Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Jen

This week's spotlight is on Jen of runner...maybe? (here).  After you read her interview head on over to her blog and say hello. 

Jodi:  How long have you been running?
Jen:  That is a tough question. I have had an on again off again relationship with running since my daughter was born in 2007. I played basketball since I was 5, but the thought of actually running any distance made me cringe. I avoided it at all cost.

Jodi:  Why did you start running?
Jen:  My first official race was the Seattle St. Patrick’s Day Dash in March of 2008; we walked most of it and were in the untimed crowed. That same year I completed my first 5K in my town.

Jodi:  How many years have you been racing?
Jen:  Since 2008, however I don’t feel like I was actually training for anything until this year. In December of 2010 I emailed my husband about a local half marathon. I asked if he wanted to help me train. He used to run in high school and is one of those people who running just come naturally – the complete opposite of me. He wrote me back and said he would if I would. So I signed us up. In early January I decided I needed to have a race each month leading up to my half to keep me focused. I had signed up for 10Ks in the past and never ran the races because I gave up before completing the training. This time I was determined to complete the training and run the race. My goal was to cross the finish line.

Jodi:  What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Jen:  As of last weekend I have decided that my body likes the 10K distance. I struggle a bit the first 3 miles, but 3-6 I feel like I am in my zone. After that it’s a guess on how the run will end. I know that it is just conditioning and my body is used getting used to the 6 mile distance, which means that it is time to push myself more.

Jodi:  What is your favorite race memory?
Jen:  I am not sure if I have a favorite memory yet. This year I have accomplished two things that I am very proud of and at this point are in the running for favorite. I completed a 5K without walking and I ran my first 10K – two things that if you asked me 5 years ago to do I would have told you I would rather have my eye’s poked out by chickens then run a 5 or 10K race.

Jodi:  What is your least favorite race memory?
Jen:  March 2009 – the Seattle St. Patrick’s Day Dash (4 miles), when we arrived to this race it was snowing, big huge flakes. By the end of the race it was pouring and the course is uphill the first half and downhill the second half. Running downhill to the finish was like running through a stream, water was splashing everywhere and we were soaking wet.

Jodi:  What is your proudest running moment to date?
Jen:  Completing the Valentine’s Day 5K without stopping, I may have been slow, but I ran the entire thing. This was big for me as I pushed through my mental barriers to not give up and walk. It helped that I was wearing a BondiBand that said Looks like walking, feels like running; every time I wanted to stop I remembered my headband and giggled. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am slow, but right now my goal is to cross the finish line. Once I do that I can work on the speed part. I was also happy that the XL race shirt was too big! J That was an added bonus.

Jodi:  What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Jen:  I am a pretty simple girl, but a good sports bra is essential to me. I wear an Enell Sport Bra and LOVE IT! It’s a strait jacket for the ladies – keeps them in place without the bounce. I have heard other good reviews but I am afraid to purchase anything else and not love it, so for now I stick with what I know works.

Jodi:  What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Jen:  I have only had a chance to try a couple different options, but right now I am enjoying the Sport Beans in Watermelon flavor. My mouth gets really dry when I run so it helps with that while providing me a little boost. Besides that just some water – although I am considering trying NUUN during a run, but have yet to test that before my half.

Jodi:  What is your favorite post race snack?
Jen:  After my 10K a couple of weeks ago Starbucks had a booth and they were handing out Vanilla Bean Scones – this is my new favorite post races snack! They were perfect – I am a carb girl and usually would grab a bagel if I can find them. If the race is close to home as soon as I get home I make myself a mega smoothie – frozen fruit, frozen banana, coconut milk, protein powder and Greek yogurt are usually my main ingredients. It’s a refreshing meal that sits well on my stomach after hard race or a long run.

Jodi:  Who do you admire most and why?
Jen:  My Dad – well if you knew my dad you would get it. He is just a great person who finds the best in people and situations. I wrote a brief post (here) about him how in 2001 he ran the Maui Marathon in honor of my step mom his first Marathon was completed in 5:28:29, in the 45-49 Male division – what a rock star.

Jodi:  Do you have a favorite quote?
Jen:  I don’t really have a favorite quote, I often tell myself – BE STRONG, EMBRACE POWER – to help keep myself motivated.

Jodi:  Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
Jen:  Giddy! Okay that sounds strange. A lot of the time when I am running I am fighting my own self-doubt, the inner fat girl is trying to break through – but on those good runs I get excited, like I am doing this, I a freaking doing this.

Jodi:  What is your current goal?
Jen:  To cross the finish line of my first half marathon on May 8th. A great day as it is Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday!

