Saturday, May 16, 2015

Runniversary Edition: Sixth Year of run and fun at the New Jersey Half Marathon

I'm filled with such gratitude that I once again got to return to the New Jersey Shore to run my favorite half marathon.

This was my sixth year in a row!

4:30 AM and ready to go
The weather was good and I ran with a few good friends and we ran for fun. It gave me great joy to return once again. For a minute it looked like I might have to be away for business. And actually I was but I managed to get in the day before and still pull off running my favorite race. 

Mile after mile of this race reminds me how far I've come. 

I've had ups and downs along the way but I will forever be eternally grateful for that one February day in 2010 I signed up for it for the first time. 

The bling

Victorious
Next stops are a few OLY triathlons over the summer and then my dream race: NYC Marathon. :)

Do you have a favorite race or a race that you try to never miss? What's your longest streak of doing the same race?

Hope you are well!

XO
Jen


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From Fat To Finish Line the documentary Nashville Premiere

So the last few weeks have been an exciting whirl-wind. I'm practically pinching myself that it all just happened.

Official movie poster! 


After three years in the making, From Fat to Finish Line the documentary premiered at the Nashville Film Festival this past week.

My "industry pass" and screening tickets


Wow. What a trip.

It was exciting and nerve-wracking to think that the film we've labored over for years (and one that showcases one of the most difficult runs of my life) was going to be viewed by strangers on an enormous screen and in a real-live movie theater. 

It started with a little more than half the team traveling to Nashville to be a part of the screening. A few of the team couldn't be there for various reasons and that was the toughest part. It made everything just slightly bitter-sweet because I kept thinking of them and wishing them there. I know that it was hard on them to not be there as well and that made me sad. We are planning on doing quite a few festivals so I'm sure that everyone will get the chance to see it on the big screen and enjoy a festival so that is the good news. 

Aside from Linda who came in a little later that day and Carly who came in for the second screening later that week, the team who was there and myself decided to kick off the premiere day by running a local 5K. It was fantastic and fun. Every run should be filled with that kind of joy.

Allison, Me, Rik, Lealah, Meredith, John

Then we had a nice post race brunch in a fun Nashville spot, relaxed for a bit and got ready for the premiere!  

There was a red carpet and we got interviewed and pictures taken! 

Me
The team and Director:

Allison, Meredith, Rik, Lealah, John, Linda, Me, and Angela
We had two screenings with Q&A's afterward. 

We were flying high and then Runner's World ran an online story about the premiere! How fricken cool.  You can see the article here and they even linked to the trailer

People seemed to really love the movie. 

Here's a girl with her own amazing story who wanted a picture with Carly and I after the second screening. Stuff like this makes all the hard work worth it. I was just blown away:

Carly, Annette, Me 
The plan right now is to do a festival circuit of various cities (I will let you know where and when) and then be ready to distribute for the public by January. 

It leaves me speechless. Who knew that all those years ago when I decided to pick up a pair of running sneakers, and try to run for a minute and made an audacious goal of running a race that it would lead to all this stuff? God/the universe/ whatever you want to call it just works in mysterious ways. I'm so thankful and grateful for this journey. 

XO
Jen 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: Running Strong

Recently Runner's World Magazine reached out and asked if I would be interested in reviewing Dr. Metzl's new book, Running Strong.





Dr. Metzl is a runner and Ironman. You know this guy "gets us." He knows the ups and downs of running, the issues we face, the health rumors we've heard and concerns we might have.

This book came to me at exactly the right time.

I have just been accepted thru lottery into the NYC Marathon (Yay!) but have begun feeling the effects of running. After long runs, my knees get a little achey, my hamstrings a little sore... you know the drill. Dr. Metzl addresses each potentially creaky part of the runner's body in a section called "Uh Oh What's That Pain?" He explains the mechanics of each body part, why the pain may be happening and how to correct it. And by the way, he does this all in a very interesting way.

Dr. Metzl recommends strength training (he has a whole slew of specific strength exercises recommended for us runners) and daily foam rolling. I've begun doing both. I know that both of those things are paramount for me but Dr. Metzl was able to give me the tools to actually do those things instead of think, "I need to do something" but not know where or how to start.

