Marine Corps Marathon Recap

It’s official! I am a marathoner!

Can you tell I can barely stand to keep those shoes on my feet for another second?

The race was awesome. Despite the impending hurricane the weather was perfect for a race, no rain, only a slight wind towards the end and cool temps. I have to say, for those of you out there considering your first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon is an excellent choice. I am so happy I chose this marathon not only for the experience, but also to celebrate my Grandpa, an amazing Marine.

Although everyone told me that this was a heavily supported race, you really don’t know for sure until you see it and I can confirm, it was. The Marines were stationed all along the course, handing out gatorade, water, orange slices, even Dunks munchkins at mile 24 and cheering you on. The crowds were along almost the entire race, also impressive. And the name on the shirt thing, definitely works. There were very few times where there wasn’t a presence of spectators and the places where this wasn’t the case, there were so many hilarious marathon signs that you were kept pretty entertained.

Now, the running part? It wasn’t easy, it was definitely tough, but I got it done. The one surprising part for me was the earlier “onset” of leg pain than I expected. I’m not really sure why this happened, there were hills at the beginning so this might have tired out my legs, as we all know, I don’t train for hills. The usual pain/fatigue whatever you want to call it didn’t normally hit me until around mile 17 or 18 in my training runs, but this time it was mile TEN. Honestly, miles 10 – 13 were probably the toughest part of the race for me, more around me realizing the fact that I would be running another 16 miles with that pain. So, as you might guess, I slowed wayyyy down. This was fine though, my goal was to finish, I probably only finished 15-20 minutes slower than expected and I did it. And I didn’t even have to hit the dreaded wall at mile 20, my wall was already over. 🙂

By mile 20 I was so happy to know I only had 6 miles to go, that I blasted my music and felt great. The 9 minute run, 1 minute walk method really worked for me too, I kept this up almost the entire race which kept me from walking any longer than that when I wasn’t feeling great. And at mile 23, walking was starting to get a little more painful to do than running so I just went for it and ran the last 3 miles through! It was awesome! And I finished!

Does anyone else have this happen when you upload pictures and your post gets changed? Once again part of my post got deleted and it was my favorite part! So here it is:

What was most important to say here, was how awesome my husband, friends and family were throughout the race with cheering, emailing, texting, tweeting, you name it to help keep me going. And not just during the race, but before and after running and during all of my training. I even had the poster below waiting for me when I arrived home, so awesome!

And a special thank you to the Connells and Jordanos that housed us, fed us, transported us and on top of all that came out to cheer me on during the race. We loved spending time with you and was so amazing to see you during my run!

So great. Thank you all!

Bucket List – Marathon. Check!


In Honor

It’s finally here. The Marine Corps Marathon!

When I was choosing which marathon I was going to run I asked a bunch of people and always heard that this one was a lot of fun and wasn’t too hilly (and you know, I don’t train for hills). But even cooler was that this was recognizing the Marine Corps and a race supported by the Marines.

My dear Grandpa was a Marine taking part in the first offensive campaign on Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Fiji, Cape Gloucester, Cape Hotchkiss, and Peleliu. The regiment he served in was awarded the Pacific Ribbon and The Presidential Unit Citation.

It has been almost three years since he passed away. He is greatly missed by all of us. He always kept himself so active, dearly loved his family, made friends everywhere he went and kept us all laughing and smiling.

I would like to run this race in his honor. Wish me luck!

The 22 Miler

It is done, it is done, it is done!

22 Miles! Let the taper begin!

You might remember, I felt really good during the 20 miler. I’m liking the bullets, let’s go with that again…

  • I’m feeling good about my 9 minute run, 1 minute walk method for this race, it’s worked really well for every long run and I feel 100% positive it is the best thing for me to do for this marathon.
  • My playlist needs some refreshing. It was good most of training, but I’m going to need something extra for those 5 hours. Any suggestions?
  • I had a bit of nerves before I started this run, my 6 miles on Thursday was pretty painful and I was not feeling good.
  • Thankfully, this was definitely better than that run. Phew.
  • But, there is DEFINITELY a reason you taper after this point. My body is screaming for the taper. This run was the least easy of the long runs. I know that sounds like a given, because it was the longest one, but it was more all of the miles leading into this one that made it tough.
  • Although I’m sure I’ll feel a little nervous about taper time like everyone else, I have to say, I’m thankful. You do lose a chunk of your weekend with these longer runs. It’s worth it, but it can still be frustrating.
  • Sometimes during the last mile you start to lose it and might say hello to a butterfly on the Mass Ave bridge, yes, the butterfly was actually there, it’s more the fact that I thought I should say hi…..
  • The nice thing about passing 20 is that you can tell yourself the faster you run the faster you are finished and you no longer have to worry about conserving energy, you are almost there! (of course when I say run faster, it’s not much faster) 🙂

Although it is taper time, the week ahead actually isn’t too much less, but it’s headed in the right direction.

