Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Melanie Faulkner

This week's spotlight is on Melanie of Tall Mom on the Run. I few weeks ago I sought out Melanie's advice for my pacing debut after I read about her pacing success on her blog. All of her advice and suggestions were spot on and helped me get Jenn to the finish line of her first 1/2 marathon, all while crushing her goal time! Thanks again Mel!!

And now without further delay, I give you the best part of Thumbs Up Thursday!!

Jodi: How long have you been running?

Melanie: I ran in junior high and high school to stay in shape for sports. I ran in college to relieve stress, see the city and stay in shape for Basketball. But I became a RUNNER after my first 5K Race for the Cure June 2008.

Jodi: Why did you start running?

Melanie: I started to run because I had gain 50-60 pounds in pregnancies, I was tired of feeling heavy and not having the energy to play with my kids. I had to shop in plus sized stores. I felt gross in my own skin. Most of my life I was a peak performing athlete, I missed it. I needed an outlet, to connect with my body and have something for me.
Melanie and her family at a 5 Mile Race

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?

Melanie: First RACE where I considered myself really RACING was the Capital City Half Marathon in May of 2009.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?

Melanie: I really enjoy the Half Marathon, I feel like I understand pacing and how my body will perform for 13.1. I go out too fast in the 5K, the 10K is PAINFUL and the Marathon is draining. If 10 milers were popular that would for sure be my favorite. After a Half Marathon I feel a huge sense of accomplishment but can still enjoy my day and not be sore for days to come. It is a GREAT GREAT Finish line!!

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?

Melanie: Seeing my husband along the course in Eugene, he believed in me and was there just for me. His blue eyes sparkled as he took pictures and cheered me on. The pride in his face made the accomplishment of qualifying for Boston all the more enjoyable.
Melanie finishing the Eugene Marathon

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?

Melanie: I lost my bladder during my first Marathon, I felt humiliated and defeated. It was disgusting and very uncomfortable. I have learned a lot since that Wet and dreary mistake.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?

Melanie: Running 1,000 miles in 2009 was HUGE for me. It seemed so unattainable, but I chipped away and made it happen. That is why I started the 1,000+++ Club, I want others to feel that Amazing pride.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?

Melanie: My Garmin, I like to know how far I have gone regardless of where I am. i love that I can travel and run and always know my distance, pace and calories. It is a wonderful and freeing training tool. One of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received, thanks Mom and Dad.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?

Melanie: Gu Chomps are fun to eat and pack a punch. Gu Roctane has saved me when I needed and energy boost. I also love Saltstick capsules for Marathon training to avoid muscle cramping.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?

Melanie: Chocolate Milk and SALT!!!

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?

Melanie: People who have goals and dreams and will stop at nothing to make those dreams into reality. Running Moms, small business owners, Authors, anyone who inspires others to believe in their potential.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?

Melanie: I have soo many favorite quotes, but this quote by John Wooden has been with me the longest. too many people let what they cannot do hold them back. My personal mantra is to focus on what I DID do, instead of what I did not do. this approach has served me well in life. “Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ___________.

Melanie: Athletic and Beautiful.

Jodi: What is your current goal?

Melanie: As a Runner- To trim down, firm up and have a great Marathon training cycle for Boston 2011. As a Wife- to cross the Half Marathon finish line with my husband in the next few years. As a Mom- to inspire my children to be fit and make physical fitness their lifestyle. As Melanie- To get my Coaching certification and help women to BELIEVE and reach for their goals in running and in life. To write and have a book published.

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!

Melanie: Thanks to Jodi for hosting!! This is such an honor... I love meeting new people and seeing runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and goals. Running is the great equalizer. Anyone can lace up a pair of shoes and hit the pavement. It starts with 1 step. You chose to keep those steps going to make miles. You chose to make those miles a habit. You chose to make that habit a lifestyle. Aspire to inspire!! Tall Mom

Thanks again for the opportunity to spotlight you Melanie! Best of luck achieving your goals! You will be great!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Melanie YOU inspire ME!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Voices for Recovery 5K Race Report (Updated with official race results)

Turns out I had a 13 second PR, was 3rd overall female and 15th overall!!

Female 35 to 39
Jodi Higgins

Avon, OH
Bib Number

Headed out for my second 5K in less than seven days. Going into it I really wanted to break 23:00. One of the girl's that ran last week was there today so I planned to pace off of her since she is generally in the low 23's. We were running 3rd and 4th female overall from the start of the race. Right before the first mile marker, I passed her and took the 3rd place female position. Since it was an out and back course, I was able to see her at the turn around and knew I had a significant lead. I just had to hang on and not completely blow up and I would be 3rd female overall. As I came around the corner to the finish line, my legs were burning and seemed to be quite angry with me but I managed to push through when I saw a 22:XX on the clock. I was thrilled to cross the line in 22:54 (unofficially...still waiting for results to be posted) and set a new PR and earn 3rd place female overall and 1st place in my age group. For the first time in a long time, I was SPENT at the finish as you can clearly see in this picture my niece took. The only reason I was smiling in it was because the finish line volunteers were confirming that I was in fact 3rd female overall and I had just realized that I had run a 7 second PR!!

Right after this, I literally had to move to the side of the finish chute and bend over to catch my breath and compose myself at which point my sister-in-law became my angel when she was standing there with water in hand for me. After taking in a lot of water, I went back to the finish line to wait for my friend Nikki and her cousin, Mary Ann to come in. Nikki came in looking fantastic with a major PR! A short while after this,Mary Ann came in looking great. In fact, we had our picture taken as soon as she came through the chute. I think she is looking pretty good!

