Friday, January 15, 2016

Hot Valentine 5K Virtual Race

Who do you LOVE to RUN with?
Gather up your friends for a sweet virtual race!

Proceeds benefit the St. Jude Children's Hospital

What's a virtual race?  A virtual race is running a specified distance (timed) without being present in the actual race location.  Report back your finish time & you'll be entered in the PRIZE DRAWING!

DATE:  February 12-14, 2016 - Valentine's Day Weekend!
LOCATION:  Pick your favorite local route or hop on a treadmill. 
DISTANCE:  5K (3.1 miles)

FINISHER'S MEDAL:  $10.00 (pictured above)  U.S. shipping* is a flat $3 so you SAVE when ordering multiple medals in one order. (You can edit the quantity once you add to cart.) Proceeds are donated to the St. Jude Children's Hospital.  All orders have shipped.

SHIRT:  $20.00 (pictured above)  This RED hot shirt is 100% polyester wicking knit that wicks moisture away from the body when running to keep you cool.  It is a Ladies Fit S-2XL. See size chart here to find the right size for you.  (Personal note: I do feel like I need to 'go up a size' on this ladies cut.)  U.S. shipping* is $3.  
First batch of shirts shipped on Feb. 1. 
Second batch shipped Feb. 10

RESULTS:  After you've finished your Virtual Valentine Run, report your race time(s) before Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 2:00pm CST.   This is a fun race; no Garmin/treadmill photo required to verify your time. You will earn one entry into the prize drawing. Limit one entry per runner. 

PRIZES:  After February 16, prizes will be randomly drawn from finishers who reported results. Winners will be announced before 2/19/16.  
(2) Live Love Run writing journals
Simone Gehner & Julie Albers
(2) BondiBand heart headbands
Winners: Walisa Dickson & Jody Krumwiede
(1) $25 gift card to Starbucks
Winner: Lynne Day
(1) $5 gift card to Subway
Winner: Kate Green

By participating in this virtual race, you helped raise $600 
for children with cancer at St. Jude Children's Hospital. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

5th annual Jelly Bean race

Celebrate Spring by participating in the 
5th annual Jelly Bean virtual race!

What's a virtual race?  A virtual race is running a specified distance (timed) without being present in the actual race location.

DATES:  Race begins Friday, March 27.
Ends on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.

LOCATION:  Pick your favorite local route or just hop on a treadmill.

EVENTS:  Choose the event that works best for your current fitness level. You will earn one entry into the prize drawing for each of the four events that you complete in the 10-day time window March 27-April 5. Max of 4 entries per person; each race distance may only be counted once.
- Run 5K (3.1 miles)
- Run 10K  (6.2 miles)
- Run Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
- Bike 21K (13 miles)

RESULTS:  Report your race time(s) HERE before Tuesday, April 7 at 8:00pm CST.   This is a fun race; no Garmin/treadmill photo required to verify your time. 

PRIZES:  When the Jelly Bean results window closes, there will be a random prize drawing from all finishers.  Grand Prize is a REM-Fit Activity & Sleep Tracker for your wrist!  Other prizes include:  Endorphin Warrior bracelet of your choice, Starbucks gift card, BondiBand headband, Bicycle necklace and notepad, and Limited Edition Jelly Bean gum... 

Follow me on Facebook for race updates...

  • No need to pre-register. Just mark your calendar, tell your friends, and organize a local group run in your area. This makes a great family event to get the kids active! Bookmark this webpage so that you can come back for updated information until raceday. Join the Facebook event here to socialize with other participants.
  • Order an Jelly Bean finisher's medal below (optional). Proceeds from these medals will be donated to the St. Jude Children's Hospital as part of my fundraising for the Bartonville-to-Peoria St. Jude run.  If you don't want a medal, but would still like to participate in the Jelly Bean, a donation of any amount to St. Jude Children's Hospital is much appreciated here.
  • Finally, complete your Jelly Bean events... Run, Bike and have FUN!! Take pictures and please share them on my Facebook wall.  Hint, hint... I always award one prize to my favorite picture. Share them on social media using hashtag #JellyBeanV
  • REPORT RACE RESULTS HERE for each participant before 8pm on April 7. You will earn one entry into the prize drawing for each event that you finish (4 max per person). Each event may only be counted once. 

