Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snow Bunny

I am a wuss.  I have two rules for running...
1.  I do not run in temps under 30˚.
2.  I do not run in snow.
Today I broke through to the other side, and did both.  I am now officially a snow bunny kind of runner.  I stared at the treadmill this morning, and just couldn't picture another 10 miles on that thing this week.  So bundled up I went to the Rock Island Trail for this week's long run.

Mile 1 - Wow, it's kinda cold out here.  28˚ at start.
Mile 2 - Look at me, running through the snow!
Mile 3 - It's really pretty out here.

Mile 4 - Okay, I'm getting the hang of this. Feeling good.
Mile 5 - Huh, I haven't seen one person out on the trail yet. Probably shouldn't be running out here alone.  Mental note to put a mace spray into my jacket pocket next time.
Mile 6 - O'crap!  Totally missed my turnaround at mile 5... guess we're going 12 today.
Mile 7 - I really stink at snot rockets.  Need to wash these gloves when I get back.
Mile 8 - Someone's doing laundry.  I like that smell.  Reminds me of spring for some reason.
Mile 9 - I am so hungry right now.  That Strawberry-Banana GU was good, but not enough for lunch.

Mile 10 - I'm suppose to be done right now, but glad I'm doing extra.  I have totally earned that steak dinner and wine tonight with the hubby.
Mile 11 - Wet socks and shoes make for really heavy feet.  I literally look down to make sure I'm not dragging anything.
Mile 12 - I feel every single step in my calves, knees, quads, glutes and even my core, but a techno pumpin' song won't let my legs quit until the iPhone chimes in "Congratulations, you're reached 12 miles, two miles past your goal."

I'm cold.  wet.  hungry.  But I just ran 12 miles through the snow... for FUN!  Yeah, I'm awesome!  

Don't forget to enter my Pink Ribbon Sports Bottle Giveaway!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pink Ribbon Giveaway

After a month of blogging, I've reached 1000 page views!!  Woo-Hoo!  Who knew so many would read, and how many great runner friends I would make!?  Thanks y'all!  So to celebrate... and I like to celebrate just about anything good.  It's all the small things that add up to really great life, ya know?!   I introduce my first giveaway!

As many of you know, I am currently fundraising to fight breast cancer through my program called Cupcakes4Cure.  This spring I will run the  Illinois Half-Marathon and the Peoria Komen Race for the Cure 5K.  During my training, I pledge to run over 300 training miles and raise over $1000 to be donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure - Peoria Memorial.   Why run?  I believe running makes women stronger and healthier, both physically and mentally, to survive anything life throws our way.  I run in memory of my grandmother who lost the battle to breast cancer, as well as a local mommy friend who currently tackles chemo while managing her family of four and continues full-time work through it all.  Strength is all I can say!

Visit my Cupcakes4Cure website HERE
Much-appreciated DONATIONS can be made HERE.

• • • • THE GIVEAWAY • • • •
Win a Pink Ribbon Stainless Steel Sports Bottle!
Please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry to win.  
Winner will be drawn randomly by my unbiased little girlie
(pictured here... she thought the picture would be better with her in it!)

1 - Run with Me!  Okay, you don't actually have to run, just follow my blog (see the Google Follow button on the sidebar).  Let me know you did w/comment for +1 entry.

2 - Follow Run with Jess on Facebook HERE.  Let me know you did w/comment for +1 entry.

3 - Visit my Komen for the Cure fundraising page HERE.  Tell me what you think w/comment for +1 entry.  BONUS ENTRIES for every $ you donate... be sure to leave your name!

4 - Blog about this giveaway with a link back to here.  Let me know you did w/comment for +1 entry.

5 - Facebook post about this giveaway with a link back to here.  Let me know you did w/comment for +1 entry.

6 - Add Run with Jess to your blog roll.  Let me know you did w/comment for +1 entry.

