12 – I made it to the taper!!

I wrote this Sunday night and then somehow managed to lose it.  Thankfully it was recovered!!!

I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief as my longest run to date (and the longest of the training program) occurred this morning and it was a success!


We literally went ALL OVER town.

Due to my other half having a 9a obligation, we had to leave early.  We figured it would take us a bit over 2 hours, which meant leaving at 6:30 or ideally, earlier.

I set my alarm for 5am and actually woke up then.  I woke up the dog, gave her some food, and took her out for a walk.  It was dark as night and cold.  There was no way that that was going to change anytime soon.

I managed to stall for a bit, but we hit the road around 6a and it was DEFINITELY still completely dark.

Thankfully I had two sets of these light up things that you put on your shoes, so we used those.  We also chose to run without music (until it got light out).  About .25 in I saw a deer.

We ran without headphones for about 5 miles and then I was needing some music.  I swear that as soon as the tunes hit, my pace sped up.

While I didn’t feel amazing, I felt pretty good for almost the whole run.

Around mile 8 I had to pee and happened to be at the beach, near bathrooms, so I went.  Ran in, ran out.  Then my stomach gargled and told me that maybe it wanted to visit the rest room again.  I said “no way stomach!” and continued on my way hoping it would just pass.

I spent miles 8-9 thinking about the bathroom.  Mile 9 thinking I just needed to make it to 10 and could then walk if needed.  Mile 10 improved a bit and I told myself to think about my blister instead of my stomach (anything was an improvement).  10 also included a pretty big hill and was the only time I stopped to walk for about 30 seconds.  Before I knew it, I was at 11 and so so close.  I was tired but managed to push a bit at the end.

And then it was done.

I was really nervous about this run.  To me, this run would tell me if I could succeed with the half or not.  Other people had confidence I could do it, I just wasn’t so sure.  But I did.  🙂


I experimented a bit this time since I’ve found that if I have two gels, the second doesn’t sit well with me (which I mentioned in a previous post).

Today I started with two of these:


The instructions say that you can eat a whole bag 30 minutes before exercise.  I was nervous about my stomach so I only ate 2.  Next time I’ll get a bit more crazy and try 4.

During my run I went with this Clif.


Like I said last time, it’s really thick, but i’m still a fan of the flavor.  This time though, I chose to wait a bit longer before eating it.  I consumed it just shy of mile 7, which I think was a good choice for me.

The next two weeks will be spent with experimenting with food and fuel.  The half starts at 9a, which means I’ll likely be up for 3 hours prior, so I should probably eat something during that time.  My sister suggested half an english muffin with honey or a banana.   I’m leaning towards the muffin.

Any recommendations for someone who usually prefers not to eat anything?

So the taper begins!  Nothing that drastic this week, but still.  Only 19 days till the half.  Crazy!!!


10 – It’s really getting closer!

Good evening!  I’m away for work at the moment in Maine and doing my runs up here this week.  Let’s just say BRRRRR.  I hit up TJ Maxx this afternoon after work to buy some warmer gear.  I left my buff at home though and am kicking myself!

This past week was OK.  I got most of my weekly runs in, but not all.  This was mainly because I had to do my long run on Saturday and I really wanted to do it on fresh legs, which meant no running on Friday.  Sunday wasn’t an option so I skipped my Friday run.

The long run was 10. I exchanged emails with my coach and he had wanted us to do a hilly route with a big hill within the first mile and again at the end.  He lives near me, so he suggested a particular road and that’s what we did.

Here’s the usual shot.


I think his route fit the bill.  It was a 10 mile run even though it shows 8.42.  I ended up circling back on part of the route while my running partner had to take a walking break.  Then I also ran some laps in a parking lot during a needed bathroom break.  So my mileage was definitely 10, but I couldn’t easily show that on this map.

It wasn’t bad.  I felt really good until about 7.5 or 8 and then I got tired.  Around 8.5 I made the decision to take another Gu and it didn’t sit that well with my stomach, so I had a little regret…and I was tired.

To me, the fact that I know how far I’m supposed to run makes it so mental.  At 10, my body is DONE.  If it’s 5, at 5, i’m done.  Am I alone with this?

Going back to fueling for a moment, I really have a tough time with a second fuel source.  I’d like to take a second, but either I take it too late or it just doesn’t do anything.  Any suggestions?  Do you do anything different for a subsequent fuel?

Here’s the fuel line up this week:


The first one was new and I can’t say I fully used it.

UCAN is a sponsor of the SONO Half and offered a promotion where you paid shipping and got a bunch of samples.  I figured it was worth a shot.  The product pictured is a different flavor than what I had (berry).  It’s a pre-workout drink.  You are supposed to drink it 30 minutes before you run/workout.