To commemorate the 5 Year Anniversary of this virtual race, the 2015 finisher's medal is JUMBO SIZED at 3.5 inches around!  Proceeds from these medals will be donated to St. Jude Children's Hospital as part of my fundraising for the Bartonville-to-Peoria St. Jude Run on August 1.   
$15.00 each + $3 U.S. shipping*   Shipping is a flat rate, so no matter how many you order, the shipping is just $3! That's my discount for bulk orders.  * Shipping rate is for the U.S. Any international orders will be invoiced an additional $7 charge to cover international charges. 
Medals are now SOLD OUT. 
With this event, $1000 was donated to St Jude Children's Hospital.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Giveaway: Chicago F^3 Lake Half Marathon

One of the best ways to stay motivated as a runner is having a race firmly planted on your calendar. This especially holds true over the winter months. As soon as I finished my last race, I realized my upcoming calendar was oddly empty of running events. For a variety of reasons, I've tried to avoid "filling the weekends", but it quickly became obvious that I needed a new goal to cling to. My running shoes (and waistline) were depending on it.

Thus, the F^3 Lake Half Marathon, presented by REM-Fit appeared on my radar.

The timing was just right, and it came well-recommended by a friend in Chicago. Now you might question my idea of "timing"... January 24 in Chicago? Mid-winter in the Windy City?  13.1 miles of snow and cold?  To me, that sounds like the perfect challenge to keep my booty moving thru the holidays and well into the New Year!  (If you're not up to 13.1 yet, there is also a 5K option.)

If you're not sold on the challenge, how about the perks!? Check out what's included in your entry...
  • Beanie Hat with pom
  • Tech Gloves (my personal favorite!)
  • Finisher's Medal with built-in bottle opener
  • Free Photo Downloads
  • Pre and Post-Party at the Union Club inside Soldier Field.
  • First Pint of Beer courtesy of Goose Island Brewing Co.
  • Hot Cocoa and other treats provided by sponsors
But most importantly, the bragging rights that come with running in the dead of winter along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. 
Instant Bada$$ Runner.

I invite you to come "Run With Jess" on January 24th along the Chicago Lakeshore.  Enter below for a chance to WIN a free race entry + a bonus gift (the new REM-Fit Active, a sleep and activity tracker).  Or register now -HERE- utilizing discount code CAEB15 for $10 off your entry.

Plus a BONUS GIFT from REM-Fit!
Enter via Rafflecopter app below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The #ElfRun - Virtual Race

Gather up your friends for a holiday-themed virtual race... 
Proceeds benefit the St. Jude Children's Hospital.
We RUN to fight childhood cancer!

What's a virtual race?  A virtual race is running a specified distance (timed) without being present in the actual race location.

DATE:  Saturday, Dec. 6 - Sunday, Dec. 21  (two-week window)
The race begins on the same day as the St. Jude Marathon, which I will be running as a member of the St. Jude Heroes team. Proceeds from this virtual run will be donated to the St. Jude Children's Hospital.

LOCATION:  Pick your favorite local route or hop on a treadmill. 

THREE EVENTS!  Choose the event that works best for your current fitness level. You may participate in more than one event. Earn 1 entry into the prize drawing for each event that you complete (3 max entries). 
- Run/Walk 5K  (3.1 miles)
- Run 10K  (6.2 miles)
- Run Half-Marathon  (13.1 miles)


This is a great opportunity to organize a holiday fun run amongst your running friends. My local run group enjoys hot cocoa, coffee and Christmas cookies after our run. If you live near Peoria, IL, please join us on Sunday, December 20 at 8:00am for either the 5K or 10K distance. We will start/finish at Running Central and run along the riverfront trail. 

FINISHER'S MEDAL:  $11.00 (pictured above)  Orders will ship out on or before December 1st. U.S. shipping is a flat $3 rate per order. (International orders, I will send you an invoice for $7 extra.) You save when ordering multiple medals in one order. So rally up your friends for a fun holiday run, order together and save!

Follow me for race updates...
Connect with other #ElfRun-ners in the Facebook Event.

RESULTS:  After you've finished your #ElfRun, report your race time(s) HERE before Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 12:00 noon CST.   This is a fun race; no Garmin/treadmill photo required to verify your time. You will earn one entry into the prize drawing for each event (5K, 10K and/or Half) that you finish. Each event may only be completed once. For example, a 5K only counts as one entry, regardless of how many times you run it. Maximum of 3 entries per person.

PRIZES:  When the #ElfRun results window closes, prizes will be randomly drawn from finishers who reported results. Winners will be announced before 12/24/14.  List of prizes...
   (1) Tough Chik "Run Like You're Being Chased" t-shirt
   (1) Tough Chik hat
   (3) BondiBand headbands
   (1) Canister of CLICK protein drink
   (2) Holiday knee-high socks
   (1) Package of GU Energy Gels
   (1) $20 Amazon gift card 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Run Challenge

If you're like me, the thought of running a fall race sounded delightful... cool morning air with colorful scenery as the leaves changes colors. It sucked me in and I registered for the "perfect course" in a flash. Months have ticked away since that fateful registration day and now it's time to train.  Summer has officially started!  I am now reminded that all the training for that dreamy fall marathon will take place in the hot humidity of summer. Oh dear, what was I thinking?