Jodi:  What I would say to anyone else wanting to run:
Jen:  No matter who you are, no matter your size you can do anything you put your mind to. I used to weigh 83lbs more than I do today. I still have a ways to go - I was ready to give up. I was unhappy I was fat and I was letting myself be miserable. It took me a while to realize that I was creating my own destiny. I was creating my own reality and only I could improve upon it. It has been a long journey but if you asked me 3.5 years ago when my daughter was born if I would ever run a half marathon I would tell you know I can’t even run a mile. The only thing in the way from you taking that first step to run is your own two feet. All you need to do is make the choice to make the change. Will some days feel like you are going backwards, yes, well some days feel like you are on top of the world – of course? It is how you react to that situation that will make you the best YOU! So take the step, take the challenge – get up and get moving.

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Jen.  Best of luck achieving your current goals!

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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Final 20 Miler Complete

This weekend the training schedule called for the final 20 miler of the training cycle.  Jenn and I had decided to sign up for The Cleveland 10 Miler for part of this training run.  Our plan was to run 10 miles before the race and then finish the last 10 on the course.  Dave, who is on a bit of an altered training plan, would be coming up from Columbus to join us for the last 10 miles.  Jenn and I exchanged several text messages early Saturday morning.  The main topic of the texts were the weather.  We went back and forth a bit about what we were going to do.  Jenn asked me if it was bad that she wanted to meet at 7 instead of our original plan of 6 since the weather was calling for the rain to stop by 7.  If we met at 7 we would be doing 5 miles before the race and 5 miles after the race.  I told her she had to suck it up because it could pour all 26.2 miles on May 15.  She said I was right and told me she would be on her way shortly.  When we got to our meeting place the rain had stopped and the weather was fantastic.  Since we got a later start than we had planned we decided to run 9 miles before the race and do the final mile at the end.  The first 9 miles went by quickly.  We ran a nice easy pace and Jenn even asked to run up a killer hill twice!  I was perfectly fine with that.  During the course of the first 9 miles we stopped back at our cars because we had gone out wearing long sleeves and we were hot so we quickly got all of our race stuff ready and I changed into a short sleeve shirt which was much better.  We did a final loop near the starting line to complete our first 9 miles. 
Rocking our running skirts after 9 miles

The plan was to meet Dave at the start line.  However, it was really crowded so I was concerned we wouldn't be able to find him.  I tried calling him but he didn't have his phone on him.  Jenn and I decided to walk over to the start line where I spotted my co-worker E.  We walked over to him and exchanged hugs.  He commented on our "Scottish Kilts".  We told E that they were our marathon outfits and we had gotten a lot of compliments on them during our first 9 miles!  Two minutes later another co-worker, Danielle, walked up to me and hugged me and told me we were crazy for running before the race.  I gave her a hug and thanked her and then out of nowhere Dave was walking right towards us.  We talked for a minute or so and then the race started.  Our plan was to run between 10:15-10:30 mile pace.  Our first mile came in under 10 minutes..oops...sorry guys, I am usually much better at controlling pace.  I was able to get us on the right pace during mile two.  I checked in with Jenn and she said she was feeling good.  Checked in with Dave and I got the same answer...although I think his exact answer was that he was fine.  Starting right around mile 3 (12 miles for us at this point) Jenn began to struggle.  I gave her the usual pep talks, tried to get her to focus on different colored shirts to catch up to, tagged out to Dave to try and boost her spirits.  Turns out Jenn wasn't feeling well from chugging water and gatorade and she ended up throwing up on the course a few times.  We were all still together at mile 5 and then Jenn was slowly dropping back.  Dave and I kept trying to keep her spirits up.  A few minutes later another runner on the course said Jodi?  I realized right away it was Kelsey from dailymile.  We had originally planned to meet up before the race but that didn't work out.  I am so glad she introduced herself on the course!  Then around mile 6 I had to decide what to do.  I told Dave I felt bad and I was thinking I needed to run ahead.  I asked him if he was coming with me to which he replied it depends how fast you are going to run.  I promptly told him I wasn't going to be going much faster than our current pace because my shoulder and legs were pretty much done by mile 13.  Reluctantly, I ran ahead and Dave came with me.  I am pretty sure we kept the same pace for the next 2 miles.  During the final 2 miles I actually told Dave I need ed to slow down because I looked at my watch and we were running sub 9 pace.  Dave ran ahead of me a little bit during the last two miles and I remember telling him I just wanted to finish.  My legs were done, my shoulder was done, and I was done.  I was so glad to see the finish line up ahead and I lengthened my stride to try and get to the line faster.  I crossed the line in 1:42:55 and promptly walked over to the side and proceed to completely bend in half.  I was hot, in pain, and tired.  Dave was very helpful and kind (thanks Dave).  He got me to walk and got me some water.  I have never felt the way I did yesterday after a run/race.  Dave even mentioned that he had never seen me that way after an event.  I am not sure why I felt so bad.  Maybe my body is ready for taper and it was trying to tell me to slow down.  I also told Dave that 19.07 (I had run back a few times to take Jenn water which explains the .07) was good enough for the day in my book.  I then told Dave I needed to go back out and get Jenn and he told me he would come with me.  Imagine our surprise when we started walking back out on the course and Jenn's name is being announced as she is crossing the finish line.  She was only 4 minutes behind us.  We all talked for a few minutes and I told Jenn that I thought 19.07 was good enough for the day.  She said she was going to finish out the 20 so she can say she did it.  Jenn, Dave, and I talked to some other runners and Jenn mentioned that she runs better alone because she doesn't like feeling like she is holding me back.  We also had a few pictures taken at this point.
Jenn, Kelsey, and I

