Who said running was easy?

One of my dear friends is writing a column for FitMilwaukee called “Reconstructing a Beer Runner.” Sara is one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. Each column is more powerful than the one before… and this is no exception.

Read her story of how her husband trained and ran a half marathon for her (and then try not to cry when you watch the video below):

Months back, I was hit with the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to train for the half marathon that I had been planning for this winter. It was really hard for me to accept. Recovery had been taking longer than I had hoped, and accepting the fact that I would not be running for awhile was crushing.

My husband Augie looked at me that day and said, “If you can’t do it, then I’ll do it for you. I can’t make you better, and everyday I wish I could. I can do this, and when you are ready to get back to it, I’ll be ready to run beside you.”

[Read more… ]

Lessons I learned from my first endurance race


Last weekend, I completed my first half marathon. I wasn’t first, and I wasn’t last. My time was, well, twice that of some of my friends, but in the end it didn’t matter. I checked the ol’ half marathon off my bucket list. I also learned some valuable lessons throughout training and the race itself. Oh, and I got a kick-arse medal. Let’s not forget about the medal.

Before the race:

  1. Pee. Trust me on this.
  2. Drink lots of water all week long, especially the day before and morning of the race. This is why #1 is important.
  3. Don’t drink four margaritas 18 hours pre-race, even if you tell yourself it’s okay because you’re getting top-shelf margaritas on the rocks with extra lime and salt on the rim. Margarita salt is not an acceptable substitute for an electrolyte sports drink.
  4. Go to the race expo. Pick up your packet. Make some impulse purchases you will later regret because everyone else is buying that balance bracelet. Stare at your race bib. Smack yourself in the head for thinking you could actually do a half marathon.
  5. Follow a training plan. There are so many plans out there – find one that works for you and your schedule. Mine included 3 days/week of walking and/or running, 1-2 cross training or strength training days and 1 active recovery/yoga/pilates/easy walk day.
  6. Don’t be afraid to modify the plan. I suffered many setbacks due to knee problems and a sprained foot/ankle. I made adjustments (like biking or doing the elliptical instead of walking or running because they were low-impact). I had to cut one long “run” short because my foot hurt so bad. Continue reading “Lessons I learned from my first endurance race”

The one where I accidentally run .85 mi without stopping

It started off like any other hot, muggy, late-night run. I walked a .25mi warmup (about 4-5min) and waited for my Garmin to beep at me that it was time to start running. it just wasn’t turning over.

You see, I had set up this great program for myself tonight – a bunch of intervals to work on speedwork on my favorite route from my house to downtown Milwaukee. I created the workout in my Garmin training center program and uploaded it to my Garmin. What I didn’t realize until, oh 15-20 min into the run was that my Garmin never connected to the satellites, so my plan to run a quarter mile, then walk for a min and so on was never going to happen.

Hence the title, the one where I accidentally run .85mi without stopping. You should also know I did this in 9 or 10 minutes. I don’t know what happened. I really don’t.

I started the running portion near Humboldt and Ogden… and it wasn’t until I was at Prospect and Wisconsin (and running out of air – literally) that I realized that the satellite thingamabob wasn’t working. There was nooooooo way I hadn’t gone less than a quarter mile. I’ve done this route before. I just got in the zone and bam. Perhaps it was the sheriff’s deputy who waved at me as I ran past Juneau Park. Perhaps it was the desire to get this run over with ASAP because it’s so freaking humid out. Perhaps it was none of the above. Perhaps, just perhaps, I’m awesome. Your guess is as good as mine.

Regardless, I ran my longest distance ever without stopping to catch my breath or to walk. A non-stop mile is not far away. Hell, running an entire 5k without stopping isn’t far away. Speaking of which, I have one in 2 weeks. 😉

Now I’m off to shower and cuddle with this gal.

Someday, that will be me

I went with some of my DailyMile/FitMilwaukee/Twitter friends down to Kenosha early Saturday morning to cheer on the bazillion people I knew who were running either the half or full marathon.