Me, Mary Ann, and Nikki

After we all talked for a few minutes, Nikki said since she knew she hadn't placed she was going to head home. Mary Ann and I stayed for the awards ceremony. I knew I would be receiving a medal for 1st female in my age division. My poor kids were cold and tired of waiting for the awards ceremony but they were troopers today! I happened to use technology to keep them occupied while we waited. Kaelynn went for my Ipod and Grant chose to play brick breaker on my blackberry. It worked to keep them happy until I was called up to receive my award!

1st place female 35-39, 3rd female overall

We decided to wait for them to announce Nikki and Mary Ann's age group awards to see how they did. Turns out Nikki got 1st in her age group!! Since she had already left, Kaelynn gladly walked up and received her award for her!

Kaelynn receiving Nikki's award

Kaelynn wearing Nikki and I's awards

A few minutes passed after these photos and Mary Ann's age group was announced and she got 3rd place in her age group! Since Kaelynn started ice skating lessons today, we had to leave before they finished announcing all the age groups. As we were walking back to the car, I called Nikki to let her know that she had placed first in her age group and that I had her award.

All in all, it was a fantastic day of running! Lots of PR performances and age group awards and let's not forget my 3rd place female overall achievement! Yes, I am just a little excited about it!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Bill Roddy

A little over a month ago, I spotlighted Julie on Thumbs Up Thursday. When I asked her what motivated her to continue running, she answered that at this time it is her brother Bill. Remembering back to her spotlight and that particular answer, I figured it would be very fitting to spotlight Julie's motivation, Bill! With that said, I give you Thumbs Up Thursday!!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Bill: I actually started running with my Dad when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was during the running boom of the 70's when runners like Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers were taking the distance running world by storm. As I got older and into other sports, I pretty much stopped running other than when required as conditioning. I did, however, run track during my senior year in high school. After high school, I didn't run again until I was 30 years old. On Thanksgiving weekend 1999 with a one mile run that made me feel like I might die, I began running again. And I’ve been running for almost 11 years since.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Bill: When I was a child, I started running so that I could do road races with my Dad. He ran with the Cleveland West Road Runners club and told me that I had to run six miles with him before he’d let me race. My more recent running started because sitting behind a desk all day made me feel like an out of shape slug at the age of 30. My goal was to be able to run 3 days a week and 3 miles at a time.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Bill: As I said, when I was a child I ran road races with my Dad. We ran 5k, 5 mile and 10k races together. I’ve currently been racing for 10 years. My first race since starting to run again was a 5 mile race in Rockville, Maryland on July 15, 2000.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Bill: This is a tough question because I love racing all distances between 5k and marathon both on the road as well as on trails, and I could easily come up with valid reasons why any one of them are my favorite distance. I’ve run more 5 milers than any other distance, followed closely by half marathons, but right now, I’d have to say that the marathon is my favorite distance. The marathon requires so much training both physically and mentally, that it has provided me with more personal satisfaction (during training and upon completion) than any other race distance.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Bill: Running the first 19 miles of the 2010 Cleveland Marathon side-by-side with my brother, Brad. We had a great time talking, laughing and interacting with the crowds during the first 13 miles, and then strategizing and motivating each other through the tougher miles.

I’d like to think that I have a lot more memories to make too. I would love the chance to run one more race with my Dad and many more races with my kids, Meghan and Connor.

Bill and his brother, Brad after the 2010 Cleveland Marathon

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Bill: My DNF at the 2009 Akron Marathon! After running very strong at goal pace through 14 miles, I quickly deteriorated to running/walking (mostly walking) for the next hilly 8 miles. I then deteriorated even further to walking/stumbling for the next 3 miles until, at mile 25, I finally entered an aid station. I was treated for low blood pressure, low body temperature, low glucose levels, and transported to the finish line in an ambulance. After an IV of fluids and a couple hours, I was on my way home wondering what the hell went wrong.
Bill at the finish of the 2009 Akron Marathon

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Bill: It’s not really a proud moment from my own running, but of my daughter, Meghan. When she competed in and finished her first cross country meet in the fall of 2009, I was one very proud Daddy. Just thinking about it now gets me a little choked up. There is nothing like watching your child participate in the sport for which you have so much passion.
Bill's daughter Meghan

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Bill: I really love my Garmin Forerunner 405. I wouldn’t say that I absolutely have to have it with me, because I just got it in March after running for 10 years without it. But this one piece of equipment has helped my training tremendously. It tracks my routes, my distance, my pace, my splits per mile, my elevation gains and losses, my intervals on the track, my calories burned and even my heart rate (although I don’t use that feature). And I’m sure there are features of the 405 that I’ve yet to uncover and utilize.

Not necessarily an item, but something that has also been absolutely invaluable to my growth as a runner (especially over the last year) has been the support system provided by the 2nd Sole training group and the people I’ve met virtually on twitter and dailymile. It’s amazing how much motivation you can draw from the support and inspiration provided by others who are doing or have done what you are trying to accomplish.
Bill sporting his dailymile shirt

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Bill: This is an area I still haven’t figured out for the marathon distance. I experiment a lot in training, but no matter what, I always seem to get to a point during the marathon where anything other than water just doesn’t sit well in my stomach. I’ve never had fueling problems during races less than the marathon. I can easily get by with water and electrolyte beverages and I’ll add a gel or two if it’s a half marathon.

