Saturday, December 3, 2016

the freakin NYC marathon!!

i remember the day i found out i got into the NYC marathon by lottery. i literally cried because i was SO beyond excited. this is one of my top five dream races && it was becoming a reality. training for this race was tough but i was determined to push through no matter what it took. i had a time goal in mind (of course) so i trained to push towards it. after LOTS of blood, sweat, && tears, marathon weekend was upon me before i knew it.

my mama came up from NC to see me run this race which meant the world to me! on saturday, my hubby, mama, && i headed into the city. we parked the car, checked in to the hotel, && waited for the shuttle to the expo. we were SO lucky to find out about the expo shuttle because we were thinking of takings taxis which would have cost a fortune! the expo was AMAZING!

as soon as i got to the packet pick up area it really hit me. like WOW, this is it, this is THE NYC MARATHON! i was beyond excited. it all seemed so surreal. after grabbing my packet, i went to look at ALL the goodies! i tried to limit myself otherwise i could have gone crazy buying stuff! after leaving the expo mama was tired so she stayed behind at the hotel while michael && i went to tiffany’s to pick up my NYC marathon necklace! to me it is like a reminder that i can carry around with me every day. like a medal i can always wear! we went to my favorite macaroon spot as well && then had dinner.

it was off to bed early && my nerves were keeping me awake. when i finally fell asleep i was so restless. before i knew it, my alarm was going off && i was getting ready! luckily i was catching a bus to the start from the NYC library which was super close to our hotel. michael walked with me && waited until i got on the bus && then it was off to staten island.

it seemed like FOREVER but when i finally got off the bus && through security, i waited for a port-a-potty. i literally stood in line for a good 45 minutes && was at the point where i was in pain. i got out of line && walked over to my corral hoping i could use one there. corrals weren’t open, of course, so i ended up waiting in line for these gross random port-a-potties. after all that FUN, i just waited super impatiently for my corral to open. it really started to hit me as i walked toward the verrazano bridge. like this is it && i am going to crush this race!

before i knew it, the cannon went off && we were running. it was crazy that thousands of us were running over this bridge && no one said a word. then all of the sudden this woman near me yelled, “this is so awesome,” && everyone started cheering. my miles were kind of all over the place to start because of getting up && over the bridge but i was able to settle into a pretty good pace.

running NYC was unlike anything i have ever experienced. there were spectators cheering for us EVERYWHERE! the only place you had quiet time was going over the bridges. it is AMAZING when complete strangers yell out to you or high five you. it gave me a sense of empowerment && i just kept pushing. i felt pretty good for about 12-13 miles && then my wall started coming up. by the time i made it into manhattan && saw my family i was HURTING! my hubby, mama, && sister were waiting for me so i ran over to them real quick. i reached out to my mama && held her hands tight. she knew i was hurting && asked if i wanted to stop. there was NO WAY i was stopping, i was over 16 miles in at that point && i was going to continue to push. they all reminded me that i could do this && i took off knowing the next time i’d see them would be at the finish line!

i struggled for miles && miles. running, jogging, walking, just doing whatever i could to keep moving. my IBS flared up VERY badly around mile 20-21 && when i finally made it to the bronx && saw an open port-a-potty i was SO thankful! after telling myself i COULD do this, that i was SO close, i just kept pushing.

my sister called me (i am able to answer calls on my headphones) && asked me how i was doing. i told her i was going to meet my time goal && push myself. she said to back off if i was hurting but i just couldn’t. i picked up my pace && pushed. just before the finish around mile 25 i saw them again && was ready to push it to the finish line!

as i got up to the finish line && saw it right there in front of me i took off && sprinted it in. that was when something went very wrong. i crossed the line && looked around, all out of sorts. the pain crushed me && i struggled to put sentences together. it was all a blur as the medical support got me into a wheelchair && wheeled me down to medical. i struggled to get in && out of the wheelchair so they had to help me && i just didn’t know what to do. as far as my family knew, i had crossed the finish line && was in the finish chute.