The book has a cool feature, an app. You can download an app called Blippar and when you scan certain icons in the book, the app will take you to videos shot with Dr. Metzl right in his office! These little "Blippar" opportunities are all over the book and another great way to get useful information.



Dr. Metzl covers EVERYTHING in his book and truly prepares you to run strong whether you are a beginner trying to figure out the right running shoe to a seasoned marathoner. There is tons of great information and take away. It's the kind of book you devour cover to cover the first time you get it and then keep on your shelf forever for reference.

Here are some useful links for you if you want to learn more about Dr. Metzl and Running Strong:
Here is where you can buy Running Strong. And find Dr. Metzl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit his website to learn more.

Check the book out! It also would make a great gift to a fellow running buddy!

XO
Jen


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Does Running Make You Fat? Information Overload

Foiled again.

So I lose all that weight, I give up lots of favorite foods along the way, make all these (what I think are) positive changes and then I get smacked in the face with this annoying article:


Now I would've just chuckled this off if it hadn't been for the battling of the bulge I've been dealing with lately, despite my kicking up the mileage, so I decide to click and read the article.

Aaarrrrrrgh. 



So the article says that not only will running make you fat but can kill you too. Terrific. I thought that mayonnaise was going to make me fat and kill me but apparently if you follow a paleo or Whole30 diet, mayo is your friend and now according to 'research' running the enemy.

My head is about to explode.

Somedays I miss the simple old days. I know some of the rules were wrong but for the most part everyone was on the same page. Eat less calories (even if it meant using a sweet and low or some other fraken food) and the more cardio the better. So simple. Not so much to wrap your head around. Not so much information to digest. It's just too much now-a-days. 

My addiction to reading health articles on line is ruining my life.

Here's just a few of the million thoughts I've had recently:

I want to eat more broccoli, but crap I didn't buy organic so the toxins will keep me fat.
I thought I would try agave but then I learned from 2 out of 4 sources that it's no better than sugar.
I tried Whole30 because that camp says it's great and I have a few friends who've benefitted - it was  just OK for me but maybe I need to try again but what about all that fat?
Oh, maybe I should go plant-based because...
Should I just go back to Weight Watchers and point counting? Or maybe stick to the Simply Filling plan?
Then there's Isagenix - nah don't think I could do that and give up coffee
But research says coffee is good for you!
But this research says coffee is bad... 
Ugh. Maybe I should switch to green tea - Yes! I'll have some green tea. Oh, but this isn't organic green tea. Wonder if it's OK? 
I want to do strength training because muscle eats fat (or something like that.) 
Oh I have to do core and hip strengthening because then my running will get better but...
I shouldn't run because it's going to back fire - and make me fat.

So there's the madness... It's just not simple.

For now I'm going to keep drinking coffee, loosely follow Weight Watchers, skip the mayo and keep the running because I'm happy there. Yeah, I'll add some strength training too. The broccoli may or may not be organic depending on my budget and the week. 

Does your head want to explode with all the 'research' too? 

XO
Jen 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TCS New York City Marathon Drawing Day

The day of the 2014 NYC marathon lottery drawing started like it had for the last 3 prior years before. A feeling of hope, excited anticipation and desperate want filled my soul and getting that elusive golden ticket occupied my thoughts.

It's a day where I will obsessively check my email, NYRR account status and credit card statement dozens of times (I now know my AMEX number by heart) like a crack addict waiting to find out the location of my next hit and then the sinking, sickening feeling of getting no update, no obscene credit card charge to my credit card and the slow realization that this, again, would not be my year. The feeling of despair and (I hate to admit) envy as I saw people celebrating online like this:

"Wow! I'm so lucky!! Got in the lottery for the third time to run NYC!" 
"My credit card is charged! I'm in!"
"Who's running NYC with me!?"

And then the final, 'you're not in' nail was in the coffin upon seeing this message on the TCS NYC Marathon Twitter and Facebook page


Well. There was no charge on my credit card, so no dice. I was crushed. Truly crushed. My fourth year trying to get in and I just knew I was getting in. But I was wrong. I was literally in tears and took to social media for a little consoling from my friends.




But then, somehow, a miracle happened.  A big fat, "Miracle on 34th Street" and the rest of the city type miracle because just as I was giving up my dreams this popped up in my email:

Wait. What!!?