One Winner.  Enter now through Sunday, March 6.  Thank you for participating and GOOD LUCK!  If you would like your product or website featured on Run with Jess, please email me at

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mail Call

I love getting goodies in the mail (even if I did pay for them!).  Something about a package that gets all of us excited... as soon as we see it coming to the door, the kids and I (hubby too when he's home) run to the door to meet the delivery guy... Who is it for?!

Yesterday, my clearance score from RunningSkirts came... this navy/aqua running skirt (with built-in compression shorts) for under $25.  Now to find a matching top and give it a test run!  Actually, I wore it around the house most of the day yesterday... super comfy material and oh-so cute!

Then I received this cool 2011 Calendar from U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services.  Not sure where I signed up for it, but it's chalk full of useful information on everything from illness prevention/treatment to in-depth diagrams of the female body.  Even a page of fun stickers to mark your calendar with events.  (Hey, even mommies like stickers!)

Last weekend when we were at the hotel, I got sucked into an infomercial for Turbo-Fire. Frustrated with my weight-loss, they had me hooked and I bought it.  The box came today.  I can't deny... I'm super excited to try the Turbo-Fire DVD Series.  I've always liked Charlene Johnson as a cardio instructor.  And I actually needed the resistance bands and tape measure.  But in all seriousness, where am I going to fit this into the schedule?!  Check out the program HERE, but I'm warning you, hide the phone/credit card first!

To top off the day's excitement, my People magazine arrived too (Shameless I know, but I'm a total addict to this publication!)

Another package sits here begging me to open it, but it has Hubby's name on it... Hmmmm, do I or don't I??  hee, hee... What's in your mailbox today??  Anything fun?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Runner on a diet

Everyone always assumes you lose a bunch of weight while training.  With all that running, how can you not shrink, right?!  Unfortunately, that has not been the case for me.  I have to watch everything I put into my mouth in order to shed the pounds.  When training, it seems I'm more hungry than ever.  Not a good combination.  However, I am determined to get down to 145 before my training this summer for the Rock 'n Roll Marathon - St. Louis.

My exercise burn is spot-on.  Time to get the eating under control.  So yesterday I did some kitchen cleaning (again!)  Unhealthy leftovers were dumped. Perfectly good cupcakes found a home in the garbage.

After a trip to the store, we stocked up on foods to make healthy meals and snacks.  Thankfully, my husband was eager to "reset" with me as well.  Back on the healthy train.  Choo-choo! 

And when I get on that healthy kick, even my kids' meals get a makeover.  Thankfully, I do not have picky eaters.  Pride literally shivered through me when the first thing they both grabbed was the broccoli... and then asked for more!  :) 

I spent the evening watching Biggest Loser, making out meals plans for the week, and entered my day into My Fitness Pal website.  It's a good day when you burned more calories than you ate!  Great start to "The Reset."

This morning I began with an incredibly yummy oatmeal concoction (fuel to start up the metabolism!) with bananas, strawberries, raisins, walnuts, and dates.

Today's workout was a 45 min Spinning class, followed by 25 min weight circuit, and 10 min on the Endless Rope.  Today I feel GREAT! (Thanks bloggy-friends for all the kind words yesterday when I was so frustrated.)

Up Next (Thursday):  TEMPO - 2m warmup, 5m tempo run at mid-tempo pace (9:30), 1m cooldown.

 •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

When you make a serious effort to lower your weight, is it a family affair?
...or are you stuck with a Lean Cuisine while the rest of the family chows on lasagna?

 •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interval this!

Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training ProgramSo it's week four - day 23 - on the training program
from "Run Less, Run Faster" and I gotta confess...

I hate. hate. really hate.
these intervals! 

On the agenda today was 3x1600.  I came up short and am so frustrated with myself.  I literally sat down on the treadmill and spilled tears after my seven miles were complete.  I know... seems silly, but I feel in a rut right now (both weight-loss and the training).  So here's how it went down this afternoon on the basement treadmill....