they kept checking my vitals, giving me fluids, && talking to me to see if i was getting any more coherent. i explained to them that i had fibromyalgia as well as POTS && that i had my medication on me. thank god for that because as soon as they identified the meds i was able to take them which kept me from having to be hooked up to fluids. my husband started panicking && calling. when i finally answered && explained to him what was going on all he could do was wait for them to release me. they don’t allow family in the medical tent. after about an hour i was finally released.

my biggest focus was getting my medal! i was put in a wheelchair before even getting my medal so once i had that around my neck i just smiled. i finally got to michael && we had not too far of a walk to my mama who was waiting with the car. jen had to catch a train so i called her && filled her in on all that had happened. it was so crazy && my one regret was not taking pictures when i finished. i was so out of it, it just never came to my mind. when i finally got home, that was when i thought to myself wow, i don’t even have a picture of myself with my medal.

the NYC marathon was an absolutely amazing experience despite my finish. i would do it again if i could && next time maybe take it all in a bit more && not worry so much about my time. i have LOTS of plans for the new year with races.. starting with my biggest challenge yet, the dopey challenge. i will be kicking off the new year by running 48.6 magical miles over the course of four days! i am nervous, anxious, && totally excited.. stay tuned!!


Friday, November 11, 2016

runner's world half!!

let me just start off by saying, HOLY FREAKIN HILLS!! anyway, i will start at the beginning. my husband has come to almost every single race of mine, but this time it was just me && my amazing sisty! so she came over the night before && i did all my usual race night rituals like hydrating, wearing compression, && of course setting out my flat jessica!

we got off to an early start race morning since we had a bit of a drive up to bethlehem, pa! for some reason i had SO many emotions going into this race, but it was mostly nerves. i guess i was really afraid for all the hills. my running has changed a GREAT deal since my diagnosis’ so i really just have to keep reminding myself the my main goal is to make it to the finish line. of course i have my time i’d like to keep it around, but i have learned to throw that out the window sometimes && just focus on the finish && enjoying the race!

let me also say that EVERY TIME i am with my sister, it is an adventure {to say the least}!! my stomach was churning so as soon as we got off the exit i had her pull into a gas station. i did my business && we were on our way, but not before getting lost in some random little pennsylvania back roads! eventually we found our way && were able to get into the parking lot we wanted to. we started to walk to where we thought packet pick up was && after a good mile or so realized.. WE WERE GOING THE WRONG WAY!! we were so beyond clueless at that point && i was starting to get nervous because i had until 7:00am to pick up my packet. with ten minutes left we just looked around && tried reading the map again {neither of us is good with maps what can i say}! a VERY nice girl saw us looking clueless && asked if we knew where to go. we explained we were still looking && she offered to take us to packet pick up. between the three of us we figured it out && the real kicker.. IT WAS RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM WHERE WE PARKED!!! like i said, ALWAYS an adventure. we can now look back && laugh about it.

once i secured my race bib, i was much more at ease. the next thing i had to do was figure out how to get to the start. once i was told it wasn’t too far i figured, hey what’s a little more walking. i had hoped for port-a-potties but no such luck. there were two bathrooms by the start. i waiting in line until the last possible minute but ended up running over to the start with the decision to hold it. not my greatest idea.

the race didn’t seem too hilly to start but once we got into i quickly realized it was going to be a TOUGH course! having to pee SO badly, i made the decision around mile 4 to stop && use a port-a-potty. never in my life have i had to stop on a course to use the bathroom but with a new medication i am on, frequent urination seems to be the side effect i suffer from most. && of course while i run, i want to keep hydrated so it is a bit of a struggle these days.

i was actually surprised to see my sister at one point because i didn’t think there were many spots for her to spectate. seeing your family unexpectedly is always an exciting rush. i tried to keep a real even pace so i wouldn’t die out on the hills but some of them were so steep, just about everyone walked up them! this course was so scenic that it really helped me keep my mind from the pain. i really did love this race despite the hills. i am not one to stay after a race for the festivals but it sure looked fun.