Perhaps you're also training for a big fall race? or just need a little extra motivation to keep up your daily runs? or just like to win prizes?  Whatever your situation, I invite you to join me in the Summer Run Challenge!  My Winter Miles Challenge was such a huge success and motivator for people that I wanted to offer the same encouragement over the trying summer months.  The Summer Run Challenge is FREE to participate, and you receive...
  • Accountability: weekly reporting of your mileage
  • Helpful tips and advice via a weekly e-newsletter
  • Weekly chances to win prizes!
  • Encouragement and support from others
  • A fun virtual race to test your speed
  • Templates for tracking your progress and training tools 
June 30 - August 10, 2014
FREE Participation!

The Summer Run Challenge is about keeping yourself accountable to your weekly goals and overall training. At the end of every week, you will report back your completed mileage. If you hit your weekly goal, you will be entered into the weekly prize drawing. It's that simple! This is about keeping youself motivated - saying "YES, I DID IT!" at the end of every week.

The Summer Run Challenge is six weeks long. Participants accumulate miles (run or walk) Monday through Sunday, and report back their completed miles each week. Every week you hit your goal, you receive one entry into the weekly prize drawing...

{1}  June 30-July 6   -  2 Toms Prize Pack for blister, chafing & odor prevention
{2}  July 7-13  -  Block Island Organics Prize Pack for skincare in the summer sun
{3}  July 14-20  -  ProCompression marathon socks for ultimate muscle recovery
{4}  July 21-27  -  GU Energy Prize Pack for fueling and hydration on the run
{5}  July 28-Aug. 3  -  Workout DVDs for the cross-training and "it's just too hot" days
{6}  August 4-10 -  NINE different prizes in combination with the WatermelonRun

• Follow RunWithJess HERE on Facebook for challenge updates, prize winners and daily motivation.

• Join the SRC Facebook Event here to meet and motivate other participants. I encourage you to post pictures and success stories within the event. Invite your friends to join in the fun!

Set your weekly goal... 10, 20, 35, 50... as far as your legs will take you! The number will no doubt vary each week based on your training plan and racing schedule. You don't have to tell me your individual goal; however, I encourage you to make it public on social media or your blog "My goal this week is to run xx miles in training for the XXX Marathon."  Putting it out there will give you added encouragement to get it done.

RUN!  Track your mileage Monday through Sunday.  Use a notebook, Daily Mile or my weekly tracking template. I highly encourage you to journal your pre-run meals, what you use for you on-the-run fuel, and how you felt. This is essential for successful training - to ensure a foolproof plan on race day.

Report back your weekly miles HERE once your final run of the week is done.  In order to earn an entry into the weekly prize drawing, you must report in each Monday before 12:00noon. Weekly prize winners will be announced every Monday evening, starting July 7th.

That's it... SIMPLE. Now repeat for six weeks! 

This special edition tank is 100% polyester Xtreme Tek moisture-management fabric that is breathable in the summer heat. UV protection built-in with anti-bacterial treatment.  Racerback Style.

Limited SIZES still available... Please check the size charts before ordering:  Ladies size chart  |  Mens size chart. For whatever reason, the gold seems be a more relaxed fit and the black runs a bit smaller.

The Summer Tank features the popular African saying:  “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle... when the sun comes up, you better be running.

Choice of colors: 
Fabric is gold; design printed in dark orange.
Fabric is black; design printed in yellow. 

See shop for available sizes.


One of my favorite things about summer is WATERMELON. The fruit itself is so refreshing after a hot summer run... and unlike my other post-run cravings, it's healthy!  National Watermelon Day is August 3 in 2014.  Let's celebrate the final week of the Summer Run Challenge (SRC) with a virtual race!  See what your training has done so far and test your speed. Plus, you will earn bonus entries into the SRC weekly prize drawing. We're ending SRC with a bang - there will be a bunch of ADDITIONAL PRIZES in week six!
How The Watermelon Run works...
Invite your friends for a run/walk. 
Buy a big ripe watermelon. 
Run/walk a 5K (3.1 miles) in your favorite location (Aug. 3-10) 
At the finish line, reward yourself with Watermelon Bling (order below)
Cut up that watermelon in big chunks and enjoy the juicy fruit of summer! 
Don't forget to take pictures!
Report back your finish time for a chance to WIN PRIZES!

