Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cleveland Marathon - Part 3 Post race festivities

Happy Memorial Day Weekend Bleeps! (Ooops I really did start this last weekend)

I always forget a few things after I post about a race. So today I'll add the leftovers and tell you all about the post race days.

For weeks leading up to the race I was having issues with my left calf. It pulls on both my knee and my arch. So I was upping my banana intake leading up to race day....and since.

Since I wasn't familiar with the course I was a little concerned with losing my place on the course. I was fairly certain I would be okay for the first 9 miles when I knew there would be people around me. I was more concerned about later when I was on my own. They employed a colored flag system. The Green flags marked the route for the 10K. The Half Marathon flags were Red. And the Marathon flags were Blue. They marked the mile markers. They also had yellow signs along the way with color coding and arrows. That helped. Plus Blue is my favorite color....well besides purple, but that wasn't an option.

It's always fun to see what spectators bring out in support of the runners. I've been handed Dixie cups of beer so many times. This race I was offered grilled bacon and twizzlers. A nice twist.

When we were on mile 18 we passed a wine and martini bar. I had $20 in my pocket. If it wasn't a Sunday morning I think we might have been tempted to stop.

If' you've followed my distance races you know that I have had strange funky things happen with my calf. During two Half marathons it started on mile 10. During my first Marathon it happened on mile 15. I'm getting better. This time it waited until mile 18. I started a run and it felt like a spasm in my calf. The best description is that it feels like a snake is slithering inside my leg. Gross I know. It seizes me with fear that my calf will seize and I won't be able to take another step. It always slows me down. I can't seem to replicate it during my training. It's driving me crazy. This is now the 4th time it's happened.

One thing we figured out was happening during the race that we had no control over was sunburn. Even if I had applied sunscreen before it started, I could not have re-applied it over the next 7 hours. So yeah, we got sunburned. Awesome!

Always the girl scout I had packed a bag for the car ride home. It included a change of clothes, baby wipes, and a towel to sit on in case I couldn't change. There was no changing clothes and I got my towel out...then my brother asked if I wanted the Air Conditioning on in the seat...oh heck yeah I want that! Sorry Ms. Theresa for the sweaty bum, but that cool air on my butt felt so good.

Before we left Cleveland we had to feed newest nephew Mr. Colton. So Nephew Dominic and I watched Finding Nemo in the car while we waited. I like to use the "Just keep swimming" mantra as I run. It was appropriate. Made me smile.

My phone died just as we took the photo of me and Ms. Tricia. So I didn't get to look at my messages and facebook until it was charging in the car. I loved the texts and messages. One of the best was Ms. Abby from church had been receiving tracking messages via text and had told everyone at church how I was doing and then posted that I finished on facebook. I totally felt the love.

On the ride home I finally had to use the ladies room. I thought I was going to need to use a porta potty around mile 20, but the sensation passed. When we got home I practically sprinted up the stairs to go. Although I'm not sure it looked like a sprint, that's what it felt like. I'm quite sure that we could win some money if there was video of this. When I got up there I was a little concerned. I drank so much blue powerade I was afraid that my pee would be blue. It was not. Thank goodness. I did realize though that It was the first time I had peed in 12 hours and I drank gallons of water on that course. That's a LOT of sweat people!

Soon it was time for the most glorious shower in the history of showers. OMG I could have stayed in there forever.

That night we had pizza for dinner. I usually like burgers after distances, but after marathons I don't seem to be hungry. I have to tell my brain it's hungry. Hawaiian pizza is yummy. I did indulge in my mini oreos though.

I don't really remember the rest of the night. Lol. I know that I went to bed around 9. I had a hard time sleeping. My leg was achy. I had my leg propped up on two pillows. My feet hurt, but they were no longer swollen. It happens and I usually just have to wait it out.

I was able to sleep in a little in the morning. It was nice. But, I still got up to chill with my number one dude.

I was pretty mobile the next day. I was able to climb stairs and hop over toddler gates. The only thing that I struggled with was sitting down and standing up. Really wish they had handicap bars installed in the bathroom.

I was mobile until I passed out on the couch. I slept for 12 hours the night before and I took a 3 hours nap. I was a bit tired

The next morning I had to leave and it was really hard. I didn't want to leave the little munchkins and I didn't really want to do that drive home by myself. So I stalled and we played with the medals and took pictures.

Brother and I were very happy to have this experience together and we are so proud of each other. I did disclose that there were times during my training that he was my very least favorite person. haha. It was because of him that I was doing this. But, I am forever thankful that I did. My first marathon was not a fluke!  Besides, I came to realize just how amazing my mind and body are. I still don't believe that I was physically ready, but they overcame everything and pulled me through. No matter how I may doubt myself, this was proof that I am capable of so much.