as i neared the finish i looked at my time && i had actually thought i set a post diagnosis PR for myself but i was a little under a minute off. either way i finished under the time i had in mind && was proud of myself for that! luckily i was able to find my sister right away && i snuck through a break in the fence so we could head to the car. i was hurting a great deal from the hills, so she helped me to the car which wasn’t too far away.

if you are looking for a challenging, hilly course, this is a GREAT race for that. i am not sure that i would do it again just because of my goal to run a race in every state. i have to start venturing out more! && this is another adventure to add to the books for jenny && i!! stay tuned for my NYC MARATHON race recap!! it may take me a while to write just because there is SO much to say about that race, it has my heart!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

rockin the streets of brooklyn for half marathon number eleven!!

going into rock n roll brooklyn, my nerves were in a bunch because in the back of my mind i kept thinking about how much i struggled with the hogsback half just two weeks prior. either way, i was determined to run this race && come out of it feeling strong! so just like with any other race, i got together my gear the night before, did a lot of stretching, && got some rest.

the morning of, my stomach was in knots but i got myself together && we headed to brooklyn. i had to pick up my bib the day of since i wasn’t able to make it to the expo. my hubby dropped me off at grand army plaza && went to find parking. sadly i lost track of time && that was the last time i got to see him before i started. i got through security just in time to line up in my corral. && just like that i was toeing the line of my eleventh half marathon.

i did one other rock n roll race in raleigh && loved it despite ALL the hills, little did i know brooklyn was full of  hills as well! i really love the crowd support && entertainment on the course at rock n roll races. it helps keep me focused on something other than pain! unfortunately, due to the time crunch i was unable to use a bathroom before lining up, however, around mile 4 i saw one open with no line && made a run for it {literally}! i have never had issues with my bladder in the past while running, but it has seemed to cause issues at a few races && even training runs lately. after my pit stop, i felt like a weight was lifted && i was able to move at a quicker pace!

i took in all the sights && sounds of brooklyn && even got to see my hubby on the course a few times. another great thing about these races is the aid stations. they are always full of water && gatorade which i like because i usually need one of each! they also supply glukos brand energy gels/gummies && while it was my first time trying them, i LOVED the lemon gummies. i always bring my own fuel to races but tend to try new ones if i feel i need the extra push. i know they say nothing new on race day but knock on wood, i have never had an issue.

the course was a good one but definitely more hills than i was prepared for. we finished in prospect park which was beautiful. once i crossed the finish line i immediately started searching for michael. he sent a text saying his phone was about to die and where he was standing. it took me what seemed like forever to find him, but i did && we looked around for the tent where i could grab my t-shirt. after this race i was actually able to walk which was a HUGE difference from the hogsback half where michael had to assist me to the car. we had almost a mile walk to the car after brooklyn but i didn’t mind. however, as soon as i sit down && let my body rest the aches && pains hit.. ALL OVER!

i was excited at my time for this race because it was a post diagnosis PR for me! && while i don’t like to set some huge time goal for myself anymore, i usually have a time in mind that i’d like to keep it around. stay tuned for another race recap from the runner’s world half in bethlehem, pa! talk about HILLS..

Sunday, October 2, 2016

hogback half marathon race recap!! πŸ·πŸΆπŸ‘ŸπŸ’•

traveling to a state i’ve never been to (as an adult) had my nerves in a bunch however, nothing could compare to the pressure of the race itself. this time last year i would have gone into the race totally confident but ever since my fibromyalgia diagnosis, my running has been on a bit of a downward spiral. this race has a very strict cutoff time. if you don’t make that time, you are disqualified. they do offer an early start, but i didn’t think it was necessary for me, now i realize that may have saved me in the end.

