About Me

I read this quote once, and couldn't have said it better myself...
THIS is where I came from and now, why I run...
~ ~ ~
"I knew, at some level, that running was both creating my life
and saving it.  After years of smoking, drinking and eating 
more than my share, I realized that running was the
only path that would lead to a new and better me.  
And I never want to stray from that path again..."  
 John Bingham, Runner's World
~ ~ ~

I've run on and off over since my college years, but I fell into a consistent routine during the fall of 2009.  I was living the "dream life" as a stay-home mom to a sweet toddler and a beautiful 6 month baby.  Yet oddly, I was at my lowest point ever (and highest weight!).  There's just something about the open road and pair of sneakers that makes you feel free and alive again (without actually running away).

Years later, I've fallen in love with the sport of running. It strengthens me as a person and renews me as a wife and mother. Running is my sanctuary for personal thoughts, and yet also my happy hour with girlfriends. I will never be without my run again.

I've run in Asics for years and something about this ad campaign just speaks to me.

You can contact me at runwithjess@comcast.net 

• I love my hair long, and yet 95% of the time, it's up in a ponytail. My good friend Katie calls me "Goddess in a Ponytail"!  I think it works...

• I love coffee. Hazelnut is my favorites.  There is nothing as alluring as that first cup in the morning.  

• I used to believe that running without music was punishment.  While a good playlist can push you through a tough workout, there's something almost magical about the silence of a morning run when the world is still asleep.

• I thrive on to-do lists, plans and schedules.  Something about checking things off that make me feel good. Although I also stress out on them too!

• I love a cold beer or margarita on a hot summer day.  Okay, maybe more than one...

• I am totally game to dress up in costumes for races. Race with me and we can be matchy-matchy.

• Pizza is my favorite indulgence. I love the take 'n bakes from Papa Murphy's.

• I don't watch much television, but I am a big fan of the The Biggest Loser. 

• I'm a freelance graphic designer.  Someday, I'd like to design my own fitness apparel.

• You can take a girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl.  I bleed green and gold for the Green Bay Packers... and am a big fan of Wisconsin Badger football and basketball.

1mile    7:24 - Main Street Mile 2011, Peoria, IL
2mile    15:59 - Trot for Tots 2012, Peoria, IL
5K    24:48 - Hanna City Hustle 2012, Hanna City, IL
4mile     33:28 - Steamboat Classic 2013, Peoria, IL
8K    44:30 - St. Paddy's Run 2011, Chicago, IL
10K    54:01 - Shamrock Shuffle 2012, Madison, WI
Half-Marathon    1:56:44  Bayshore Half Marathon 2012, Traverse City, MI
Marathon    4:16:53 - Eugene Marathon 2013, Eugene, OR

Sprint Tri    1:32:08 - Oshkosh Area Triathlon 2012, Winneconne, WI
(1/4 mi swim, 16 mi bike, 5k run)

Charities I've raised money/awareness for through my running:
2010 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (breast cancer) - raised $550
2011 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (breast cancer) - raised $1072
2011 Indy Monumental Half Marathon (American Cancer Society) - raised $730
2012 Air Force Half Marathon - Team USO (military) - raised $1072
2013 Susan G. Komen Promise Run 1.31 (breast cancer) - raised $1173 
2014 St Jude Children's Hospital (cancer) - in progress now


  1. What marathon are you doing? I'm training for my first too, in September, and like you, I plan to only do this once . . . after this year I'll be content to just run 10ks and halfs!!

  2. I recently found your blog, and I am loving it! I'm trying, ever so slowly, to become a *real* runner :) And I hate running in t-shirts too...too claustrophobic I guess. (Although I recently purchased a nike dri-fit t-shirt on a whim, and it wasn't as bad as other t-shirts.)

  3. Good luck in your training! I'm doing my first FULL marathon Sept. 18th and really, why do we love long hair just to keep in pulled back? I just recently cut mine because I thought I was crazy and I am already dreaming of it long again.

  4. Thanks for the follow, and GOOD luck next month! It is amazing how much you learn during the journey to your first full marathon! Love your blog!