On my long drive home I decided I wouldn't kill myself looking for a Subway. I could have a burger. I ended up at McDonalds and got a Big Mac. I didn't like it. I wish I had a real burger.

Before I call it a night, I should mention that all of my toe nails survived. HOORAY!  However, it has been two weeks and I'm still suffering with a tight calf. It's getting better, but it's not great. I was also having a hard time with my knee for a week. If I wasn't wearing my knee sleeve I couldn't walk. With my sleeve I was fine though. I will never part with it.

Thank you for sharing this journey. It's only 6 months and 5 days until the next one. haha. Who am I and what happened to the Former Fat Girl?

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
Check out my Facebook Page for Confessions (there are before and work-in-progress pictures):


yeah, sorry, I messed up and the "l" is missing....I need an assistant :-)

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: hugsnsmile
Instagram: Jennie5973

New to Pinterest

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cleveland Marathon - Part 2 Race Day

Hello my Lovelies and Gents,

I am happy to report that I did not have insomnia the night before the race. I was actually able to sleep. Hooray! I needed it. My brother's alarm went off 15 minutes before mine was set to go off. I even fell back asleep in between. I didn't even hit snooze when mine went of. It was Game Day!

I got my quick shower and got dressed in the bathroom. I almost forgot to put my body glide on my thighs. The last thing I needed was chafing. My outfit for the day included running tights (capris on a normal sized runner, but floods on me) to keep my legs warm and a hat in case it rained. We tried to be as quiet as possible so we wouldn't wake up the nephews.

Brother and I took as much stuff to the cars as possible. Too much information is about to be revealed. In the elevator I said I needed to use the bathroom in the lobby before we left since I still hadn't gone number 2. It was critical that I did that before we left. No way in heck was it going to happen in a porta-potty. Success! I was a happy girl. Let's go to Cleveland!

It's always fun driving in the dark to get to a race. It's even more fun when you are stuck in traffic in downtown Cleveland before 6am.

We were able to find a parking spot a few blocks from the start line. It took a little while to get situated before we headed over. No matter how many races I do, I still can't pin my bibs on evenly. haha.

In the car ride there we were listening to 90's on 9. One of the last songs we heard was Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" It has one of those catchy lines that you can't get out of your head. Da Da Da Da   Da Da   Da Da   Da Da   Da   Da   Da   Da   Da   Da Not exactly what I want to happen on race morning.  I wanted to scream.

We started following all of the spandex towards the start line We got to walk right along the outside of Progressive Field, home of the Indians. Y'all know how much I love baseball. We had to take some pictures. Brother had mentioned that previous races were on days of home games and runners would pack the stands after the race. So wish they were home, but alas they were not.


As we got closer to the start line we could see large lines. They were for the porta potties. No thank you! So we kept going. Soon we were standing by the corrals. Brother had loaned me his old GPS watch to see if I liked it so it set it for me.

We had about 30 minutes before the race started and we were looking around. The Marathon bibs were blue. The Half Marathon bibs were red. The 10K bibs were green. We were commenting on how few Blue we were seeing. There were 20,000+ runners registered for all of the events. We felt like bib snobs. I was proud of myself and yet jealous of the 10K bibs.

Brother decided to go use the facilities and I waited by myself....and that's when the rain started. At first it was just sprinkles, but then we got a few minutes of heavy downpour. A bunch of us were standing on the steps of an entrance to Progressive Field. There was an official picture taken, but I haven't seen it posted yet. I even found a fellow Run for Autism runner.

I was prepared for the rain with my clothes, but I also had Ziploc bags to keep my phone in my race belt. I was wearing two belts: race belt to hold my phone, chap stick, gels, and id/cash and my fuel belt that held my two bottles of water/Gatorade. I was Terrified of dehydrating. I even carried a water bottle in my hand.

I was also getting a little anxious that I wouldn't see Brother until the finish line. Luckily I spotted his short shorts minutes before we were to start. We hugged and said we would see each other at the end.

We were all bunched up at the start. We were inching towards the front and someone started joking behind me "I can hold this pace for the rest of the race. I like it!" lol. Before we got all of the way to the front I noticed several firefighters dressed in full gear with blue bibs. Amazing. I couldn't even fathom how hot they were going to be, but I guess they are used to that.

So the race started and I went to hit start on the gps watch and it had reset. I had no idea how to program it. Crap. Luckily I got my ipod started.

It was hard to maneuver around people in the beginning. It worked in my favor as it kept me from outpacing myself early. But, I did notice someone on the outside of the group wearing a LeBron James jersey dribbling a basket ball with one hand and juggling in the other. Come on!  It's mile one and he passed me...although had I moved to the outside I think I would have had a couple miles before he passed.