as with any other race, i set my clothes out the night before && set tons of alarms to be sure i was up on time! all ready to go, my husband && i set out on the three hour road trip to colebrook, CT! i was super nervous the whole way but very excited since it was my first race since may. after lots of stretching i felt ready to go.

i decided to hang back && try to pace with one of the pacers but i felt that rush of adrenaline && let myself take off way too fast. i actually was able to push my pace for a good six miles before i died out. i think that may have been what got me to finish before the cutoff in the end.

 the course was all open road && was absolutely gorgeous! i LOVE running in the fall but running on these CT roads with all the leaves changing was just breath taking! i had great music to listen to && beautiful scenery to look at && that is what got me through to the end. i won’t even lie, i did contemplate quitting a time or two but i am no quitter. i hadn’t realized just how hard it was for me to race. i have been training hard because i have the NYC marathon coming up so i had an idea of my pace. i was able to shave a good 16 minutes off of my training pace which made me proud.

but after all i have been through lately, my fibromyalgia has been in full on flare mode. i am trying my very best to get it under control but we all know that is not easy. going into this race on a high pain day was one of the most difficult things i’ve done on my running journey. all i could do was tell myself to dig deeper && just believe. i pushed until i made it to that finish line. i of course broke down as soon as i crossed && luckily my husband was right there to let me collapse into his arms. i hate to make a scene because the volunteers get so worried but this was literally the hardest race i have EVER ran (except for maybe my marathon).

running with fibromyalgia takes so much will && discipline. i know it is not going to be an easy road ahead. running was never easy for me, it is just something i love && am passionate about. i have two more half marathons this month before i run NYC in november. at least i can relax a little knowing the cutoff time on these races isn’t so strict. i would love to run the hogback half again but i have a goal to run a race in every state so i have to keep venturing further out.

one of the reasons i chose this race is because it benefited an animal rescue. anyone who knows me, knows my love for animals. i hope to one day go back && run that course but for now i have my eyes focused on a bigger prize. the course itself was actually mostly flat && downhill. there was one HUGE hill at the end that i felt really killed me BUT i can say i finished! going into each race now my goal is to finish. i don’t have a time in mind because honestly, with fibromyalgia i just never know what i am going to get. i know the day will come when i will no longer be able to push my body but until then i will continue to run all the races i can && hopefully make it to my dream races along the way! starting with the NYC marathon!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

the color run πŸ’—πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’›πŸ¦„

even before i became an avid runner i always saw advertisements for color runs. they seemed like a great way to have a good time && be active but i just never got around to it. on my two year run-iversary, i decided to celebrate with a color run not too far from my house! i had a hard time justifying the price but i did use a coupon && the day ended up being well worth it.

as with any race, i set my flat jessica up the night before && got some sleep. i was SO ready for a morning of colorful FUN!

going into it i had no time goals or anything like that {the race isnt timed anyway}. my goal was just to have a good time && that goal was achieved! i got to meet up with an old friend from college && make new ones along the way. it was a great saturday morning && we all had a BLAST! the weather was perfect && we just ran when we felt like it && walked when we felt like it, no pressure.

with the struggles ive been facing lately with my health && running, honestly i was happy to have no added time pressure. i just wanted to have a good time hanging out with some awesome ladies!

i didnt know what to expect with the color powder, but as you can see in the pictures i succeeded in getting completely colorful! this is the happiest 5k on earth so if you are thinking of doing one get together a fun group of people && go for it! have a blast! i know i sure did!!

i have a few half marathons on deck then the ever awaited NYC marathon in november! stay tunned!!