I’ve recently begun using electrolyte blocks (GU and Clif both make them) and they seem to work well during my longest runs. I’ll be using them on my 22 mile run this weekend and as long as they work well, that’s what I’m going to use during my upcoming marathon.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Bill: Anything and everything that is offered. :)

Seriously, I’ve started to really enjoy chocolate milk. The articles that have been written about its benefits after endurance events along with how delicious it tastes make it a wonderful post race choice.

Additionally, a few hours post race, I start to crave Mexican food (especially Taco Bell). I have no idea why I have such an odd craving, but for some reason I really want to eat bean burritos. Olé.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Bill: There are so many people who I admire and from whom I draw inspiration for my life, but none more than my father, John T. Roddy. My Dad has been the most ideal role model. From how generous he has always been with his time coaching and volunteering to the way he has shown immense strength in beating cancer twice (two different types) and heart disease.
Bill's dad, John

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Bill:“Believe deep down in your heart that you're destined to do great things.”
-Joe Paterno, Head football coach at Penn State University

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ___________.
Bill: “… kind of funny. Like when they used to make me climb the ropes in gym class.” Sorry, I could resist the Wayne’s World reference.

Honestly, a lot of the time, running is hard and makes me wish I was doing anything else but running. Running hills, doing intervals on a track or the last few miles of a 20 mile run, don’t feel so wonderful when I’m in the midst of doing them. Afterward, though, I feel such a sense of accomplishment and a huge boost of confidence. Some additional benefits include a better attitude and general disposition (I get cranky when I miss my runs). And the resulting increases in strength, speed and endurance almost always show up soon after having completed these tough workouts.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Bill: I’m running the Columbus Marathon on October 17, and my goal time for the race is 3:40:00. Considering that my current marathon PR is 3:59:12, this is a big stretch goal. My pacing on training runs and other races over the last 12 weeks indicates that I’m prepared to achieve this goal. My body feels stronger and faster than it has in at least the last 5 years. My confidence and mental approach are strong. I intend to run 3:40:00!

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Bill: “Lace up your shoes and get out there and run!!”

Running will change your life. It is something that anyone can do. We’ve all been doing it since we were toddlers. As I said above, my goal when I started running was to be able to run 3 miles at a time, 3 times per week. That was almost 11 years ago and I’ve far surpassed that initial goal and continue to set new goals every year. Throughout the years, I’ve run in many different parts of this wonderful country and even a couple of places internationally. I’ve completed more than 50 races of all different distances from 5k to the marathon, and I’ve run more than 8,500 miles. In addition to runs with my Dad, I’ve also been lucky to run with my kids, my brothers, my sister and my closest friends and loved ones.

Bill with his daughter, Meghan and son, Connor

And, I’ve also met so many interesting, caring and dedicated people (like you) who I can now call friends.

Dailymilers Jenn, Jodi, Julie, and Bill at the River Run 1/2 Marathon
So I repeat … “Lace up your shoes and get out there and run!!” Running WILL change your life.

Jodi: Thanks so
much for letting me do this!!
Bill: No, thank you Jodi! It has been a great exercise for me to go through and answer all of these questions about my running. It was definitely much more difficult than I imagined it would be.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to spotlight you Bill! Best of luck achieving your 3:40:00 in Columbus!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Bill YOU inspire ME!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

All is right in the world of age group placing again...

Made a quick stop to the local college website to check the race results from Sunday's 5K and my age group victory, which was given to another in error, has been corrected and vindicated!

2010 Elyria Apple Festival 5K Run Results


1. Jodi Higgins 23:18
2. Sarah 28:30
3. Deb 29:42

1. Matt 21:33kur
2. Scott 23:07
3. Mic 24:52

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple Festival 5K Race Report

A little over a week ago my friend Darlene asked if anyone would like to join her and run the Apple Festival 5K. I mentioned to her that I would like to see how I was feeling after pacing Jenn in the 1/2 marathon and then I would let her know. I was feeling great after pacing Jenn last Sunday so I shot an email to my running coach/training plan creator Joe (here) and asked him what his thoughts were on me running today's 5K as well as a 5K next Saturday. Currently my training plan calls for a pace run on Saturday, followed by a long run on Sunday. Joe was very honest with his response: "If it were me Jodi – I take those long runs VERY seriously. I would run long on Saturday (as early in the day as I could) – dial the pace down a little, maybe :20/mile slower than usual, ice bath or at least a really cool shower, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and then race on Sunday. Same drill afterwards – if you feel good, jog a really slow recovery mile …. If you don’t and your legs feel spent, don’t sweat it and enjoy the post-race spread." As for next weekend's 5K, he basically suggested the same thing. The one bonus of next week is that the 5K falls on my pace run day which will allow me to complete my long run the following day. I took Joe's advice to heart and got out there at 5:30am yesterday for my 11 miler, came home and grabbed an ice bath, and then made sure to hydrate well throughout the day. I felt pretty good when I woke up this morning. A little bit of tightness in the legs but I was able to shake it out during a short warm up with Darlene.