I can’t adequately put into words what Saturday was for me. I saw friends complete their longest runs ever. I saw my friends triumph. I saw children looking at their parents with such awe, you’d swear they thought mommy or daddy was a superhero. I cried watching people I didn’t even know cross the finish line. I cried when my friends turned the corner for the last 30 yards to the finish. I cheered for people who struggled to finish the race. I cheered for people successfully completing their races. But most importantly, I saw what hard work and determination can produce. I could see on all my friends’ faces the pure euphoria they enjoyed when they finished the race. I’m no where near the end of my own personal race. But, step by step, race by race, pound by pound, inch by inch, I’ll get there. I’ll cross that finish line. And I’ll be thinking of how lucky I am to have people in my life who pushed me to finish this journey to a new me.

And now, a few shout-outs:

  • Krista, the way you run looks effortless. It looked like just a quick jaunt in the park for you. You are going to be absolutely fabulous at your upcoming races. You inspire me.
  • Tracey, you are a rockstar. You came floating down to the finish line with such a beautiful smile on your face. The fact that you didn’t even look tired is baffling to me. I can’t wait to cheer you on in Rockford! You inspire me.
  • Rochelle, I am so proud of you for rocking this half marathon. You’ve bounced back from your knee injury and showed that setbacks won’t keep you down. You inspire me.
  • Anne, I know I’ve told you this a million times, but you are such an inspiration. Your journey, your story, pushes me. I know that if you can run half marathons for fun after having been overweight, that one day that WILL be me. You make me want to push harder, go faster and be a rockstar. Because that’s what you are. You didn’t let your knee injury take you out. You showed it who’s boss. #lovefest You inspire me.
  • Sarah, I am so freaking proud of you. You bolted down to the finish line like a fiend. Your focus, your determination and your drive make me feel fortunate to call you a friend. You inspire me.
  • Cheryl, you were so determined to finish strong and I’m so proud of you for that! You are setting such a great example for your kids. They’re lucky to have a mom who’s so dedicated to staying fit! You inspire me.
  • Tony, you finished so strong! I know you’ll do many more of these in the coming years. You and Rochelle are so lucky to share something like this! It was great hanging out with you today. You inspire me.
  • Lindsey, I could see the pain in your face as you turned the corner. I admire your determination and the fact that YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP. You finished what you started, and even though you didn’t get the time you wanted, you finished with a great time. Didn’t you JUST start running like 3 days ago? 😉 Take care of your knee and rock it at your next half. You inspire me.
  • Marty, I am so lucky to call you a friend. Your determination, your speed and your smile at the end of the race were so inspiring. I’m so proud of you for crossing that finish line and showing it who’s boss. You inspire me.
  • Mike, your smile at the end of the marathon was infectious. You looked so happy and so proud of yourself for what you were about to complete. I’m so proud of you for rocking this race. Your hard work paid off and now you’re a marathoner! Your journey encourages me to push myself to one day run 26.2 miles. You inspire me.

The people listed above (plus the ones I know I’ve forgotten – Joe, Erica, Matt, etc) showed me what is possible if you work hard. For some, it was their first long race. They made the race their bitch. I’m lucky to call these people my friends. Seriously, I thank God I have them in my life – to inspire, to push, to encourage.

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My first 5k!

Today I completed my very first 5k race! It was not without some hiccups along the way, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment! Here’s how it all went down.

Last night, I went to the Brewers game and tailgated heavily prior to the game. Got to bed super late, woke up with gutrot. Tried to eat some oatmeal but I was all sorts of nervous so it didn’t go over well. Got to the race in Brown Deer and received my race bib, timing chip and tshirt. Look!!! My first race bib!

I met up with some DailyMile and FitMilwaukee peeps before the race, but to be honest with you I don’t know what we talked about. I was so freaking nervous. My stomach was all over the place. I was praying I wouldn’t fall down, pass out or throw up. And you know what? I didn’t!

