Thursday, September 29, 2011

At the helm of the class: ME??

The wheels started turning when I ran with my friend Jamie last week. I need to find a way to make a little bit of extra cash.

"Jessica, you would make an AWESOME spin instructor," Miss Jamie says as we're trucking it up a hill on Raccoon Valley Road in Granville.

I agree half-heartedly. One of the many crazy ideas I'll end up chickening out on. But then I got to thinking, maybe it could be fun. I got a secret kick out of the day at the Y when the instructor forgot her iPod and borrowed mine.

Ok, so I send a couple emails out to various people floating the idea. They're supportive. I talk to the spin coordinator at the Y. Now I'm really excited about it.

On Oct. 8 I'm going to trek it up to Wadsworth to get the official Spinning certification. The week after I have a short certification process to do at the Y. Then, if I can get hired at the Y or elsewhere, I'll be a spin instructor!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taper time


The worst part of marathon training is officially over! I did my 22-mile run early Thursday and now I'm in taperville.

Overall it's been a very good season. I'm a lot more confident now. There were some bad days, but I knew I could complete every long run, and I did.

It was strange doing my longest run without MIT. I'm going to watch some friends in the Akron Marathon Saturday so I was up at 3:30 a.m. to do my long run. My friend Jamie came along for the first 16, then I was on my own, but she was kind enough to lend me her iPod since mine was dead.

The run went well. We started in downtown Granville with the plan to split it up into four parts, using our cars as a hydration point in between.

This reinforces the best advice I can give for these long hauls: Break the run up mentally. Just worry about getting to the next hydration point. It will make things so much easier!

First we went east from downtown and onto Raccoon Valley road. This part was kind of rough because of the hills. We did six miles out and back. As usual, for the first three I was achy and mentally overwhelmed because of what lay ahead, but Jamie and I talked the whole way and that really helped get my mind off the task at hand. It was really, really dark out and my headlamp did nothing for the fog.

After the first leg we went on the same sidewalk I've gotten to know really well. I was feeling better for the second leg, and felt strong getting back to the car at the halfway point. The third leg was rough, my legs got heavy and I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Jamie had to leave after Mile 16 so I was all by my lonesome. I was able to speed up but those last six were rough. I went down to the bike trail and ended up having to stop twice, but I did it!

I had the goal at the beginning of the week of running 45 miles. That is clearly not going to happen, but I'm happy I was able to get the long run in. I'm proud of myself for listening to my body on Tuesday. I was going to run six, but after about three steps I knew I had to take the day off and rest so I turned back.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Race Report: Hocking Hills Indian Run 2011 20K

This race has the best medals, made by school kids!
I remember going down to Hocking Hills for the first time for this race last year. Driving in I was freaking out. It was my first 10K and it was going to be crazy hilly.

This year, I was super excited driving up and down the rolling hills headed to Logan. This was my second time doing the Hocking Hills Indian Run. I did the 20K in 2:03:22, finished 7th in my age group of 17, and 104th of 256 overall. Last year I did the 10K in 56:53.

Age group results here. Overall results here. Course map here. Topographic map here.

Nothing went right from the beginning of the day, but all ended well! My iPod was dead and I lost the cable, and as I'm driving off from my apartment my wrist felt kind light. What's missing? Crap, gotta go back for the Garmin.

Driving down I got stuck in traffic twice in Thornville, once for the Hell Run and then for the Backwoods Festival. But all was well, I made it to the Hills, and as I'm picking up my race packet a familiar face waltzes in.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trail therapy

Today is my second Hocking Hills Indian Run! I'm doing the 20K with Beth O. I ran the 10K last year.

Struggling with the loss of Gigi, I've found trail running to be one of the most therapeutic things around. I've been spending quite a bit of time at the Bioreserve at Denison in Granville and it's just a phenomenal place to run.

I did three trail runs last year and I'm doing at least two of them again this year. I really can't wait! My goal for the run is to do it under an 11:00 pace. We'll see if that happens!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The marathon playlist

Who wants to contribute to my marathon playlist?