I mentioned yesterday that my knee was tight and it remained tight. My first 3 miles made me want to cry. I didn't think I would finish. Luckily I felt nothing by the time I was past mile 3, although I can't be certain because I never saw the flag, the pressure on the knee went away. Hooray!

My race plan was completely off. I had to improvise. The rain and the changing road affected me. I don't run on Concrete and we went over a bunch of concrete bridges. I also don't run around water stops since I slid on a discarded cup in a previous race. The roads were also not quite even and littered with patchwork and potholes. I was running a Fartlek race. Basically, I would see a spot ahead and say I would run until that marker and then slow down. I was keeping a pretty good pace.

There were many differences between my first Marathon and this one. Besides the weather, the biggest difference to me was the number of people I was around. At the Rehoboth marathon the split between the half and the full was at mile 3. I knew then that I was going to be at the back of the pack after mile 3. It was a very lonely run. I could see people ahead of me and a few behind me, but we were no longer with the large pack. In Cleveland I wanted to really take advantage of it. I was going to be with a bunch of people for the first 9 miles. There would be no slacking. I would use them to keep me moving.

Mile 5 was on a pretty busy street. That meant public bathrooms. haha. I saw a bunch of people coming out of McDonalds. I was pretty excited because that's around the time I was finally able to get my chapstick out. OMG my lips were dry.

It was around then that we passed a homeless gentleman in a doorway. My heart sank. I had a $20 on me for emergencies and if I had anything smaller I would have given it to him. I still had 20 miles to go and I needed to hold on to it.

The humidity was unbearable and I wasn't sure if I would make it to the finish line. I had my inhaler in my belt and I thought I was going to need it.

I was happy with my pace around mile 8. Although I was still not sure what I would do. The heat was awful. I looked around at the paces around me and they were slowing down. I felt sure I could get to mile 13, but I still wasn't sure I could get to 26. When I got to the split at mile 9 it was painful. Just about everyone was heading to the right along the half marathon route. Hardly anyone was heading left. But, I had come this far so I was going to keep going.

Two things happened at that point. The first is that a woman who I had been keeping pace with also split to the left. She was a rockstar in a tutu. Clearly we would become buddies. The second is that there were moving vehicles on that portion of the race. WHAT???  It's a closed course. We stayed to the side as we headed up a hill (I wanted to kill someone at that point) and practically got run over by a lady who pulled over to yell at us. At first we thought she was with the race, but it turns out that she was just really annoyed that she couldn't get out to her appointment. She also yelled at the cop at the intersection for a while. Real nice lady.

My new friend Tricia and I got to talking. This was her first Full Marathon. She was used to running Half Marathons and she was doing it with six friends who were behind us.

It started raining again right before we hit mile marker 10. Thank goodness I waterproofed my sneakers. Miles 10-13 were some of the poorer miles. The areas were not well kept and the roads were in bad shape, but we still saw plenty of spectators who were cheering us on. That warmed my heart. It was especially nice because Ms. Tricia and I both mentioned that neither of us were from the area and that there were so many turns on the course that we had no idea where we were. We couldn't tell you if downtown Cleveland was behind us, next to us, or in front of us.

During that time we met up with a couple of other ladies. We pushed ourselves to run as much as we could, especially down hills...which immediately turned into up hills.

The back half of the course was through a very nice neighborhood. And as we got closer to that halfway mark there were some cars in the opposite lane from us. The people were supportive and honking for us. We joked and stuck our thumbs out like we were hitch hiking.

Pretty soon we saw the 13 mile marker followed by the 13.1 halfway marker. Oh the joy and the terror. We were halfway, but it was just getting hotter.

Just past the 13 mile marker we started seeing the other Marathoners heading back towards us. Oh that was a sight for sore eyes. We cheered them on and they cheered us right back. That's why I love races. No matter what you are going through physically and emotionally, you are all there to support each other.

Mentally it was a good thing and a bad thing. The support was awesome, but we also saw lots and lots of people struggling. They are so far ahead of us and they are struggling.

I was starting to look for my brother and I heard my name. Although it was a woman's voice. I had become FB friends with another marathoner from the Rehoboth race who was running it. That's the bonus for being in the back. Everyone sees you. haha. I heard my name and it was Ms. Courtney. She's fast!

In a little bit I saw my brother coming. Ms. Tricia needed to stretch her calves and I was in a frenzy to grab my phone so that I could take a picture. I barely got it, but I got it. I also got a hug. We both expressed our displeasure with the humidity and how it was affecting our running.