My goal was to finish in less than 55 min, with the super goal being to do it in 50 minutes or less (based on my current pace). And I DID IT!!! Of course, my knees hate me and my lungs were burning by the end, but I’m so happy with how this turned out. I was lucky enough to have the help of Rachel M as my “running” buddy. We’re both in a similar place weight and fitness-wise so we hoped our paces would mesh, which they did. It was nice to have the extra push. We ran the first 4 or 5 blocks then walked, ran a bit in the middle, and the ran the last 3 blocks or so. If you were only at the start/finish line, you would have thought we ran the whole thing, which was part of my secret plan. 😉 I was also happy to see more people behind us (even if they were doing the 10k)… because being the last person to finish would have been a bit difficult for me.

As it were, I was the second-to-last woman to finish the race. And you know what? I don’t care. I finished. I didn’t give up when it was tough. I didn’t say “oh this is too tough, I’m gonna sneak into this person’s house and hide til the race is over.” I finished with a consistent pace and couldn’t be more proud.

Here’s my official stats from the race results site:

I am so blessed to have you twitter/dailymile/facebook peeps. Anne and Rochelle came out along with Mike (who I just met today) to cheer us on. I held back tears as I was hitting the finish line because there were people CHEERING for ME! It’s so amazing to experience that. Thank you guys. Seriously, that meant the WORLD to me. #lovefest The only thing missing was my family and I know they’ll be there to cheer me on at many races to come. And, well, I may or may not have forgotten to ask them to come. LOL.

Stats according to my Garmin: 15:40, 16:54, 15:46 and the last .14 miles – 14:11.

Here are a few photos, courtesy Michael, Anne and Meghan:

PS – if you have a chance, congratulate my friend Tracey. She finished 2nd female overall and won her age bracket with a time of 22:52 finish. That means Tracey did the 5k in 27:08 minutes faster than me! Of course, to be fair, she’s been running for awhile and she’s the cutest li’l thing.

I’ve got the exercise bug

Today was weird.

I was feeling guilty for not working out yesterday (I was ill). So I vowed this morning to make up for it… and boy did I! I took a break around 9:30 this morning and walked 2 miles in 35 minutes. My pace for the half marathon in July has to be 15 min miles, so I’m getting close to that pace at short distances.

After work, I knew I couldn’t just skip working out all together because it’s been too long since I did any type of strength training. So, I walked the half mile or so to the gym, did upper and lower body strength training, plus some crunches and stretching.

It was about dinner time so I walked up to Whole Foods and made a giant salad. What a waste. I ate about half of it. Oh well. It was awesome.

After dinner, I walked back home (about 1.1 mi).

Workout totals for today:

  • Time: 1 hr 55 min
  • Distance: 4.38 mi
  • Weights: intervals: 25/15/10/25 with increasing x5lb for 2nd/3rd intervals then back to first weight for last 25. Leg Press, Hip abductor, Hip Adductor, Leg Curls, Leg extensions, Rowing, Chest press, pulldown and two other upper body machines I can’t remember the name for.

Holy. Crap.

Oh, and just for fun, here are before and after working out shots of me.

In the “before” image, I’m pointing at my cool fleece that has an ipod pocket on the left arm… complete with a hole for the earphones cord!

Gym humiliation: I’ll have what she’s having

We’ve all had them. A slip. A fall. A trip. A drop. An inopportune fart. A wardrobe malfunction. But when you’re at the gym, these embarrassing moments can be amplified in severity because you are surrounded by people you don’t know.

Check out my latest post over at FitMilwaukee.com. I promise you will laugh. If you don’t, well, you suck.

You have to visit FitMilwaukee to see my favorite story (titled I’ll have what she’s having)… but the one below is a close second:

Is that a roll of quarters in your pocket?

I was working out commando because it was laundry day. I wore cheap shorts that slide around a lot. I decided to do crunches on a balance ball. As I was sitting on it, I started to slip off the ball because of the slippery nylon shorts.
Because I was in the middle of my sets, I didn’t want to stop.
I failed to realize as I was sliding down the ball, the leg of my shorts was sliding up. Way up. Like ALL THE WAY up.
“Is it locker room cold in here or is it just me?”