Monday, July 11, 2016

wonder woman takes over the super hero half!!

forgive me, it has been a while since i have blogged. LOTS going on in my life currently; anywho, i wanted to blog about the last half marathon i ran, the super hero half in morristown, new jersey! i actually ran this half last year && it was an EXTREMELY hot day in may. people were dropping like flies && it was all i could do to make it through the heat. i had hoped this year would be different, and while the heat seemed to stay away, i was running against a storm that was lurking overhead.

this was the first race i ran with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. it has definitely slowed me down but i have refused to let it stop me! my husband dropped me off to check in and pick up my bib while he found parking in the chaos. when we finally met back up it was just about time for me to head to the start. i stretched out as best i could, kissed him good bye, && told him i’d see him at the finish.
this was an emotional race for me. i wanted so badly to redeem myself from last years hot mess of a time BUT i knew i had to just focus on the finish. as my body has been fighting its self, i have let myself realize that the most important thing in any race now is to finish the race. if i PR that is great, but i have to be easier on myself && remember that a finish is a finish no matter how fast or slow i go.
standing at the start, i got nervous. i was already hurting but i was going to push through no matter what. ready, set, go && we were off. the first three miles seemed to breeze by. i was able to keep a great pace && i was thinking wow, i might actually get through this without any pain. then, pain struck && i had to slow down. i had to walk many times but i have to say, this race has a TON of crowd support. hearing complete strangers cheer for you is one of the BEST feelings ever. i knew around mile 6 i would get to see michael so i kept my focus on that to divert my attention from the pain.
like i said, this race was emotional && i broke out into tears a few times. i just felt so defeated but i knew as long as i pushed to the finished i would be proud of myself. right on que at mile 6 i saw michael && i smiled at him but he knew better. he read the pain on my face && you can see it in the pictures he snapped of me. i had thought about calling it quits but i am not a quitter so i pushed on for the next 7 miles!
i really like this course. it is mostly on the open road && the last few miles are on a shaded, paved trail. as the storm clouds rolled in i pushed myself to finish. i found comfort in the mantras i say to myself && turned up the volume on my music so i could focus on the words to get me through! it is crazy that even when you have just 2-3 miles to go it feels SO much further. BUT when you get close && you can hear the crowd cheer, you run your heart out.
i picked up my pace in the end && as always when my watch hit 13 miles, i sprinted the last .1 into the finish && got the medal i so desperately wanted to see. i heard michael yelling for me as i ran into the finish && soon found him. we grabbed a bite to eat from all the tables that were set up && headed to the car. i was hurting, i was tired && i just wanted to sit down. but of course, the rain started. light at first, && then an all out down pour. i looked at michael && said, “lets just run.” so we ran as fast as we could to the car && finally i sat down && once again the tears flowed. i looked at my phone && saw a bunch of texts from my mama. michael had forgot to text her when i finished (oops). she was so worried but i assured her i was ok && we headed home.
i don’t usually plan any races for the summer because it is just too hot! this turned out to be a good choice this summer with all my pending health issues. i have developed a heat intolerance so a lot of my miles are being logged on the treadmill if i am not up early enough to beat the heat. the next race i have is in september. it is a half out in connecticut (another state checked off my list!). i have a 5k that i MIGHT run in august so stay tuned to see what i decide! in the mean time, i have A LOT of training to do between the NYC marathon in november && the dopey challenge in january!! till next time..

Monday, May 16, 2016

rock n roll raleigh recap AKA holy hills!!

let me start off by saying, i TOTALLY underestimated the amount of hills on this course, but since i dont know the area, i guess that one's on me!

anywho, my sister && i woke up super early [[3:00AM to be exact]] && hit the road by 4:00AM! for anyone who doesn't know i live in central jersey so we made the drive down to raleigh, nc for me to run this race && then spent the week in wilmington, nc with our family! we made good time getting down there && actually beat all of our family there [[they live in a different part of NC about two hours away]]!

jen && i made a quick trip to dick's sporting goods so i could grab some last minute race things. by the time we got back to the hotel my mama && aunt were there to greet us!! my dad, his wife, && their daughter weren't far behind. we all checked into our rooms && we hit the expo!

my dad ran this race as well so it was a nice experience to go to the expo with everyone && check everything out. we picked up our packets without any issues, snapped a few pictures && shopped for a bit. i got tired real quick && my aunt totally felt the same way so we waited for everyone else && then we got something to eat since we were STARVING by that point!

