Friday, November 30, 2012

Judgement Day

Tomorrow is exam day. 

This is how I will feel when I'm done.

Thanks for sticking around for the chaos these past few weeks! Things will be back to "normal" on Monday.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Post - Run 3 Race Series

Resident fastie, Nicole Fritz, runs a lot of local races. There is a local series of races of various distances put on by the local park district. It is quite popular among local folks as you can sign up for all three races for 1 price.

Joliet Park District’s
Run3 Race Series

            Joliet Park District offers a great series of 3 races throughout the year.  All 3 races are held in or around Joliet, IL, which is approx 1 hour southwest of Chicago.  All 3 races are also located just a few miles off of Interstate 80, so they are also easy to get to.  The first race is held in the Spring, the second is in the Summer and the third and final race is held in the Fall.  For completing all 3 races, participants receive a fabulous hooded sweatshirt.  This year’s hoodie was a charcoal gray color and 2011’s was a basic black.  I wear both of mine ALL THE TIME.


Race #1: Rockdale Ramblin 10k

            The first race of the series is held in April in Rockdale, IL which is right off of exit 131 on I-80.  This 10k is declared the “toughest course in the Midwest” because of some major hills.  The weather was perfect though, with some chilly temps and overcast skies so the hills didn’t seem so bad (to me at least).

Pre race with some friends!  (Mag Mile Runner)

            During the race, I somehow forgot that this course was TOUGH and I wasn’t supposed to be running as fast as I was.  I was on track to cross the line with a PR if I just held onto my 7:15 pace…  Sure enough, I got to the finish line and my Dad snapped this pic of me…

Crossing the finish line with a shiny new 30 second PR! J

            At the completion of the 10k, finishers are awarded a “dog tag” as a token of their achievement.  That’s one of my favorite things about JPD’s races… there always have finisher’s medal’s! 

 Age Group awards with Mag Mile Runner

Notice the gray hoodie that I’m wearing in the above photo… this is the official race shirt for the 10k!!  Down the left sleeve is written “TOUGHEST 10k IN THE MIDWEST.”


Race #2: Sundowner 5k

            The 2nd race of the series is held in mid July, on a Thursday evening at 7pm.  For this years race, it was extremely hot and humid and race organizers encouraged participants to simply run for fun.  I listened to what they said and therefore finished with my worst 5k time in many years… because of this, I finished just out of contention for an age group award.  L 

The course itself for this race is very pretty.  It is basically just 2 loops through a pretty forest preserve.  There are a few rolling hills but nothing too challenging at all.

Basic white tech tee (unisex sizing)

 Finisher’s medal for a 5k?  Yes, please! J


Race #3: Red Eye 8k

The 3rd and final race of the run3 series is the Red Eye 8k.  Held on a Sunday in November, this race starts super early, at 7:15am.  It begins at Inwood Memorial Stadium on Jefferson Street in Joliet.  The course winds on streets, down a path, around St. Joseph’s hospital and then back to Inwood, where the finish is on the blue running track. 

Frankfort/New Lenox runners post race

 Age Group Awards

            JPD gives out age group awards for total time to complete all 3 races in their series.  I was lucky enough to earn first in my age group (25 – 29) and got to take home the pint glass in my right hand (above).  Also, I am wearing this years run3 sweatshirt in the above picture.

Run3 Goodies:
·         Rockdale Ramblin – Great quality gray hooded sweatshirt, finisher’s dog tag medal and yellow age group coaster
·         Sundowner 5k – White tech tee and finisher’s medal
·         Red Eye 8k – Black long sleeve tee shirt, finisher’s medal black age group coaster
·         Run3 series – Charcoal gray hooded sweatshirt and age group pint glass


More information can be found @  The dates for next year have already posted, so be sure to mark April 13th, July 18th and November 3rd  down on your calendar!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post - Amanda @ Get To Goal

Today's guest blog post comes from Amanda! She may seem familiar as we've run together a few times over the past 1.5 years we've known each other (see slide show below). I hope you enjoy reading along! :)

Chicago Marathon 2012

Illinois Marathon 2012
Grand Rapids Marathon 2011

About me…

My name is Amanda and my blog is  I originally started my blog as a weight loss/healthy living blog while trying to lose the last 10 lbs of 90 lbs to get to my goal weight but since then, I realized there are goals throughout life so it fits no matter what circumstance I’m in.  It has since then turned more into a running blog. 

I never used to run growing up or in school.  I hated running the mile in gym class (which was the only running I did every year).  I have been working out since I was 11 years old though, doing fitness classes and at 16, my dad signed us all up at the gym.  I wasn’t too terribly active in school and hated sports (because I am just awful at them all).  I joined bowling for 3 years in high school because they needed people and I liked to bowl.  I was on the swim team my junior year (straight into varsity swimming!) because they needed people (we had only 3 people on varsity).  Both in bowling and in swimming during my first year, I was given the most improved award and my senior year of bowling I was given the MVP award.  I’m pretty proud of those awards because even though I wasn’t the best in the sport, I was the most reliable and I always tried my best (and I got the 110% award in swimming, lol).

Why do you like to run?
I like to run because it’s a huge challenge for me.  Whether I’m running 1 mile or 26.2 miles, there are many times I struggle or have self-doubts about it.  Nothing compares to the challenges I face, mentally and physically, while running.