Crown yourself with BLING after your Watermelon Run. This 2 1/4" finisher's medal has a gold finish and red ribbon.  Limited quantities, so order quickly!

Please invite your running friends to join the challenge!
It's going to be a great summer, and I'm delighted to have you along 
as a virtual training buddy. Good luck on your summer goals!  
Many happy miles... ~Jess

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Race Recap: Peoria Marathon Relay

There are some races that you just can't pass up. No matter where you live, your hometown race is probably one of them.  It's like one big family reunion... because running friends are the family you pick for yourself. There is magic in those shared miles and trials.

The Peoria Marathon (also known as Run River City) is quickly becoming that 'can't miss' race in my city of Peoria, IL.  I had so much fun participating in the 2013 inaugural race that I vowed to return.  For the second year, I put together a women's relay team to cover the 26.2 distance. I'm typically not a fan of relay races, but in this particular race, I enjoy moving around the course and seeing my runner friends of all speeds at different mile markers.  It's the best of both worlds - I get to cheer and run!

This year, I created a team with three other ladies from our Sole Sisters running club. The hardest part was coming up with an outfit idea and team name before we could register.  Finally, we agreed on Rainbow Racers - a name built soley around these rainbow-colored checkered flag skirts.
The skirts were ordered from Sparkle Athletic.
I designed the logo and Runner Decals made an iron-on for our shirts.

This past Sunday, May 18th was finally race day!  There was so much excitement and nerves in the air leading up to the Peoria Marathon. When you're part of a team, there's just something inside that makes you want to perform your best - not just for you, but for the whole team. Going in, I knew I was the slowest on the team, but just hoped to give it an honest effort.

Sole Sisters group photo before the race.

The Peoria Marathon, relay and half all started together at 7:00am.  The 5K would start 30 minutes later and the kids mini marathon kicked off at 12noon. A lot of races in one day!  It was ideal race weather - in the 50's and beautiful sunshine.  Crystal lined up at the starting line for our team and set us up nicely from the beginning. She ran leg 1 in 52:39 (8:08 pace), and then handed off to Missy.

Crystal handing off to Missy

At the first exchange zone, we got a peak at our competition by watching the batons run by. Competing in the open women's division, we were counting how many female-to-female exchanges came before us... one... with a second right by our side.  Missy took over to run leg 2. She had the big Main Street hill to climb, but killed it in 53:25 (8:18 pace).

At the second exchange zone, Missy handed it off to me. We were officially halfway done at mile marker 13.  There's something about a baton that makes me sprint - perhaps a little leftover gear from the high school track? By time I was a couple blocks down, it felt like my heart was going to explode. With a quick glance at my Garmin, I realized I was indeed sprinting... a 6:40 pace my Garmin said! Holy smokes, I didn't even know I could do that!  Mile 1 - 8:50

The first half of my 10K leg was flat and very enjoyable. At first, there was a quiet stretch through neighborhoods and then entering into the pretty shaded Bradley University area. I run these streets often and felt right at home. We zigzagged back and forth, making it easy for my hubby and kids to catch me at three different spots.  Little Girl jumped out to run a block with me every time I saw them.
I love that we are perfectly in stride here...

The marathon course reconnected with the half marathoners by Bradley Park. For the next 2 miles, it was real fun passing people and seeing a lot of my friends in the final portion of their 13.1.  By far, this was my favorite part of my leg.
Mile 2 - 9:01 
Mile 3 - 9:12

At mile 17, the full marathon turned off and headed up North Street. I drove this portion of the course the day before, so I knew it would not be heavily spectated nor would it be easy.  There was a gradual climb up North Street that lasted about a half mile. It wore on me and I plugged in my music for some push. My mantra was "just keep working". I just wanted to give my best, knowing my team was waiting for me.
Mile 4 - 9:36

The course was pretty sparse at this point, but every once in a while, someone would pass me. We turned onto Loucks Ave and there was another climb up to reach the Sheridan intersection... again, not an awesome part of town so very sparse on spectators through this section. But halfway up the hill, I heard my hubby's voice. There he was at the top of the hill yelling at me with a bullhorn in one hand and a camera in the other.  Gotta love that guy!
Mile 5 - 9:35

Little Girl out to run with me once again... and again, we are perfectly in stride!