Darlene and I before our warm up and race

I started the race out strong with a 7:14 first mile split. I knew the large hill would be coming between mile one and two so I tried to conserve some energy. I was able to climb up the hill without too much problem...yes, I am admitting that hill repeats are beneficial! For most of the race I was playing leap frog with "red sports bra" girl. The course was an out and back and sometime around mile two "red sports bra" girl's friend shouted out "get her". I of course knew she was referring to me because I had taken the lead in our leap frog game. Between mile two and the finish, "red sports bra" girl took back the lead. As I was coming around the corner toward the finish I set my eyes on her and ran my heart out to pass her at the end. Funny thing is I didn't realize I had also passed Darlene at this point until she yelled out "go Jodi". I crossed the line in 23:18 right before "red sports bra" girl. She thanked me for pushing her out there (she set a good 2 minute PR today). Always a great feeling to help a fellow runner out! I walked over and dropped my 36th overall place card in the 35-39 age group bucket. I noticed right away that I was first. Fast forward to Darlene and I running a cool down mile and the age group buckets got knocked over by a gust of wind and the cards went flying. I didn't think anything of it until we were at the awards ceremony and they announced the top 3 in my age group and my name wasn't announced at all. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had seen the girl they gave first place to finishing her race while Darlene and I were doing our cool down. I had also seen the girls they gave second and third to finishing their races as well. Darlene and I went and talked to the guy in charge. I explained the situation. Yep, I was 36th overall and they gave first place in my age group to the 78th finisher overall (oops, I would say we had a bit of a problem there). He got all of my information and will be re-checking all of the place cards, updating and correcting the information and mailing me my first place age group award. Darlene and I were both bummed out that we didn't have a picture with me and my medal. Fortunately, Darlene was thinking on her feet and realized she had also placed first in her age group, yeah Darlene, so she let me "borrow" her medal for the photo!
Me with "my" first place age group finish medal
While I didn't run a PR today (my PR is 23:01 on a pancake flat course during marathon training back in March), I am very pleased with how I did. I was amazed how good my legs felt today after running an 11 miler yesterday at 9:02 pace. I do believe I am getting stronger by the day! Looking forward to seeing what I can do at the Detroit 1/2!!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Rachel Watkins

After I spotlighted Jill last week, I asked her is she would pick someone that inspired her for me to spotlight this week. She was more than happy to do so and chose Rachel of Make a Run For It. After you have a chance to read Rachel's spotlight head on over to her blog and say hello!

Without further delay I give you the question and answer portion of Thumbs Up Thursday!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Rachel: Throughout my life I have always run, but it wasn't until almost two years ago that I started to consider myself a runner.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Rachel: I played soccer from a young age up until college so I would run to stay in shape, but never ran just for the sake of running. While away at college a friend of mine ran a marathon as part of Team in Training, which planted the seed. I had always wanted to run a marathon, but I kept telling myself I was too busy, the time wasn't right. Finally, in January of 2009 I decided to stop making excuses - there would never be a perfect time to train for a marathon, so I took the plunge and signed up with TNT and the rest is history!

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Rachel: My first real race was a 10 miler during training for my first marathon. While I hadn't raced much leading up to that first marathon in June of 2009 (I'd never even done a 5k!), I certainly made up for it after. I sort of went race crazy, completing 5 more marathons, 6 halfs, plus several smaller ones, since then. Racing keeps me motivated to train and challenge myself, and I just love the excitement, endorphins, and sense of achievement that comes from crossing a finish line.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Rachel: Hmmmm, I would probably say my favorite race distance right now is the half marathon. I try to stay in "half at any time" shape, so I love that I can decide to do one spontaneously. On the other hand, it can still be a challenging distance, no matter how many times you've done it. I love to incorporate halfs into my training plans to replace long runs, too - I figure if I'm gonna run the distance anyway, I might as well get a shirt and medal for it!

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Rachel: I have a couple. Crossing the finish line at my first marathon will always be a highlight that brings a smile to my face. This past June I had the privilege to run a marathon with 8 of my sorority sisters whom I had mentored through TNT, and although we all started at different times we found each other toward the end and I got to be there in those final miles to motivate them to their first 26.2 finish! Setting an unexpected PR at the notoriously hilly San Francisco Marathon this past July was pretty great. And finally, running a truly unique marathon in the middle of the Nevada desert starting at midnight and finishing as the sun rose : )

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Rachel: Easy. The day before my second marathon my stomach was feeling a Determined and stubborn, I decided to run it anyway, and boy was it not pretty. Around mile 8 I was dead, and had to resort to walk/running the rest of the race. I threw up a few times and couldn't keep any fuel down, so I had zero energy. Thanks to my amazing running buddy who stuck with me the whole way, I managed to cross that finish line, but it was quite a miserable race.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Rachel: Completing my first marathon - there's absolutely nothing like your first : ) There's just something about accomplishing something that once seemed impossible... And man, I rode that high for weeks!

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Rachel: My Garmin! I'm totally Type A when it comes to keeping track of my runs. I wish I could just "unplug", but just thinking about it makes me a little anxious!

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Rachel: Pre-race I stick to the ol' tried and true toast with pb. During a race I'm a Gu girl - vanilla bean to be specific. I also take salt caps for electrolytes since I'm usually not a fan of course drinks. My fave drink during a race or run, however, would be Nuun.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Rachel: Haha now this is the real reason I like to race! Actually I can never stomach food immediately after a race, so I usually skip all the freebie food which is sort of bummer. But after an hour or so I usually go out for a big celebratory meal, usually including an ice cold beer : )

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Rachel: I admire those who are new to running and have stuck with it. It's not always easy, but I think every runner out there would agree that what they get in return makes it all worth it. I admire those who manage to fit running in amongst an already crazy life involving a career, kids, school, etc. And I admire anyone who has the discipline to train for and complete an Ironman - to me, that is the ultimate!