2 mile warmup @ 5.5-5.8 mph
2 x 1600 (1 mile) @ 8:41 pace or 6.9mph
Just couldn't finish the 3rd interval so instead...  2 x 800 @ 8:41 pace
Rest intervals were more like 2 minutes each instead of 90 sec.
1.5 mile cool down
TOTAL: 7 miles in 71 minutes
50 situps, 50 tricep extensions and 35 kickbacks

Time to relax this evening and watch my favorite TV show, The Biggest Loser.  I need whatever motivation Bob, Jillian, Kara and Brett have in store for me tonight.  In my own way of trying to put a positive spin on my difficult run this afternoon, I leave you with these quotes...

"An obstacle is often a stepping stone."  

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed is always
to try just one more time." ~Thomas Edison

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dog-gone Monday

It's just the kind of day I'm having.

Alright, they don't exactly look like this,
but it's all I see when one is hot on my trail!! 
I woke up around 5:30am to the sounds of snoring, which is uncommon... not the snoring, but hubby still in bed.  It's President's Day, so we get him home all day.  Since I can't fall back asleep, I decide to sneak out for a little run.  Temp reads 37˚, little wind, o-yeah... we're good to go!  I hit a quick 5K route around the neighborhood, and despite the misty rain that began shortly after the start, it was a nice run to start my day.

Wait... what stinks?!  Oh-crap!  Exactly. Dog crap to be exact.  Back inside the house, I notice huge mushy chunks stuck to the bottom of my shoe.  ugh.  I swear, if the neighbor dogs aren't on the loose chasing after me, their sh*t is still there to get me.  Something about me and dogs.  We just don't mesh.

The crap didn't stop there.  Within the next hour, Little Girl wet the bed (our bed, she crawled in with daddy after I left), and I spilled coffee all over myself during preschool drop (good cup, wrong lid!).  Needless to say when I arrived at Spin class, I was rearing to GO!  After a spinning sweat-fest, two more miles on the track and a 15 minute session on the Endless Rope machine... I'm ready to face the day (again).  Happy Monday y'all!
TOTAL:  5+ miles and 65 minutes of cross-train

Up Next (Tuesday):  INTERVALS - 3x1600 at 8:45 pace with 90 second intervals.  Ick.  I think I'd rather go back and do those 12x400's.

The weight is not coming off as planned.  Believe me, I know why... too much of the wrong food!  So I've downloaded the FitnessPal app onto my iPhone.  Back to counting calories.  How do you manage the food intake to reach your ideal weight?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vacation Run

A vacation smack in the middle of your training doesn't have to throw you off schedule.  On the contrary, it gave me a fabulous long run in new territory.  As I packed the suitcase full of swimsuits and towels for our weekend getaway to an indoor waterpark resort, I included my pair of Asics and some warm running gear.  Before we left, I did some research on to get myself familiar with the city of Burlington, Iowa, and check out any pre-established routes by the local runners.  I mapped out a 10.5 mile route starting at our hotel, heading to the Mississippi River, hitting every little park on the way.  Note to self... next time check out the elevation chart before you start.  Nothing like a monster hill for your warmup and again for the cooldown!  Ouch!
Elevation chart for my fun 10.5 mile long run on Saturday

I woke up at 6am to sneak out while the family slept only to find my iPhone dead (no GPS + no music = no run for this momma!).  After an hour charge, I finally greeted the Iowa morning sun around 7:15am.  And oh- how it gleamed at me...

Once I got past that first major hill, I quickly came upon the first park, where I was greeted by these darling little bridges to run cross.

Shortly thereafter, I lost my direction "cheat sheet," so I focused on the street names to remember the correct turns.  By the time I found the next park, I had already hit 5 miles and was in pure heaven with paths and bridges in every direction calling my name...

And finally my first view of the mighty Mississippi River!  Absolutely gorgeous... this is why morning runs are so worth getting out of bed when the rest of the city sleeps.