Best. Email. Ever.

And then to be sure I rushed to my NYRR account and there was this:


So start spreading the news... I'm running NYC, baby, and I couldn't be happier.




XO,
Jen 



Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I love about marathon training and other things

Hello!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Ground Hogs Day.

I know it's been a while. I'm a terrible blogger but I'm going to work on that.

Things have been going pretty good. It's been a great start to the year for me even though I fricken hate winter and cold. 

I've been marathon training and things are going well. I'm not doing anything crazy long yet (Last week and this week's long run is 10 miles) but it's been going good.

And dare I say I've even enjoyed the many miles... and those many miles have been on a treadmill! I've been able to manage treadmill boredom by really digging into stuff on Netflix.  My longest run on the treadmill was last week's 10 miler and I've been doing just about every other distance on there.  I'm actually learning to really like the treadmill. I don't have to worry about the elements or where to carry all my stuff. I just have to hop on and go. 

Ten Treadmill miles thanks to watching Dirty Dancing
#NoOnePutsMyTreadmillInTheCorner
Here's what I love about marathon training - once you start building those miles it becomes almost like a "light workout" to run 4 or 5 miles. There's something very cool about that.  I'm also loving the feeling of accomplishment as I check off these workouts. 

And I'm super proud of the miles adding up - this month I managed to run 84.27 miles WOW!! 100 miles!! - the most I've run possibly ever in one month. 

the first few days of the year wasn't included in this graph
so I actually ran a solid 100 miles this month on the nose! 
I am now just 'loosely' following the simply filling plan for Weight Watchers. I am still keeping an eye on portion but am just concentrating on eating as healthy as possible. I feel like that is working out for me. I've lost a few pounds over the last few weeks but I'm trying not to be scale obsessed. I had to lighten up, i was making myself nuts worrying about the scale. I'm running lots and eating well. This is enough for me right now and I'm at peace with it.

Other good stuff this month included getting a rough cut of the From Fat To Finish Line film done! The finish line on that is in sight and we are excited! :) I also got to have a little reunion time with my good friend Linda from Fricken' Fabulous At 40

And I tossed my hat into the ring for the NYC marathon lottery again. We'll see and fingers crossed. 

And finally I happened upon a pair of compression running pants from Old Navy on the clearance rack.  They are a little loud for me since I'm a 'stick to basic black' type of gal (OK once in a while I get crazy and wear grey) but at just $9.99 on clearance had to give them a shot.

actual legging purchased
I have to say these are great running leggings (even though both my hubby and son kind of looked at them funny as I left for my run today). They didn't fall down when I ran and the compression feels great. They are on the Old Navy website in black or grey for $29.99 (but there's a 20% off code right now - you type in SAVE at checkout).  I'm definitely going to pick another pair up. This actual turquoise-striped color pair is on sale for $19.99 on the website so I really got lucky finding them for $9.99!

How is your winter going? Find anything good that's running or training related lately?

XO
Jen

PS: The legging review is my own entirely, Old Navy has no idea that I bought them or reviewed them - however, Mr. or Mrs. Old Navy - if you are reading this, feel free to send me an old navy gift card or a free pair of black compression running tights in a large. That would be fab. Thanks!! ;) lol




Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Palm Springs Triathlon Race Recap

It's been a few weeks since my last post and thought I would take a little time on this Christmas Eve morning to catch up with you all.

A few weeks ago I participated in the H.I.T.S Palm Springs Triathlon. I was signed up for the OLY but I didn't train as hard as I should have and still new to a road bike, decided it best to drop to the sprint level.

Funny, I always feel the need to say "just the sprint." I have a lot of friends who might be able to do a sprint triathlon with their eyes closed but it's still really challenging to me - and around 2 hours of exercise. There's nothing 'just' about it.

Anyway - Palm Springs itself was interesting. I had never been there. There were some really gorgeous areas and some sketchy ones. I got to spend some time with friends Angela, her boyfriend Dave and our good friend Scott - all who were signed up for the half distance. On day one I volunteered the bike course and Angela and Scott headed out for their race (half and full distance was on Saturday and sprint / OLY on Sunday). That was an interesting experience. You have to run along side bikers as they are coming by to hand off water, an electrolyte drink or gels. The bikers generally shout at you what they need and you try to make the handoff. It was a little tricky at first but it was fun. In the few hours that I volunteered I had racked up over 10,000 steps on my fitbit!

