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?





The Pappy Run: Race Recap & Results

The Pappy Run was held yesterday, March 29, 2014, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.


Photo Source: The Pappy Run


It was held at a park, which offered plenty of parking, heated indoor restrooms, and a pavilion for gathering. The standup portable heaters brought in were a much appreciated bonus!

Registration and check-in was smooth, with several volunteers. There was even a face painter there to entertain the young’ins. And I don’t know who she was, but I saw some of her work and wow! Impressive. Not just little balloons and smiley faces people… I wish I had taken a photo, but then again…some stranger asking to take a pic of a child’s face might have seemed a bit creepy…

For those who have been following the blog lately, you’ll recall this race was a cancer benefit, orchestrated by a young girl, Arianna, as a way to honor her Pappy.  Because I too had lost my Papa to cancer, this run was a must. And I was able to wrangle another 9 members of my family to participate.  Unfortunately, the only photo’s we were able to get of all of us were a little blurry, but I figured I’d share them anyhow!


Who are these people? :)


Here are the stats:

WHAT: The Pappy Run

WHERE: Chagrin Falls, Ohio (Bainbridge, Ohio)

DISTANCE: 5.25 Miles

TERRAIN: Pavement

TIME: 49:33

In my age group, I came in 7th out of 12th.  Funny thing is, if I was in the 20-29 age group (I wish!) I would have won! I guess there’s just a lot of faster 30-somethings out there than 20-somethings.

The Pappy Run Results Page.

It’s hard to compare this course to my past races. For one, it is 5.25miles (Actually, my gps said 5.28).  Second, this run was seriously hilly. No, wait. It was mountainous. But the scenery was gorgeous.

What I loved about it though was I felt I had a great workout when I was done~ It’s good to change it up once in a while!

And, best of all- It was super-awesome to do this with my family. Even my dad did the 1-mile with my daughter! My son and I ran the 5 miler together. We actually ran the first mile together, then he went on ahead of me, but I caught him again somewhere around mile 4. We ran the last two miles together, both kicked it at the end, and the kid beat me, by mere seconds. I’m sure he would have beaten me by much more, but he was suffering from shin splints that last mile pretty bad. :(  Of course, one might mention this athletic 16 year old did nothing to prepare for the run. He does not run.

Aren’t they cute?


Yep. That’s my goofy dad behind my goofy kids…family trait?

Funniest part was my dad putting his T-shirt on over top of his ‘puffy vest’.  Too funny. He looked like the Incredible Hulk.



The amazing woman standing behind my dad is my Nana. Unfortunately due to her Alzheimer’s, she didn’t truly understand what we were all doing there.  We were running for her husband, our Papa. It was great to have her there with us as well!

Overall, there were just over 300 participants in this inaugural race.

God willing I will DEFINITELY be doing this event next year.

Thank you to Arianna & her family for putting this together, Seidman Cancer Center for ALL they do for cancer patients & families, and to all the runners, walkers and contributors to this race.



FitBloggin’ 2014 – Here I come!

Super exciting news:  I was chosen to be a live-blogger for the FitBloggin’s conference in Savannah, GA this summer.

My obsession with numbering things still exists.

Reasons why I’m excited to attend FitBloggin’ 2014:

1. Meet other bloggers. In real life. Let’s face it~ blogging is a solitary sport.

2. It is held in Savannah, GA. My favorite place on earth.

3. Learn some new stuff about fitness & health.

4. It is held in Savannah, GA. My favorite place on earth.

5. I actually have a role in this conference~ I will be blogging live from one of their seminars. Boy. I better work on my grammar & spelling.

6. It is held in Savannah, GA. My favorite place on earth.

7. Any excuse for a get-a-away.

8. It is held in Savannah, GA. My favorite place on earth.

9.  Learn some new features directly related to blogging.

10. It is held in Savannah, GA. My favorite place on earth.

That’s my Top 10.

For more info on FitBloggin’ 2014- check them out here.

Race day coming up this Saturday. Super excited. Nothing like the energy at a race! Run THE PAPPY RUN with me! Pretty Please?

Went out for a quick run yesterday and it was miserable. Freakishly cold blast today and I think I’ll stay in for some cross-training. Run again tomorrow and probably take Friday off. I seem to run better when I have a day off (completely off) before a race. Well, twist my arm. :)


Anyone attending FitBloggin’ 2014?

Anyone ever attended any other blogging conferences?

Are we all ready for spring yet?   YES YES YES



Up Next: The Pappy Run, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

I am getting back in the swing of things after doing the Malachi run on Saturday.

Sunday I went out with my girls for a short 2 mile run. I was very sore, but my girls needed to get out and run and I figured it might be a nice ‘recovery’ run.  It was cold & windy, but a nice run.