Needless to say, my time/pace is sucking wind by now - but I'm enjoying every step as I drink in the scenery (and capture all these beautiful pictures to share with you).

By time I exit the third park, the GPS reports I'm already at 7 miles.  By far, the most enjoyable 7 miles I've ever done.  I step up the pace and head back to the hotel.  It's time to stop sightseeing and get back before 1) my iPhone dies again - it was only half charged when I left, and 2) my kids have got to be awake, pestering Daddy every minute to hit the waterpark.  I run like the wind... until that monster incline on the way back.  ugh.  Music dies at the 10 mile mark, but thankfully there are plenty of birdies to chirp me in for the last half mile.
TOTAL:  10.5 Miles.  Time, pace... really, who cares?!  Not me - I'm on VACATION!

What better way to wrap up a fabulous run than the sight of two eager little girls all ready to swim?
My girls gaze overtop the waterpark - ready to swim!?!

And a yummy recovery drink waiting for me!
Sweet chocolate baby!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Girly Girl

Sometimes a girl just needs some old fashion pampering to pull herself out of a funk.
So that's just what I did.

It was just me and the little girlies yesterday, so we did what girls do best...  SHOPPING!  I picked up this cool new tank top in hot pink/black, and I gotta gush... what a deal for only $10!!  Moisture-wicking material, super-soft, with a thin built-in bra.  The girls scored some new shoes, and I grabbed an arm band carrier for my new iPhone... let's see how this works?!
I love shopping for new running gear!

We wrapped up the evening with pedicures for all of us.  Oh, how I love to run on fresh feet!!

Pretty feet are just more fun to run with, don't ya think?!

The evening ended perfectly with an hour in bed of reading before a good night's sleep.... which brings me to this morning.  I felt fresh, ready and excited to tackle my tempo run.  After a sluggish couple days, I was ready to spring out of it.

So down to the basement we went.  With a double episode of Dora the Explorer and a bag full of animal crackers, I managed to get an hour of uninterrupted time on the treadmill.

2 mile warmup at 5.5-5.8 mph (roughly 10:30 pace)
3 mile TEMPO at 6.4-6.5 mph (9:14-9:22 pace)
1 mile cooldown at 5.5 mph
TOTAL:  6 miles in 60:11
Whew, that felt great!! 

Up Next (Friday): Rest/Yoga  (Saturday): Long Run 10 miles.  We're taking the kiddos on a little weekend vacation to an indoor waterpark, so I'm kindy giddy that I get to run somewhere new.  Weather forecast is good, so I'm looking forward to getting some miles across the border in Iowa.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spin Cycle

I will not deviate from training schedule again.  
I promise.  
Okay... I hope.
Moving that long run this weekend really has me off my game.  Day 17 is cross-training, so back to Spinning class I went.  Even after a good night's sleep, hearty oatmeal breakfast and an Emergen-C boost, I was still feeling weak this morning.  My spin instructor made up a new ride, and it was challenging.  I literally needed a mop to clean up the sweat puddle from under my bike!  O' but alas, I made it through and feel better for it.  Afterward, I followed it up with a 30 minute weight circuit, that I must admit felt better than previous weeks.

Our local morning news did a report on Spinning last week, and used my Spin class as guinea pigs. Take a look at the video HERE.  You can see me a couple times in the coral/orange tank top!

Up Next (Thursday):  TEMPO RUN - 2 mile warmup, 3 miles short-tempo at 9:18 pace (approx. 6.4mph on the treadmill), followed by a 1 mile cooldown.  I have to admit when I did this tempo two weeks ago, I was scared sh*tless of 3 miles at 6.4mph... Now, not so much.  I think they call that IMPROVEMENT!  Big smiles.

New Boston Standards!  Boston announces new qualifying times and registration process HERE.  This will never affect me since a 3:40 marathon will never be within my reality anyway.  However, it is still exciting for the running world in general.  With the rampant increase of "recreational runners," the Boston Marathon is filling up faster and faster each year.  Last October, the 2011 event was filled in just eight hours!