Jenn, Dave, and I

 Once we took the pictures, I handed Dave my medal to hold and Jenn and I went off to finish up our run.  My watch hit 20 miles before Jenn's so we stopped back at the tent and Jenn said she was going to finish up her .07 and meet me back by the food.  I found Dave and we waited for Jenn.  I did eat some egg casserole but it wasn't sitting so well so I threw most of it out.  I then decided to try an apple and I immediately choked on the apple skin.  I regained my composure and Jenn snapped a picture of Dave and I.  
Dave and I.  Notice I'm still holding the evil apple

Jenn and I used yesterday's 20 miles as a dress rehearsal of sorts.  We have matching outfits for the marathon so we wanted to wear them during at least one training run before our 26.2.  I have to say I loved the skirt.  We ordered them from runningskirts and I highly recommend them.  The added bonus is I think I looked pretty cute out there today!
Rocking my running skirt

With our final 20 mile run behind us we headed our separate ways.  Jenn texted me and mentioned that she just needed to figure out how to clear her head when running with others.  She then mentioned that she just may have to ignore Dave and I and focus like she is on her own.  I replied back that after the way she killed the last four miles of the race, we had actually thought about that.  I then told her she could pretend we were invisible.  She said she felt bad for doing that and I told her not to feel bad and just run behind us and pretend we are imaginary and join us at the finish line.  She said pretending we are invisible sounded good and that running behind us and joining us at the finish sounded like a plan.  So we shall call this the "invisible running partners" race plan. 

I am so thankful that the final 20 mile training run is in the books.  I am looking forward to the taper and being at the start line of the Cleveland Marathon in 21 days!!

Keep running, you're simple the best, and you inpsire me!!  

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Day With Lynn Jennings, Olympic Bronze Medalist 1992

Last week I received word that Lynn Jennings would be visiting the school district I work for on Thursday, April 21, 2011. 

She's here!
  I was beyond thrilled to find out this information.  I immediately found my co-worker, and fellow distance runner, E to get all the details.  Turns out E is the one that arranged for Lynn to come to our school and speak.  See, E and Lynn have become great friends through the yearly running camp she coaches that he attends.  E shared the planned schedule of events with me and then invited me to go out for drinks with them at the conclusion of her final presentation.  I couldn't stop smiling.  It's not everyday that you get invited to have drinks with an Olympic Medalist!  Fast forward to yesterday morning as I am walking down the hallway of my school to ask another co-worker to help me with the flash on my camera and I hear:  "Hey Jodi".  I look up and it's E and I say hello and then a milisecond later I realize Lynn Jennings is standing right in front of me!  E hugged me and introduced me to Lynn and E shared the story of my DNF at last year's Cleveland Marathon with Lynn.  Lynn was very compassionate and asked what happened and what I was going to do this year to avoid a repeat.  I quickly told her that I had been diligently working on my nutrition during my long training runs.  At this point E sees my camera on my arm (which I had completely forgotten about at this point) and asks me if I want a picture with Lynn and I immediately tell him that would be great.  In the next moment, Lynn puts her hand in her pocket and pulls out her bronze medal and promptly places it around my neck.  Amazing start to my work day!  Wearing an olympic medal and getting my picture taken with Lynn Jennings all before 7:30AM!!
Lynn Jennings, Olympic Bronze Medalist and I

After the picture Lynn asked me if she would see me later and I told her that  she would see me several times throughout the rest of the day and that I was looking forward to hearing her speak.  I shook Lynn's hand again and E whisked her away to the middle school to talk to the students.

I went back to work and spent the rest of the day anticipating the staff meeting where I would hear Lynn speak for the first time.  Fast forward to the staff meeting and you could seriously have heard a pin drop.  Everyone was in awe of Lynn's story and amazing public speaking skills. 

Lynn started running in the 9th grade.  She went to a very small high school and the only two choices for sports were girl's field hockey or the boy's cross country team.  She tried field hockey but once she realized she had to wear a skirt and the field hockey stick continuously hit you in the shins she decided to approach the boy's cross country coach and ask to run with them.  The coach was more than happy to have her.  She showed up the first day of practice and was sent out on a distance run that she promptly finished dead last.  The next day she walked the mile home and got her dog, Otis so she would have someone to run with since she couldn't keep up with the boys.  Otis praticed with her every single day of the season.  She went to the meets and finished dead last at every single one.  After the season ended she kept training and came back to the cross country team the next season and again she had to go home and get Otis but this time it was because she was faster than all the boys and she again found herself with no one to run with!   She continued to tell us her story.  There were many highs as well as lows which helped her realize her dream of an Olympic Medal.  If you ever have the chance to listen to her speak, I highly recommend it!  After the staff meeting, I stayed and listened to her talk with the cross country team.  During the two presentations she showed videos of her running.  All I can say is wow does she have an amazing kick and she always ran it through the finish line!  If she hadn't run through the finish in Barcelona in 1992 she wouldn't have made the podium.  Fourth place was less than two seconds behind her!  

