8 Hilly

Good morning!

Can you believe that this is the last week of July?  I can’t! I have no idea where the time is going.  Nuts!

Last week wasn’t a great running week for me.  I got in 3 of the 4, so not miserable, but not great.

The long run this week was written as 8 hilly.  I’m pretty sure that any route near me would have qualified for this categorization, but since I wasn’t sure, I attempted to find a route that might be extra hilly.

The run was planned for Sunday, but like may Sundays before, I woke up achy and tired.  I blame the pizza parties.  3-4 hours on your feet can do it.  So I figured I’d push it out to Monday.

Of course Monday morning I woke up feeling a bit worse than Sunday and actually decided to call in sick.  My body was hating me for some reason and telling me it needed a break…from everything.

Which means I again pushed it out.  How about Tuesday morning?  Sounds good to me!  Who doesn’t want to run 8 hilly  miles BEFORE work?

My alarm went off this morning at 4:45.  I had planned to leave around 5 but didn’t realize just how dark it would still be.  So I got dressed and then went downstairs to wait a bit.  I ended up leaving around 5:25 or so.  Sun still wasn’t up, but it was closer.

Here was the route:


I don’t know if this qualifies as hilly, but it sure felt like it did!  With every uphill there must be a downhill, right?  The first part of the run was tough, slow stead climbing.  The downhill after felt good as well.  Then it was a mixed back of rolling hills.

Right around mile 6 I hit a large hill and had to really push through that.  The last two miles were not fun, but I made it.  I had to walk a couple of times, but in both instances it was for no more than :30, so not too bad.

This run seriously kicked my butt.  More so than any other run to date.  But I did it, and feel good knowing that the half shouldn’t be this hilly.  Or not.

Just took a look at the elevation map and maybe I spoke too soon.


I guess the good news is that by mile 5 the really bad hills should be a thing of the past.

So like I said, this run kicked my butt.  I got home and was spent.  I did some butt kicks on the end of my walk to the front door and was met with lovely kneecap pain…on both knees.  I’ll have to Dr. Google that one.  But, I did it.  And to me, that’s what matters.

I have my final spin class tonight.  I’m not sure how I’m going to ride, but I’ll figure it out and hopefully my legs/knees will feel better by then.  Post-class I’m guessing I will grab some dinner and then fall into bed.  Doesn’t sound too bad to me!

So there’s my recap.

On the calendar for Sunday is 10 miles.  Yikes!!!  But, if I can do the 10, I should be able to do the 13.1, right?


I Love My Sneakers

I think I made a casual comment early on that I really liked my sneakers.

Well, now that I’m about 160+ miles in, I can officially say that I LOVE them!!!


Saucony Triumph ISO

And what I’m also loving, are my running store orthotics.


For the last 10 years or so (probably more), I’ve worn doctor made custom orthotics.  Unfortunately if your insurance doesn’t cover them, these come with a HEFTY price tag of about $500.  When I bought my sneakers I was due for a new pair but really really really didn’t want to dish out $500, so I figured I’d give an “over the counter” pair a shot.  Worst case scenario I’d lose $50, which was still way better than dishing out $500.

SuperFeet is the most known brand, but those didn’t really feel right on my feet.  Thankfully my go to shop also offered Powerstep inserts.

I will admit there are pros and cons for any store bought insert, but overall they’re great!  They took a little getting used to, but the combination of these inserts and my sneakers is seriously amazing.

Do you use an insert?

Favorite sneakers?

Issue du jour – swollen fingers

Yes, more posts from me lately.

I like to write.  I also think a lot.  So when I have time to write, I do it to get my thoughts out and in hopes that maybe, just maybe, some of what’s in my head will be helpful or at least interesting to others.

So when I am able to post more, I will.    I’d say once a week is still the standard, but when I can, I will post more frequently.

So back to the topic of this post…

My fingers swell when I run.  Back in the day when I used to run a little, this also happened, so it’s nothing new. However as the runs get longer, it becomes more noticeable.

As a result, I try to periodically open and close my hands, making fists, wiggling my fingers, and rolling my wrists.  I’m not sure that it does anything, but it makes me feel better to try…and it makes it much more fun for those driving by.

After Sunday’s run it was particularly bad, so as we walked I put my hands over my head, still circling my wrists and moving my fingers.  I don’t think it did anything, but once I got home, I was distracted and then it went away.

So….to Google I went.  And while I didn’t learn much, I did find this interesting.

Hand swelling during exercise is a fairly common problem. The cause isn’t completely clear, but hand swelling appears to be a result of the way your body and blood vessels respond to the increased energy demands of your muscles during exercise.

Exercise increases blood flow to your heart and lungs, as well as to the muscles you’re working. This reduces blood flow to your hands, making them cooler. In turn, the blood vessels in your hands may overreact by opening wider — which could lead to hand swelling.

As you continue to exercise, your muscles generate heat that makes your system push blood to the vessels closest to the surface of your body, to dissipate heat. This response triggers perspiration and may also contribute to hand swelling.

