Race Recap: Run for Melana 5k

Feeling spontaneous last week, I signed up for a local 5k. It was for a great cause, the starting line was a couple of miles from my house. AND it didn’t even start that early (9:00am beats a 7:00am start IMO).

I was a bit worried because I have not been running as much. Nor have I been eating very healthy. Eh, might not be my best time.

But sometimes you just got to do it.

I arrived early, with a large coffee in hand. Yes, I need coffee before a race. Requirement.  There were people milling about, but the race was small enough so it was easy to figure where to be.

First, the stats, then some pics :-)

Here are the stats:

WHAT: Run for Melana 5k

WHERE: Garrettsville, Ohio

DISTANCE: 3.1 Miles

TERRAIN: Pavement

TIME: 28:11

Not a PR, but enough to win 2nd place in my age group- Women 30-39. Came in 2nd overall in my AG (out of 25), and 75th overall. (Total of  186 runners).  Gotta love the small races :)

Was a fantastic race. Weather was nice (hot & humid- but I like it that way). And I felt pretty good all things considered.

wpid-20140629_102128.jpg wpid-wp-1404153917743.jpeg wpid-wp-1404153913983.jpeg wpid-wp-1404153907028.jpeg wpid-20140629_102708.jpg

The race was in honor of Melana, a young girl in our town who was diagnosed with Glioma cancer in 4th grade. She passed away 9 months later. There is not much research being down for Glioma cancer, even though it is the 2nd leading cause of death in children with cancer.

Please read more about Glioma research here.

I love that races are often fundraisers and opportunities to help a good cause. :)

Anyone else run this weekend?

Any good upcoming races?

Have you ever ran for a cause that really moved you?

















I did something I don’t often do…

I am a country girl and I love it.


Now that that’s outta the way.

My running has been a little lackluster lately, but I can’t seem to break through the slump. Work has been exceptionally busy, and when I’m tired/stressed I don’t run well. Or at all.

Yesterday (Sunday) I was debating between a nap and a run. And finally, my runner-self took over and I put on my running clothes, laced up my Saucony’s, and hit the pavement. In doing so, I did something I don’t often do. I ran a new route.

I didn’t feel like driving to my trail. I’ve also always been afraid to take off running near my house because of the road I live on. I live in the country, (did I mention that already?) and although my road doesn’t see a lot of traffic, it is a main route and does host some high-speed trucks. But I felt brave and figured I’d hit the side roads in about a half a mile, so it would be okay. I also don’t run with music, so listening for traffic would be easy.

I just kind of made up a route as I went. Ended with a 4.5 mile run, around a 9:35 pace. Not bad considering I took some photo op breaks. And I took one “pray to Jesus” stop where I thought the heat might get to me. It didn’t.

I slowed down a little for some shots, stopped for others. Unfortunately with sun glare I couldn’t really see the photos until I got home. I may have been sweating on my phone…oops… They are quite hazy. Quality ain’t great, but you might see why I love living out here. :)


Don’t forget- you definitely want to sign up for the 5k Foam Fest that will be held in my lovely little country town (Garrettsville, Ohio- listed as ‘Cleveland’ location)!! I know it’s a bit pricey, but everyone I know who has done it LOVES it. I cannot wait for this one on July 19th!! Use my discount code to save $5 and be entered in to win other prizes as well!! 

Visit:  http://5kfoamfest.com/Location?locId=28 and use my discount code:  FF3892. Send me a message or a comment if you register and I will confirm to make sure you get entered into the other drawings!


Has anyone had a running slump before? How did you get over it?

Do you often run new routes, or are you a creature of habit?

Country person or city person?




5k Foam Fest- Cleveland/Garrettsville Ohio- (Discount Code!)


