WAY past my bedtime babysitting (we’re talking 1:30AM), so I was… let’s say “less than jingle-y”. I was exhausted and knew I wasn’t going to set any records. Thankfully speedy sis-in-law didn’t have a problem with us taking it easy either, so we aimed for fun and had a blast!

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Between our mismatched Naughty & Nice socks, Santa/Elf shorts, funny shirts, jingly ponytail ties, and the best glasses EVER, we were quite a sight!

We got there early, donated our toys (love doing races that have tangible benefits for the community!), and hung out in the parking lot with our hubbies.

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The weather had been unseasonably warm around this race, so we kind of knew it wouldn’t feel like a true Santa Dash – and once the sun came up we realized just how far from winter it would feel like. By the time we left the park, it had gone up to 73 degrees, and the humidity felt like it was 90% the whole time! Seriously rough weather to run in.

It was a small race, the results say only 192 runners in all. So once we had stretched out and noticed the abundance of… let’s call them SERIOUS Runners (with a capital SR)… we headed for the starting area and focused on letting the rest of the folks run their race and having fun at the back of the pack.

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The course ran through Michael Tighe Park in Freehold, a pretty park that I’d never been to before this race. When it comes to 5K’s, I usually don’t go nuts researching the course, but I kind of wish I realized it was a loop course going into it. On loop courses, a part of my soul dies. Do any of you feel the same way? There’s something about having to loop around the same terrain more than once – especially passing the finish line! – that just crushes my will to keep going, even in a 5K.

We were instantly drenched with sweat because of the heat and humidity (in DECEMBER, who says global warming isn’t a real threat?), but  we held on through the first mile, chatting and passing the time. The fun thing about running easy is being able to actually have a conversation with someone – it’s like hanging out and getting a workout in at the same time! Plus, everyone we passed loved our gear, shouting out encouragement and laughing and jingling their bells at us. There were a few other people in full-out gear like us, and we all had a good time when we’d pass each other, ho-ho-ho-ing and ringing our bells. The glasses were the biggest hit by far!

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Once we got to 1.5 and passed the finish line, the second half was a real struggle for me. The combo of the weather and the lack of sleep the night before really took a toll and I just wanted it to be over. But another nice thing about running with someone is that you can’t really stop. It’s embarrassing! So I pushed through the discomfort and we kept going, taking a walk break or two to finish strong.

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With the finish line in sight we gunned it around the people in white and blue you see up there – they were being cheered on by their friends at the sidelines: “Don’t let the elves beat you!” they yelled at them!! Well that just made us want to go even faster… and so we did, blowing right past them and finishing strong in 35:38, which is NOT bad for me!

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Overall this was a great race – even though it was small and I would have been lonely at the back of the pack if I’d run it alone, it was so much more fun with company and costumes! I’d definitely run it again next year just to burn off some extra Christmas cookies 😉

And as a bonus, our fun gear even got us the front page of the FARC website!

IMG_1303I think next year we may need to up our costume game to see if we’ll get on their front page again! 🙂

 

What’s On Your Calendar?

2016 is fast approaching, and with it comes a new chance to fill up the weekends with races and long training runs – one of my favorite parts of the new year! I’ve already started building my race calendar, and while I’m still waiting to hear about a few races (helllloooo, NYC Half Marathon lottery??), I’ve managed to come up with quite a list so far:

  1. NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K  – I’ve unofficially (er, “officially”, now that I’ve said it here??) decided to enter the 2017 NYC Marathon via NYRR’s 9+1 Program by running 9 races and volunteering at one throughout 2016. The Joe K 10K is my first of 9 and while I’ve done Central Park a few times, I’ve never been in what’s probably going to be about 15 degree weather!
  2. NYRR Gridiron 4Miler – This is another “hey why not?” race that I’m adding to my calendar for something different to do in the throes of a tri-state winter, and to add to my 9+1 for the year.
  3. Atlantic City April Fools 11K – After getting serious runner envy when I see everyone running these races every year, I finally decided to sign up for my first 11K ever. Auto PR anyone? And because I’m not doing the AC Half this year,
  4. NJ Half Marathon – This is going to be my major goal race of the spring. Instead of running the Asbury Park Half like I’ve done for 2 years now, I’m finally doing this one instead. Just like the AC Races, I always get runner envy seeing people at this race and it usually falls the day or week after Asbury, making it impossible for me to participate. But this year I switched things up and it’s going to happen!
  5. NYC Triathlon – Holy crap, THE New York City Triathlon, enough said.