After the first two presentations, I left to meet Jenn for dinner.  I had texted her Wednesday to invite her to listen to Lynn speak and I was thrilled that she would be able to make it!  Jenn and I had a great dinner and then headed back to the school for the final presentation of the night.  We walked right up to the front of the auditorium and I happened to sit in the exact seat I had sat in earlier in the day.  Lynn walked in and said hello and introduced herself to Jenn and then pointed out to me that I was in fact sitting in the same spot I had been in earlier.  Lynn Jennings had paid attention to where I was during the presentation.  WOW!!  She gave yet another amazing speech and answered questions and gave advice.  Jenn asked her how you get past the mental part of running because she is currently struggling with that.  Lynn's cut and dry advice...don't "fall asleep" while you are running but "turn your mind off".  Jenn and I waited for a final picture with Lynn.
With Lynn's final speech given, E invited both Jenn and I to join them and a few others at the Wine Bar.  It was amazing.  Sitting at a table with Lynn Jennings just talking like we were old friends!  Yesterday's events can only be summed up as amazing and awe inspiring.  With the marathon less than 25 days away, this opportunity couldn't have come at a better time.

E mentioned Lynn's running camp several times.  It takes place July 10-16th in Vermont.  I may have to look into it.  Afterall, the kids will be with my mom and stepdad that week.  They say everything happens for a reason.  Maybe, just maybe I am supposed to be trained by an Olympic athlete in my quest to get that sub 4 marathon!?!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and there is no doubt about it...Lynn Jennings totally inspired me!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Dave

This week's spotlight is on Dave of Experience Life (here).  Once you read his interview head on over to his blog! 

Jodi:  How long have you been running?
Dave:  I guess I will say 3 years....unless you count high school or general cardio workouts, in which case closer to 20. :-)

Jodi:  Why did you start running?
Dave:  Started running in High School as a way to stay in shape for swim season. Stopped playing baseball my sophomore year, so took up track to build my cardio up. At the time I couldn't stand running and found it boring, but it grew on me.

Started back up 3 years ago after having health problems and needed to get into shape. A friend of mine asked/talked me into running a half marathon with her. I laughed until I realized she was serious.....Yes, the runners high is a bit contagious.

Jodi:  How many years have you been racing?
Dave:  Technically not long at all. I have been running mainly to get into/stay in shape. While I'm competitive, for me it's about health and pushing my limits and reaching goals. It's also helped me get back in the pool.

Jodi:  What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Dave:  Half Marathon....It's the only distance I have ever "raced", not including high school. But for me I guess I always preferred longer races, even in swimming. Not only can this white boy not jump, but can't sprint either. heehee

This weekend I'll be running in the annual Cleveland 10 Miler, so I will add another "racing distance" to the resume.

Jodi:  What is your favorite race memory?
Dave:  Has to be the Last Chance for Boston for a few reasons. Not only did I make it start to finish running, not walking at all, but I also was able to break 2 hours for the first time. I got the chance to run with Jodi who was nice enough to drive down from Cleveland to pace me and was the main reason for my new PR. Because of the course (flat 13 one mile loops), I decided the plan would be to turn the tables and help her set a PR. Long story short, we decided to abandon that plan 6 miles in and just settled for the 2 hour mark.

They say you need to do something to set yourself from the crowd, well I compare this race to that, since no matter what happens in another race in the future, no one can take away the memories of that race, along with the craziness in how it all went down and I'll always remember it and be thankful.

Dave and I after The Last Chance for Boston

Jodi:  What is your least favorite race memory?
Dave:  I currently do not have one (knock on wood)

Jodi:  What is your proudest running moment to date?
Dave:  I'm not sure if there is one exact moment, but more of how I've been able to accomplish things. All 3 of my half marathons, I have technically not followed the correct training plan. I mean, I have tried, but due to injuries, I have had to improvise.

The first half, I wasn't able to run the whole month prior to the race, the second I started training late (in part because mentally I didn't want a repeat of the first) and the most recent half, I did after "training only 7 weeks". So to be able to finish all 3 depsite this, I am humbled and proud. Now "unfortunately" trying to do the same with the marathon. I don't recommend it, but don't regret any of it....

Jodi:  What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Dave:  Running shoes, how else could I run? :-) ok, ok, besides the obvious.....My iPod & Compression socks. One helps my mind, the other helps my body.