I liked the idea of a pre-drink.  I mixed it up the night before and left it in the fridge so it would be nice and cold.

In the morning I took a sip, and that’s pretty much where it ended.  It reminded me of tums and I just couldn’t get past it.  Chalky and berry flavored.  Yuck.

I’m not completely writing it off, but it will be tough to drink.

I really love the idea of it though, so maybe a different flavor?

And now this tired lady is off to bed.  Sweet dreams!

Running recap

Good morning!

This week was OK running wise, but not great.  Coming off my amazing 7 mile run last week, I was pretty sure things would go downhill.

The schedule called for 5, 3.5, and 3, and then 10 on Sunday.  I did the 5 and the 10, but not the others.

It was a strange week and stuff just got in the way.  I started teaching spin again on tuesday evenings, so at least I got in some sort of cardio.

I ended up doing my 5 mile run on Friday after work, at the gym.  Yuck on so many levels.  I also had a salad for lunch, which I DEEPLY regretted a few miles in.  The run itself wasn’t too bad aside from the lightning in my stomach as I described it.  Yes, bolts shooting around.  Darn salad!  But, I did it.

Saturday I went up to MA to meet up with my parents at a HUGE antique flea market.  I left the house around 7:45 and didn’t get back to the area until almost 8pm.  It was a long day with a lot of walking.  Which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best idea in terms of a 10 mile run the next morning.  Plus, I definitely didn’t drink enough water throughout the day.  I tried, but it just didn’t work.

When I got back to the area we went out for the most disappointing dinner ever.  it was a new restaurant so we had high hopes and were incredibly disappointed.  Bummer!  This hiccup also messed with my pre-run nighttime fueling.

Sunday morning brought the run.  We went out a little later than usual, maybe around 7:30/7:45.  It was not a good run for me and had way more walking than I would have liked.  I took a bunch of walking breaks.  One during mile 5, and then lots during miles 7, 8, and 9.  I did do it though and in under 2 hours.  So it was slow, but it is what it is.  Since i think I know the reason(s) for the difficulty I hopefully won’t make them again.

I tried a new fuel for this run.


This is the brand that my sister prefers.  It’s only available online (I think) so she gave me two to try.

The verdict?  I actually didn’t like it.  It was much thinner, which is what she likes about it.  I found it to be a bit gritty and it didn’t sit very well with my stomach (that could have been just a coincidence).

Back to the Gu/Clif.

I got my final schedule, which is four weeks.  Yikes!!!!!  The next two weeks are made to be tough and then the following two are taper periods.  We’ll see how it all goes!

Have a good week!

Make this soup immediately

Every time I make this soup I want to tell everyone I know that they really need to make it.

Without too much rambling, here’s the recipe with my comments in parenthesis.

Bobby Dean’s Lasagna Soup


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed  (the last few times i’ve used chicken and spinach or chicken and kale sausage)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (I use a red pepper because I really don’t like green peppers)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth (I like Emeril’s boxed broth)
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (Hunts)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (Hunts)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles) – (this last few times I used gluten free lasagna noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I don’t use the basil because i’m lazy)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (most of the time I don’t use any cheese, but occasionally a parmesan sprinkle)
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese (see above comment)
8 Whole-wheat breadsticks or grissini (optional) (never used this)


Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes. (my sausage never browns, but it cooks, so that’s all that matters)

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Serve with the breadsticks, if using. (whole-wheat lasagna noodles take a little longer to cook.)

It’s really simple and so delicious!  I’ve never had to tweak anything when I’ve made this.  I also made a vegetarian version once, using vegetable stock and veggie-sausage.  It wasn’t bad, definitely worth a shot if you’re a veg.

If unlike me you can only eat soup when it’s cold, bookmark this recipe and make it when you’re ready.  It rocks!!!

A wedding

In keeping with the theme of clothing related posts, I figured I’d throw this one out there.

I have a wedding to go to in October.  Of course it’s October 17th, the same day as the half marathon.

So after running 13.1 miles, I get to get dressed up and go to a wedding.  Yay.  Sense a little sarcasm there.

I had what I thought to be an ingenious idea…I’d wear a long dress so that I could a) wear compression sleeves b) possibly wear flip flops or sneakers and c) maybe just wear comfy flats.

Has anyone had a similar situation?

I’m actually really digging some long dresses, so that part will work out well.  I just have no idea of the condition of my legs and/or feet and just thinking about having to walk around in heels makes me a little nauseous.