Took Monday off. Yesterday, I was so excited to get out and run in sunshine and warmth- 50 degrees!!  I went out strong (because I felt so great) and did my first two miles in the high 8′s pace. The last two miles I did in the mid-9′s and that was a struggle. I have to keep reminding myself I had 3 weeks off and I need to give me a chance to build back up. It’s hard to do when you start off feeling so great, but it’s all good.

Which reminds me, I am here to tell you about my next race!  You may remember me interviewing Arianna, the girl who is hosting “The Pappy Run” in beautiful Chagrin Falls, Ohio (seriously- a beautiful town. If you are unfamiliar with it, check it out.)  This is a cancer fundraiser, and I am so excited to be doing this race!  The course looks challenging and comes in at 5 miles. There is a one mile run/walk available too.  I have talked about this race before because I feel this is such a great cause, and I want everyone who possibly can to come out and support Arianna & The Seidman Cancer Center.

More info on the race: here.

Follow ‘The Pappy Run’ on Facebook: here.

Read the great article in Chagrin Valley Today.

Tell me if you will be there so I can say “Hi!”

What’s your next race?

St. Malachi Run Recap & Race Results

st malachi run

I have been MIA on the blogosphere for a few reasons.

1. I got sick. Like, fever, sore throat, cough…the works. This lasted almost 2 weeks. I thought I was dying.

2. Work has been super busy. Trade show season. And I had to work long days, no days off, blah blah, blah….all while dealing with #1. Ironically enough, several days I had no voice. Not good while working a trade show booth.

3. No running. Since this has become a running blog, and I wasn’t running, I didn’t have much to say.

But, last week (Tuesday) , since I was feeling better I decided to get out and try to run. Made it 2.5 miles.

One of my main reasons for getting back out there was to get in a few runs before the St. Malachi Run in downtown Cleveland.  The plan for this race was to run with 2 of my friends. One would come down from Michigan, and my other friend started doing the C25K to prepare. My Michigan friend texted me a pic of her entry early in the week to confirm she would be there. My C25K friend now had the “sickness” along with a sore hip, and would not be running.  Of course, I considered bailing too because I was recovering from my illness, and hadn’t run in a few weeks.

Ultimately, I never ran after that 2.5 mile run last week for various reasons.  I decided I would STILL do the St. Malachi- it might be tough, but even if I run/walk it, it might be just what I need to get my butt back in gear with running.  Nothing like a race to spark the running bug…:)

I texted my Michigan friend Thursday to tell her I was definitely in.  She texted back and said she unexpectedly had a funeral and would not be there.  UGH. I debated for a bit, but decided to still do it solo.

So, this recap is not going to be as specific as a recap might be. I was winging it while there. I didn’t take many pics because I was freezing.  It was in the 30′s, but the wind was BRUTAL.


Here are the stats:

WHAT: St. Malachi Run, March 15, 2014

WHERE: Cleveland, Ohio


TERRAIN: Pavement

TIME: 47:39 **PR**  :)

In my age group, I came in 70 out of 174.

I beat my Turkey Trot time by almost 2 minutes. I seriously couldn’t believe it. And this after not running but one time in 3 weeks? I was pretty happy. :)


Consider me re-motivated.

The run felt great too. There were almost 5,000 total runners there so it was crowded. But the energy was awesome.

The first mile was a breeze. At mile marker 1 there were some kids doing the river dance on the sidewalks with irish music blaring. It was awesome. This might have been my favorite part.

The second mile I felt even better and sped up. I did mile 2 in 8 minutes.

Mile 3 was good too. I couldn’t believe I was cruising along so well.

Mile 4 & 5 I started to get tired.

Near the end of the race, I heard a guy yell, “You’re almost there, less than 2 minutes and you’re done!”.  So, I took this as my cue to sprint.  I always have to sprint the end. It’s my fave way to end the race, and I have a great kick. However, I think I kicked too soon (for me). I started sprinting, and a guy next to me decided to sprint too. So we sprinted neck and neck for maybe 30 seconds. Then I started dying. I literally felt like I might throw up and realized I had gone too hard, and still had to finish! Yikes!

I survived it though. Pushed through and ran through the finish line.   Overall time of 47:39, pace of 9:32.  Last 5-miler was the Turkey Trot where I pulled a 49:30.  Yay for a new PR!

Hermes Road Racing always puts on great events. In the way of organization, volunteers, etc,, they are the best.  Probably why their events are so well attended. The St. Malachi Run benefits the efforts of the St. Malachi Church, which is known in Cleveland for helping the homeless.

St Malachi Race Results: here.

For more info on Hermes Road Races, visit their website here.

For more info on St. Malachi Church & their mission, visit here.

