Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Race Salute!

Welcome to all my new followers.  So many of you joined in for the Jelly Bean race, and I hope I stay interesting enough for you to keep reading!   I've been a bad blogger friend, but I will get around to visit your blogs as soon as I can.

I leave for Champaign in a few short hours and still haven't even decided on a race outfit.  Somehow the royal wedding took precedent this morning?!  The weather is looking good for the Illinois Marathon, but I'm not counting my eggs yet.  We'll have comfortable temps, escape the rain, but will have to fight through some spring wind.  I'll take it.

Every run this week, I have envisioned the Finish Line... the loop around the stadium, the final climb to the entrance, and the dash across the football field to cross at the 50-yard line.  That part I've got down... it's the rest of the race I'm unsure about!  

It's the last weekend in April and there are a lot of races this weekend!  Good Luck to each and every one of you!  This is my Race Salute to you!!!  You've trained for this... now go kick some asphalt!!  I can't wait to hear of new PR's and read your race recaps next week.

Kim @ (Just) Trying is for Little Girls - Eugene Half Marathon
girafy @ 365 Days of Awesome - PCRF Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon
Kim @ Book Worm Runs - 10K
Toni @ Running Loving Living - Long Island Half Marathon
Missy @ Southern Girl Running - CPCC Skyline 5K
Holly @ I Hate the Treadmill - Park to Park Half Marathon
Kim Hebert - Nashville Half Marathon 

and all my fellow comrades at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign, IL
Elizabeth @ New Mercies - Illinois Marathon
Barbara @ Running Strong for Hope - Illinois Half
Courtney @ Run Courtney Run - Illinois Half
Angie Cordio - Illinois Half
Marcie & Brian Linne - Illinois Half
Leslie Poppenhouse - Illinois Half
Jennifer Young - Illinois Half
Twix @ Lost and Found - Illinois 5K

If you're racing this weekend (or next), leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Jelly Bean Report... WINNERS!!

All because of my addiction to these...

I got a whole boatload of people to run during Easter week.
Not just run, but RACE their bunny tails off!  

With exactly 199 registered for The Jelly Bean, over 78% finished the race.  I sure hope you splurged on some jelly beans to celebrate!  I know I did.  Thank you so much for playing along with my fun and running the virtual Jelly Bean 5k/10k with me!

I love to have fun, and that's what this virtual race was all about.   It was hard to pick just one winner with so many cute pictures sent my way.  These three are deserving of an Honorable Mention...
Skinny Mary-Michael



and the winner of a "Run with Jess" prize pack for the BEST COSTUME is...

Katie Stemp, with her mom and sister, put some fun thought into their costumes.  They dressed in yellow to be matching PEEPS... (from left-right)  Peeping Tom, Peep Show, and Little Bo Peep.  I love good creativity!  Nice work ladies!

Your pictures inspired more fun honorable mentions
(no prizes, but a mention on my blog is prize enough, right?!)

Have no doubt about it, a lot of sweat went down last week,  but Toni takes the cake!

Coming back from surgery, Beth Ann ventured out in the white stuff to run the Jelly Bean!

Kesha ran along the beautiful Hudson River in NY/NJ.  This photo is AWEsome!

This photo of Rachel belongs in a magazine, don't you think?

Katey shows her muscles!

Kim rocks her finishing pose!

I think Melissa is having fun on her run!  I love it!

Cassie got her local running group to join her in The Jelly Bean race.
The Towpath Turtles in Ohio made the JB into a fun group event.  Photo submitted by their coach Sheila.
A group from the Illinois Air Force Guard sport bunny ears for their JB run. 

I love to see running involve the whole family!
This little guy was our youngest runner, finishing his 5K is 31 minutes!

Kim and her daughter enjoy the run together.

Pam even made her daughter a Jelly Bean race bib to wear for the ride!

With 155 finishers + 92 bonus entries for photo submissions, there were 247 names in the Jelly Bean prize raffle.  Congratulations to the winners (randomly chosen by  Winners, please e-mail me at with your shipping address. 

Heather Bean
Amy Long
Carson Cook

Sara T.
Missy Pruitt

Clare Early

Katey K.
Pam Miller

Jessica Hill

Michelle S.
Jess A. (Blonde Ponytail)
Michael Weatherly

Richelle M.

Kim Reed

Cindy Gabriel

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

VOTE: Help me design a shirt!

