How I Went Sub Two.

It’s been a goal of mine for awhile now to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. Almost month ago, I accomplished that goal – I ran one in 1:57:34. I know there are a quite a few people … Continue reading

Race Recap: Air Force Half Marathon

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks! 2 weekends ago, I was in Pennsylvania, kicking its hilly BEE-hind. Last weekend, I showed the Air Force Half Marathon who’s BOSS. After my rockin’ PR in hilly Bird-in-Hand, I wasn’t sure what to … Continue reading

Race Recap: Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon… or, the Time I Met Bart Yasso

Two weekends ago, I ran one of, if not THE coolest race I’ve ever run. The Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon is run through the “Valley of No Wires” as featured in a Runner’s World article by Bart Yasso called “Running With … Continue reading

Race Recap: Warrior Dash Ohio II!

This happened. On Sunday, to be exact. Yep, I ran Warrior Dash again. I ran it in May of last year with Ian and some friends, but I tackled it solo this time around, and it. Was. AWESOME! I wasn’t … Continue reading

Week 13 Training Recap

I went into week 13 knowing that it would be challenge – not because I had difficult workouts planned, but because I had gotten into a really great routine and that would be tested. Normally, my week looks like this: … Continue reading

Race Recap: Flying Feather 4 Miler!

It’s been just about a year since I started running. Since then, running has become a huge part of life and hands down the best way to celebrate just about anything. Naturally, I was psyched for my first Thanksgiving Day race, and to top it off, it’s my TENTH race of 2011, fulfilling one of my goals for the year! Our original T-day plans had us in Cincinnati, so I had registered for the 102nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Race there. Somewhere along the way, plans changed and Ian and I ended up hosting in Columbus. Thankfully, I had a few really great races to pick from, but like any other hardcore runner, the question really came down to swag: pumpkin pie or a bottle of wine?

Quite the debacle indeed, but I think we all know what I ended up going with… wine all the way, baby.

Pre-race, I was probably the coldest I have ever been. Instead of hanging out in the car, we decided to watch the kids race that started about 30 minutes before the main event. It was cute, for sure, but some of the parents were really driving me up the wall – shoving people out of the way to get shots of their kid, pulling their screaming kids through the race, and just generally being ridiculous. Instead of watching that hot mess, I decided to take a few laps around the block in hopes of warming up my legs, which were aching they were so cold.

When it was time for Ian to leave the corrals, I couldn’t bear to part with my jacket, so I took my number off my shirt and pinned it to my jacket. I knew I’d probably regret that decision, but I just could not take that jacket off… brrr!

As I cruised along, I slowly started to regain feeling in my lower extremities, but I have to say that the course wasn’t big enough for the 4,000 who were running the race. I had a goal of running at least one sub-9:00 mile, but I spent most of the race weaving like a maniac – I probably ran half the race in the grass next to the path/road, all the better to pass people. At one point, I almost creamed a girl who stopped out of nowhere to tie her shoe right in front of me. That’s what you get when you stop mid-race without notice. I felt bad, but only a little.

Despite all the crowding and weaving, I passed mile 1 in 9:17. Around mile 2, I started to get really hot, but figured I’d try to tough it out. By the time I hit mile marker 3, I knew I wouldn’t make it in that sauna of a jacket, so mid-run, I wiggled my way out of it, re-pinning my number on the fly and tying the jacket around my waist. The epitome of class, dontchyaknow.

The last 1/2 mile was all downhill, and thank goodness – my legs were burning by then. I rounded the corner and sprinted to the finish in…

35:13, an average pace of 8:48/mile!

I went into the race with a goal of running at least one sub-9:00 mile, and I ended up running 2…

Mile 1 – 9:17

Mile 2 – 9:02

Mile 3 – 8:44

Mile 4 – 8:17

If you had told me a year ago that I would finish a race with an average pace in the 8s, I probably would have dropped to the floor in hysterical laughter. Despite one of the most difficult years of my life, I’ve worked hard and I’ve been blessed with many accomplishments – for that, among many other things, I am truly thankful.

And besides, we all know wine tastes better when you earn it!

Race Recap: Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon!

The morning came early, earlier even than it usually comes on race day. You see, I had decided that my “stomach issues” come as the result of not taking part in my normal daily ritual of coffee and “morning constitutional.” So, I woke up at 4:00 am, trudged downstairs, switched on the news, and dutifully ate my toast with peanut butter, banana, and slurped my coffee.

I’ve never been more relaxed before a race… I think it had something to do with not rushing around, and of course, partaking in my usual ritual. I think it also had something to do with the fact that my Mama was there – this would be the first time she’d see me run. Isn’t she cute?!