Me in blue and the rest of the bike volunteer crew
Unfortunately, towards the end of my shift I got a call from Scott saying that he was unable to finish his race. He had a head-on collision in the water and suffered a concussion. He tried to press on through the bike and eventually had to call it a day - I headed back to hang out with him and wait for Angela and Dave. Thankfully he was woozy but OK.  Angela and Dave both finished. Angela loved her first experience with the half.

So I was up next.

half ready to TRI half ready to go back to sleep


Nice sunrise
THE SWIM
Sunday morning and an early rise time came and I was nervous but excited. I had to go through the worse part of my day which is the struggle into my wetsuit. Ugh. It takes a village and a lot of trislide to accomplish this feat. It's never pretty. The water was very cold so I was appreciative of that fricken wetsuit and luckily Angela had lent me some booties and a neoprene swim cap which really helped. The first part of the swim was weird. You could literally walk all the way out to the turn around. I would try to swim and my hand would hit the bottom or I would swim into someone who was just walking. Oh well. I worked it out. And then all of a sudden, when you round the buoy to come back it got really deep! I struggled a little bit in the water - I really have to figure out how to swim more efficiently. But all in all it was OK and I wasn't the last out of the water. In fact I think there was a bunch of people after me.

I look crazy - this pic is so funny to me
Look Ma - no hands! I made it! 
Then it was on to the bike. I really took my time in transition. I had no illusions of winning anything (more on that later) so I figured I'd dry off, have a snack, and just get it together. I think my t1 was absurd like nearly 10 minutes! I'm going to work on this in the future. It's a dumb way to burn time in a race. 

THE BIKE


I just got my first road bike a few months ago but never had the chance to really ride it outside. Just a half a block to the park to screw around with my seven year old, so I was a little nervous about the bike. Angela brought me hers to use for the race so I wouldn't have to haul my bike across the country. I am still not comfortable in clipless pedals so I used flat. It's a flat course so it wasn't an issue really. I'm a little slow and I do think that if I can get over my fear of the clipless pedals it would be better. I was happy that I didn't crash and it was a good experience over-all. Along with swimming I definitely have to work on a lot when it comes to biking if I want to continue to TRI.

The good news about not having bike shoes is that my T2 was considerably faster :) Nothing makes me happier in a tri than getting to the run part. I am almost home!

THE RUN
It's getting hot but I'm psyched for the run. Angela got a good picture of me heading out that I'm going to have to try to get from her at some point because I was looking strong! (Probably more relieved that I didn't crash on the bike but whatever.) I felt good. I wasn't running super fast but I did manage to pass a lot of people on the run. Since I was still at the back of the pack at this point, I figured that a lot of the people I was passing might've been stronger than me on the bike or swim but just not great runners. Since running is what I feel most comfortable at, I passed up the walkers and the walk/runners. I managed to run the entire distance (which turned out to only be about 2.7 of a mile according to my garmin... not the 5K as advertised. I was bummed at the shorter distance.)

Smiling as I'm heading for the finish! 
So I finish and wouldn't you know it that despite taking a lunch break during T1 I actually did win something. I came in SECOND PLACE in the Athena 40+ division! (The chubby older ladies division). WHHHHHHAAAT!? I've never received an athletic award in my life. I grabbed my plaque and ran away before the other chubby middle-aged ladies could demand a recount. :) 

yes, I have the whitest legs in the world
All in all it was a fun day. My swim was about 20 mins for 750 yards, bike was just under an hour for about 13 miles and run was around 29 mins for 2.7 miles. Not fast but not last and good enough for 2nd place. I have a lot of places I can improve on! 

BTW Angela placed in her division too! 


All in all the triathlon was a fun experience. I'm looking forward to doing it again.

The rest of the month has been a little up and down struggle in sticking to the WW plan. I went into that weekend pretty strong but since coming back it's been touch and go. I've decided not to really sweat it through the holidays. I'm keeping an eye on it, making good choices most of the time, getting in some exercise and not flipping out. 

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday!!! How are things with you?

XOXO 
Jen