Jodi:  What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Dave:  CliffShot Energy gels.....Been trying Powerbar EnergyBlast Gummies.

Jodi:  What is your favorite post race snack?
Dave:  Coconut water and protein bar or bagel.....I try to avoid my tasty favorites, aka chocolate, until after I've hydrated.  During the winter - hot chocolate during an ice bath.

Jodi:  Do you have a favorite quote?
Dave:  Yes........(oh was this not a yes or no question?)
"What excuse are you going to use today to not achieve your full potential?"

Jodi:  Finish this statement, when I run I feel______.
Dave:  free. Because you are in the moment. Running to me is a time to let go, release steam and not worry about anything.

Jodi:  What is your current goal?
Dave:  To be able to run AND finish the Cleveland Marathon next month
Next year - to complete a Half Ironman Triathlon
2 Years - to complete a Full Ironman Triathlon

Jodi:  Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Dave:  Never feel like you can't do it. Whether it be a marathon, a half marathon or even a 5k. Just like anything in life, there is no magic button or magic pill to get from point A to point B. Of course it's hard to believe you can finish something if you have never actually done it. But the first thing you need is belief in YOURSELF. Then u need to visualize yourself doing it. Will it be easy, probably not, but nothing worth having is ever easy. Will you fail?....maybe. But then you learn from it and get back up and do it again.

Do that and the satisfaction, the accomplishment, will absolutely be the best feeling in the world.

Wake up each morning being thankful....Live today like there is no tomorrow....Ending each day knowing you gave it your all.....The cycle of life, why waste it doing nothing.
Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Dave!  I look forward to achieving your goal of running and finishing the Cleveland Marathon with you!  Best of luck with the half and full ironman as well!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Dave YOU inspire ME!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Run For The Homeless Race Report

A few weeks ago my friend Darlene extended an invitation to join Team Hershey for the Run For The Homeless 5K.  Once I saw the race took place less than five minutes from my house I decided I could go ahead and sprinkle a 5K into my marathon training.  I didn't do any tempo runs this week so I figured today's race could serve that purpose.  Of course the weather report wasn't promising at all with predictions of high winds and steady rain.  When I got to packet pick up it was pouring.  Fortunately the rain stopped before the race started but we still had to contend with the high winds.  I just kept telling myself that I can't predict the weather the day of the marathon so I have to prepare for anything that could possibly be thrown at me!  The race course was two loops around our local baseball stadium, finishing next to homeplate inside the stadium!  I had decided not to wear my Ipod since it was so windy.  I figured it would be one less thing to worry about.  As the race started, Darlene and I were pretty close to the front of the pack and were in second and third female position.  I looked down at my watch and saw 6:50 pace.  My mind immediately said: slow down Jodi, this is a tempo/training run not a sprint!  I quickly got into a good rhythm.  Prior to the first mile, I managed to take the first place female position.  The back half of the loop was incredibly windy and I felt like I wasn't going anywhere.  It was quite frustrating until the turn when the wind was at my back.  I noticed my breathing a lot since I didn't wear my Ipod and  it was sounding all kinds of crazy.  During the second lap, I caught up with one of the male runners and was able to draft off of him (with his permission) until we were out of the wind tunnel section.  It was such a welcome relief and I was able to pick it up at the end and finish strong inside the stadium.  Turns out I was in the top ten overall and first female overall.  Not bad for a tempo/training run that I completed in 24:23 (nowhere near a PR but good enough for a first place finish).  Looking forward to my scaled back 12 miler tomorrow!   
Team Hershey after the race
Darlene and I
Darlene 4th female overall, 1st place age group
Me 1st female overall

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Carrie

This week we meet the final member of the recent Thumbs Up Thursday's Trio because the spotlight is on Carrie of Girls Go Running (here).  If you haven't stopped by their blog yet, you certainly need to do that right after you read Carrie's interview!

Jodi:  How long have you been running?

Carrie:  I am not really sure how long I’ve been running. I know mom started it all, but it has been a number of years. I started toward the end of high school. I was a swimmer then, and I never ran competitively as a high school sport. Now, I consider myself a runner, who used to swim.

Jodi:  Why did you start running?
Carrie:  I started running because my mom enjoyed it so much. I also knew that I could not swim for the rest of my life simply because it can be really inconvenient or expensive to swim. So, I also started as a way to take care of myself that was readily available no matter where I was.

Jodi:  How many years have you been racing?
Carrie:  If I’m not mistaken, I ran my first race, The Ox Run, when I was 16. So, I guess I have been racing since then, but I don’t race regularly.

Jodi:  What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Carrie:  I haven’t run a marathon, so my comment excludes a marathon because I really don’t know. I have run four half marathons, several 10k’s, one 5k, and one 12k. I really loved the half marathon. My experience may have been encouraged by a couple things.  I hit a major goal in finishing my first half marathon, which was the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon. I ran a 1:45-something after a friend encouraged me to run 8:00 mile the whole way, which he had no reason to know what pace I ran. We had never once run together.  I ran without a Garmin at that point, and I had no idea how fast or slow I was. So, I figured out what the time needed to be, and I did my best to make it. As luck would have it, I ran 8:01s for the half marathon. I was so impressed with myself that I fell in love with the distance.