I buy way more workout gear than work clothing, which is funny because I spend way more time at work (unfortunately).

I love buying new gym clothes.  I love color and pattern!

For the half I want to have a special outfit and I want it to be loud and colorful.

I had my eyes on a pair of green Athleta capris, so imagine my excitement when my parents and sister got them for me for my birthday.  🙂


Love them! (I already have them in a bright blue.)

Saturday we went to Old Navy during our errand flurry and I bought this running hat.


In my head I thought they might match, but now I’m not so sure.  Although I don’t need to match, I just need to be COLORFUL!!  My other running hat is bright pink, so that’s an option too.

I’ve also toyed with finding a top with a clever/funny saying, but haven’t found anything that really resonated with me.

Plus, I have no idea of what the weather is going to be like in mid October.

For Saturday’s run I actually wore my blue capris with neon pink and black calf sleeves.  It was pretty atrocious but I just didn’t care.

Any recommendations for clever sayings or good websites for colorful workout gear?

Long weekend recap

It was so nice to have a long weekend!  Work has really been frustrating me, so the extra time away from the office was wonderful.

We closed at 3 on Friday and the plan was to go home and run 3 miles.  I knew that a run at 3:30 wasn’t going to happen because of when I had eaten lunch, so we decided to wait a bit.  During that time, a neighbor came by offering us oysters, which needed to be used quickly, so we changed our plans and instead decided to go to a friend’s house and push the run to Saturday, which was fine with me.

Saturday we got up and did our 3.  We went out a little later than usual because the weather was a bit cooler.  There’s no nice way to say it, it kind of sucked.  My pace was more consistent, but it was tough.  The rest of Saturday had some errands and stuff and then we decided to go out for dinner.

We went to a newer Japanese restaurant in the area.  I had soup and two delicious rolls.  I got scary excited that they had an avocado peanut roll.  It’s one of my favorites and something that I hadn’t seen on a menu in a while.  While the flavor is really good, it’s also a texture thing.  Yum!  It was a really good dinner.

Lying in bed Saturday night I was actually looking forward to my run on Sunday.  I was thinking about the feeling of freedom and just being alone with my music and nature.  So when the alarm went off at 6, I got up, got dressed, and headed out.  I think it was probably about 6:40 by the time I left.  (It’s so crazy to me that sunrise is now after 6:20.)

I decided to do an out and back route that was part of our 10 mile.  It’s a quiet part of town so there’s not much car traffic, plus it’s nicely shaded.

For the first time in ages (possibly ever) I felt good from the moment I started running.  My goal was to focus on consistency, not speed.  I just wanted to be more consistent with my pace over all 7 miles.  It’s not an easy route as it definitely has some hills, but as a result it also has a nice share of downhills and flats.  Here’s the route.


You can definitely see the elevation changes in that image.

I think it was probably my best run.  I just felt really good.  I took a Clif fuel around mile 4, which is what I usually do.  I also tried to convince myself that I really had to run 8, but that didn’t work.

I feel like because I know how far i’m going, that’s what my body can give me.  So I thought if I could pretend I was doing 8, the 7th mile would feel easier because it wasn’t the last.  I’m sure it’s not a big surprise, but that didn’t work. But it was OK because I felt fine.

The last .5 mile was tough because of a slight but persistent incline, but it was the end, so it was OK.

I had been monitoring my pace loosely, just trying to keep it around 10:30-11.  When I finished, I checked my stats and my average time was 10:36 and my range was 10:23-10:45 or so, which was just what I had been hoping for.  I was thrilled!

I got home and did some stretches and foam rolling and then it was busy busy busy because we had a pizza event in the afternoon.  The event was fine, but I was impressed that even with being on my feet all day, my legs felt OK.  My knees were sore as they usually are, but so much better than they have been.  It was great!

I really hope that my next long run doesn’t end up being the opposite, so i’m going to do all I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Maybe sushi should be my pre-run meal?

My fuel of choice for that run?


The verdict?  Pretty good.  It tasted good, but was very thick.  I’d use it again.  But if you don’t like thick stuff, then this probably isn’t for you.  I have a couple called “Second Surge” which is what my sister uses and she said they’re much thinner.  Will of course let you know when I try them.

I also did this run looking like a robber.

Not me, that's a famous golfer.
Not me, that’s a famous golfer.

While i’m loving the cooler temps, my lungs are not loving the cooler air.  I’ve always been sensitive to breathing cold air, so I guess it’s not a real surprise.  After doing a few runs in the cooler temps and struggling with my breathing I decided to break out my Buff.  I kept it on for most of the run and I honestly think it made a huge difference.  I may have scared some cars passing by, but it is what it is.  Another possible reason for it being such a good run?