~J.

FitMke: Get into the groove with #fitmkemix

Here’s a li’l taste of my latest post at FitMilwaukee. Head on over to read the entire article.

In case you haven’t noticed, Fit Milwaukee has become a huge movement in Milwaukee (have you seen the Facebook page? We have more than 550 members). Now, #fitmke has its own podcast!

The #fitmkemix is a collection of motivating, energizing (and sometimes relaxing) independent music from across the globe, all put together in a podcast to listen to while you work your bootay off. Think of the podcast as a radio show that you can download to your computer, iPod or other MP3 device.

The host and creator of #fitmkemix, Tracy Apps, is a Milwaukee graphic designer, web developer, photographer, drummer and social media addict who loves music. Apps says she started #fitmkemix to keep herself motivated by working out to good music. “I need a distraction to keep me going on that treadmill or elliptical.”

She is a fan of independent musicians, so Apps thought it seemed like a good fit to have a podcast with upbeat music highlighting lesser-known artists.

Because Apps is a drummer, she likes workout music with a good beat and chooses songs with a faster tempo. “I subconsciously will workout to the beat of a song,” says Apps.

Weigh In Wednesday: Milestone, achieved

First things first. I lost 1.4 pounds in the last week, bringing my total weight loss in 6 weeks to 10.6 pounds. Not too shabby. 🙂 I updated my inspiration board too! I was e-mailing with my mom about this today and she said to me, “Do you realize that you’ve lost 10% of the weight you wanted to lose?”

Holy crap. I totally have.

I’ve also lost 4% of my total body weight in 6 weeks.

10.6 pounds is the equivalent of:

  • 42 sticks of butter
  • 5 liters of soda
  • 7 dozen eggs
  • 3.2 chickens
  • a 6-pack of beer
  • a 12-pack of soda

In case you were wondering… 🙂

Now, on to even BIGGER NEWS!

I started Couch to 5k this week. If you’ve followed my dailymile training, you know I’ve been struggling. Today was different.

I ran y’all. I RAN. I ran 100% of the time I was supposed to. I F*cking RAN. This is HUGE. The last time I did C25K, I averaged my running “speed” at 3.7-4.0. This is walking for y’all, but was jogging for me. Today I ranged between 4.1-4.7!!! It wasn’t until I was in the last running leg that I realized what I had just done.

I started sobbing, while I was running, on the treadmill, at the gym, during peak time. It didn’t matter. I was running. I did a li’l stretching then decided to head home. I got to my car. I started crying. I got home. I walked in the door, told my sis and started sobbing for a good 5min! She gave me a much-needed hug and said she was proud of me. It meant the world to me.

I ran today.

Hells yeah.

Review: AJ Bombers’ #fitmke menu items

It’s official, the Fit Milwaukee team asked me to be a regular contributor at the blog and I’m super excited. They even have my bio posted on the site. 🙂

I just wrote my second post, and this time it was a review! AJBombers has three #fitmke menu items and I tasted them all (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it). Here’s a sneak peek:

Baked ‘Shroom Burger: 475 calories*, $5.50

The Baked ‘Shroom Burger isn’t your typical burger offering. It’s a big ol’ Portobello mushroom topped with cheddar and munster cheese, lettuce and tomato. It’s also my favorite item on the AJBombers menu. The Baked Shroom is juicy, flavorful and a little on the messy side, so make sure you have some napkins handy. I cannot rave about this burger enough. I’ve never been a big mushroom person, but you can hardly tell you’re eating a giant mushroom instead of beef. The Baked ‘Shroom is very filling and sure to satisfy your taste buds.

For the full post, head on over to FitMilwaukee.com. Oh, and yes, I did use the phrase “Don’t butter my buns” in this post. You’ve been warned.

*Note: I paid for all of my meals and was not compensated in any way by AJBombers for this review.