It seemed like I reached the final turn onto Isabell Ave all too sudden. I knew this section well, as it's part of my running route from the gym. I knew I didn't have much mileage left until the exchange zone.  I putzed with my ipod and found my "bring it in" song. Powering up the final stretch of my leg, there were a bunch of cheering spectators through this nice neighborhoods.  Mile 6 - 9:30  I tried to give a finishing sprint before handing the baton off to Karen.
My Leg 3 - 56:56 (9:19 pace)

So relieved to hand that baton off. Go Karen Go!

Karen killed the last (and longest) leg of the marathon in 53:47 (7:36 pace).  We met her downtown for the last 1/4 mile of the route.  The course narrowed and we got caught up behind a shirtless male relay team.
Excuse us fellas... get out of our way!

I guess there are worse problems than being trapped by half naked men... but hubby was trying to get a picture of our whole team running. We slowed down to get the money shot...

 Official Chip Time 3:36:50
8:17 avg pace
2nd place Open Womens Division (out of 25)
12th place Overall Relay (out of 85 teams)

I had so much FUN running with these incredible (fast) ladies!

We hung out cheering in fellow runners for hours after our relay finish. The kids mini marathon didn't start until 12noon and you know I couldn't miss that!  My kids had trained for 8 weeks, compiling their 25 miles before race day. On Sunday, they ran the final 1.2 miles to complete their marathon!!
Big Girl and Little Girl kickin' it down the finishing stretch!
Look - Their medals are BIGGER than mine!

The 2nd annual Peoria Marathon was a blast!  Yes, I will be back again next year. I hope you will join me in MY town for this great race.  I was delighted to see several Marathon Maniacs and 50 Staters on the course. This marathon will easily become a destination race, and continue to grow every year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Double the Training

This week begins a new phase in my training... preparation for my June Western Double.  The challenge is simple - two half marathons, two days, two different states.  It's efficient in both time and travel finances; but without doubt, also exhausting.  I've done this "Double Half" challenge twice before along my quest to #RaceAll50...
March 2013 Southern Double - Alabama + Georgia
October 2013 New England DoubleConnecticut + Rhode Island
Honestly, a Double is a fun adventure. I enjoy planning the logistics and the drive between races. I really get to see a vast area of the country I'm visiting.

This year's Western Double will comprise of the Bear Lake Half in Idaho (Fri, June 13) and the Jackson Hole Half in Wyoming (Sat, June 14).  I'm really looking forward to a western race for a change in scenery. I've completed the majority of my state races in the middle of country. The Idaho course is fairly flat, followed by mixed course in Wyoming.  My biggest challenge will be the change in elevation, as I've never run at high elevation (over 6000 feet). I have no time goal on either race except to finish and arrive home in time for Father's Day on Sunday.

When I ran the Southern and New England Doubles, I trained like I would for a normal half marathon. Let's just say the second half was not nearly as enjoyable as the first one. This time around, I've decided to change up the training in hopes that day two won't feel so shitty tough.  I'm currently trained to finish a single half marathon (just did two weeks ago in Nebraska).  So mileage is not necessarily my concern. What I want to improve is "running on tired legs," so instead of just one long run, I'm running back-to-back long runs each week. Back in January, I planned out my training long runs for the entire year. (No OCD here. Nope!)

In the month leading up to my Western Double, here's how my long runs look...
Week one - 7 + 8 mile runs on consecutive days  (this week)
Week two - 8 + 10 mile runs on consecutive days

Week three - 10 + 12 mile runs on consecutive days
Week four - 10 miler (taper)
Race week - Idaho/Wyoming Western Double 13.1 + 13.1

Since I'm running as part of a relay team this weekend for the Peoria Marathon, I moved my long runs to the early part of this week. I'm delighted to say that I got week one in the bag!

Yesterday, I met up with a local group to start my miles. It was a fun run organized by my buddy Anna, who was celebrating her one year cancer-free anniversary. She is a cervical cancer survivor! Being the awesome person she is, she used this special occasion to raise money for St Jude Children's Hospital... $750 in one day!

I ran four miles as part of Anna's fun run, gave a quick hug and snapped a few pictures. Then I was off to finish my first long(er) run of the week. I ended with 7.4 miles at a 9:51 average pace.

Today I procrastinated all morning. I just didn't feel like running 8 miles after yesterday's run (plus Spinning class in the evening).  It came upon the time of day that I HAD to get out there if I wanted to beat the school bus.  As I started off, I could feel tiredness in my legs (that's what I wanted, right?). As the miles ticked off, I felt better and better though. I finished 8.1 miles at a 10:07 average pace. With that, week one's long runs in prep for the Western Double are complete. Whew! Made it!

Now I can rest up before my race this Sunday. I'm the slowest runner on our relay team, so I want to bring my best!

Have you ever run back-to-back races before? How did you train for it?