Monday morning I was teaching a spin class (hooray!!).  It was a Labor Day class at 8:15.  It’s a gym I really want to teach at, so it was good to test the waters.  Class was good.  The room has 49 bikes, which is nuts!  I’d say it was about half full, which is fine for a holiday (and an instructor that no one knew).

I had a couple of people come up to me after to say how much they enjoyed the class, which is a GREAT thing!  I really do love teaching!

After that we did some cleaning and prep and then had friends over for a Labor Day BBQ, which was lovely.

It was a nice weekend made that much better but the moderate temps (with the exception of Monday).

39 days till the half!!!

Do you have a traditional pre-run meal?  Do your lungs burn in the cold?  Favorite fuel?

I’m here! (with lots to say)

My last blog post dropped the bomb that was/is my hernia.  As a result of that diagnosis, I took off over a full week from working out/running.

I had my CT Scan last Wednesday.

By last Saturday I was actually feeling much better, but since my appointment with the surgeon was on Monday, I figured i’d wait it out.

The appointment was uneventful for the most part.  The hernia had actually popped back in (real techincal term here) so it had resolved itself.  That said, it’s not a guarantee that it won’t come back.

Given that the half is about a month and a half away, I wanted to do everything I could to assure that I’d be OK to run.  The options were as follow:

A) Have surgery ASAP.  Surgery would be robotic and therefore recovery would be 1-2 weeks.  I felt that as long as I was able to run 3+ weeks before the half, I’d be OK.  I’d also train really hard leading up to the surgery.  Who cares if it got worse, I was having surgery.

B) Do nothing.  Because it healed itself, I was perfectly fine going about my life.  That said, I’d have to hope that nothing aggravated it in the next month and a half.

I consulted my crew and we all decided that I should try to schedule it ASAP.  Well, apparently the OR wasn’t on board with this plan, and then had nothing available in the next three weeks.  Therefore it seems that the decision was made for me.  Option B it is.

So i’m back to training but doing everything I can to not lift, since it’s likely that lifting or straining is what caused the issue, not running.  I had actually really wanted to get back to weights, but will now “wait” (haha).  Right now the goal is just to make it to and complete the half.  My focus is only on cardio and losing a few pounds.

Monday night after my appointment I went out for a test run.  3 miles.  The weather here was MISERABLE.  Hot and humid.  Lovely.  I officially made it 2.7.  I literally had to stop and walk, but it was related to the weather, not my hernia, so that’s OK.  What was weird, was that I was faster than usual.  My first two miles were 10:06 and 9:49.  What???

My comfortable easy pace is about 10:47, my slight effort pace is around 10:20.    Between 10-10:20 to me is fast.

I knew I was going too fast so I tried to slow down, but I just couldn’t.  It was weird.  It was like I could push or I could stop and walk.  I ran up to 2.2 and then the last half mile was a mix of walking and running.

I felt good knowing I did something.

Tuesday was supposed to be 5 miles (Monday was supposed to be an off day).  Instead I made it a cross training day and did 45 minutes on the spin bike.  I’ve been spinning consistently for about 10 years, teaching for about of those.  Since my gym closed, I haven’t been on a spin bike, which means it had been over a month since I’d been on a bike.  It felt really good to get back to it.  I’m definitely ready to teach again!

I managed to give myself a good butt kicking, which is always a good thing.  My legs and butt are a bit sore.

This morning I was going to go out and do my 5 miles.  I’m so bored with my route, so I mixed it up a bit.


The route ended up being 6 miles but I stopped running at 5.  There were way more hills than I expected and it kicked my butt.

My pacing is completely out of whack.  I really need to work on being more consistent.  Prior to the hernia episode, I was really good about being consistent and not going too fast.  It was effortless.  My body knew where it needed to be and stayed there.  Unfortunately it seems that that is no longer the case.

My breakdown:
Mile 1 – 10:23
Mile 2 – 9:21 – WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?  I think it’s mostly downhill, but still.
Mile 3 – 10:06
Mile 4 – 11:07 – I took a little walking break
Mile 5 – 12:58 – lots of walking here

NOT GOOD.  That’s a range of over 3 minutes between my fastest and slowest…although that last mile had way  more walking than I’d like to admit.

I’m a little discouraged, but I will get over it and back to being consistent Jessica.

Have you ever had a similar slip up?  Where things were good and then all of a sudden something changed?

My thoughts on why this run was so miserable:  allergies and tired legs.  Is that the case?  Maybe.

So that’s one long post and enough from me.

44 days till race day!