Thanks Mayo Clinic!

And from another source:

One reason for swollen fingers and toes after running is an electrolyte imbalance. The salt in your blood must be kept in balance to prevent swelling in your tissues.

So if you lose too much salt (through sweat) or you have too much salt in your diet, you may notice swelling in your extremities first.

Both articles also mentioned hyponatremia, which is a serious condition and is typically accompanies by vomiting and confusion.  So don’t take the swelling lightly if it’s paired with these other symptoms.

In summary though, this isn’t a serious issue and should resolve itself within an hour after a run.  Phew.

Have you experienced this?

A 9 mile activity

Good morning! (this was supposed to go up in the morning, but did not)

Not sure where you are, but in the Northeast, it’s HOT!!!  Although every time I’m about to complain about how hot it is, I remind myself that it’s still a million times better than snow.


How was the weekend?

Weekend here was good.  As is normally the case, I can’t even remember Friday.  Saturday was spin (only one more Saturday class) and then a pizza event.  Thankfully the event ended at 7, so I was home by 8:30/9 and able to relax a bit before calling it a night because….

Sunday Run Day!!

On the schedule for Sunday was 9 miles.  The longest yet!  We wake up and put on the TV as we’re getting ready and every single weather forecast is saying “air quality alert”, “stay inside”, “no strenuous activities”.  Just what you want to hear as you’re getting ready to go out and run.

This was our planned route.

to the beach

While we usually run at the beach, yesterday we decided instead of driving to the beach to run there, we’d run to the beach.  To the beach was about 4.5 or so, which made the loop right around 9+.  Perfect.

Part of what I don’t love about running is just running with no destination or purpose.  This run was great because no matter what, I had to run (or walk) in order to get home.  No cheating.  The beach was a great mid-point because it has bathrooms and water fountains.

Given the heat, we both felt pretty good.  Right around 3.75 I started to feel a little lethargic so I knew it was fuel time.  This weeks fuel:


I’ve never taken a gu and said it was delicious.  This was delicious.  So yum!  I think it might have been my favorite flavor yet, in terms of taste.

We took a bathroom break around 4.5 which gave my body some time to process the Gu, so we were good to go when we started out.  By this point it was about 8:30 or so and it was quite warm.  Around mile 6.25 or so, my other half started to feel warm, so we took a quick break in the shade.  We then continued on.  Around mile 6.5, he said he was feeling nauseous.  Conveniently we were right downtown and there were benches in the shade.  He sat for a bit and then we decided we’d take a walking break.  There was an insane uphill coming up and I thought it was best for him to walk it (and me too).

We walked up the hill and at mile 7.25 or so started running again.  At that point he asked me if the fuel I had bought him had caffeine in it.  While he didn’t actually say it, I knew that this meant that he was feeling off and looking for a reason.  I told him no.  We jogged along for another .2 or so and then I knew he needed to stop, so I stopped and started walking.  His exact words to me were “Why are you stopping, you don’t need to?” and my response to him was “I don’t, but you do.”

Given the heat and the risk of dehydration or even heat stroke, there was no way I was going to leave him and since he didn’t seem to want to give up, I’d force him to. 🙂

So from that point on we walked.  I felt good knowing that I felt OK and could have finished the last 2 or so miles, but I know that what I did was the right thing to do.

So as he called it, we did a 9 mile activity.  Not completely a run, so an activity.

Have you ever been sidelined by the heat?  How good are you at listening to your body and knowing when to dial it back?  I feel like that’s a tough one, especially for athletes (not that I’m calling myself an athlete).

Happily enjoying a recovery day today since it’s HOT.  Have a great week!!!

________________ and Running

Some different topics today.

Strength training and running

I know that strength training is important and in the past I’d always been pretty good about getting it done.  Since starting to train for the half?  Not so much.  I will occasionally do some upper body work, but my lower body effort has disappeared.  Why?  Because I’m scared of being too sore.

My current running schedule is Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  I’m leery about strength training on an off day because of the odds of being really sore the next day for my run.  So I think what I need to do is use running days for strength as well, and probably the most ideal would be Wednesday and ???  What other day could I use?  It seems like Sunday after a long run would NOT be the best time for leg work.  But when?  Any suggestions?  Maybe I’ll email my coach.

And what about DOMS? (delayed onset muslce soreness, and yes, this is a real thing)

I’ll quiet down on this topic for now.

Weight loss and running

I’m a woman.  Weight loss is not easy.  In March I started running (almost 4 months ago).  I made no drastic changes to my life other than all of a sudden running four times a week.  Did my weight change?  Nope.

It completely stumped me that adding activity and keeping all other things steady didn’t cause some sort of change.  Something.

I “think” change is finally starting to happen.  I think.  I am however paying a bit more attention to what I’m eating, so perhaps that’s helping.  And I’m guessing the lack of attention to the first topic isn’t helping.