I actually have been doing some cooking, I know it has been way too long, but I actually cooked enough that it will need to go in another post. In the mean time, I had a lovely meal out with my friend Jaime at The Salty Pig. Although it’s been since January that I last mentioned this place, it has definitely been much more frequented than posted. Always delicious, just looking at these photos this morning made me starving for yet another visit.

Time for me to get ready for church, but one more note. You may have read about him in the past in the local Boston newspapers, but check out Hassan Haydar’s story and blog. I met Hassan at my last job and can attest that he is just an amazing and positive person and his running experiences are so motivating!

Have a great weekend!


MCM Training: 20 Miles

Something what happens when you are training for a marathon is you have a little bit less time. I wish I had done a better job of documenting my training here, but it is a bit more important to actually do the training than write about it, right?

Since I haven’t been posting much, maybe you thought I wasn’t working out, but don’t you worry, I was! I finally updated the workout log, check it out. Especially check out Tina Reale’s medicine ball circuit. Did this for the first time on Thursday and loved it!

How about an update on my marathon training? Let’s bullet it out, I’m feeling brief:

  • Sometimes when you run twenty miles you chafe in some interesting places.
  • Plantar fascitis and a touch of achilles tendonitis still following me around, but thanks to my awesome physical therapist this marathon and all it’s training is still going to happen.
  • Two weeks in a row of consistent strength training (twice a week for now, maybe more often after training is over).
  • Feeling positive, the dreaded “wall” of the marathon scares me, but yesterday at mile 19 I had this renewed energy and just ran my heart out.

What else is going on?

Meet my new breakfast – recipe below

Not the most attractive photo, but this was my attempt at “cilantro rice”. A little rice, a little low-fat sour cream mixed with lime juice, a little (or a lot in our case) cilantro and some shredded Cotija cheese. Yum!

Can’t believe it’s Sunday night already. Hope you had a great weekend!

The Motivating Jess Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 cup frozen organic fruit (my favorite is cherries)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 4 tablespoons hemp protein powder (or sometimes I switch it out for 1/4 cup oats)

The 17 Miler

Done and done. This run felt great. It is a amazing what a difference a cool and dry day can make on your run. I didn’t once feel like I didn’t have the energy to keep breathing hard (very different experience than my previous runs this summer). It wasn’t until the last few miles that I really had to push myself to finish, more due to my legs no longer cooperating. Thankfully, I had my motivating running partner, Sara, there with me!

This was probably the first time where I felt, this is really going to happen, I am going to run my first marathon. I’m actually kind of looking forward to my next long run, weird? Maybe.

This week’s workout plan:

  • Mon – Rest
  • Tues – Bike & Strength Training
  • Wed – Run 6 miles
  • Thurs – Bike & Strength Training
  • Fri – Run 6 miles
  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – Run 18 miles (small window of time for this one, fingers crossed for another cool day!)

I finally took a major step, I’ve signed up for Pinterest. I held off for a really long time, knowing it would only cause unnecessary shopping, but it was time. Now don’t worry Ben if you are reading this, I am going to stick to recipes. I was getting a little tired of reading all my favorite blogs, finding awesome recipes and then totally forgetting who, what, when and losing the recipe.

As a result, I’ve already made two! Both from Oh She Glows. For my breakfast this week, Portable Baked Oatmeal. I reduced the recipe to 4 servings to keep me fuller until lunch. Next up, Warm Quinoa Salad with 3 Herb Green Sauce. I made this for dinner last night and despite it being vegan, Ben enjoyed it too.

I loved this recipe. A perfect light summer meal. I made one minor adjustment and reduced the olive oil in the dressing to 2 tablespoons and added a full yellow tomato instead. This helped me be more in line with my remaining points for the day, but totally not necessary to do for anyone looking to make it.

One more thing…check out this photo Ben took on Sunday, awesome, isn’t it?

Have a great night!


Healthy Living Summit

I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew as soon as I heard Healthy Living Summit was going to be in Boston this year I signed up. As we got into the week before, I started getting a little nervous that my introverted awkward self would basically just be on my own for the entire weekend. What was I thinking signing up for something where I didn’t know a soul?

I was also concerned over the fact that I’m not much of a blogger. Lately I only blog once every week or so, there just hasn’t been enough time, but I enjoy it enough that I want to continue. I was scared I would be the only one where this was the case and then someone would wonder, why are you here?