RLAM Sequel?!?!  That's right... The infamous Dimity and Sarah announced today a follow-up to their smash book "Run Like A Mother".  Can you hear me just squealing with delight?!?!  Their first book is like my bible on how to integrate the roles of mom, wife, career, friend and runner into one woman... and not go crazy!!  Titled "Train Like A Mother," the new book will comprehensively focus on how to train for a race and cover the importance of strength training and injury prevention, but with the same wit and tone as their first book. (From Publisher's Weekly)

Weight Loss!  It's not worldly news or anything, but at my weigh-in this week, I lost another 2 pounds!!  That is pretty much short of a miracle considering the crap I ate week I've had.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Boom Boom Pow!

I'm totally off kilter today.  I did my long run on Sun instead of Sat, thus replaced Monday's cross-train with a rest day (I needed it - I was a bit sore after the hilly 10 miler on Sunday!).  So here it is Tuesday - and I'm back on the schedule and attacking Intervals on Day 16 of the FIRST training plan.
Warmup/Cooldown:  10 minute each at easy pace
Intervals:  6 x 800 (1/2 mile each)
Goal:  8:30 pace or  7.1 mph on treadmill
Rest Intervals (RI):  90 seconds between 800's

I didn't mind the 800 when thrown in the ladder intervals last week, but today they were just H.A.R.D.  No butts about it.  I held the pace during the first three intervals, but backed it down to 7mph on the last three.  I didn't eat well yesterday, a bit dehydrated today, and legs still feel tired.  So I'm racking it up to that and hope the rest of the week goes better.
TOTAL: 6 miles

NEW APP -  The iPhone4 is my new toy, and Verizon has finally got mine working correctly (actually they finally just gave me a new one today... but that's a whole other story that you don't want to get me started on.)  As I play around and test out new apps, I'll give you the skinny here... Today I tried out Nike Boom during my intervals (free download).  Concept is that it's suppose to add a boost to your workout by syncing your music to workouts and having elite athletes/coaches motivating you along the way. So I selected the sport of Cross-Training, then Intervals and set it up accordingly to today's workout and goals.

LIKES:  A whistle blows through your music when it's time to start/finish your interval reminding me of the old high school track days.  This was a bit freeing as I didn't have my eyes constantly glued to the treadmill readings.  If you let it, the app will post to Facebook when you start, and friends can "like" your post, which sends you cheers over your headphones.  I had 6 friends cheer me on during my run, so that was kinda cool!  The workout went by quickly - I probably give myself longer rests normally, but this kept me moving.  The app also has a lock setting so you don't hit the screen accidentally.
DISLIKES: The coaches/athletes that give you "motivational talks" during the run are so low in volume (compared to your music) that you can hardly hear them, making it pointless and a little irritating.  The app also seems to be targeted more towards men - specifically athletes who play football, baseball, hockey, etc...

I'm still getting used to running with the iPhone, and how exactly to carry it.  I miss the small size of my Nano and how easily it clipped onto my sports bra.  I'm not a fan of things around my waist or the arm bands.  On outside runs, it works fine to just slip into a pocket.  Today I tried holding it - but my hands get sweaty and that makes the iPhone a slippery little sucker to hang onto.  I tried putting in on the treadmill dash, but the headphones cord was swinging all over the place that my hands catch it too often. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Outside in Feb!

Under Armour is my favorite go-to bras for long runs.  
Day 14: Two weeks into the "Run Less, Run Faster" training plan, and as they would say at McD's... I'm lovin' it!  I saved my long run for today since our Sunday forecast is sunny and 45 degrees!  That's WARM for Illinois in February.  Unfortunately I couldn't wait until the high temps of the afternoon, but the morning was still a balmy 35˚ when I headed out for my 10 miler.