He had just crossed the 20 mile marker and we were about to cross the 15 mile marker. Immediately I realized that we only had 2.5 miles until the turn around and we could head back towards downtown.

At this point I would like to personally thank every person who had a hose. Oh we went under every single one of them. Sometimes we circled back for another run through them.

Ms. Tricia and I got excited when I would call out that we were coming up on a new mile marker or a water stop. She was so funny. She called me Coach and would keep asking what mile we were on. She asked if my clients were like her and constantly forgetting set numbers and exercises. I laughed and told her that it happens in every session.

I am so very thankful for her. We vowed to get to that finish line together and I made it my mission to get her there. Once I had a job to do I was good. I kept thinking how much I was missing Aunt Kathy. She did a great job pacing me and keeping my mind off of the last 8 miles during my first marathon. So I became Ms. Tricia's Aunt Kathy. I would tell her our pace was dropping and we needed to pick it up.

Soon we came upon the 30K mark on the other side. There was a brief moment where we just wanted to turn around and head back. NO!  That's cheating.  Besides, we had a water, hose, and gel stop coming up.

We came to rely on our gels and could really feel ourselves pick up after we had them. I had brought some, but they were passing out a brand I had never heard of: Boom! I LOVED them!  I had some Apple Cinnamon and some Banana Peach. They were great and not heavy in my mouth. Towards the end we were grabbing a couple and stuffing them in our belts (and down my bra).

As we approached the turnaround it was glorious. There was a music spot that was blasting footloose. I moved. I was dancing and running. It was amazing. Then we saw some people who told us that the red and white flags ahead were our turn around. Hooray!  We could see them. There was a hose and water stop before it.

At the water stop we saw a woman being helped on the sidewalk. At the turnaround we passed a gentleman that was limping and almost looked like he was foaming at the mouth, but I think it was just spit in his beard. I wanted to help, but a policeman came up and was talking to him. The policemen thanked us and told us to keep going, he would help. And yes, we crossed the road to go back under that hose on the way back.

We were on our way back on mile 18 when we saw a bunch of ladies coming up mile 17. They were Ms. Tricia's friends and they weren't alone. The Sag wagon was right behind them. That meant as long as we held pace we were fine.

We didn't talk as much as we had the previous 5 miles, but we were there and supported each other. My mind kept screaming "PULL OVER AND QUIT", but I couldn't do that. There was no physical reason to stop except for exhaustion. Ms. Tricia and I discussed the difference between discomfort and pain.

"How are you Ms. Tricia?"
"I'm hurting"
"Discomfort or pain?"
"Discomfort Let's keep going!"

I got super excited when I saw mile marker 21. My rule was that if I got to 20 I would not give up and crawl to the finish line if I had to. 21 was a very good feeling. And then I opened my mouth to tell Ms. Tricia that it was coming. And I swallowed something. I have no idea if it was a bug or a leaf or what, but it got stuck in my throat and I was coughing for a full mile. I had a panic that I couldn't finish.

Two things happened at that point. My brother had suggested sucking on mints for dry throats so I had a couple in my fuel belt. I popped one in. And we were passing the Medic tent. I made the mistake of looking over and seeing a young man laying on a cot with both legs elevated and ice on his knees and ankles.

We made it a point to thank every police officer that was blocking traffic. They were friendly and very supportive.

Then a bad thing happened on mile 22. Four miles to go and we were asked to move on to the sidewalk. They were going to start opening up the roads. This was heart breaking. We could still finish, but the sidewalk was a mixture of concrete and slate. Not ideal for my knees. Plus, we couldn't see as far ahead of us. We couldn't see the upcoming flags and directional signs.

We were only like that for about a mile thankfully (the longest mile ever). But, we also came up behind another gentleman who was struggling. We asked if he needed anything. He said no, but his feet were killing him. We made sure that the police ahead of us knew to look for him. We also saw the radio communication van who checked to make sure we were good. We were.

When we got to mile 23 the van was trailing a guy about a quarter of a mile behind us. This is so not good for the brain. Starting to panic. We felt like we could make it, but got terrified that we were getting so close and could get pulled.

And then I felt the pain. I had felt some blisters forming on my heels. A stupid rock got in my shoe. It felt like a knife was slicing through my heel. I had to pull over and take off my shoe. NOOOOOO!  I didn't want to lose the momentum, but I couldn't handle the pain either. I told Ms. Tricia to keep going and I would catch up. I refused to look behind me.

Somehow I managed to catch up and soon we were approaching another guy in pain. I asked if he was okay or needed anything. He assured me he was fine. We were coming up on another water stop and the van was behind us so I kept going.