us girls had a nice dinner && then we all relaxed in the hotel because we found out we had to be up much earlier than we had originally thought. in typical fashion i laid out my outfit the night before && got to bed as early as i could. its always rough sharing a hotel room when everyone goes to bed at different times. i turned on my heating pad && sound machine && was out like a light. i didnt sleep well at all. apparently none of us did.

i woke up && went through my usual routine && made sure my headband was pinned to my head && wouldnt move. my dad came over && we all took the drive down to the starting line. once we were there my mama, jenny, && aunt colleen went to find a spot to see us start && my dad && i stayed warm for a while then decided to find our corral. it was unseasonably cold down there so a lot of runners thought i was crazy for wearing shorts. i knew in a matter of miles id be sweating!

my dad && i were actually able to move up a few corrals && before we knew it, it was go time. we started out trying to weave in && out of people && then my dad took off && i lost him. i quickly caught up && passed him && just kept my groove going as best i could. i didnt want to stop too much because i was already having a high pain day so i was just focused on getting to the finish!

i saw my family just after the start && then again around mile 5-6! that is ALWAYS something to look forward to. its an amazing feeling to hear && see them cheering you on. the course was FULL of hills! i cant even make it up when i say there was AT LEAST one hill every mile. i had a pretty good pace going && was able to navigate the hills for a while until they just became too much! at that point i had to take multiple walk breaks. i found myself really struggling but there was no way i wasnt pushing myself to the finish!

then came mile 12. in mile 12 there was a HUGE && i mean HUGE hill! they actually called it "king of the hill" && it was lined with signs that said things like "i eat hills for breakfast." i was pretty much dead at that point && did what i call the shuffle all the way up this hill! the course had great entertainment along the way && at the top of this hill was a big blow up && i actually forget what it said [[LOL]]! && how could i forget the point of the race where we ran by a bunch of frat houses && all the kids were outside drinking. had to laugh at that one!

one of my favorite parts about a race is reading the spectators signs! there are always great ones that i say ill remember && then later forget. so once i made it past this hill i was in the home stretch. i got near the finish && i saw my family && i felt tears start to well up in my eyes. my watch beeped at 13 miles && i took off like usual to sprint the last .1 miles!

my aunt actually got that one on video! a few minutes after me, my dad crossed the finish line. i didnt see him because i was looking around for my mama at that point. when i finally found her i was just happy to fall into her arms. that race was definitely one ill never forget [[i dont know if thats a good or bad thing LOL]]!!

stay tuned for my next race recap on the superhero half here in morristown, nj!! till next time!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

karhu flow 6 shoe review!

let me start by saying that i feel so blessed to have been chosen to test out these shoes! when i was contacted to choose the shoes of my choice it felt like any runners DREAM! i decided to go with the karhu flow 6's! let me tell you, running in these shoes is like running on clouds!

at first i was skeptical because i have been running in nike's for almost two years now but i am ALL for trying new things. interestingly enough these shoes felt very similar to my nike's! any runner knows how big of a deal it is to change shoes so when i ran in these a few times without issues i was SUPER excited!!

the flow 6's seemed to mold right to my feet! && i have no idea how, but my times seem faster when i run in them! i think it has something to do with the fulcrum technology! when i read about it on their website i thought to myself, "this is crazy, how can a shoe make my running more efficient?" well, i am now a firm believer that a pair of shoes can absolutely make all the difference! not only in pace, but form && overall comfort.

the flow 6's are SUPER comfortable. the only problem i have had with them at all is the laces come untied if i dont double knot them. this is obviously an easy fix! i do wish they came in other colors, BUT i love the design of these shoes. the bears are SO cute && totally my style!

i look forward to continuing to run many races && morning runs in these shoes && i cant wait to buy another pair!! i will be running a half marathon this weekend which will put these shoes to the ultimate test for me. this will be the furthest distance i have taken them. stay tuned for my race recap && thoughts on how the shoes felt at a half marathon distance!