Jodi:  What is your favorite race memory?
Carrie:  My best memory is placing second in my age group and fifth among the women for a local half marathon called the Cleveland Spring Classic. I finished with a time of 1:37:23. I was in complete shock. It was an absolute thrill. I hope to return to that level of fitness. I wasn’t even aware that I was capable of running that fast for that amount of time. I hope to break that time the next time I run a half marathon. I hope that’s soon, but I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Jodi:  What is your least favorite race memory?
Carrie:  My least favorite memory is my second half marathon, which I ran on the hilliest course imaginable. Every time I went around a corner in the woods along this course there was another hill. Each hill seemed bigger than the last. I actually walked during the last mile because I was so tired. I ran more slowly than my first marathon, and it was just plain miserable. (Since it preceded my best race memory by only a month or two, I think it may have been a great training run.)

Jodi:  What is your proudest running moment to date?
Carrie:  My proudest running moment is not my own run at all. It was watching my mom and sister finish their first marathon together. I could not have been more proud. They did an amazing job, and I never doubted they could do it. I knew their ups and downs along the way, and I knew how hard they had worked to get there. I was so excited for them both. They were fantastic.

Jodi:  What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Carrie:  I live and die by my Garmin, so that’s a given. I love to know pace and time although now that I run pushing my daughter in the stroller, I rarely have the time or energy to look. Next, my iPod Shuffle is a necessity. It contains only a running playlist, and it’s blue. I love my music when I run. And finally, my Asics Gel Kayanos. I cannot run without them. I have had no luck with any other shoe for running. I am a dedicated fan.

Jodi:  What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Carrie:  Having not run a marathon, I have never used fuel for a race before the upcoming marathon. So, I’m not sure yet.

Jodi:  What is your favorite post race snack?
Carrie:  I usually like to eat a banana after I run. They are convenient, good for recovery, and they have them at every race I have ever run. I do think I would prefer chocolate milk, but I’ll try to find out after the marathon since it’s not a tested theory.

Jodi:  Who do you admire most and why?
Carrie:  I admire my mom and dad most. She inspired both Megan and I to run. She knows how to celebrate small things. I hope to do that for Elizabeth. I admire my dad because he showed us what it means to support someone’s passion. He is a constant support, and I’m not sure anyone has ever been more proud of my accomplishments no matter what they were. They both helped me make the most of myself in running and everything else.

Jodi:  Do you have a favorite quote?
Carrie:  Well, I will tell you that it’s not “Work hard and it will come easy.” I don’t have a quote that I’m fascinated by regularly, but I have a recent favorite quote. “Being an athlete is a state of mind which is not bound by age, performance or place in the running pack.” Jeff Galloway, Galloway's Book on Running.  I think it is a great reminder that running is personal. Being a runner doesn’t have anything to do with qualifying for Boston or running a personal best time or placing or medaling at a race. Running is about the miles you spend out on the road. It’s knowing you are an athlete. It’s knowing you take care of yourself. Running is time alone to deal with stress or celebrate your life. I most admire the runners who do not look like runners. The people who go out and work hard when it doesn’t come easily to them. Those runners are my favorite runners. They deserve the most praise.

Jodi:  Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
Carrie:  Confident. I feel good about myself.

Jodi:  What is your current goal?
Carrie:  My current goal is to finish the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and to break my best time in the half marathon sometime this year.

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Carrie!  Best of luck in achieving your current goals!

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meeting Lynn Jennings, Retired Olympic Distance Runner

I am beyond excited for next Thursday!  Lynn Jennings will be visiting the school district I work for and I will have the chance to listen to her speak three times that day!  I am also thrilled because one of my co-workers, who happens to be a fellow distance runner and helped me train for last year's marathon attempt, invited me to have drinks with them after the parent meeting that evening!  There is no way I am passing up a chance to meet her!  Just need to get a babysitter!  Anyone in blogland interested in hanging out with my 8 and 5 year old?  LOL.  Seriously though, how could I not want to meet her, she is such an accomplished athlete! 

                                             LYNN JENNINGS
Heralded as a pioneer in women's running, Lynn Jennings is convinced that women should pursue their passions above and beyond the traditional roles of marriage and child rearing that society has imposed upon them. If it's sports they wish to pursue, then so much the better.

Jennings was the first female on her high school's all-male track team. From her sophomore year until graduation, Jennings was ranked number one on her team and third overall in the league. She continued to run in college as part of the Princeton University track team, but struggled to keep up in school and stick to a rigorous practice schedule. In fact, she quit running several times out of frustration.