I’m not unhappy with my weight but I do keep hearing my sister say that running is easier when there’s less weight to carry.  I get that.  I want to float and glide.  Yeah right, like that will ever happen.

Other cardio and running

Thankfully I have spin classes two times a week, otherwise I’m pretty sure running would be my only cardio.  I kind of feel like it’s taken over my life.  We used to bike.  It may be partially due to a busy schedule, but I can’t imagine fitting in another activity (see strength training).

Yesterday I was at the gym for almost 2.5 hours.  My plan was to get my 3.5 miles in and then teach my class.  Unfortunately I got to the gym a little late, so I only managed 1.5 before class, which mean that when class ended at 7:20ish I needed to do another 2.  Add in to this the fact that it’s a social place and someone always wants to chat, so that took some time.

But I committed to myself that this would be a good running week, so I just had to get it done.  It was fine.

The 1.5 was harder than the 2 but only because I was talking to someone during the 1.5, which brings me to the next topic….

Talking and running

Help!  I’m a solo runner for the most part.  Or I will run side by side with people, but with music.  Talking is tough.  I got.so.out.of.breath.  I actually had to slow my pace a bit.

Just like I had to learn how to talk while Spinning, I guess it’s the same with running.  Any suggestions?  Do you talk when you run?

I think that’s all from me for now.  Have a wonderful humid day!!!  Another choice running quote from my sis “humidity is the poor man’s altitude”.  Nice!


A word that looks and sounds like its meaning.  Right?

Running was non existent last week.  After coming back from vacation and feeling good, all of a sudden every ounce of motivation went away.  I was tired and busy.  Bad combo.

I will improve this week.  I will.

I’m still tired and feeling meh, but i’ve got to figure out a way to shake it.  Maybe going to bed at 8?  🙂  Wishful thinking.  I’m going to be positive and say that this week will be better than last.

So how was my weekend?

It was OK.  Saturday was spin.  Since the gym announced it’s closure, it’s become a bit of a ghost town.  Staff members have decided that there’s no need for them to show up and the members are dwindling.  Thankfully I have an incredibly loyal group of spinners who will show up as long as I am there.  And conversely, I will show up till the end as long as I know they will be there.  So the gym was deserted, but the class was fine.

Saturday night was a pizza event and for the first time EVER, I ate only one piece.  Unheard of!

I had my audition on Sunday.  It’s been about 5 years since my last audition and I will admit I was nervous.  To date I had a perfect record of getting every class I auditioned for.  It was weird to be nervous about something I am so comfortable doing, but it happens.  Thankfully the nerves went away pretty quickly and the audition went well.  I’m supposed to be hearing from them today with an offer to join the team.  Fingers crossed!

We were told to put together three songs; flat, jumps, hill.  Being type A, I had 6 songs, in case someone had the same song as me, and so I could feel out the group.  They were all songs that have a good class reaction.

So if you’re looking for a few songs to add to a workout playlist, here they are:


That’s a grab from spotify.  I love spotify.  While most of my music is geared towards spinning, it would definitely work for running as well, so if you’re a spotify user, feel free to follow me at jessicabondell.

Hope to be posting about running again soon.  Have a great week!!!



Hope all the Americans had a nice 4th of July.

I actually fled the country for a last minute trip to the Dominican Republic.  The way the holiday fell I was able to take only two days off from work and get a 5 day vacation in.  Perfect!

Some eye candy…

20150705_142535 20150705_142708

What you don’t see in those photos is the massive amount of seagrass that had accumulated on the beach.  It’s nature, so there’s not much you can do, but it was pretty intense and like nothing i’d seen before.  But anyway…

I was supposed to run 8.5 while I was there, but after struggling through 3+, I knew it wasn’t in the cards.  Yes, it was hot, but what really killed it was the humidity.  I’d say it was as high as possible without it raining.  The second you walked outside you started sweating.  Even standing still.

We did two 3 mile runs while we were there.  Nowhere near 8.5 but probably as hard as a 10 mile run. 🙂

I’m a bit off from my schedule and missed incorporating strides as my coach called it (speed intervals as I call it).  Hoping to get back to the schedule ASAP.  This was actually a planned easy week with a few 2 mile runs and a long run of only 5 (ok, never thought “only 5” would come out of my mouth).  I think the break is coming at a good time.

In other areas of my life, I received an email last Tuesday that the gym I teach at is going to be closing.  On one hand I was completely shocked, but on the other I really wasn’t surprised.  Membership was down and the company (TSI) as a whole apparently isn’t doing very well.

Right now I teach only two classes a week and both are at the same gym.  So that means unless I find something quickly, I’ll be teaching zero classes.  I’ve been teaching there for almost 6 years and have made so many good friendships in that time that it makes me sad to leave.  The members want to know where I’m going but it’s looking like if I do go elsewhere, it might not be near the old gym.  Guess we’ll just have to see what happens.

That said, I do have an audition on Sunday.  Fingers crossed!

So that’s about it here.  Just back to the grind and getting back in to my routine.

Happy Thursday!!!