With 2 miles to go we came across a dude in a grass skirt. It looked like there was a bar that was playing music and celebrating the day. He hopped the barrier and came over to us we were at the end. He stayed with us for a little bit. They were blasting the Rocky theme song. I wanted to hustle and move faster, but I just couldn't.

We're going to call foul on the "Flattest course" because the last 3 miles were all hills. BRUTAL. We were on the expressway that heads out of Cleveland. It was a little surreal. We could finally see the skyline of Cleveland and there we were walking on elevated expressway. My brother called that stretch the Walking Dead Stretch. hahaha. It was so true. People walking like the walking dead over these concrete roads with only the skyline of the city in the distance.

And speaking of people, we were noticing that suddenly there were many more people in front of us. Either we sped up or lots of people were slowing down. Either way, we felt good. And then the van drove by us carrying Ms. Tricia's friends. They cheered us on, but damn that didn't feel good.

We got to mile marker 25. God Save the Queen!  Only we added some expletives. Really not her biggest fan at that moment. 1.2 more miles to go!

And then it happened. The van came upon us. The guy told us that the race ended 10 minutes before. They couldn't legally make us get in the van, but they couldn't keep the road closed much longer. It was beyond their control. There were still people in front of us. We had half a mile to go. Could we possibly finish and not get a medal? More importantly, what if the markings were down? Where the hell were we supposed to go? We were furious. But, we were undeterred. We were going to finish. Ms. Tricia checked her watch, and we were only 2 minutes over the official cutoff. How could they have closed 10 minutes before?

We somehow made it to mile 26. I heard my name and saw Ms. Theresa waving and screaming. She came out to hug me and I literally lost it. I had held it together all of that time and I started to choke up. She came with me and offered to run in her flip flops. I couldn't do it. Only .2 miles to go and I couldn't pick it up. And then at .1 I saw my brother and the nephews and I bolted. I saw that finish line. There were medals!  We were going to FINISH! I have no idea where it came from, but I dug so deep and sprinted like I was running the 100 meter dash. We Finished!

I wanted to severely hurt the man who scared us so much. That was the worse 10 minutes ever. To think that we got so far for nothing just about killed us.

We managed to overtake a Great-Grandmom at the last moment. I finished ahead of 2 people before they took down the finish line banner. When we checked the times I actually finished ahead of 10 people!  WOO WOO! And 450 people who registered never crossed the finish line...although I'm not sure how many of them even started.

There were high fives and hugs all around. We had closed the gap on the two ladies that we were chasing the whole time and finished right behind them. We hugged. I can't believe we did it. It was literally the most physically draining day I have ever had. Crossing that finish line made every minute worth it! Ladies and Gentlemen I have finished 2 marathons in less than 6 months. HOLY CRAP!

They were putting things away, but a lady came over and offered us extra water bottles and bananas. YES PLEASE. We took several. I saw some crates with chocolate milk and wanted one SO bad, but I didn't know how long they were sitting in the sun.

Before we left we still needed to head to the Run for Autism tent. Amazingly I could still walk pretty well. A big Thank You to Ms. Katie who waited for me and still had lots of snacks...including Chocolate milk!  WOO WOO!  I had two. I also had a couple maple cookies that were the most amazing thing ever. I had a mini bagel with peanut butter, but my belly was really messed up. I wanted to throw up, but I held it all in. We sat for a little while and let Nephew run around while I elevated and iced my knee. I was also very happy to take off my shoes. Ahhh...

There was another Run for Autism Marathoner who finished just before me. We got to talking about our favorite parts and least favorite parts of the course. And we all agreed that we would rather have had rain all day than the humidity. This seemed to surprise everyone else. We couldn't stay too long because I was stiffening up and we still had a drive home. The good news is that I got to load up on extra food and drinks. I got to take one of the new cherry red bulls. It was good. I wish I had taken the rest of the maple cookies though.

I think the funniest part of the day was walking the 3 blocks to the car. Ms. Theresa looked like she was sprinting while pushing both nephews in the stroller compared to Brother and me. lol. We were a mess.

If you would have told me 5 years ago that one day my brother and I would finish a marathon together I would have laughed in your face. I mean I would have passed out from laughing so hard. My journey has been so amazing. I can't wait to see what comes next! Well okay, only 7 months until Marathon #3

Good Night Cleveland!

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
Check out my Facebook Page for Confessions (there are before and work-in-progress pictures):


yeah, sorry, I messed up and the "l" is missing....I need an assistant :-)

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: hugsnsmile
Instagram: Jennie5973

New to Pinterest

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cleveland Marathon Part 1 - Travel and Expo

Hello Beautiful People,

Well Cleveland was a whirlwind weekend. I had hoped to tell you all about it while I was still at my brother's, but I was too preoccupied with my cutie pie nephews. They get all of Aunt Jennie's attention.