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Rachel: "Life begins on the edge of comfort."

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ___________.
Rachel: Depending on the day, could be strong/exhilarated/sluggish/tired/happy. I like to remind myself that the occasional sucky run makes a great run feel that much greater : )

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Rachel: Recently I crossed over to the dark side... to the world of triathlons! After focusing on running and racing so much I was eager for some change and a new challenge, so I bought a road bike and borrowed a wetsuit and started training for my first sprint triathlon taking place this Sunday! Some other goals I hope to accomplish over the next year include adding ultras to my resume, getting into trail running, setting a new half and marathon PR, doing longer cycling events, and continuing with triathlons.

And we certainly can't do Thumbs Up Thursday with out the photo portion! Enjoy Rachel's pictures!!

Rachel after PR'ing the SF Marathon

Rachel crossing the finish line of her first marathon

Rachel and her sorority sisters after their marathon

The sunrise at the end of the Rachel's midnight marathon
Thank you for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Rachel! Best of luck in your first sprint triathlon this weekend!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Rachel YOU inspire ME!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Perfect Pacing...Jenn was strong today!!

Today was the River Run 1/2 Marathon. My job today was to pace Jenn (here) to a 2:15 finish in her first official 1/2 marathon. We arrived at the local high school around 6:30am to be shuttled to the start line. Marilyn, Nikki, and I had already boarded the bus so I sent Jenn a text message letting her know that we were on the first bus in line. She promptly responded and let me know she had just gotten to the high school and she would be boarding the bus in a few minutes. Once Jenn got on the bus she told me that she had put her pins for her race bib in her car and couldn't find them. She then said she hoped they had pins at the start line. Of course I did what any good pacer would do and took two pins off of my bib and gave them to her. It worked just fine...crisis averted! The bus ride wasn't very pleasant. It seemed to take forever to get to the start line. We finally arrived at the start line and we immediately went and got in the porta-potty line. While we were waiting our turn, I snapped Jenn's before picture. As you can see she was all smiles!
After the mini photo session I called Julie (a fellow dailymiler) to let her know that we were waiting in line to use the restrooms. She didn't answer her phone because she and Bill (her brother) were out doing a little 7 mile run before the 1/2 because both of their training plans called for a 20 miler today. Once everyone was ready, we started walking to the starting line and Julie called me back. We finally met up and of course had to get a picture of the ladies for dailymile! Right as this picture was taken, Bill yelled at me for not including him in the picture!

No worries, he got in the next picture!!

Julie was planning to run with Jenn and I so she didn't push herself to hard. Afterall, she is running the Columbus Marathon in October and this was a training run. Jenn and I discussed her goal for the day once more. She said she would like to run 2:15-2:20. A few moments later we were off. Jenn was moving along nicely. In fact, I mentioned to her that she might want to slow the pace just a little bit as she was exceeding her goal pace within the first 1/2 mile. I asked her how she was feeling and she said great so we went with it. I was able to get several action photos of Jenn today. I was happy that I didn't trip over my own two feet while doing it!
Jenn looking strong
Jenn and Julie doing great
Jenn and Julie still doing great
Jenn had started her music at the beginning of the race but every so often she would take her ear bud out and want to talk. I was more than happy to oblige! In fact, I ended up taking my ear buds completely out around mile 8 because they were driving me crazy! Jenn was running strong and took her first Gu around mile 3, I believe. Once she finished it I put my hand out for her wrapper. She kind of chuckled and said "okay then". I told her not to worry about anything as I was just doing my job! I made sure to watch for any uneven ground and let Jenn know ahead of time that we were approaching it. I believe around this time a gopher crossed right in front of us. It was quite comical. I think it was in shock due to the number of people near it. It pretty much froze in the middle of the road for a second and then went on its merry way. Funny thing is, Jenn had to point the gopher out to me! I kept encourage Jenn and telling her she was doing fantastic! Although it was a net downhill course, there were a few slight uphills. We would slow down a bit before the climb and then tackle the hills like it was our job! I kept glancing down at my watch and we would be running under a 10 minute mile and I would just keep thinking to myself, we have this in the bag. She is going to crush her goal! When Jenn took her next gel she successfully put the wrapper in her bag without breaking stride! At mile 10 I mentioned to Jenn that I knew exactly where we needed to be at mile 10 for her to achieve her 2:15 goal and I said, I won't tell you where we need to be but what I will tell you is that we are ahead of schedule and you are doing fantastic. Jenn was fine with that! Once we hit mile 10 I asked Jenn if she wanted to run a 5K and she said sure why not! Shortly after this Jenn asked if we could slow the pace a little so that she would have a kick at the end. I told her it was her call and we would do absolutely anything she wanted to do! I think around mile 11 or so we passed two of Jenn's friends who were walking the 1/2 marathon. They cheered her on like crazy and told her how great she looked! I am pretty sure that gave Jenn a boost of energy because she picked up the pace again! At this point, I told Jenn we can do anything for twenty minutes and she agreed! I also told her at this point that she was stronger than she thought she was and she replied with aren't we all! Great attitude! Gotta love that! Once we were just past mile 12 I said we have a mile to go and you will be a 1/2 marathoner! At this point, we needed to run a 14 minute mile to come in at Jenn's goal of 2:15. I told her we would definitely be making her goal and she said unless I walk. I reminded her that she was strong and she could do it. Mile 12 did seem quite long. In fact other runners were commenting on it! I said it's that .1 on the end that makes it seem long! As we rounded the corner to the finish line I told Jenn that I could see the clock and we were golden. I kept encouraging her to pick it up. I told her that she could outsprint me and she said no I can't. In the end...Jenn outsprint me to that finish line! It may have only been by one leg stride but she did it and she was now a 1/2 marathoner in an amazing time of:
I would say Jenn crushed her goal!! In fact, her family missed her crossing the finish line because she had told them she was hoping to cross around 2:15. Jenn was handed her medal as we hugged (I had to turn around and grab mine because I missed the person handing them out) and I told her how proud of her I was. I told her I knew she could do it and she was now officially a 1/2 marathoner! I am so proud of Jenn for being strong today! She could have given up but she never did! She just kept going and made herself and her family proud! Jenn was thrilled to see her family at the finish line! Could her boys be any cuter?!?!
Jenn and her boys at the finish