While searching for races, I came across this race a while back- the 5k Foam Fest.  Now, I’m the first to admit, I’m not one for novelty races. I want to run. Not play. I know, I know…..I am no fun. Blah, blah, blah.  But, something about this race struck me from the beginning. The obstacles look like a ton of fun (more so than usual courses) and as I read on, I see that the ‘Cleveland’ location is actually being held in my home-town of Garrettsville!

No brainer, folks. I’m in.

So, imagine my super-excitement when I was chosen to be an Ambassador for the race!

The race will be held on July 19th, 2014 in Garrettsville, Ohio. And promises to be a FUN time.

Enjoy fun obstacles, like:

The Mud Pit

The Body Washer

Spider Web Forest

Aqua Lily Pads

And over a dozen more!!


Visit their website for more info, photos and videos: http://5kfoamfest.com/

USE THE DISCOUNT CODE:   FF3892 to save $5 and possibly win some cool door prizes!

And, if you are coming in from out of the area, I have a hotel about 30 minutes away with an indoor waterpark that would be happy to host your stay!  :)




My tooth hurts. I can’t run.

Excuses, excuses.

Seriously, is anything worse than a toothache? I’ll answer that for you. NO. I’ve had kids, broken bones, suffered from the flu….but a toothache? Nothing worse.

Apparently, I have an infected wisdom tooth that is half in my sinus cavity. Gross.

When I went to the dentist and he showed me the X-ray, he pointed to a small grey dot on my tooth. That small grey dot is the infection causing all this pain. Are you serious? Yes, I feel like a wimp.

So, tomorrow I go to the surgeon to fix-the-prob.

In the meantime, I stopped running. It just felt better to lay in bed and whine about the pain. Okay, so I was busy, busy in other areas too-like work & life- and somehow running took a back seat. I’m not proud of that.

It’s pretty bad when your running app sends you an email entitled, “It’s okay to take a break.”

Yesterday, I decided it was just a dang toothache, people were certainly busier than I, and  I needed to get it together and get out there and run. GET IT TOGETHER JEN.NO MORE EXCUSES.


So, I went out and did 3.5. I had no goals, just to do it and not do it too uber~slow. Overall pace was 8:33. I’m happy. My app tells me it’s been 12 days since my last run.

My legs felt a little weird. I was worried I might have forgotten how to run. It wasn’t a seamless run, I stopped to walk at Mile 2 and Mile 3 for about 30 seconds each time. My knees felt achy (and still do a bit this morning), but other than that I felt good.

Time to get back at it.

Back on track.

Like riding a bike.


How to run faster & increase pace

Today I ran my fastest outdoor run ever.

Like, seriously. I ran 3.5 at an 8:05 average pace.  My fastest pace before this was 8:35 and that was a miracle run in itself.

My first, and fastest mile (gasp! What? No negative splits? Nope!) was 7:36. I’m breaking world records here folks. Shalene~ watch out, I’m on your tail. Once, on the indoor track I ran a 7:17. But I that’s different. I’m not 100% convinced the track distance is accurate, and indoor air is different.

Side Note:  Whether I’m indoors or not my nose still runs. Any solutions for that, I’m all ears. My nose doesn’t run at any other time. Just when I run. Like it’s jealous and wants in on some running action. Ridiculous. Think of how much faster I could run if I didn’t have to keep wiping my nose.

So. Back to the topic.

My tips & tricks for running faster and increasing your pace. Since I’m an expert and all.

1.  Pretend that someone is running next to you and yelling encouraging things to you. Or derogatory- whatever works.

2. Yell back at that person when you feel like it. And when you have the breath to do so. Ignore people looking at you funny.

3. Run like a kid. Remember being a kid when you go outside and run/play forever? No? Pretend you did. Feel free to flail arms and giggle.

4. Pretend you are racing your worst enemy. Go on- show them what you are made of. You don’t want them to beat you, do you? Hell no.