I left for Pittsburgh on Friday. I had clients in the morning and then got on the road. Well after a quick stop at Starbucks. I was so anxious to leave that I forgot to asked for an iced drink. I had to put my air conditioning on high for the first couple of hours. It was a free drink and I had a long drive ahead of me. That Venti would last a while.

The drive was beautiful through the mountains. It just stunk on my knees. It was my first time making that drive so I had a hard time trying to figure out lunch. Ideally I wanted a Subway, but I kept finding them in Gas Stations and I opted to keep moving. I finally couldn't take it and pulled over after a few hours for gas, a potty stop, and a Subway stop. I ate my ham on flatbread there and took my chips for the road.

I started my drive at 9 am and didn't arrive until almost 7pm. Of course I hit Pittsburgh around Rush Hour...and I had been drinking a lot of water. You do that math. Basically, when I finally pulled in I couldn't even hug the nephew before I bolted upstairs to the bathroom.

I got my Hello snuggle from Nephew and then went over to meet my new nephew. Oh so cute!

Luckily dinner was just about ready. Ms. Theresa made an awesome chicken and mashed potatoes meal...mmm...mashed potatoes, my happy place. 

I played with the boys as much as I could, but after I gave nephew his bath and put him to bed I was ready to pass out. I had a big weekend coming up.

It took us a little while to get on the road in the morning, but we were on the road around 11. We took two cars. My brother drove ahead of us, and I rode with Ms. Theresa and the boys. My knee was feeling a little tight from the drive the day before.

We drove to the hotel first to use the bathroom and leave a car. Then it was time to head into Cleveland to the packet pickup expo.

The start and finish lines were blocks apart from each other. We drove by the start line at the Field where the Indians play baseball. The Finish line was over by the football stadium and right next to the convention center.

We were still hungry, but figured we would see what food they had there. The first step though was picking up our bibs. It was a little thrill to see my name on my bib. Yeah, that was pretty cool. Then we needed to head downstairs for our shirts and the rest of the expo.

I got a Large shirt because I always go Large for women's shirts. I need that boob room for running. When I held the shirt up it seemed a bit big, but that's okay. *I wore it the day after and it is a bit big on me. Hooray!

We decided to split up and check out the exhibits on our own. It wasn't that big. My first stop was the Run for Autism table. No one was there so I made a bee line for the consessions stand. All they had to eat were $4 hot dogs and $2.50 mini pb&j sandwiches. I opted for the pb&j because I was deliriously hungry.

I went back to the Run for Autism table and Ms. Katie was back. I had some checks to give her and she showed me where she would be on race day. I made sure she knew that I would be finishing at the end of the day. She said she would be there. Hooray!  We talked about the team. There were 13 on the team I think. We were spread out among the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K.

I got a couple new stickers and a Cleveland shirt, then I went to watch the video of the course. I had no idea what to expect. I taped it so that I could watch it that night (I forgot and didn't do that).

Before we left I found the Bondiband table. Oh you KNOW how much I love my Bondibands. I got two with patterns and one that felt very appropriate:

One of the exhibits was for a Christmas Story 5k in December. What I wouldn't give to be in that....but alas, that s Marathon #3 weekend. I really need to pay attention to my new headband. lol.

After we left, we drove to see part of the course. We were looking for a spot where Ms. Theresa and the boys could try to see us. The road was a pretty drive and I saw the flag mile markers up. I got a little thrill seeing them. We went to a spot that would be mile marker 15 going one direction and 20  going the other way. When we got back on the highway I looked over and saw the skyline of Cleveland. I commented on how far away it looked. It's a good reminder that Marathons are not your 5K.

We went back to the hotel to unload then then we needed to get our carb loading on. We found a pizza place close to the hotel so Brother and I headed over for some take out. I ordered some pasta with a couple of meatballs. I'm not sure I breathed when I ate it.

I also made sure to finish a Gatorade while we were at the hotel. Oh the hotel was fun. There was a prom. So we did a lot of prom dress watching.

Brother and I got spent some time getting our stuff ready for the morning. We would be leaving around 5am.

I got my ipod ready. I got my fuel belt ready. I got my race gear ready. All I had left to do was to get my legs ready. I brought my resistance band along. I got on the floor and spent some time stretching my calves, hamstrings, and hips. I felt nice and relaxed when it was time to get in bed.

I had limited my caffeine intake for the day so that I could pass out. I just kept thinking about my insomnia the night before the first Marathon. I had been told that it doesn't matter how many you do, it's a common occurance.