Couldn’t be farther from the truth. As soon as I arrived at the cocktail party two people heading in at the same time quickly introduced themselves and made me feel welcome. From there it was easy, I felt during most moments someone either proactively reached out to me or I felt confident enough to introduce myself to a new group. This sort of thing is so far out of my comfort zone and it felt great to overcome my nerves.

Even better than expected, I met two women, one that was training for the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon (and had run marathons before), Theodora from Losing Weight in the City, and one that had run this same marathon twice before, Melissa from Melissa Runs. I was feeling a little lack of confidence over the past week or so, mostly my fault, with my lack of mileage during the week, but it was helpful to talk to both and get even more excited about the race ahead!

I got to connect with many different women that are local to Boston also and who I am so excited to get to know even better soon! Wish I had been better with the pictures of all of us, photo fail, but you aren’t surprised by this are you?

As if that wasn’t enough, I also attended several helpful and motivating sessions. I really took a lot from each one of them, but a special note of appreciation to Gretchen for her photography session. As you know, I need some serious help in this arena.

I did manage to take some photos, mostly of the delicious food, take a peek! Thank you to Wild Harvest!

I loved these, never had them before!

Something else awesome? Free shoes! Thank you Reebok!

Pretty excited about those, totally my colors too. Thank you to the fabulous team that planned everything this year, I have no idea how you did it, that is a large undertaking, thank you Meghann, Julie & Heather. I had an awesome time!!!

One Year

And some. I missed the whole one year blog anniversary, but I still managed to catch up in the right month. Here is where it all started. Fascinating I know.

In case you happen to be checking this blog out for the first time, here is a little bit about me.

Since it is my one year blogaversary (creative huh), this might be the perfect time to check in on those little resolutions. We are more than halfway through the year, right?

  1. Run a marathon. Still in training folks. Can’t say I’ve been the most training committed, but I’m hoping to continue to improve. Officially 92 days until the Marine Corps Marathon.
  2. Run 1,000 miles. Ooof. This one bums me out. Status today: 300 exactly. I would love to say I’m going to make it, but reality is, I’m experiencing a bit of running injury right now and hoping to still run the marathon, but most likely will take a bit of running rest after that. Still possible, but unlikely.
  3. Create and follow a new budget. Create yes, follow, on and off. Clearly needs improvement but progress shown.
  4. Create one new recipe. I’ll have to think about that one, I mean I did make this lovely vermicelli noodle bowl the other night, does that count?
  5. Start volunteering with a new organization. This one I can officially check off. I started a monthly commitment to The Home for Little Wanderers through my church.
  6. Take a really fun trip with Ben. Booked!
  7. Make some dents in this healthy living and eating thing. Ouch. I honestly don’t feel like I’ve done much here since January. I don’t know about you, but I get SO frustrated with myself. It’s no one’s fault, but my own. It’s alarming to me that I look back and am still shocked when I realized I’ve made little to no progress, and that it’s literally the tenth time it’s happened. I’m heading into pity party mode (which is ridiculous), let’s end there. This is supposed to be a motivating blog.

Let’s look at ducks. Ducks make me happy.

What else makes me happy? Summer concerts on the Esplanade.


So fun!


Have a great weekend!

Monday Eats

I’m fairly good at confessing my workout blunders, but not always my food choices. Let’s try something different this week, how about sharing a week of eats? Monday…

Breakfast – Banana & whole wheat bread with a tablespoon of sunflower butter and a teaspoon of honey, iced coffee with sugar (1 tsp) and soy milk (1/2 cup)  (random note, all this time I’ve been saying that during the week when I make my meals, I eat vegan until dinner time, update, honey is not vegan, oops)

Lunch – Arugula & kale with summer squash, broccoli, bell pepper, 1/2 cup quinoa, olives and balsamic vinegar, raspberries for something sweet

Snacks – Larabar Uber Cherry Cobbler (I know, also not vegan, but so delicious) and a nectarine

Dinner – Glass of Rose, Cold Sesame Noodles and a cup of unsweetened applesauce

WW Points Used – 26 out of 26

Another successful veggie meal with Ben’s vote. This is a simple and delicious meal from Bon Appetit’s July issue. I was a little too lazy to chop the veggies into matchsticks so would have had a more pleasing appearance, but so good. I made a minor adjustment to bring this in line with my desired dinner points by changing over to olive oil and reducing the amount to 1/4 cup. I feel like recipes always go a little oil crazy, don’t you?

You are going to notice just a tad bit of repetitiveness for my meals during the week. I’m pretty routine, my co-workers might even know that I eat my larabar around 3pm and my piece of fruit around 4pm on a daily basis. Yes, seriously, I’m ridiculous.