Jenn and I at the finish! Happy and proud!
After a few pictures, we watched the other runners come in! Julie came in shortly after us! She was a rock star out there today as well. Who does a 7 mile warm-up before a 1/2 marathon?!?!
Jenn, Julie, and I at the finish
Shortly after Julie crossed, Nikki and Marilyn came through both looking very strong! See, Nikki and Marilyn are part of the group of us that are attempting to run a 1/2 marathon in all 50 states. We were missing Deb today. She was really sick and decided around midnight last night to back out so she wouldn't make herself worse. While it was the right decision for her, we still missed her out there today!

Nikki, Marilyn, and I at the finish
After we grabbed some food and water, Jenn and I exchanged hugs and I once again told her how proud of her I was! Nikki, Marilyn, and I decided that we would walk back to the local high school instead of taking the shuttle bus. About a mile into the walk we were having second thoughts about our decision to walk. I am pretty sure we walked a good 2 plus miles. Oh well, it was good for us to stretch the muscles out. On our ride home Nikki mentioned that she was going to do an "ice bath" in her backyard pool and offered the option to Marilyn and I. Marilyn opted out but I agreed to partake. It was quite cold when we got in the water, in fact I had to put on a windbreaker to keep my upper body warm. Ten minutes later it was over with! I think we will be glad we did it when we are less sore tomorrow!!

Nikki in the "ice bath"
Pacing Jenn today was an amazing experience! It was truly an honor and a privilege to get her across that line today! I need to take a moment to thank Mel (here) who gave me lots of advice on pacing as she paced Jill (here) to a PR 1/2 marathon last weekend! All of your tips were spot on Mel!!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Preparing to be a Pacer

Sunday I will be a pacer for the first time. I will be pacing my friend Jenn (here) in her first 1/2 marathon. We will be doing the River Run 1/2 Marathon (here). It is a point to point race (downhill for the most part). I do believe that we have an advantage as we have run part of the course on three separate training runs. I am really looking forward to helping Jenn cross the finish line of her first official 1/2 marathon (she did a 1/2 marathon training run on her Jenn has mentioned that she would like to run between a 2:15 and 2:30 on Sunday. My plan is to stay with Jenn and encourage her when she needs encouragement and hang back when she needs to hang back and if that means she needs to take a walking break then that is what we will do! This race is all about Jenn achieving her goal! I'm just along for the ride (run in literal terms). I also plan to take some pictures of Jenn in action. If anyone has done this and has advice on how to do this without tripping over my own two feet, please let me know because an injured pacer would not be a good thing! For those of you who have been pacers, any and all suggestions are welcomed!

Jenn and I before the Girls with Sole 5K June 20, 2010

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Jill Ellingson

This week's spotlight is on Jill of Running to Sanity. Stop on over to her blog and say hello!!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Jill: It seems like runnning has always been a part of my life, here and there, but nothing for a consistent period of time. Since having kids it has become part of my life, FULL TIME. The last 2 years running has become a lot more serious than it ever was before. It started mostly in 2005 and has slowly gotten to be a bigger part of my life each year and the last 2 years it has become MAJOR.

Jodi Why did start running?
Jill: I always felt like I was fighting against my own body, so that's when it became a challenge to try and overcome it. I ran track in Jr. high...I was NO good, no really I wasn't! I could barely run around the track once without huffing and puffing. I mostly did it for social reasons because I hated running! If you know know I do things for social reasons and ask questions later. Then came the birth of my first child, Max and with him a TON of extra wegiht. I started walking daily with him in the baby bjorn and then switched to pushing the jogging stroller and slowly started was HARD! But every time I finished I felt AMAZING, like I had just overcome something really BIG! It was great for Max to get out in the fresh air and it was awesome for me to strive to get a run in each day with a new baby and NURSING. Being a new mom and having ONE goal each day was so important and what better goal then running! I was running to be healthy and to lose the baby weight, but also to set an example for him. I lost all the baby weight! I only ran 3 miles a day and a few 5 miles, which seemed like a LONG distance. Boy have things changed. Having kids really changed my reason and my NEED to run and to keep it up. The need was not the same before kids...I am a better mom because I run.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Jill: I ran my first race in June 2006 with my dear friend Megan, Race for the Cure 5K and fell in love with racing! I was on a total high and was hooked from then on! That would be my last race until June 2009 when I ran my first Half Marathon. Getting pregnant with my 2nd baby boy made it hard to keep it up. I realized I had to commit by signing up for an actual race or I would never really do it. Running races make you a better gets you so excited to keep running.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Jill: I haven't run many races besides half marathons. My marathon training kept me pretty focused, I'm not a good multitasker. I really enjoy HALF marathons because you have to keep up the long runs each week and the 13.1 distance is enough to push you past the easy point. The last 3 miles are always the hardest and never come easy. Plus halfs are so much easier to train for. Maybe if I ran more distances I would have a different answer...but right now...that's how I roll.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Jill: My first HALF was so amazing and felt amazing the whole 13.1 miles, but because that was not my BIG dream like a full marathon I would havge to say my MARATHON. When I finished my first half I told my best riend that I would never run a full...little did I know a year later I would be at the same race doing it. I never dreamed I would ever run a FULL was always one of those things so far off and unachievable that when I actually trained and did was pretty amazing. I still have the MARATHON high from that. It was not the most fun run because I felt sick to my stomach the entire last half, but having the support of my family and friends throughout the entire race and seeing them as I ran through the chute at the finish will always be a memory I hold forever. The picture of me on my blog banner is of me waving to them...BEST MOMENT, pls the fact that I was done running 26.66 miles...yes I ran futher than a marathon...does that make me an ultra marathoner?