In 1984, she was inspired to resurrect her career as she watched Joan Benoit Samuelson win the Olympic Gold medal in the first women's marathon to be included in the Olympic Games. Watching Samuelson win was a thrilling victory for female athletes, yet a personal disappointment for Jennings. She not only trained alongside Samuelson as part of the Liberty Athletic Club, but also had beaten her several times in competitive races. At that moment, Jennings recommitted herself to the sport and trained her way into the 1988 Olympic Games, where she finished sixth in the 10,000 meter event.

After that it was all the way to the top: Jennings went on to win nine USA cross-country championships and an Olympic Bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in Barcelona in 1992. In addition, she holds the American record for the 10,000 meters, the American indoor record for the 5,000 and 3,000 meters, and the American road records in the 5K and 10K distances. She has won scores of road races all over the world.

I will of course be back with a blog post about this amazing opportunity!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and I have no doubt that Lynn Jennings will inspire me!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

20 Miles Turned 21.1...

This morning was the CWRRC Spring 10 Miler.  Jenn and I had 20 miles on the training schedule so we decided to knock out the first 10 prior to the race and then finish it up race style while taking advantage of the course support!  We made a plan to meet at 6:30 AM so we would have adequate time to get our first 10 miles in.  Of course, the directions I had to get there took me by way of China and I was 15 minutes late..oops!  We quickly got ready and headed out on the trail.  It was pretty uneventful but it was great to be able to run in capris and a long sleeve shirt.  I was actually smiling because I didn't have to wear layers.  It just felt better not to be weighed down by all of the winter gear!  With me being late and a restroom break along the way we were just shy of 10 miles when we started the race but we figured we would just make up that mileage at the end.  We started out slowly and I could tell Jenn was having a rough time of it.  Around mile two she seemed incredibly frustrated.  I kept trying to keep her spirits high talking about anything but running.  Shortly after this I finally had to tell her that I couldn't help her if I didn't know what was wrong.  Once she told me it was her calf I had something to work with.  I continued to run with her for awhile asking her the typical questions.  Do you want to stop?  Will it do you more harm than good if you try to finish?  She told me she really wanted to try and finish but she didn't know if doing so would cause more harm than good.  At this point we were close to the 3 mile mark and I told her I was going to need to speed up in order for my hip to stop hurting as a result of my stride being shortened too much.  I made her promise me she would stop if the pain got unbearable and then I reluctantly continued on with a promise to go back out on the course and run her in.  Lengthening my stride immediately eliminated my hip pain.  The great thing about this course was that it was a loop course so I knew I would be able to check in with Jenn.  When I went past the finish line to start my second loop I let Jenn's husband know what was going on and I told him that I was going to finish the run and then head back out and get Jenn.  I saw Jenn 3 times during miles 3-6.  Each time I checked in with her she was running and she said she was going to finish and each time I told her she needed to stop if the pain got too bad.  As I approached the finish line, I knew I couldn't stop when I got through the chute because I had to finish out my 20 miles.  I literally stopped for a tenth of a second and then just kept on running back out towards the course.  The girl that handed me the medal gave me a funny look.  What can I say...distance runners are crazy sometimes!!  Once I hit 20 miles, I started walking back out on the course to find Jenn.  I cheered on each of the runners and eventually found Jenn right at mile 9.  As we were finishing up her last mile, we came upon to two girls that were walking.  We quickly learned that one was 7 weeks pregnant and the other was her running partner.  We encouraged them and got them to start running again.   Now one thing you need to know about Jenn and I is that we have a lot of random conversations during our long runs so we immediately started the random babble when the other girls joined us.  They asked us to keep talking because we were fun and we were keeping them motivated.  Less than a half mile from the finish Jenn's husband joined us and the 5 of us ran it through to the finish!  Once Jenn grabbed her medal we walked for a second and then she wanted to finish up her 20 miles because she was too close not to!  We ran around the parking lot and back onto the trail and shortly thereafter Jenn's watch indicated she had hit the 20 mile mark.  In the end I ran 21.1 miles today.  I don't regret one single decision Jenn or I made today.  There is a lot to learn from each and every long run.  There will be hard ones, there will be easy ones, and there will be downright painful ones.  Today's was okay and we finished it and that is matters!

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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Megan

This week's spotlight is on Megan of Girls Go Running (here). You may remember seeing the same blog last week. The reason for this is because Megan is Elizabeth's daughter and Elizabeth and her two daughters all share their story on their group blog. After you read Megan's interview head on over and say hello!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Megan: I started running 16 years ago. My mom started running, and I joined in.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Megan: As the youngest of three, when my older brother and sister were gone working at summer camp, I needed something to do when they were gone.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Megan: If I'm recalling accurately, I ran my first race when I was 14 or 15. I had never run more than maybe 4 miles, and signed up for a local 10K. I've had many years that I haven't raced at all.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Megan: I don't know that I have a favorite distance yet. I've done a 5K, a couple of 10Ks, a 12K, and a marathon. I love that I can say I've done the marathon, but I guess the 10K is currently my favorite. I would like to do at least one half marathon though because they seem like the perfect balance of a challenge with less hours of training than the marathon. I'm hoping to get some on my schedule after the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in May.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Megan: My favorite race memory is my aunt, who is 19 year older than my mom, running along with us for about a block of the marathon my mom and I were running to raise money for her son who was battling cancer. She was cheering us on, and it is a powerful memory from a great day! She was our biggest fan and support during training, and she continues to be a tremendous cheerleader for us as we train for the second marathon. I also found my dad's support of both my mom and I, but particularly my mom, a great memory! I'm not sure who gets more of a runners mom from actually running or my dad because he loves that my mom runs!