Back in January, I dedicated two races towards the fight against breast cancer, specifically the Susan G. Komen for the Cure here in Peoria, Illinois (Susan G. Komen's hometown).  Over the past several months, I have orchestrated a little fundraiser called Cupcakes4Cure, raising over $1000 to fight breast cancer.  Now it's time to run the races!
Illinios Half Marathon - April 30 - Champaign, IL
Race for the Cure - May 7 - Peoria, IL

Help me design my race shirt! 

Shirt Back:  I will feature names of survivors, fighters and remembrances.  For a $10 donation to my Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure fund, you may add an honorary name to my shirt.  Click HERE to make a donation; and send the honorary name to  Thank You!

Shirt Front:  Below are 5 choices for the front... Please help me decide and VOTE below.  (You can vote for two choices.)  The design will be printed onto a black tank top.  Thanks for your input!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekend of Ups and Downs

Just a reminder to all who signed up for The Jelly Bean, get your race times/photos in today before 12noon CST.  I have not been able to respond individually to everyone, but please know that I have thoroughly enjoyed your photos and neat messages.  So many runners set new PR's in this virtual race... so congratulations to you!!  I've done my best this weekend keeping up with all the emails and entering in your times, but I did notice this morning some data was deleted/missing... so if you have a moment, please check the spreadsheet HERE to make sure your data is correct.  It's already sorted by first name, so just scroll down to your name.  If something's not right, just post a comment here please.  Thank you to all for participating and making it a fun event!

On Saturday, my hubby raced in a 4mile trail race.  So I spent the morning with the kids cheering him on.  Sometimes it's nice to be a spectator, yes?!  Afterward, we did the kid-swap and I headed out for my long run.  It was rather disappointing, and I'm still trying to decipher why.  I did 8 miles that felt like 14.  By mile two, my quads were talking and my legs were just tired.  It's been a messed up training week since I took a couple days to recover from the Oshkosh Half and then raced a 5K.  But after much thought, here's  couple valuable lessons I learned...

• Take rest days seriously.  No matter how great you think you are, don't run 6 miles on the rest day.  And then expect your long run the next day to feel good.

• After a month of no chaffing problems, don't pick the first warm day to forget protective SportShield.  OMG, I got the worst chafe on both underarms!  It was the main reason I quit at 8 instead of the planned 10 miles. It's really hard to run without moving your arms...

• Friday night fish fry, followed by ice cream, is not proper nutrition the night before a long run.  I was up all night dealing with tummy reaction to the overload of grease and dairy.

These are all things I know... I was just very unfocused this week.

Forgetting about my crappy long run on Saturday, we had a wonderful Easter Sunday.
Do you even recognize me without the sweaty ponytail?

Followed by a joyous birthday party for Little Girl on Monday.
Look at me... I'm THREE!
Check out the cake I made for my daughter!

Now it's time to sharpen my focus on the task in 4 days...
 Illinois Half Marathon.
Bring it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lookin' Good on the Run

Yesterday morning I headed out on an early morning run.  Unplanned.  A rest day no-no before a long run.  But hubby was home.  Kids were sleeping.  The rain had taken a slight break.  And I hadn't run outside all week... Sometimes the stars just align.

I slipped into my new lucy training tee.  Even more comfortable than my pajamas!  The fabric is sooooo incredibly soft!  The moisture wicking lucy tech material is both breathable and absorbing to pull sweat away from your body.  I especially like the top because it runs longer in length to cover my mommy tummy!  Did I mention how incredibly soft the fabric is?  I can't get over how it feels like a second skin.

If you haven't tried out lucy yet, go over to their website and give their cute activewear a look.  Don't forget to like lucy on Facebook HERE. Here's some items on my wish list...

Wanna look cute and stylin' on the run?!
Here is your chance!   lucy is one of the sponsors of The Jelly Bean 5K/10K virtual race that ends tomorrow!  They have provided these neat shirt/headband ensembles (pictured below) for two lucky race finishers.  So sign up for The Jelly Bean today!  For details and registration, click HERE.

Win this t-shirt/headband ensemble from lucy in The Jelly Bean!

Win this lucy tank/headband ensemble!
There are two more sponsors of The Jelly Bean that I have yet to review... two very cool books.  It's been a unusually busy and chaotic week for me, so I haven't been able to finish them yet.  So book reviews to come in the future... but you can still win a copy of these great running books in The Jelly Bean virtual race.  Don't forget... The Jelly Bean virtual race ends Easter Sunday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I ran the Jelly Bean!

I put my bunny ears on.
Little girls too!

And we headed to the gym.
My treadmill at home is broken... :(

Time for me to do The Jelly Bean 5K virtual race!
I did a one-mile warm up around the track, and then I hopped aboard the treadmill.  
I started off at 7.0mph and never let go...