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Jill: Mercer Island Half! That was the first day I met a lot of the local bloggers...that part was a blast, but the run...not so fun. Once you have run a half you think you got it the next, no! Running is humbling...ALWAYS! It was a really hilly course and I ran way to fast in the first 5 miles and by mile 6 I was tired and there were major hills at mile 7 and 11 and I mentally was done and I was only at mile 6. I started run/walking earlier than I would have liked. I realized at mile 12 that if I had not stopped to walk...I would have PR'd. That was really frustrating.

Jodi: What is your proudest runnign moment to date?
Jill: Running a FULL MARATHON...I totally overcame something that I thought was impossible. Marathon training changes you and not in the way that you would think. The actual day is truly a VICTORY LAP! I honestly feel like now I can do a lot more, if I set my mind to it. It really helped me overcome major WALLS that I had put up.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Jill: The amazing headbands everyone is making now! I am in LOVE with them...more like ADDICTED! Garmin, Glide and my ipod...most of the time.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Jill: You would think I would have this figured out by now, but I don't. Most everything that is race fuel makes me sick. I recently tried honey sticks and they seem to be working. They are small servings and natural...I think I might have found my fuel. For my long training runs I did eat pretzels and oranges halfway and those really helped!

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Jill: After my long runs...CHOCOLATE MILK with ice from Starbucks but with a few less pumps of chocolate! Wowzer they put a lot of chocolate in there. String cheese is great too. It's always hard for me to eat after long runs but I know it's extremely important to muscle recovery. Oh and Grape G2 is a must.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Jill: Kara Goucher, Ryan Hall, and Meb Keflezighi. I love how Ryan and Meb are very open about their faith. I'm so thankful that God allows me to run and it's exciting to see two Elite runners sharing their faith in their running. God has gifted them with an amazing ability and I love that they honor Him while doing it. Kara is just amazing. I really appreciated her honesty in the Runners World article about all the mind games that get in the way. I don't know of a runner who couldn't relate with the mental aspect of running. She has some great tips in that article that I use a lot.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Jill: Yes...for sure. Last year while I was preparing for my half marathon I memorized an amazing verse and used it during my first half and my first full.

Hebrew 12:1-4

…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

And another great one from a NIKE ad…goes something like this…

Running Never took more than it gave, ENJOY the RUN!...

I read the above for the first time before my last, longest training run…it was just what I needed for 25 miles. I kept repeating it to myself during the last few, tough miles.

Another fave…

You will never regret a run, but you will regret not running!

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ___________.
Jill: AMAZING, Focused, at peace, like a GOOD MOM!

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Jill: To stay “HALF-READY” at all TIMES! I want to keep up my weekly, long runs and stay in shape.
To start strength training so that I can build more muscle.
To lose more weight so I can get FASTER and run a sub-2 hour half.
I hope to run another MARATHON and feel good, the entire way.

And now for the photo part of Thumbs Up Thursday!!!

Max and Cole--the reason Jill started running and the reason she keeps running!!

Jill and Megan at Jill's first race, Race for the Cure June 2006

Jill after her first half, June 2009

Mel (here) congratulating Jill on her first marathon

Jill's support crew at the end of her marathon

Thank you for the opportunity to spotlight you Jill! Congratulations on your recent 1/2 Marathon PR. Best of luck with your goals!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Jill YOU inpsire ME!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gaggles Galore...