My new iPhone4 with the Nike+GPS app.  Thanks hubby!
I started out dressed in four layers (Under Armour sports bra, tank top, Columbia long-sleeve hoody and a thin jacket over top), accessorized with my Wisconsin Badgers headband (What a WIN yesterday over #1 OSU!).  Today I tested out the Nike+GPS app for the first time.  O-Yes... goodbye and good riddance to the unreliable, inaccurate shoe chip.  I have stepped up to the world of GPS now!  Special thanks to my hubby who gifted the iPhone4  to me for Valentine's Day.

Since snow/ice/puddles/mud are still roadside issues here, I stuck to my neighborhood 5-mile loop, where I knew the traffic would be light.  After mile 4, I remembered just how hilly this route was, reminding me to add some hill workouts into my training schedule (only thing I see missing in the FIRST program thus far).  As I finished the first loop, I refueled with a sample Clif Bar that I picked up at my last race expo, and grabbed my new water bottle that I won from the fabulous ladies at Run Like A Mother.  

My Quickie (unpaid) Reviews...  GOLITE HYDROCLUTCH WATER BOTTLE: Awesome!!  I'm a gal who hates stuff wrapped around my waist, so this is a great alternative to the fuel belts.  It was easy to hold while running, and had a great zipper pocket in the wrap to hold a gel or key.   CLIF BAR: Did the job I guess, but I'll stick with the GU gels.  The Clif Bar had okay flavor, but I found it rather pasty in my mouth.  I'd rather toss down a quick gel than have to chew through that again.

By mile 7, my right glut started to ache from the hills.  Reluctantly, my pace slowed.  However, by mile 8.5 with the end in-sight, I picked it up like a horse on the way back to the barn.  At mile 9, a good-looking neighbor flagged me down, wondering just how far I was running since he's seen me twice in the last hour.  "If you run by again, I'll have to stop you and invite you in for coffee," he says.  Hmmmm, maybe I can go 15?  Ha-ha, Nah!
TOTAL: 10.1 miles in 1 hour, 45 minutes (10:23 pace).  A little disappointed with the pace, but considering the hillwork and snow-stepping, I'll take it!!

Winter in Illinois makes for rather ugly scenery, but I got to test out the camera on the iPhone while running.

Best of all, I came home to find a clean and quiet house.  For a second I thought I walked into the wrong house, but then I found two beautiful girls and one handsome daddy playing a game of Princess dominos.  Could a run end any better?!?!
The playlist that got me through 10 miles... "Run Mix #3" on shuffle (click on it to enlarge)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Running for a Cause

We all run for different reasons.  For me, it started as a way to shed the baby pounds.  But every year from January through May, I run in honor of my late grandmother and all the brave women who fight the ugly breast cancer disease.  One of my favorite races each year is the 5K Race for the Cure in Peoria, IL, hometown of Susan G. Komen (read her full story here).  It's an amazing race day and source of inspiration for me.  This year, I pledged to raise $1000 for the fight against breast cancer.  And this weekend is my big Valentine's drive with Cupcakes 4 Cure (check out my website).  I will bake and decorate over 75 dozen cupcakes... that's almost 1000 Valentine cupcakes over the course of four days!  Sometime in there, I'll squeeze in my 10 mile long run...

Know someone fighting breast cancer?  Post their first name here in a comment, and I will add them to my prayer list.  Currently I pray for a young mother and friend named Tiffany who has two little girls close in age to my own darlings.  She's currently in round 8 of chemo.  I am in awe of her strength!

And now I wouldn't be a very good fundraiser if I didn't tell you how to help, would I?!  So here's the plug... I'll be accepting donations on my Komen Race for the Cure webpage up until race day on May 7.  Even a $5 donation makes a difference in the fight against breast cancer.  Thanks!

Mixing up the cupcake batter
Valentine minis

Yummy chocolate!
Boxes are assembled, time to fill 'em up!