3.1 miles
Seriously, no freakin' way!  That's an average pace of 8:22.
Great Gatsby!  That's lightening FAST (for me!)

Just in case you don't believe me yet, 
the Run Less, Run Faster training plan WILL make you faster.
(but mark my words, you don't really run "less")  
By comparison... my last 5K was last May clocked at 30:46.
Yeah, I've gotten faster... And I love it!

So here I am being all goofy celebrating the fact that I just ran a 5K in under 26 minutes!!

It really is OKAY to celebrate the little victories...

3 Things Thurs

 1. Have you flipped through the new Runner's World Trail edition yet?  I devoured it the other night.  Yip, now I'm searching for a good trail race. This Rails to Trails Marathon in WI has me interested... their website doesn't do it justice, but online reviews scream its praises.  One thing is sure... a trail race is now in my sights for 2011.  Have you run a trail race yet?  I'm interested in your thoughts... how did it compare to road racing?
2.  I'm breaking in a new pair of shoes... Asics GEL-Kayano 17.  I just love how they feel on my feet.. BUTTA, PURE BUTTA!  I'm hoping to race them for Illinois Half in 9 days.  Do you think this is too early to race in new shoes?

3.  The weather stalking has begun.  Illinois Half in 9 days... which means today it popped up on's extended forecast.  The early forecast looks awesome!  Both races I've ran in 2011 have involved rain.  Something's gotta give, right?!

Happy Thursday!  Run Happy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Keeping the Pace

As soon as training began in January, I started juggling goal times in my head.  After six weeks of Run Less, Run Faster training, I was pretty confident I could take on the 2:05 for my spring half-marathon.  (My previous PR was 2:09:13). As April inched closer, the illustrious sub-2 kept infiltrating my brain.  Could I or couldn't I?  So I started pushing the pace on my interval trainings...

Test #1
Chicago St. Paddy's 8K run - I ran my fastest pace ever in a race.  Read race review.

Test #2
Oshkosh Half Marathon - Mother Nature took it's toll and I fell flat.  Read race review.

Third times the charm, right?!
In 10 days, I'll give it another go at the Illinois Half-Marathon in Champaign, IL.

I want to share with you a little tool to help me keep the race pace.  Or in the case of Oshkosh, tell me when a goal has gone beyond reach!   PACE BANDS.  The good folks at Races2Remember made me these handy pace bands for the Oshkosh Half.

During training, I'm pretty spot on with my pace.  I can just "feel it".  But once a race starts, I usually fly out too fast and then get hit hard halfway through the 13.1.  With all the race excitement going on, my brain doesn't always function properly either.  Simple math calculations suddenly become problematic.  While I didn't hit either goal in Oshkosh, I did find these pace bands extremely easy to use and helpful.  Before the race, I latched on both the 1:59 and the 2:05 bands.  As I hit mile markers during the race, it made it easy to see my failure status mile by mile.

The pace bands from Races2Remember feature an inspirational saying on the top... I choose "You Trained for This."  Each mile is detailed down the band with goal pace and chrono time.  You select your strategy, whether it be an even pace, warm-up or negative split or a custom one of your own.  Races2Remember has all the course information, so they create a Smart Pace for you to follow based on the course elevation.  It really is pointless to run an even pace thinking you're right on goal... and then BAM!, a hill screws up your time.

Even though I missed the mark last weekend, I will be reusing them again at Illinois (the course is comparatively flat like Oshkosh).  For only $7 for three pace bands, you can't go wrong.  It's like having your own personal coach attached to your wrist.

When you create your pace bands, you get a nice little surprise at the end... a CHASE CHART.  This was really helpful for my cheerleaders driving around town trying to see me at the mile markers.  The Chase Chart illustrates for spectators the time window you can be expected coming through at each mile.  This of course is dependent on a punctual start time.  Last weekend when it was raining during my race, the Chase Chart allowed my family to stay dry in the car.  As they watched the clock, they jumped out at the appropriate times to catch me coming through.  This is especially helpful when you have little ones with little patience.

In addition to the pace bands, Races2Remember offer cheer signs, tattoos, grace bands, and custom name bibs.  

Do you want a custom Pace Band for your next race?
Go visit Races2Remember website.
Like 'em on Facebook HERE.

... or run The Jelly Bean 5K/10K virtual race this week!  
Races2Remember is one of the race sponsors this week.  One lucky Jelly Bean runner will win a set of custom pace bands.  For details and registration, click HERE.