We made our way to the parking lot right by the starting line and found a spot with no problem before seeking refuge from the cold in the Indiana Convention Center. I casually made my way to the start with just a few minutes til the gun was to go off, and said goodbye to Ian and my Mama.

Going into the race, I planned to race for a PR, knowing that although I had just set a PR at the Nationwide Columbus half marathon, I had a lot more in me. For me, this race was the perfect example of flexible goal setting. In my mind, I was hoping for anywhere around 2:10 – 2:15.

The gun went off, and just before I passed the start line, I saw my Mama and Ian, yelling and laughing, and I gotta say… it was the perfect jump start. The first mile passed by in just over 10 minutes – about 10:01. I thought to myself, “hmm, that may be too fast, Janene.”

Then the second mile passed in another 10 minutes, and the third in just under 10 minutes…. and I felt great. No horrible feelings in the tummy, fresh legs, and lungs that barely even felt like they were getting worked. It was at this point that I realized 2:10 was absolutely possible.

A few miles later, I passed the 10k mark in just under 1:01 and change, faster than my week-old 10k PR. I hit mile 7 in 1:08, and with faulty mathematical logic, though that perhaps even 1:58 was in my grasp, thinking that I only had 5 miles left. Math fail. But still, it was then that I realized sub-2:10 was in the cards, assuming no blow-ups.

As a side note, I found it kinda hilarious that I ended up calling Ian a few times during the race, to make sure he and my mom were in places where she could actually see me… I was WAY ahead of schedule, so much so that Ian was pretty skeptical… boy, did I show him. At this point, I knew that Ian and Mom were just after mile 12, and I decided that I would stay the course until about miles 10 -11, and then pick up the pace for a strong finish.

Around mile 11, I started to feel the fatigue of sub-10 minute miles, but knowing that they were so close kept me going. Then, just after mile 12, I saw Ian standing on a street corner, and my Mom running up behind him, yelling my name, beaming and telling me I looked great!

It’s amazing how much of a burst in energy you get from seeing your family! Having them at mile 12 was perfect timing… just as my legs were getting tired, I had that surge of energy to carry me through to the finish. At this point, I realized that if I pushed it, I could go sub 2:08…!!!

So that’s what I decided to do… I kept up the pace, turned a few corners, picked it up as I saw the finish…and VOILA –I didn’t think that a half marathon at a sub-10 pace was in the cards this year…. but I was so wrong. It’s amazing how fast I can run when I’m not afraid I’m going to poop my pants with every step!

And of course, a HUGE thanks to Ian and my Mama – without their amazing support, this would not have been  such an amazing race. And, my Mama LOVED it! I was worried she’d get bored, or too cold, but I should have known better – she loves people & crowds, and Ian said she was just chatting up a storm with all the other spectators, and cheering on other runners… I think she’s hooked, too!

The day after the race, Ian and I took the dog for a walk, and I chatted his ear off about it all – the race, my hopes for future races, and running in general. I think this was a huge breakthrough for me, both simply in figuring out my digestive issues and pre-race ritual, and in terms of what I’m actually capable of. I see BIG things in my running future… I can’t wait to share them with you, but for just a little while longer, I’d like to keep them as my (not-so-little) secrets… stay tuned!

Race Recap: Wellness in the Woods 10k!

I really can’t say much about this race, other than the fact that it ROCKED!!!!

After PRing in the half marathon two weeks ago, I PRd again in the 10k – 1:02:12, and average pace of 10:03 per mile!

I’d estimate that 80% of this race was on the trails out at Highbanks Metroparks, so I guess we can call this my first trail race. I had heard that the trails at Highbanks were hilly, so I went into this one not expecting to PR… but I won’t lie, I was hoping to. My training runs have been stellar lately, so I was pretty confident that I had it in me.

Some things I learned today:

i.love.hills. I charged up those hills like they were nothing, passing people left and right, chicking dudes, kicking ass, and taking names. I passed quite a few people in these 6.2 miles, and I’d venture to say 90% of them I passed on the uphill. Rock. Star.

I’ve got a competitor lurking under the surface. After the first couple miles, when I settled into a nice easy pace, I realized that I could only remember being passed by one or two women that I was absolutely sure were running the 10k. A large part of me knew that I was most likely not going to break the top 5 overall women- I didn’t start paying attention early enough. But, it gave me the pep to pass as many women (and dudes!) as I could – which was quite a few. I ended up 12th overall, and 2nd in my age group! They didn’t give out AG awards, but still…

I am capable of so much more… I feel like I’m on the verge of a really awesome breakthrough… more on that to come!

For now I’ll just bask in my 2nd PR of the month!