There are also some tentative races I’ve got in the pipeline, depending on budget, lotteries, and/or if I’m able to coerce others into joining my hair-brained schemes:

  1. The NYC Half Marathon – This is dependent on the lottery drawing next week. While I’d love to run this one again, I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t get it. It’s a lot for me to race two halves in one season, and it’ll clear up a lot of training time in February and March for me to run other smaller races for fun instead.
  2. The Asbury Park 5K OR Marathon Relay – Because I’m not doing the half here this year, I can’t NOT run in Asbury. It’s my favorite place to run in the world. I’ll definitely do the 5k, but if I can convince a few other people, I’d love to do the marathon relay! Any takers? 😉
  3. The Runners World Half Marathon – This would be my ultimate goal race for the fall of 2016, but I’m not pulling the trigger yet, ONLY because I’m not sure if I want to go for the full monty and register for the whole weekend’s worth of races and do the 5k, 10k, hotel and everything, or if I’m just going to head into town for the race on the day. Budgets and timing will help me decide later on – either way, excited for this one!
  4. NYRR Central Park Spring Classic 10K – This all depends on if I get into the NYC Half, which is scheduled for the weekend before. Not sure if I’d be ready to race a 10K a week after a half, but stranger things have happened.

What does your 2016 Racing Calendar look like? Do you have any plans yet or are you waiting like me?

Ode to the Fitness Buddy

I don’t know about you, but with no major races on the horizon until at least March, I’m feeling kind of lost when it comes to my running. Without a big goal race to aim for or a plan to follow, I kind of turn into a sassy cranky pants just looking for some kind of structure to my life that’ll help me avoid gaining weight through the holidays and keep me sane when the Christmas madness takes hold.

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Exhibit A: my life.

Luckily, I’ve managed to set a pattern of sorts now thanks to my fitness friend, Kevin. Kevin has been my friend and frequent running buddy for a while now, but recently he’s joined my gym and kicked me into gear in a big way without even realizing it.

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Hooray for structure!

Kevin is usually the one to text me at 9PM on a Friday with “Are you running tomorrow?” What he doesn’t realize is that I’m usually eyeballs-deep in a glass of red wine and when I see his texts I usually say, out loud, to no one, “Well, I wasn’t planning on running in 12 hours but I guess I am now.” And then I finish the glass and put the cake down because no one wants to see me sweating red velvet and Robert Mondavi.

Now that he’s also a member of the same gym, he’s taken to texting me with random thoughts such as “Just throwing it out there. In addition to running. I want to work on abs, arms, and legs. Abs every day.”

And just like that, I’ve got a strength training schedule in my life!

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Exhibit B: this past Saturday’s workout

When I’m in the throes of training, I sometimes lose sight of how fun it is to workout with someone else, so I’m grateful for his reminders. And he’s not the only one!

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My sister in law (who ran the Turkey Trot with me last week!) has been excellent at suggesting we do fun runs and races lately, which I totally need in my life if I don’t want to end up waking up surrounded by empty Godiva chocolate boxes wondering what happened to the past 48 hours.

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And my cousin Heather who ran the Trenton 10K with me is another motivator: she’s got races lined up for pretty much every weekend now through the end of 2017, and I only wish I had her dedication!

How about you: do you have a fitness pal to keep you motivated? How has sweating with someone else helped you on your journey?

Insta-Thanks!

I say it a lot, but I can’t stress it enough: Instagram is where I first found my home in the fitness community, and it’s by far where I spend the most of my social media time.

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As of now, I’m currently about 60 followers away from 10K (HOLY COW) and while I don’t know when I’ll  hit that amazing, eye-popping milestone, I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you.

But I’m going to wear clothes. Especially on the bus. Because, ew.

You guys are truly the best. I read and smile at Every. Single. Comment. And while I try and sometimes fail to reply to every one, I try as hard as I can because I want you to know just how much I appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk to me.

When I look back at the past two years to when I started this whole Jess Runs Happy thing, I see a huge spike in my overall happiness. You folks have inspired me to push myself and do things I never would have dreamed of: swimming, run-streaking, relay races – even going out for a run when I really didn’t feel like it. Hell, I’ve lost count of how many runs I’ve gone on just to have something to post about on social media that day. Some might think that’s vain or silly, but I say it got my ass off the couch and onto the pavement for miles I never would have run otherwise. What’s so bad about that? Nothing.