Today, I have a run planned with my cousins!  We are preparing for The Pappy Run in Chagrin Falls on March 29th. Prepare to hear about that upcoming race again very soon~ if you are in the area, PLEASE consider doing this race. This is a fundraiser for cancer, a race that is the brainchild of a 7th grade girl who lost her Pappy to cancer.  If you are NOT in the area and are able to come in for it~ we can offer deep discounts on hotels (just so happens I work in the hotel biz).

What do you guys use to re-motivate yourselves after some time off? Any tips/tricks?

Anyone else love the 5-mile race distance?  Or hate it?  I love it.  :)




Alive & Well….Training Update

I am alive and well. Well, alive anyhow.

Okay, I’m well. In physical terms.  Been so busy with life, family, work, etc…And I hate filling up the blog with filler just to write.

Training update:

Going okay. Could be better. Could be worse. On a fun note, I have some bicep muscles. And some ab muscles now. I might turn into one of those crazy people flexing in the mirror.  (I think because I’m the only one who can really see the muscles).

While my pacing, statistically speaking, has been fairly steady, I feel inconsistent with my runs in other ways. One day it’s really hard and I need to take walk breaks. Another day I’m feeling great.

I have had to alter training days because of our weather. So some days I find myself running hills (ummm…mountains?) unexpectedly as that’s the only clear place to run. Other days I’m running laps indoors. Hard to do a  long run on the indoor track. Some of you guys might be able to do the hamster-wheel thing for 8-9 miles, but not me.  Those are the days I contemplate other hobbies. Cycling? Canoeing? Crochet? Cricket? Coloring?

My long runs have been sparse. And only up to 7 miles-ish so far. I have had encouragement from other runners who train for half’s on low-mileage. Thank you!!

I’m not too worried that I haven’t been following the plan to a tee. (Is that how you say “to a tee”? Or, is it “to a T”? What is a “T” anyways Why not follow it to a “K”?)

I work on adrenaline very well. I know I can run a half-marathon tomorrow and not die. It might take me a long time. A very long time. And, I may need several days (weeks) to recover. But I can do it. Adrenaline is something I do have. Lung capacity and hamstring muscles not so much.

So, I will continue to plug away. (Another interesting expression….”plug away”?).

Excited to get to race already.  Two 5-milers in March. At least one half in April.

I will survive.

Runners: How closely do you follow your training plans? Are you flexible with them, or ‘type A’?

Running & The German Shepherd

I am trying to keep up as best as I can with my half-marathon training. This weather (sub zero temps and feet and feet of snow) and my crazy schedule makes it difficult, but not impossible.


Since I have to take advantage of running outdoor whenever I can, I decided a few days ago to run the streets near where my parents live. Less traffic, roads fairly clear, and a good hilly 4-mile route. Need to work those calf muscles, ya know?

And, I swear, a mile on the road feels like 5. For some reason, I can run 5 miles on my trail without blinking an eye, but on the road? Feels like the never ending road.

So, I head out.

I run. And I run. And I run. My plan was two miles to where the road T-bones into another, and then the 2 miles back. There ya go. Four miles of delightful hills.

Just as I’m nearing the T-bone, I hear it. A snarling, barking dog.

Now, I am not afraid of dogs. I used to run a non-profit dog rescue, remember? Been bitten a couple times, a few stitches, etc. Yet still, I have no fear of unknown dogs. I should, I just don’t.

But something in this dog’s snarl frightens me a bit. I look over toward the house it is coming from, just in time to see it burst through its fence. It was going at the fence so hard, it popped the gate open. And ran right toward me. Fast. Growling the whole way.


I’m sure I stopped breathing. I might have said a few words to the dog as it charged me.

“Hey there buddy…”

“Ain’t you a cutie…(not)”

I kept moving, a slow pace as I was unsure of what to do. This has never happened to me before.  As the dog got closer, I could hear that deep rumble in his throat and saw the froth building up around his mouth.

He was going to attack me and rip out my throat. I was sure of it.

But then, a few feet away from me, he came to a skidding stop. I turned away from him, kept right on going, and didn’t look back.

When I reached the T-bone, I finally had the nerve to turn back and look. He was gone. Except, how am I going to get home? I can’t run by this house again? Surely tempting fate twice would not be a smart idea…

I decided to take a left turn on the T-bone, and run in a big circle. I knew this would add more (and bigger!) hills to my route, as well as some mileage. Oh well. Will do me some good anyways, right?

In the end, it was a great run. I felt good. Other than my few minute break at the intersection deciding what to do, I ran the entire 5.1 miles.  (I thought the new route would add more than 1.1 miles, but what do I know?).  And I held a good pace (9:33)and was proud of that- especially with the hills!

It was very nice of the German Shepherd to help push me to achieve more on my run than I planned-than I ever thought I could.

Now, I just need to find a new hilly training route….


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