5. Eat two soft beef tacos from taco bell about 2 hours before your run. Don’t question this. It worked for me.

6. Talk out loud and encourage yourself. Say things like, “You got this.” “Run faster dammit!” “You’re running like an old person.” “Quit whining. You can breathe.” “Shut up, Brain! My legs do not need to stop for a minute!” Disclaimer: I do not mean to insult old people. I like old people. Hell, I am old…

Okay. And a couple other more serious points I want to make:

7. Don’t worry about negative splits in a shorter run. I did 3.5. Go fast mile 1. If you don’t, you’ll never know how much you can push yourself. I ran mile 1 in 7:36 Shocked the hell out of me. BUT it encouraged me to keep running fast as I could. I did slow down a bit, but overall kept a great pace. If you don’t go hard mile 1, how do you know how hard/fast you can go for the duration? I know that’s not good strategy for longer distances…but for short, what the hell. Go hard or go home.

8. POSTURE.  Suckmywake once commented on this to me~ and I can totally agree. I ran as upright as I could, keeping my head up more than normal. Definitely helped more than I could have imagined. I always thought I practiced this before, but I really noticed a difference today.

9. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. (You will know if you are truly overdoing it).

10. Have fun :)


And that’s my big words of wisdom today folks. Stay tuned for more WoW to come…I know. The waiting will be hard.




Long Run Day + Sunshine + Holiday Food= Great Day!

Now that the weather is better, Sunday is long run day. Whether it is a holiday or not. Oh, by the way, Happy Easter!


So, I hit the trail with daughter for some sunshine &  fresh air.



Apparently, running bloggers are supposed to take photos like this (so little “A” and I figured we might as well get with the times):


 The sun was amazing and afterwards I realized I should have picked up some sunscreen for us. It’s that time. And I couldn’t be more excited. :)

I ran 7 miles (yes, that is still my long run distance because that’s they exact length of my trail. I’m fully aware its time to step it up…) at a nice easy average pace of 9:24. My splits were all over the place- some miles in the low 8′s and some in the mid-high 10′s. It was such a beautiful day to cruise the trails and I just ran how I felt in that moment. I believe that is…intuitive running?

Here I am, enjoying the runner’s high:


No time for rest after our run though, instead it was time to shower & head to my parents house for dinner. We had an original Easter dinner and cooked out on the grill. Hey, when the sun comes out in NE Ohio you take advantage of it. It usually doesn’t hang out too long. Especially in April.


I made these yummy little taco scoop babies to take to my parents. Look terrible=taste great.  My son can’t get enough. Me either.


And, I am so bummed that Resurrection is not on tonight. What the heck? I missed that memo and here I’ve been so excited all day to watch it. Dang.

Tomorrow is a cross training day~ and hopefully I will get a chance to post a weekly training recap.  Time to start preparing for the next race now!


Anyone else watch Resurrection? Thoughts?

Did anyone else run today, despite it being a holiday?



Black Squirrel 5k: Race Recap & Results

On Saturday April 12, 2014 I ran the Black Squirrel 5K with two of my kids~ love running with the kiddo’s!

wpid-20140412_083954.jpgYes, this was our sweaty-selves after the run.

I was excited to run this race for a couple reasons. It was closer to home than the previous races I’ve run, the course ran through Kent State University (my old stomping ground!), and of course, I was able to run with the kids in this one. Unfortunately my oldest had to work, or I would have dragged her along for the fun as well. She loves when I do that.

Here are the stats:

WHAT: Black Squirrel 5K

WHERE: Kent, Ohio

DISTANCE: 3.1 (although my GPS read 3.22 at the end)

TERRAIN: Pavement

TIME: 27:01

And….a new PR! The fun part about being a ‘newer’ runner, is you can PR often as you improve. At some point, I know I will hit that wall there will be more difficult to surpass, but I’m keeping at it!  (Last 5K was October 2013 Monster Dash, and I ran a 29:58).  I came in 8th place out of 37 in my age group. Not to bad for me!

Check out all results here.