Running has continued to be FUN this week, but also gotten a little bit painful. Over the weekend I was actually kind of hating any moment I had to stand painful. I have no idea what the deal is, but my guess is it’s once again related to my Achilles since much of the pain has been in my heels. I’m hopeful my new shoes maybe were not the best match for me? I actually went out and got a totally different pair at Marathon Sports, abandoning my commitment to the Asics Gel Nimbulus and trying out a pair of Brooks.

Deep down I know it’s not helpful that my orthotics were created when I was at a lighter weight. I’ve loved running enough to give up high heels and sleeping in, but if I want to continue running for a long, long time I probably need to get some of the excess weight off too. It’s amazing to me how one day, ONE DAY, eating within my points range feels like I won a battle. Like I won a battle and deserve a reward. Seriously, change for a day and win a reward? Really Jess, really? One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

So, I didn’t quite meet my workout expectations, but I also am not that unhappy about it since the pain I’ve been feeling probably deserves some extra rest.

  • Mon – Strength Surprise ran 4 miles!
  • Tues – Run 3m Rest
  • Wed – Run 5m Rest
  • Thurs – Run 3m Rest
  • Fri – Strength Ran 2.8 miles
  • Sat – Run 9m Done
  • Sun – Rest And done
What’s up for this week?
  • Mon – Strength
  • Tues – Run 3m
  • Wed – Run 5m
  • Thurs – Run 3m & Strength
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Run 6m
  • Sun – Crosstraining
Interesting how I drop down to 6 miles this week? This marathon training is a new world! I’m sure when I have that week where I run 20 miles and then 12 miles the following weekend I will be beyond ecstatic!
Okay if you are in Boston, we are having the craziest thunderstorm right now! Time to go and fall asleep to the rain!

The Running Groove

Finally, finally, finally!

If you haven’t been able to tell from the last couple of months, running has not been quite the passion it used to be for me. Training for those last two halfs (halves?) was kind of brutal this time around, and running them, even more brutal. Not sure what happened, I just wasn’t having fun running anymore.

I was super worried about this knowing I was shortly heading into training for the Marine Corps Marathon. My seven miles the weekend before last was rough too, only really ran a part and had to bribe myself to finish by running two minutes and walking one, repeat.

But…finally! A week plus straight of awesome runs. Some of them might have even been a little bit painful, but I made it. Check out my progress on Daily Mile.

I’m so thankful to have the ability to run and for those awesome runs this past week. I know they are not always going to be the best and it is going to be really, really hard (especially those miles that have a 2 with a 0 after it, ouch). But I am excited to get moving on my marathon training plan.

As usual, I will go with my favorite Hal Higdon. My selection is the Marathon Novice 2 Training Plan. Anyone else training for a marathon? Want to join me?

I am making one adaption, I was just a little too nervous at the thought of stopping my training at 20 miles. I know, everyone does it, but to me the thought of finishing up the first 20 and then remembering how I only trained to that point, and then having to convince myself to keep going for a FULL HOUR longer seems rough. At least with 40 minutes left to go I can convince myself it’s just like a DVRd episode of Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I love that show and so this is a good thing, no judgment please). That said, I have built in a few extra weeks to make it to 22 miles.

So what’s my workout plan this week, you ask?

  • Mon – Strength
  • Tues – Run 3m
  • Wed – Run 5m
  • Thurs – Run 3m
  • Fri – Strength
  • Sat – Run 9m
  • Sun – Rest

And as if I needed more motivation for marathon training, how about this little blurb from my latest Marine Corps email:

It’s about Time

While there are no timing qualifications necessary to register for the MCM, there are strict pace requirements to maintainparticipation in the event. All runners must maintain a 14 minute-per-mile pace to meet the two on-course check points. Runners must reach the Gauntlet at mile 17.5 by 12:20 p.m. Runners slower than the required pace will be detoured for safety reasons but will quickly rejoin the marathon course. These participants may continue to run the MCM but will not complete an official marathon. It is requested any runners rerouted at the Gauntlet not accept a finisher medal. Of course, the battle cry for all MCM participants is to “Beat the Bridge,” just after mile marker 20. The 14th Street Bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic making it unavailable to runners after 1:05 p.m. Any runners unable to “Beat the Bridge” will be required to board the straggler buses and be driven to the event finish area. Also worthy of note, the MCM will start five minutes earlier this year at 7:40 for wheelchairs and handcycles and 7:55 for the runners. The course will close after seven hours at 2:55 p.m.

Note the part where you have to board the “straggler buses” if you do not Beat the Bridge. Now, I know I am going to be fine to beat a 14 minute pace, but seriously, this has definitely motivated Jess!