Today I ran a final long training run with Jenn. Next Sunday I will be pacing her to the finish line of her first official 1/2 marathon. We met early this morning for an eight mile run. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. Jenn and I make a habit of running a mile past our anticipated turn around point so that we have a mile cool down walk at the end of all of our runs. It really works out well. We had quite an entertaining run today with lots of interesting encounters. There was the older gentleman on the bike that prety much yelled "didn't you see me coming?" Apparently we didn't move over far enough for his liking! Oops! Then around mile seven we encounter a younger gentleman on a bike who did not say a word upon his approach. Not an "on your left" or even a "get the heck out of the way". Nope he just went flying past on our right without a word. It was quite alarming when I realized what was happening and had to side step before I was taken out by him. Just as we were about 1/2 mile from completing our run a "gaggle" of runners was coming right at us. It was so weird, it was like they came out of nowhere. Jenn and I went single file and said our good mornings and all was well with that encounter. During this encounter we also witnessed a super mom pushing her two children in a double jog stroller and she wasn't even out of breath!! You go super mom!! Shortly after this we had completed our eight mile run so it was time for our mile cool down walk. As we were walking along we passed a variety of interesting people. We had the "super happy smiling" runner. Seriously he couldn't have looked more happy to be out there. We also had "ballerina in training" runner. She was up on her tip toes just plugging along at a great pace. Finally we had the "tiptoe prancing, tush shaking" runner sporting what looked to be similar to a wet suit. Perhaps he was doing a brick workout for a triathlon?!? At some point during this a doe and its fawn scared the living daylights out of me. At least it wasn't my OWN shadow this time. If you follow me on Facebook you know what I am talking about! As we got towards the end of our cool down walk, we encountered a "gaggle" of older hikers. Hey, at least they were out there exercising, right?!? As we got back to our cars we passed a "gaggle" of bikers. I said that we certainly had encountered a lot of "gaggles" today and Jenn said except for a "gaggle" of geese. Don't you know that at that very moment Jenn looked over and said "oh wait, there's the "gaggle" of geese." Sure enough the geese were right next to our parked cars! I couldn't make this stuff up people! I had a fantastic time running with Jenn today, the miles just flew by and we certainly had a fun run!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Katye McNulty

The blogger meet up puzzle at the Chicago RNR 1/2 Marathon is complete today as this week's spotlight is on Katye of Long Legs On The Loose (head on over, after you read her feature of course, and say hello). If you read last week's Thumbs Up Thursday, you know that I met Katye as well as Tonia around mile 3 of the Chicago RNR 1/2 Marathon. Lucky for me, she wasn't creeped out when I ran up to her and Tonia on the course and introduced myself and she was more than happy to agree to being spotlighted this week.

Yes, I think you have seen this picture for three weeks in a row now! Chicago RNR 1/2

Without further delay, the best part of Thumbs Up Thursday....

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Katye: Only 1 year and 1 month! I'm so excited by all I've accomplished in that short period of time. I've found something I truly love and I feel so blessed!

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Katye: Beacause I can! I got a Team In Training pamphlet, went to an info meeting, and before I knew it I was training to run a half marathon and fundraising for blood cancers. There are so many people who would do anything to be able to run... I am blessed to be able to and that is why I pushed through (even though I really didn't like it in the beginning).

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Katye: My first ever 5K was last September, my first half marathon was last January (I ran my first half in the same week I turned 21! It was an exciting week), and my first marathon in June!

Katye and Emily around mile 22 of Katye's first marathon!!

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Katye: Very hard question. I tend to prefer longer distances. I'm not fast and it takes me a few miles to really feel like I'm in the swing of things so 5K makes me really nervous! 10 miles is a lot of fun... it's like you get ready for a half marathon, but at mile 10, you don't have that extra 5K to go! But honestly if I prepare myself correctly I really love any distance. It's very mental for me!

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Katye: Even harder question! As amazing as PRing and running my first marathon have been, I think running my first half (The Disney Half Marathon in January '10) was amazing. Never in my dreams did I ever think I would run 13 miles! Once I crossed that finish line I was so incredibly proud of myself and really felt like an endurance athlete :). I just couldn't believe I actually did it!

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Katye: Ugh! Having an asthma attack in the middle of the Baltimore Running Fest 5K last year. It was humid and I just couldn't get a breath in and I let myself panic a bit which made it worse. I finally got myself under control and still finished under 29 minutes but it was scary!

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Katye: Being able to run my first marathon wtih a sign on my back saying, "I've raised $26K for I'm running 26 miles for cancer!"
Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Katye: Goodness... I have many things I WANT to have with me but I'd say what I NEED is my Road ID. You never know what could happen out there. I even wear it at the gym. Just because I'm inside with people doesn't mean they know who I am or what to do! Now as far as what I really love to have with me...running skirt, Gracie (my Garmin), and Ipod! :)

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Katye: I find Chocolate Clif Shots to be my favorite as far as taste, texture, and affect. For some reason regular GU can uspet my stomach but I love Roctane! I usually alternate between these two on longer runs. I also like to pop a few sports beans when I need a little more substance in my stomach.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Katye: TCBY. Love it and I feel a little better indulging in a low fat snack rather than some other ice cream (which I also love). But every once in a while I treat myself to a nice big breakfast after a long run. I love French Toast, Waffles, and Pancakes but only eat them on special occasions.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Katye: Running wise- Kara Goucher. Those who know me well know I am her ultimate stalker, I mean fan. Not only is she an amazing athlete, but she is so humble, down to earth, and honest. Her article in Runner's World about how she suffers from serious anxiety and self doubt was so relatable for me and I really admired how open she was! And lucky me, I've gotten to meet her 3 times and have two bibs signed by her! Non-running wise- my family. Hands down! :)

Katye with Kara and Adam Goucher in San Diego!!

Katye and her dad running this year's Father's Day 5k!

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Katye: A few! "Hebrews 12:1 - Run the race set out for you with perseverance", "Runs end, Running doesn't". "There is more to life than running, and that's why we do it!" My own personal quote I developed for TNT - "We run because we can, for those who can't, so someday they will!"
And on a non-running front: "I believe in pink, I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." ~Audrey Hepburn

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel _________.
Katye: Strong, Beautiful, Alive!

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Katye: Disney Challenge in January 2011. Boston marathon in April 2011, and to eventually raise $50K for charity through running! I'm a little over half way there!

Thank you for the opportuntiy to give you a Thumbs Up Katye! Best of luck achieving your goals!

Keep running, you're simply the best and Katye YOU inspire ME!!