I loved that there was a ton of free parking available, indoor (warm!) area to hang out with indoor restrooms, and let’s not even mention the after-race buffet that was served up. Wow!



Race was timed by Western Reserve Racing. If you are in NE Ohio, check out their site for their races~ they have some pretty cool ones I am thinking of doing!



I will definitely do this one again. My only wish would be for a 9:00 am start time instead of 8:00 am. Just because. The tech shirt was nice, the event was smooth & organized from start to finish, and the course was a cool loop around the KSU campus. A couple small grades, but not too hilly. Of course, we did finish going up a small grade which was tough, but hey, no big.

The food served afterwards included fruit, yogurt, bagels & cream cheese, nutri grain bars, chili, and more! Water & juice was available as well.

I also loved how there were volunteers passing out bottles of water as soon as we crossed the finish line. I sure needed one!

One of the highlights for me, was the last  mile or so of the race I was running just behind an older gentlemen. Every time we passed a volunteer, a policeman, etc, he ran over to high-five them or thank them. And, every time a runner passed him, he hollered out to them, “go get ‘em! You got this!”.  I couldn’t help but smile every time.  Eventually, I passed him as well.  Only to climb a small grade, and then realize I really needed to take a short walk break and catch my breath. As he approached me from behind, I hear, “Oh no, you’re not stopping now! This is the easy part- keep running we are almost there!”  So I did. My walk break may have lasted a minute or so, but instead it probably lasted 10 seconds. After the race, I looked for the man to thank him, but I couldn’t find him anywhere.

My 16 year old son ran with the man for a bit too, and commented how awesome he was.

My 16 year old son, who doesn’t run, beat me by 3 seconds. Oy. Boys.

My 13 year old ran as well, and got herself a shiny new PR too!

Great time~ Can’t wait for the next race  :)


Anyone have any good stories of other runners encouraging you during a race? Let’s hear ‘em!



Weekly Training Recaps

I just had a good chuckle writing that title for some reason. I’m not sure what I am ‘training’ for at this point. Half-Marathon? Yes- just don’t know which one. 5k’s? Yes. 10k’s? Yes. All other races I can find and want to do? Yes. And yet the word ‘training’ makes me think that I think of myself as a Mohammed Ali or like a super-athlete. I’m clearly not. So, a little chuckle on that and I’m moving on.


I’ve been pushing myself a little harder the last couple weeks. It feels good to have sore legs for a day or so- I know I’m working harder.  I’ve been eating healthier too, but when I hit the scale this morning- bam. No change. I know I can l increase my pace if I could lose a few more pounds. My thighs just want to hang on to those stubborn pounds…oyyy.



I’ve been working on doing slow runs, slower. I feel I have speed, just no endurance. I can do a mile (ONE MILE) in just over 7 minutes. I just can’t keep going like that. Endurance is my downfall.  But, It’s as hard for me to slow down as it is for me to speed up sometimes. Running slower seems to make my legs ache.

Here’s what’s been on the last couple weeks (running):

Saturday March 29th – The Pappy Run. :)

Sunday March 30th- Resting from above mentioned race.

Monday March 31st- 3 miles- 9:38 pace

Tuesday April 1st- 4 miles- 9:24 pace

Wednesday April 2nd- Track/Speed Working

Thursday April 3rd- REST

Friday April 4th- 4 miles- 9:19 pace

Saturday April 5th- 3.1 – 8:53 pace (trying to determine my goal time for April 12th 5k race)

Sunday April 6th- 7.15 miles- 9:32 pace

Monday April 7th – 2.2 miles – 8:46 pace

I really, really want to try and run my 5k at a 8:45 pace. It’s gonna be tough, but hey, I’m shooting for the stars.  My “B” goal is to come in at or below a 9 minute pace, and my “C” goal is to come in better than my last 5k (9:39 pace).

If I can’t do that I’m grounding myself. No jelly beans for a week. Okay….at least a day or two.


Well. Maybe a half a day.