So thank you. Thank you for looking at the silly pictures I post. For reading the words I string together in a hopefully entertaining way on a semi-regular basis. For not getting tired of all the various ways I capture images of my big dumb face and/or my sneakers. For encouraging me to train harder, smarter, and faster. For giving me a reason to keep doing the things that I sometimes struggle with: running, smiling, being.

For all that and more, THANK YOU!

Mercer County Turkey Trot Race Recap

Happy Thanksgiving everyone in the USA! I hope you all had a great holiday filled with love and laughter and food, and if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a great weekend anyway 🙂

My Thanksgiving was great because it involved running. That’s right, let 2015 go down in history as the year I finally ran my first Turkey Trot!

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A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law Mere (a super speedy, hardcore inspirational runner who blogs here and is on Instagram too!) mentioned wanting to run a Turkey Trot to kick off Thanksgiving, and I was all in: an excuse to hang out with family AND earn an extra scoop of stuffing? Aces!

In the week leading up to the race we had some fun picking out ridiculous race-day gear and finally arrived in Mercer County Park on Thanksgiving morning, ready and raring to go.

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Our hats may have been the best things EVER.

It was COLD out there! The temperature hovered around 34 degrees; even though the forecast called for 60 degrees later in the day, the air in the park didn’t get the memo. So we danced around and hung out with these two turkeys while waiting for the starting gun (my hubby, right, and his brother, left).

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Even the boys wanted in on the sweet turkey hat action.

At the gun we took off with almost 1,000 other runners in silly outfits, regular running gear, people with kids and strollers and groups – and we even managed to stayed relatively bunched together with a good group of people the whole 3.1 miles! My two longsleeve layers and gloves kept me warm, but after the first 1.5 miles I quickly warmed up and shed the gloves and extra hat under my turkey.

The best part about running a race with a speedy runner like Mere is that I didn’t stop to walk once! We set out not to “race”, but just to have fun, and that’s exactly what we did. I know it can’t be easy for a faster runner to stick around at the back of the pack with me, but the motivation boost, pace-pushing, and company are always much appreciated!

It’s even MORE fun when you’re running with someone who also wore pants with a wider waistband like we both did, because we spent a good 1.8 miles of the 3.1 pulling up our pants and laughing 😉 And every 5 minutes or so, people either passing us in the race or on the sidelines would yell out to us, “Nice turkeys!” or “Love the hats!” Even the guy fully dressed as a pilgrim near the finish complimented us – coming from a guy with buckles on his racing sneakers, that meant a lot.

The course took us through the park via the main road and through a semi-paved trail path. It was gorgeous, but a little crowded as we ran through the woods past a lake and back around the start/finish area, over some rolling hills for another mile or so, then back downhill on the main road towards the finish again. The whole time we talked about our spring racing calendars, how much we wished we’d picked pants that fit, family, life… everything. It was great! And just as I was starting to overheat and my dreams of stuffing and turkey became all-consuming obsessions, we finally crossed the finish line hand in hand and cheering at 35:10!

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Our men cheered us on as we finished, and we hung out for a bit afterwards taking some fun pictures and waiting for the area to clear out so we could leave the parking lot safely.

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And those hats… my god those hats. They were worth their weight in gold, let me tell you! Endless entertainment on the course and off, for us and for the folks who can’t help but play with them (see above).

All in all this was a great race that I will definitely add to my calendar in the future! While I’ve never run a race on a holiday before, I loved the novelty of it and look forward to doing it more. It breaks up the usual lazy-day feeling of a holiday, gets the heart moving, gives me an excuse to hang out with my speedy sis-in-law, and makes more room for an extra sliver of pie: a win-win-win-WIN!

Did you race on Thanksgiving? How do you feel about Huffing for the Stuffing? And do you have a pair of pants like ours that just won’t stay up during a run? 😉

Cold Weather Running Motivation

Here in NJ, we’ve been lucky this fall. The weather hasn’t been as blisteringly cold as it’s been in previous Novembers. Unfortunately, though, that’s made me a little soft now that the REAL cold weather is on the way.

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Case in point: since it’s been about 60 degrees for the last two weeks, this morning’s 30 degrees for a morning run felt like -10 and I went back inside!