My body was tired, but my brain was still a little anxious. I honestly didn't know what I would do in the morning. Would I stick with the Full Marathon or just take the Half Marathon course? I wasn't 100% sure that my body was going to make it. Remember what I said earlier about my knee feeling tight? Well I was limping all over the expo. My knee kept locking and stopping me in my tracks. I kept that information to myself. Amazingly I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep.

So what happened on Race Day? You'll have to come back tomorrow to find out.

Before I go, I must wish Tony Stewart a very happy Birthday. But, first he must call me!

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
Check out my Facebook Page for Confessions (there are before and work-in-progress pictures):


yeah, sorry, I messed up and the "l" is missing....I need an assistant :-)

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: hugsnsmile
Instagram: Jennie5973

New to Pinterest

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Random Wednesday: Pizza, Tony Stewart and Playlist

Happy Random Wednesday,

Alright I will just say that today has been painful. My knee isn't feeling any better. I have been fighting tears all day and limping everywhere I go.


Yesterday was the last day with Girls on the Run. That meant that it was Pizza Party Day. I picked up 4 pizzas. Guess what my car smelled like today...bah!


Last night as I was wallowing in self pity with my knee elevated and being iced I really really wanted to fall off of the wagon into a vat of chocolate.

My birthday is this Saturday. Tony Stewart is racing that night. All I want for my birthday is for him to win and then call me!  Would be the best birthday EVER!


I got a nap today. HOLLA!  I really needed it. I am severely lacking on sleep these days. In fact, I should be asleep right now. Tomorrow is a long long day for me. I have CPR certification and 4 clients all over Charlotte. So I should probably call it a night.

Thank goodness my first Birthday Gift this year was a Starbucks gift card :-) Oh and a quicky Starbucks Happy Hour date with Ms. Caroline for a frap some bananagrams.


Time to update your playlist. I need to do this before next weekend:

Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music blog.

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
Check out my Facebook Page for Confessions (there are before and work-in-progress pictures):


yeah, sorry, I messed up and the "l" is missing....I need an assistant :-)

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: hugsnsmile
Instagram: Jennie5973

New to Pinterest

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Insanity of 26.2

Hello Beautiful People,

As I write this I am sitting with an ice pack on my knee while it is elevated. My mind is not in a good place right now. I'm extremely frustrated.

The road to Cleveland has been filled with lots of ups and downs...ironic since I chose it for it's flat course. haha.  Seriously, this has been an emotional roller coaster unlike any of my previous races, including my first marathon.

When I trained for my first marathon last year it was pretty much my number one priority. This time around I have been super busy with other things so it's taken a backseat. Couple that with my knee issues and it's been horrible.

So many times I have sat down and said "I'm going to need to make this a Half Marathon. I'm just physically not ready." And that's hurt. Why can't I do this? What is wrong with me????

My work schedule got a little more hectic this year. I now have clients 7 days a week. It got harder to fit in distance days. With my knees it's hard to move around afterwards. If I have clients at night I don't like to do distances those days. Plus I have Bible study on Wednesday nights so I didn't want to do them that day. And then I got involved with Monday nights at church. My church hosts homeless families on Monday nights during the winter. I really wanted to be mobile for them. Plus they were hard emotionally to prepare for and walk away from. A couple nights I spent the night there and I couldn't sleep well. My heart was just too heavy.

When I did get my distances in I had a very hard time recovering the next day. My knee is PISSED at me. It keeps reminding me that I promised it some rest and recovery after December's Marathon. Generally it doesn't hurt during the runs, it's later that it screams bloody murder at me. Usually I can get back out there two days later. This time around it's taken 2-3 days for the pain to subside.

Things have come up. My body is not physically ready. I've been exhausted from my schedule. My body is exhausted and hurting. It's been rough.

To top things off I have been very stressed about my fundraising. For previous races I have had a desk job and a laptop without a virus. I was on top of my fundraising requests. This time around has been hard. I've barely been on my laptop. As of today I have $150 of the $600 I promised to raise. So there's a little stress right there. "I'm going to have to pay so much for a race that I don't even know if I can finish." I want so much to do everything that I can to raise money for Autism Research. It's such an important cause for me. And I feel like I've let them down. I have since heard from people that they were having a hard time with website, so at least I know there is some more support out there. Hooray!  I'm not a complete failure!

Okay so I have gone back and forth about a billion times in the past couple of months. Do I stick with the Full marathon or do I do the sane thing and switch to a half. I think I landed on Half about 2 times. The rest I keep landing on Full. It's hard to talk to people about this. Most people don't understand why I haven't completely landed on Half yet. After all, it's the sane thing to do. If I would just commit to that then most of the stress would melt away. The toll that it's taking on me physically and emotionally unreal. Why would anyone choose to do that to themselves?  My response: Anyone who signs up for 26.2 borders on the insane. That's the only answer I can give.