If I hit my goals, I’m going for pizza.


Anyone reward themselves for hitting goals? How so?



Moving along…and DOMS


The ambition and drive to improve my times is still going strong. This week anyhow. But hey, like we can only take it one step at a time, right?


And, I feel pretty good that my determination is still there….seeing as I had a pretty crappy run yesterday.

The weather was beautiful. I mean stunning. In the mid 60′s, sunny, breezy…perfect. I wore shorts for the first time in MONTHS.

I was psyched for a great run. Plan called for 4 steady miles.  Mile 1 was good.  Sun was shining. I was smiling. Air was gently keeping my hair at bay, as I ran into the wind. The smells were intoxicatingly wonderful. (I may have made that word up- not sure).

But mile 2 my legs started to feel heavy. And then weak. Like Jell-O. It happened suddenly, too. But I pressed on in agony. Then I would see my thighs jiggling while I ran and it distracted me. (Sorry for the unpleasant mental picture that surely created. Not used to running outdoors in shorts.)

And when I say the legs were heavy, I mean they were seriously heavy. I could barely bring myself to move them. Because I was doing an out-n-back run, there was no giving up. But I did have to walk quite a bit.

Overall, ended with 4 miles at an 9:24 pace. Better than I anticipated because of the walking.

I couldn’t figure out why my legs were so out of whack. I backtracked in my mind. (I do need to over-analyze this- you know that right?) I ran 3-miles Monday (day before) and felt fine. Sunday was a rest day. And I definitely rested. Saturday morning was my race. And that’s when it hit me. Could this be DOMS? (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). While the race distance was fine for me (5.25miles), my body sure wasn’t used to the severe hills. Could that be why my quads felt weird?

I did some research, and found that DOMS can apparently occur the day after strenuous exercise, or as much as 72 hours later. Not convinced I officially have DOMS, but I don’t think DOMS can be officially diagnosed anyhow. I came across this interesting article about muscles & working out (including DOMS info). Check it out here. Don’t pay any attention to the fact it is written by someone named Scooby Doo.

Moving on…I’m still excited for my April 12th 5k to try and record a new PR. Come run the ‘Black Squirrel’ in Kent, Ohio with my and my daughter if you are able! And if you see me slow down, you better start cussing my ass out ‘Biggest Loser’ style.

Today calls for a cross training workout, in addition to a short speed work session. My legs feel okay today, so I’m going to proceed with the plan and see how it goes.

Oh- finally got my bibs hung up! This has motivated me to go do more races so I can get more bibs!



So, seasoned runners….could it be just a case of DOMS?

Does anyone use any form of recovery that is not foam rolling or ice baths?

Any good upcoming Ohio/W. PA races coming up? I need bibs, folks. Bibs!


5k Improvement Training

It’s time to get real.

My mind tells me I want to work on being a better & faster runner, but I think I need to focus and push myself a little more.  Since my last 3 races have been 5-milers, it’s time to try and break my 5k PR from last year. I know I can do it. But I really want to DO IT…if you know what I mean.

My daughter decided to do it with me (and I might have convinced my son too…time will tell).  So I found a local 5k in two weeks, the Black Squirrel 5k in Kent, Ohio, and we are going to go at it with the intention of a new PR. It’s time.

Ain't he cute?

Ain’t he cute?

I even bought a new pair of shoes for the occasion. More info on these babies to come.


So, here’s our 2-week plan. Top plan is for my daughter. Bottom plan is mine.


Our training needs both endurance & speedwork. It also needs to be realistic as we are busy, busy, busy!

Our last (and our first!) 5k in October was the Monster Dash in Akron. I recorded a 29:58. Little “A” recorded a 36:15. So, like I said. We so got this. I think. And we are going to work hard these next two weeks in preparation.

Run on.

 Advice from all you pro’s out there for improving 5k time?

What’s your favorite nutritious snack/food/beverage you turn to when training?






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