As I was driving down to Pike County for an assignment this morning I started thinking about what I'm going to put on the playlist for the Columbus Marathon, one month from today. I'm going to build it on my blog, starting with songs that jog amusing and/or happy thoughts, and songs that remind me of wonderful people. So if you consider yourself a wonderful person suggest a song and I'll add it to the list.

I blogged about my Cleveland Marathon playlist here and here.

  • Creed, "Rain" -- The song I started the Cleveland Marathon to
  • Beatles, "The Long and Winding Road" - The song I finished the Cleveland Marathon to
  • Queen, "Somebody to Love" - During Cleveland somebody ran next to me and said "Thanks for sharing the queen". At that point I realized my iPod was too loud!
  • ??? "Cleveland Rocks" - During Cleveland...
  • Bruce Springsteen, "Rosalita" -- After completing the Cleveland Marathon I was so excited to go back to MIT but my iPod was dead so I made a mix CD for the ride to Worthington my first day back. This was the first track on the CD (which is still in my car).

  • OAR, "Heaven" -- Song that got me through my 18-miler this season, and it reminds me of the day they used my iPod in spin
  • Rilo Kiley, "With Arms Outstretched" - Got me through my first 14-miler of the season
  • Aretha, "RESPECT" - Jess F and I got dragged on stage after the Cinco de Julio race. What a fun night!
  • Melissa Etheridge, "I Run for Life" -- Reminds me of Gigi :(
  • Lady Gaga, "The Edge of Glory" -- Got me through many workouts this year
  • Wilco, "Summerteeth" -- Reminds me of my trip to Florida
  • Dave Matthews Band, "Best of What's Around" -- Reminds me of college
  • Girl Talk, "In Step" -- Don't know why, but reminds me of driving around Maine
  • Better than Ezra, "Desperately Wanting" -- Reminds me of high school cross country
  • Glee, "One" -- My favorite musical performance on Glee
  • Bruce, "Blinded by the Light" -- The song Kelly referenced on The Office while making fun of Glee
  • ???, "Midnight Train to Georgia" -- Reminds me of my favorite scene in 30 Rock when Kenneth tries to leave after realizing he is addicted to **gasp** caffeine!!
  • Tom Petty, "American Girl" -- Song they played in Parks and Recreation when Leslie pulled off the harvest festival. I want to try to download "The Pit"!
  • Beatles, "Strawberry Fields Forever" -- Charlie's tattoo on Lost! 
  • ???, "Hang on Sloopy" -- Well, I'm running the Columbus Marathon
  • New Pornographers, "Adventures in Solitude" -- Driving to Pike County today I got the "low battery" notice on my shuffle. I decided that the song that was playing when it died would make the list. This was it.
  • Death Cab, "Movie Script Ending" -- Reminds me of my summer on the Cape
  • Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising" -- Reminds me of covering politics in Maine in 2008
  • Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" -- Reminds me of my sisters wedding
  • Black Eyed Peas, "One Tribe" -- Reminds me of endless hours on the elliptical trainer as I was getting back into fitness
  • Kris Allen, "Live Like You're Dying" -- One of the few songs I liked of the god awful songs they always played at Aspen Fitness
  • Offspring, "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" -- Crossfit at Ohio Krav Maga and Fitness

So here's where I need your help, suggest songs and I'll add you to the list!!
  • Shakira, "Waka Waka" - Reminds me of Jess F!
  • Florence and the Machine, "Dog Days are Over" -- Reminds me of Jamie K (who might join me in my next venture, which I have yet to announce = 0 )
  • Brittany, "3" -- Reminds me of Becky E., we must run together soon!!
  • Linkin Park, "Waiting for the End"; and Beyonce, "Single Ladies" -- Reminds me of that crazy night out with Beth O.! 
  • That song that goes "Bow-chick-a-wow-wow whatcha gonna do" BETH WHAT IS IS??? -- Reminds me of my Warrior Ladies Beth O. and Evelyn H.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm proud of my girl

Crazy Lizzie, the spoiled silly spotted greyhound, ran four miles with me this morning. I'm so proud of her.