Most people tell me that I should switch to a Half. The people who aren't saying that are my fellow 26.2ers. They KNOW. They Get Me!  I've done it once. I can do this. I have to do this. I NEED to do this. And so I have fully committed to the Full. I would rather try and fail than always wonder if I could have done it and I gave up. This is HUGE for me. The fear of failure was a catalyst for the Former Fat Girl. The fear of failure was what kept her from living life. That's what kept her on the sidelines.

Even with the knee pain I am experiencing today I am planning on the Full. I will know when I need to stop. If I have to pull myself off of the course and take a cart ride back to the finish line then I will. Maybe it'll be driven by a really cute guy! I am just planning on going slow. I may be the last person to cross that finish line. I'm so okay with that. More than okay. I don't care how long it takes. My body and mind have had negotiations this past week. They have agreed to work together and get me to that finish line. Of course, that could be the insanity talking.

I keep promising my body it gets a rest after Cleveland...and then I remember that I have another Full in December. Yep, clearly insane....

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
Check out my Facebook Page for Confessions (there are before and work-in-progress pictures):


yeah, sorry, I messed up and the "l" is missing....I need an assistant :-)

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: hugsnsmile
Instagram: Jennie5973

New to Pinterest

Monday, May 4, 2015

I was tired and I didn't get my distance training in today, but it was still a good day!

Hello my Lovelies and Gents,

I am very tired. I need to keep this short because I seriously need sleep. I had to postpone my mid-distance run today because I could barely keep my eyes open this morning. Rest is so very important!

Friday night I had a youth event at church. It was from 7-10 and I said I would leave at 9 since I had to be up at 5am. Yeah, I didn't leave until 9:50. I had a very hard time waking up. I needed to be in South Charlotte by 6:30 am for the other Girls on the Run 5K. I can't wait to tell you all about it. I volunteered at the water stop. So much fun.

After the 5K I went straight to a client's and we did a practice 5K. We did intervals and somehow ended up on hills every time it was time to run. I was super tired and hungry when it was over, but I wanted to stop to return some items on my way home.

I called Ms. Crystal and we met at one of our favorite places. I was craving a burger. What I didn't know is that there was a heavy metal festival at the race track all weekend so traffic was a bit difficult. By the time I got home it was almost 4pm. Too late for a nap. So I pushed to stay awake a little longer. That backfired. I was up until 11.

Yesterday I had Church in the morning, a client, and then I met Ms. Tracey for lunch. I got home around 3 and was fighting my eyelids. The race was in Talladega this weekend. I REALLY wanted to watch. I had missed so many races due to weather and clients. I really needed a Tony Stewart fix. Hey Tony Stewart, CALL ME!  I tried really hard to stay awake. I couldn't do it though. But, I also had clients afterwards so I couldn't really sleep. I set my alarm and got a 15 minute nap. It woke me enough to go out for my clients.

Today I was going to come home after my clients, get my stuff, and then head to the park for a good training day. But, I was TIRED. I knew that if I came home I would sit and then never get back up. I was so deep in thought about this that I drove past my client's exit. Twice I said they had 10 minutes left not 10 seconds. I needed to change my plans to Wednesday.

But, I still needed to get in something:

Okay, so I will go home and change then go to the park for a smaller distance.

No, I will still sit down and never get up.

But, you are wearing yoga pants and a non-breathing shirt. If you go somewhere now you will overheat.

Wait, you can go to the park with hills and lots of trees. The shade should help.

You need water. Just go home.

Stop at the grocery store. DUH.

Don't push yourself. You are physically exhausted. You will only get frustrated.

You NEED this!

And so I did. I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a bottle of water. Then I headed to the park. I am proud that I kept up a decent pace. I didn't run because I wasn't wearing pants that would stay up if I ran, but I walked fast and I handled the hills. My knees hurt now, but I was fine during.

I finished a marathon. I became a Personal Trainer. But, it's days like today that I am most proud of. Days when I don't let the excuses win. Days like today when I powered through 5 miles of hills on impulse. The Former Fat Girl would NEVER have done that. NEVER EVER!

It wasn't the distance I wanted today, but in the end it was a big giant Win!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need sleep!

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
Check out my Facebook Page for Confessions (there are before and work-in-progress pictures):


yeah, sorry, I messed up and the "l" is missing....I need an assistant :-)

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: hugsnsmile
Instagram: Jennie5973

New to Pinterest