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I’m a baby when it comes to the cold, I’m the first to admit. As much as humidity sucks the life out of me when I run in the summer, I’d much rather have to constantly rehydrate or wait  until sundown to run comfortably than have to face single-digit temps. I know deep down as a runner that cold weather is better for me – hell, every one of my PR’s was set in 40 degrees or less! – but I just can’t bring myself to freeze for the first mile or two while my body acclimates to the weather.

As we get further into the cold season, I’ll get used to it for sure. I always do. But until then, here are a few things that motivate me to get up, get out and get running when the polar vortex makes me want to do anything but that:

Sleeping in my running gear. This is a win-win: once the temps drop below 40, our house gets perpetually cold. Wearing my running gear base layer of tights and long sleeve tech shirt to bed keeps me sleepy-time cozy and takes one prep step out of the equation in the morning because I’m already dressed!

New Music. I don’t know about you, but this is one of my best motivators year round, actually. Knowing I’ve got some new tunes waiting to pump me up in those first few frigid miles makes it a bit easier to bear: if I can just get through that first song, I’ll be warm!

Friends. No one wants to be the person that keeps the group waiting in the cold. NO ONE.

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Self-bribery (see also: Shame). I’mma keep it real here: knowing that I get to go back home and curl up under warm blankets on the couch with a glass of wine after my run is sometimes the number one thing that gets me out the door. The gross feeling I get when I plan a workout only to skip it is reason number two.

A new route. One nice thing about running in the cold is that pretty much everywhere is fair game. In the summer, the thought of heading down to the beach for 8 miles on the boardwalk at 10am is unthinkable, thanks to blazing sun, ridiculous tourist crowds, and the unbearable heat. But in the middle of November? The beach is like a ghost town and those endless miles of boardwalk are ALLLL MINE!

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What about you: how do you stay motivated when it’s so much more tempting to stay in the toasty warmth of your house? Share your tips!

Five Things That Happen During Every Race

If you’ve ever run a race, chances are you’ve experienced some of the standard race-day highs and lows that most runners can relate to: the bliss of a clean port-a-potty, the agony of missing a PR, that tingly-all-over feeling upon seeing the finish line…

But what about the things that no one really talks about? Those things that happen during a race more often than we care to admit? I’ve run my fair share of 5K’s, 10K’s, half marathons, and everything in between, and there are some things that have happened so consistently that I’m sharing them now: the five things that happen during every race.

1. The Faster Person

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Listen: we’re all running our own race. I get that. The only person you’re competing against is yourself and all that jazz. But it’s only natural to feel that surge of anger and adrenaline when someone who’s been pacing you for the last 5 miles suddenly sprints past you triumphantly in the final mile.

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It’s even more infuriating and ego-crushing when that person is wearing a giant banana costume. Or is dribbling basketballs. Or wearing a Tom Brady mask and juggling deflated footballs. Not that I know from experience.

2. The Bathroom Fake-Out

We’ve all been there. I don’t care how well-trained your colon might be. Even the most seasoned runner knows that bubbling, burning feeling that can only mean one thing:

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(and if you say you don’t, you’re lying.)

It always seems to hit at like mile 3 of a half marathon that you aim to PR in. But the worst part is when you sprint to the nearest port-a-potty for emergency relief…

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Only to have nothing happen. Nothing!! I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened to me. The intense pressure just seems to build and build with every step, but once I’m finally in a safe place, the urge just disappears as quickly as it hit. I think Kramer called that “missing the window“?

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3. Running Regret

This tends to happen later in a race. The endorphins of a strong start have worn off, you’re long past the last aid station and you’ve still got the final few miles staring you in the face and a blister the size of Texas growing on your big toe. That’s when you say to yourself: “Never again.”

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Even in a good race, this fleeting moment of regret is enough to make me seriously reconsider my own sanity. I paid to do this? To wake up at 4AM on my day off, drive an hour, stand in the cold with a bunch of people I know are faster than me, then run for 3 hours? That’s it. I’m retiring from racing and booking myself a rubber room to roll around in for the rest of my life.

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Bonus Points for knowing what movie this is from.

Until I cross that finish line and the taste of victory is so, so sweet, then I’m all like, “When’s the next one??”

4. Mental Math

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You know exactly what I mean. “OK, so if I keep this 10:55 pace for the next 3 miles I’ll be at an 11:15/mile pace, but can I crank it up for the final 3 mile stretch? 3 miles is from my house to the park and back, that’s not so bad. But really I have 6 miles so it’s double that. That sucks. OK, 6 miles, that’s one loop around town, maybe that’s not so bad.”