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Megan: Mile 18 of last year's marathon. It was around mile 18 that I bonked. My sister and my cousin's husband (a previous Boston qualifier) ran several miles with us. When my sister joined us, she gave my mom a good boost of energy, and I had nothing left. I remember thinking that eight miles was a lot, and I didn't know how I was going to keep moving forward. Thankfully, my energy picked back up a bit, and although tired, I felt much better about mile 22 or 24.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Megan: Crossing the finish line at the Fargo Marathon with my mom last May. I wanted to complete a marathon before I turned 30, and I did it! My mom and I had such great support! Our running group, my dad, my sister, my aunt, etc.. My boyfriend was also a huge part of accomplishing this goal. Seeing him, my dad, my aunt, my sister, and other friends and family along the route made the race and the finish incredible!
 Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?

Megan: Probably my Garmin Forerunner and my Asics Gel Nimbus shoes. I've trained in other shoes, and the Gel Nimbus is the best! If it's a long run, I'd say good company, which for me means my mom's running with me.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Megan: For my first marathon, I used Luna Moons, but the thought of them now makes me almost sick. I'm trying different types of fuel for marathon number two, and so far, my favorite is the Honey Stinger waffle. I also find that the sports drink on the course is crucial for me. So, whatever flavor they have for a race is my other favorite.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Megan: My favorite thing after a race is chocolate milk, preferably Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk. I thought it was strange that people liked milk, chocolate or not, after a run, but it's great! Pizza is a close second.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Megan: I most admire my maternal grandparents, Ted and Marie. Both overcame a lot of challenging circumstances in their lifetimes, and they worked hard and were successful. They were also strong advocates of education, and as a college instructor, I see the value in their beliefs. They both had grit and determination, and they always worked hard to reach their goals and never gave up.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Megan: 1. "This too shall pass." and 2. "Work hard and it will come easy." The first was one my grandma liked. It's so true of running. A great run may be fleeting, but a tough run or a"bonk" in a marathon are too. You just have to keep pushing forward. The second quote was one my grandpa told me often when we'd leave from visiting him. And again, it fits well with running. Often on a run, the harder I work the faster the miles go and the easier it seems.

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
Megan: relieved to be finishing another run on the training plan.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Megan: My current goal is the run a marathon with both my mom and sister. My sister couldn't run with us during our first marathon because she had a beautiful little girl just weeks before the event. We chose a training plan with more miles. I was happy just to finish my first marathon, and I'll be happy to finish a second as well. But, I'd like to see a better time that confirms all the training paid off.

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Megan!

Enjoy every minute of your marathon with your mom and sister! Looking forward to the possibility of meeting you at Cleveland!

Of course no Thumbs Up Thursday is complete without pictures!  Enjoy!! 
Megan with her mom and sister at a Mother's Day 5K

Megan at the Fargo Marathon Expo

Megan and her boyfriend after the Fargo Marathon

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Spotlight Is On Me...

Last Thursday I spotlighted Elizabeth of Girls Go Running (here). Imagine my surprise when she asked me if I would be willing to answer the same questions I asked her so she could feature me on her blog. I was more than happy to oblige! Head on over and check out my interview (here). Thanks for making me feel like a celebrity for the day Elizabeth!! Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

March in Review

Yesterday's 5 mile run brought my March training to a close. The beginning of March brought my first 30K, while the end of March brought my first 20 mile training run for Cleveland. Throughout March the weather fluctated and some days I had to put on the layers and others I was able to just run with capris and a long sleeve shirt. I guess that's Ohio weather for you though!!

March Stats
136.4-- running miles (3 for 3 for hitting 100 miles per month in 2011)
0-- elliptical miles
136.4-- total miles
0 minutes-- rope skipping
153.8-- weight as of March 31, 2011

Current Stats
341.3-- running miles
17.8-- elliptical miles
359.1-- total miles
1 hour and 55 minutes-- rope skipping

Overall, March was a great month of training. I did miss a few days when I listened to my body and took a couple unplanned rest days. In the end, those days didn't make a huge difference in my mileage because I set a new monthly mileage PR!! Yes, that's right, 136.4 miles is the most I have run in one month!

We are less than 50 days away from the 2011 Cleveland Marathon and I gotta feeling it's going to be GREAT!!

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