Before we were going out for 3 mile runs. At first she completely pooped out the last mile. Then she was strong throughout. Then she wanted to keep going, so today I tried her at four. She didn't complain, she didn't slow, and when she did have to do her, err, dog stuff, she barely stopped to sniff first, just pulled off on the grass then got right back on the sidewalk. I have a good feeling she'll be ready for five.

Lizzie has been beyond brave in dealing with the loss of her sister and my best friend Gigi. I can tell she's depressed, so I'm trying to keep her tired, and running works wonders for both of us. I couldn't help but smile as she lay in the middle of the carpet sound asleep as I was getting ready for work.

This article in Running Times has inspired me to run with her more. The author talks about running with her dog. I agree wholeheartedly, and I'll have to try the interval training thing.
"She's too young to run much; I know I need to give her time to grow and mature. But she gets me out the door, even if it's just for walks. With freedom to choose, I will choose to lie in bed and work--or read novels--all day. Helen reminds me that we both inhabit physical bodies that need exercise and she reminds me, too, that working in spurts is more productive than long slogs.

"We go to a dog park with a half mile dirt track around the perimeter. There I do interval workouts while Helen dashes off to play with her friends. We both end up dog-tired.

"As she ages and is able to go longer, I will push myself to keep up with her. I have found, finally, the perfect companion and training partner."

For Lizzie, my run is a fast walk for her long legs and slender body. It gives me so much joy watching her have so much fun, the wind blowing through her ears and her tail wagging as she takes in all the scents and sights.

Lizzie is 6 years old so I don't know how long she can do this with me, but she'll be my best partner in crime for as long as she's able.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vote for me and Lizzie

"Does this work? Is it working? Is she reaching for the cookies yet"?
Shameless promotion: Offering people prizes to get them to promote you.

Guess what, Fleet Feet, it's working :-P

Fleet Feet is running a contest -- post a photo of your favorite running buddy and get people to like it. The one with the most "likes" wins a prize.

I figure this pathetic look (and I mean that in the most loving way possible) has exploited me enough over the years for treats, walks, and romps with the red ball that usually end with something in my apartment getting knocked over. Now it's my turn to exploit her! Muhahahahaha.


1. Go to Fleet Feet Sports' Facebook page (link:
2. Scroll down until you see Lizzie's begging look.
3. Hit "like"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another 20-miler for the books

The step up to 20 miles, the second longest run of the season, is a rough one.

It's the big 2-0. You're no longer in the teens. You're in the big leagues.

It's funny. I remember this as last season's most miserable run. I remember trying to leg out the last little bit with the 10:30s but feeling so tired that I just wanted to quit.

But my blog from the day says something different.

"Mentally I'm feeling great, race day is approaching very quickly and getting past 20 was a huge confidence-boost for the 26.2...

"...After the water stop at Mile 16 I dropped back with another girl in our group and we fell back to about an 11:30 pace. Two others that started early with us also ended up dropping back and we did our last three miles very slowly. We were all really hurting. It was a struggle to keep conversation going just to pass the time. 
"But that's ok, we got the time on our feet in, we did it, that's all that matters. And, when we got back to the school, there were all kinds of wonderful supportive people there to greet us."
The dynamics of the runs were the same too, in the sense that they came after really, really rough weeks.

But this time, I felt great for the entire run.

The beginning was the same as every other long run. Things were achy and my mind couldn't wrap itself around the fact that my legs had so much more to go. The mental block would have hit if it weren't for the people around me.

And, as usual, I settled in. At the midway point I was feeling strong, and with 6 miles to go I felt like pushing myself a little further. Perfect timing, the 10:00 team was coming in the other direction so I jumped ship. Another 10:30 sped up with me, and since our distances were off from the 10s we ended up doing the last 2 on our own. We kicked it up to a 9:30 pace and ended up with an average of 10:15.