  5. I just found your blog! We must be close! I live in a Chicago suburb and ran the IL half this May too.

    Good luck on your marathon!!!

  6. Fabulous!What a great example for your girls! You rock!
    I too think that running clothes can be "happier". Here in Spain is black, black and black... eek! I wish I could find one of them sparkly skirts you were. I'd always race in it, LOL!
    I too like hair long and ALWAYS (99.9% of the time) have it up in a pony tail. If not it bothers me but can't wear it short... doesn't look nice on me, LOL!
    Can't wear a tank top. My arms are too fat :( But will one day eventually :D
    Thanks for the inspiration Jess!!!

  7. I just came across your blog and I love it!!! We have so much in common. I started my running career in August of 2009 as well! I look forward to following your journey and reading more!!

  8. Hey,
    Great job getting out there in those wintry conditions to stay active - brave, dedicated! Love that. And smart, too - recognizing that you need the right gear to keep you active AND safe. Have you heard of Stabilicers Sports - ice cleats designed for runners? Durable, lightweight and made in Maine. Not to mention replaceable cleats for long life. Let me know if you'd like to test a pair - we think you'll like them, no wait...LOVE them...and I do believe we offer them in PINK! : )

  9. Hey Jess!! Glad I found your blog. I am looking forward to following your running. Do you live in Peoria? I work for Cat and travel there frequently. It would be fun to meet up and run sometime! Or if you run with a group, I would love to join you guys...that might help so that you don't have to worry about me being a weirdo/stalker :) P.S. Good luck next weekend!!!

  10. Just stumbled upon your blog and am loving it! I am also doing Wine and Dine in November -- my first Disney race and I am CRAZY excited about it! Looking forward to following along!


  11. I just found your blog. I love it. It's inspiring. I just started running because of my daughter.She started running about two years ago. I would go and cheer her on. Then one day I said I can do do a five k. So far I've done five or six in just this year and love them. This weekend we did Hot chocolate with my seven year old grandson he loved it. The bug has bitten the whole family. My daughter has done more races ten k's and a half. She is now training for her second half the disney princess in 2013. so far i'm ok with 5 k's. my dream would be to do hustle up the Hancock. But am totally not ready yet.

  12. just discovered your blog! i am trying to get back into running. i haven't run seriously since before my kiddos.

  13. Man - I never realized how much we have in common - similar perspective about running and a VERY similar pace - we're about a minute or two apart for all race distances.

  14. Hi,

    I currently operate www.gorunagain.com, as running blog for adult beginning runners. I recently came across your blog and liked what I saw.
    I see that you also focus on running and have a lot of experience. Next week I’m putting together a blog post about key tips for a beginning runner. Rather, than run through the usual list, about shoes, doctors, and don’t run too fast, I was hoping to get some more unconventional, but truly valuable ideas.

    If you have any tips to share, I would really appreciate it. I’ll be sure they are included in my post, and in return, I’ll be sure to give you and your blog credit for your contribution.

    Thanks in advance!

    Kris Wenzel

  15. HI Jess,

    Just want you to know how much I love your blog. You are such an inspiration! I just added you to my blog roll at www.thesilvahlining.wordpress.com

    I am just getting started in the blogging world and would love it if you would take a look. I'll be posting WHY I RUN in the next day or two.

    I look forward to meeting you in Hartford (i'll be running the full).

    Thanks, Jess

  16. Fellow Air Force family here (19+ year) - I found your blog while looking for reviews on the AF marathon. Your story sounds very similar to my wife's except she is hooked on sprint triathlons instead of half marathons. For knocking out Nevada, my top recommendation is the Twilight Red Rock Half Marathon in September. It is on the outskirts of Vegas. Some other nice halfs in scenic locations near Vegas are Valley of Fire in November, Hoover Dam in December and Six Tunnels in March.

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  19. hi Jess, congratulations on your very colorful blog!

    Just a quick heads up about some great new tools for runners here: http://massagetrack.com/kickstarter

    Warm regards,


I appreciate your feedback and comments!