Similarly, there’s the phenomenon (please tell me I’m not alone) where the mid-race mania causes all math knowledge to fly out of your brain. Like when my friend once met me at mile 6 of a half marathon and asked me how I was doing as she ran alongside me. “Not bad,” I shouted, “Only 4 more miles, I’m feeling good!”

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She just patted me on the back and sent me on my way with, “It’s more like 7, but you’ve got this!”

I cried for the whole next mile.

5. The Single-Serve Friend

This could just be a back-of-the-packer experience, but I’m putting it on this list. In every race, I tend to make at least one single-serving friend. The “Hi new Bestie, I love your running skirt! OMG how did we never know each other before this moment? OK I’m heading off now so take care, bye-bye forever” friend.

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These are the folks that you meet in the starting corral, or out at mile 5, or in the final mile when you’re both hurting and walking and experiencing the regret I just talked about up there.

Case in point: in my last half marathon, I made a single serving friend with an elderly gentleman who had been pacing me from pretty much mile 6. Instead of feeling anger when he would shoot out ahead of me, I’d use it as fuel and pick up my pace slightly to catch him. Finally, after 6 miles of that as I passed him in the final turn, he caught up to me and thanked me for pushing him the whole race. I had no idea – I thought he’d been doing the same for me! I thanked HIM and we laughed and ran for a quarter mile together, and then I continued on my way. Sure, they’re “friends” in the most basic sense of the word, but Single Serving Friends are sometimes just what you need out there!

What do you think? What things do YOU experience in every race that I left off here? Share in the comments!

Seaside Semper Five 2015 – Race Recap (and a Discount Code!)

Last year I ran the Seaside Semper Five 5k for the first time and fell in love with the race – I mean what’s not to love about a fast, flat 5k that runs along the boardwalk for 1.5 miles and ON the boardwalk for 1.6? My 2014 time was one of the year’s best, so I was excited to see what 2015 would bring.

The morning of the race we headed down to the shore. And man, it was FOGGY!

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In addition to the fog, I was surprised at just how HOT it was already. The week prior to the race saw morning temps in the gorgeous 60-65 range, but mother nature still had some summer up her sleeve and it was already 75-ish degrees!

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After finishing half a bottle of Cocogo to top off my fuel levels (since it had been more than 2 hours since breakfast), I made my way over to the start area and began to loosen up. I sang along to my music, dancing to Uptown Funk, wiggling and jiggling and getting excited. I was feeling good!! PS, yeah I know I’m that girl when I sing and dance to myself at a race. #sorrynotsorry

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It was especially nice to be surrounded by some really inspirational folks at this race. It’s a fundraising event for the MARSOC Foundation, which supports active duty and medically retired MARSOC personnel and their families, as well as the families of Marines and Sailors who have lost their lives in service. The Marines and veterans running the race are some of the most dedicated folks I’ve ever met, and it was an honor to run with them.

The gun went off a little after 9 and we took off through the haze and heat. It was crowded but not too bad – I didn’t find myself getting passed by EVERYONE like I sometimes do in these smaller races. In fact it was the opposite – the first mile clicked by almost too easily at 10:30 – who was I?? I didn’t feel like I was pushing at all, so I kept on, but that heat though – UGH! By the water station/turn onto the boardwalk at mile 1.5, I was desperate for water. The poor kids at the table didn’t know what to do with the runners clamoring for the little cups of water they were pouring from bottles, so they handed out the full bottles instead. Smart kids! So I grabbed a bottle and continued onto the boardwalk for the next mile or so, sipping every 2-3 minutes with walk/run intervals to keep from overheating.

Around mile 2.5 I came up behind a gentleman with a faux-hawk who took a look at me over his shoulder, made a face that said “Oh hell no,” and took off. Thanks for the motivation, dude! My average pace had gone from 10:30 to 11:25, but I was determined to beat this guy and bring my average down again for the finish. I turned on my latest power song (Run the Jewels’ “Close Your Eyes”), cranked up the pace, and passed him at about mile 2.8, and just kept on going. This was my first time “chicking” someone – it felt good!

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Nearing the finish line I saw 35:xx on the clock and kicked it into high gear, crossing officially at 35:26 (although my Garmin said 34:40, so neener neener)!