Time and heart rate splits:
Mile 1: 10:47, 164 bpm
Mile 2: 10:41, 154 bpm
Mile 3: 10:40, 152 bpm
Mile 4: 10:42, 160 bpm
Mile 5: 10:21, 155 bpm
Mile 6: 10:07, 155 bpm
Mile 7: 9:46, 158 bpm
Mile 8: 10:19, 158 bpm
Mile 9: 10:23, 157 bpm
Mile 10: 10:25, 156 bpm
Mile 11: 10:29, 156 bpm
Mile 12: 10:15, 160 bpm
Mile 13: 10:10, 164 bpm
Mile 14: 10:18, 167 bpm
Mile 15: 10:15, 164 bpm
Mile 16: 10:06, 166 bpm
Mile 17: 10:12, 169 bpm
Mile 18: 10:26, 167 bpm
Mile 19: 9:29, 171 bpm
Mile 20: 9:03, 175 bpm

Bring it, Columbus!!!

The other side of the fence

Sorry for the lack of updates. I regret to report that I put Gigi down last week. I'm working on a goodbye post but, well, it's hard to write. I have several posts planned, I've been running with Lizzie more and I want to blog about that, and we had our 20-miler Saturday and I want to blog about that run.

But last week I had the awesome experience of volunteering at a race. I'll admit, my motives for doing so were a bit selfish -- you get a free race entry (maybe for another PR at the First on the First!) and a t-shirt. But hey, I figured I'd be at the Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon a week ago Sunday because I had so many good friends running that I'd be there anyway, so I might as well make myself useful.

Myself, some others from MIT, and other random people worked the water stop at Mile 1 and 11 for the halves and Mile 4 for the quarters.

It. Was. Exhausting.

Setting up in the dark. Kim Villena I stole this from you!
I woke up at 4 a.m. to be there by 5:30. The race started at 7. This was my second time working a water stop -- the time before I did it with a bunch of people who don't run and man, being able to do it with runners made so much of a difference. Setup went like clockwork. One person sets the cups, one person pours, a third organizes. We had time to kill until the runners came.

But, being at Mile 1, when they came, we were slammed. They trickled in slowly then we were hit by the speedy folks concerned about every second. Cups of water were snatched out of my hand before I could get into position, sometimes taking my arm with them. I tried to cheer on Karl, Kim, Shona, Larry, Susanne et al but we were busy running back and forth. The steady flow turned to the slower runners, who tend to slow or walk through the stops. Then the walkers, who took their time to stop and rest.

If there's one thing volunteering has showed me, it's that it is much more fun to be slow! It's the slower runners who were hanging out in groups, talking and laughing. The faster runners were too serious :)

We had a short lull to recover from the rush. We set up the cups again and relaxed. Then the quarters started to trickle back. This wasn't nearly as bad as the first rush! I was actually kind of bored standing at the end of the line! It was nerve-wracking waiting for the halves because two of my good friends were trying to PR and I started to get nervous when it was time for them to show up!

I'll admit to being really bored waiting for the last walkers to come through. But on the other side of the coin, I had more and more admiration for people coming by as time moved forward. The slower the walkers got, you knew that meant the more they overcame to be there.

I thought I'd feel bad for the person in last place, but I didn't. She walked 13.1 miles. Even though she came in last, she did it, and that's all that mattered.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Girl Talk is the BEST workout music

Kim B. was building a playlist for Emerald City tomorrow and needed suggestions. I looked this up for her and figured I'd share with everyone. If you're a runner, and you haven't heard of Girl Talk, well... you really should have!

Best of all, it's a free download here.

Some of the best tracks: (Warning, some explicit language)

"Down for the Count"

"Let it Out"

"In Step" (from his previous album)

Friday, September 2, 2011

August: By the numbers

This will just be a quicky post. The stats for August:
115: Miles running
91: Miles cycling
965: 2011 miles
1,398: Total miles
848: Donuts burned