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Considering I ran it in 2014 in 36:50, I’ll take either result! Mike found me and we walked back inside the Sawmill where I chilled out, stopped dripping sweat, and finished my Cocogo.

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Within a few minutes I was feeling great again, so we headed down the boardwalk in search of some good old shore food.

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The haze still stuck around, turning the boardwalk into a pretty cool scene!

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This is what I mean by good old shore food: pizza bigger than my HEAD!

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Also ice cream. I did not eat any, but I had to recreate last year’s gigantic ice cream cone pic!

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We also met up with my cousin who had also run the race – Hi, Heather!

Once the haze was gone and the sun came out, I started to poop out. I had a triathlon the next day and forgot my sunscreen (BAD runner!) so I didn’t want to overtax my legs or my skin too bad. We called it a day and headed home to relax, and another successful Seaside Semper Five was in the books!

Honestly, my success at this race had a lot to do with my fueling. Usually I eat a lite pre-race breakfast when I wake up and end up racing at least 2 hours later, which doesn’t leave enough fuel in the tank. This time I planned ahead with my Cocogo and sipped continuously on half a bottle for about an hour before the start once we arrived, and I was thrilled with my performance. My energy levels stayed consistently high throughout the race (no mile 2 slump) and my stomach stayed cramp-free!

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I’ve tried a lot of different fueling options in the past, but for my day to day runs and shorter races, Cocogo is the answer for me! If you want to try some out for yourself, I’m super excited to announce that I’m a new Cocogo Ambassador, and I’ve got a great discount for you! Use code JESSRUNSHAPPY and get 20% off your order through the end of October – after that, the code will get you 10%, but why wait? Pick up a box and try it out for yourself today! Let me know what you think – I love the raspberry/passion fruit, but grape is slowly becoming my go-to. What about you? 🙂

A New Family Member, Training Update, and MEB!

First, I want to apologize for being absent so long! Things at work are really heating up, and I’m in the thick of training for both my second sprint triathlon this weekend and my next half marathon on 10/18. And on top of all that, just this past Monday, we finally pulled the trigger and brought in the newest member of the family: Sammy!

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We first met Sammy a year or so ago, and after sporadic visits for a year, he started showing up every day about a month ago, for a few hours each morning and every night, sitting on our lawn every night waiting for us to come out again in the morning. Once he started showing up with flea bites and chewed up ears, we finally took him to the vet, got him checked out and cleaned up and he’s currently sleeping on the couch next to me! He’s the most loving, sweet-hearted kitty we’ve ever met – he needs to be touching someone to fall asleep, and is my little shadow when I get ready for work in the morning. We’re smitten with this kitten! So on top of the double weekday workouts, 2+ hour runs on the weekends, and crazy work schedule, I also have this new creature to help take care of every day (along with balancing the love for our other cat Lucy who was living here first, and family and friends too)! So needless to say, by 10PM each day I have just about enough time to brush my teeth before falling into bed, so the blog was the first thing to be neglected. My apologies!

While Mr. Sammy sleeps next to me though, I’ll give you the highlights: everything is great! My long runs are right on pace at 12:15-12:45 per mile, and my shorter runs are stable at 11:30/mile too. I’m up to 10 miles in my long runs, and the best part? I hit a new one-mile PR in the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile last weekend with an unbelievable 8:51!! I almost died when I saw the number on the clock, seriously. I promise I’ll post a full recap soon, but here’s a teaser:

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MEB!

He was right there at the finish when I crossed and he greeted me with a huge smile and hearty congratulations. BRB, squealing and fangirl-ing all over the place again just looking at the pic…

OK, I’m back. I’ve got a big weekend ahead with the Seaside Semper Five 5K on Saturday and the One More Tri triathlon on Sunday! It’ll be my first back-to-back race weekend, and I’m going into it with absolutely zero expectations, just looking forward to swimming, biking, and running with a big smile for two fantastic causes: the Marine Corps and the NJ Special Olympics! I’m only $74 away from my One More Tri fundraising goal, so if you’re so inclined you can make a donation here! Every little bit helps, even $5 or $10 – why not consider skipping one pumpkin spice latte and putting that cash towards the inspirational athletes of the Special Olympics? It’s less calories anyway 😉

OK, so that’s my quick update – I hope you all are doing well and your training is going smoothly! We’re in the thick of training and racing season now, so stay strong and trust your training – you’re all rockstars for getting out there and getting it done! Tell me how it’s going in the comments, I want to hear it all!