Why did you start to run?
As I said, I never used to run.  My dad started running when I was a teenager and was doing 5k’s up to 10k’s.  Sometimes I would go for short runs with him but really don’t remember much of it.  He was faster and better so it wasn’t often.  When I was about 24 years old, I had a friend that was turning 30.  She wanted to run a 5k on her 30th birthday and asked me to do it with her.  I was overweight (well over 200 pounds) but decided to go ahead.  I never really trained.  I think we would go for a few runs every once in a while.  I ran my first 5k on September 20, 2003 in about 40 minutes.  I kept doing a couple races every year (the Shamrock Shuffle 8k and the Ridge Run 5k) even after my friend stopped.  In 2006, I decided to run a half marathon with a coworker (who was also not a runner).  If you notice, I just wrote that she was “also not a runner.”  I still didn’t consider myself a runner at this point even though I had been running for 2.5 years.  I never trained and would run maybe once a week if that, taking several weeks off at a time.  I struggled at my 5k’s and 8k’s.  I always walked within that first mile (or within a couple miles).  I ran alone and didn’t know anything about running or know anyone else that ran. 

My co-worker and I ran that half marathon together in August, 2006 (the Chicago Distance Classic, now called the Rock N’ Roll Half).  I really struggled after mile 6 and we just tried to have as much fun as possible.  I walked a lot.  I took pictures around mile 9.  And I started to cry when I crossed the finish line.  It was the hardest thing both physically and mentally I ever had to do.  I was exhausted and sore and swore up and down I would NEVER be ABLE to run a full marathon (nor did I want to).

It wasn’t until I started losing weight (and lost about 50-60 lbs) that my running improved.  This was in 2009.  Since 2003, I had been running races between 215-250 lbs.  I never gave up but I never got better.  In 2009, I was now less than 200 lbs.  I remember one day I went running, I picked a route that would be 3 miles out and 3 miles back (6 total).  I ran the whole thing.  From start to finish.  I wanted to cry.  I had never run that distance without stopping before.  I didn’t even realize I did it until I got home and thought about what I had just done.  That is the moment that I finally realized I was a runner.  This is not to say you are not a runner if you walk, or if you run 13 min miles, or whatever.  But for me, not knowing anyone in the running community, I never considered myself a runner until that moment. 

What is your favorite distance to race? 
I don’t have an answer to this.  I’ve read other people’s answers to this question and I think about it often.  I think I like the 10k to 15k distance the best.  Long enough to be a good challenge, but not too long.

What is your favorite race?
I’ve done the Shamrock Shuffle 8k every year except one since I started running (so since 2004).  At the time, it was the first major run of the year and everyone always has a good time there.  The energy of the runners is amazing and there are typically some great costumes.  Times have changed however and it’s not the first major run of the year and it’s hugely overcrowded but I still love it as one of my favorites.

Name 5 random facts about yourself 
1.       I used to bite my fingernails until I was in my mid-20’s
2.       I’ve been skydiving twice and love it!  I actually love a lot of extreme things which shock people because I’m a pretty shy and quiet person generally.
3.       I played the piano when I was younger and am a genius at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…and I know the theme song from Cheers.
4.       I wanted to be an eye doctor when I was in high school.
5.       I can drive a stick shift car thanks to my mom teaching us to drive on hers (sort of stole this from Mag Mile Runner but it’s still true).

What is your favorite running temperature/weather condition? 
If you are a facebook friend of mine or a run friend (or lucky enough to be both), you probably know I HATE running in the cold weather.  But my ideal temp is 75, partly sunny with a slight lake breeze!  Ahhhhh!!!!

What is your most favorite piece of race swag? (Medal, shirt, belt buckle) 
I never used to run for the swag.  I don’t even know where my first 2 half marathon medals are!  So I’m not a huge swag person. I do like getting medals now though.

What is your biggest running accomplishment?
That’s easy, running the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  As I said before, I never thought I COULD run a full marathon.  I didn’t think I was physically able to do it.  Now I have 3 full marathons under my belt.  Never say never…

What is your next goal in running?
PR my darn 5k time!  I don’t consider myself a fast runner and I’m sitting on a PR of 27:55 from November 2010!  Time to change that.

What is something you want people to take away from this post?
Always believe in yourself and never give up.  It may be cliché but it’s true.  Nothing is impossible in the sport of running.  They say running is 90% mental, and I firmly believe that.  I ran a half marathon at about 230 lbs. I hear people say they can’t run until they lose weight.  That’s crap and I’m proof!   It’s ok to walk.  You don’t have to run straight through.  Just getting out there is an accomplishment.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest Post - Mag Mile Runner

Today's guest post comes from Maggie at Mag Mile Runner (again... thanks for 2 posts!!!) I am knee-deep in studying so I will not be back to posting until after December 1. I hope you enjoy!

What is your name and what is your blog (if applicable)?
I’m Maggie. My personal blog is, but I also manage and 
Why do you like to run?
So many reasons …
I enjoy my time spent running solo, it’s a good way to clear my head.
I enjoy running with others, new friends or running buddies I’ve known for awhile.
I like the benefits of running - I feel healthier than I have in a long time. I have more energy than ever. And I like being able to eat whatever I want.
I run because I want to keep pushing myself and see how far or fast I can go.
And I run because I don’t want to forget that I’m lucky to be able to run. I have two healthy legs, two healthy lungs, and a healthy heart. Not everyone does. So I don’t want to take that for granted.
What is your favorite distance to race?
I enjoy every distance! It’s fun to go fast at the 5-10K distance. Half marathons are fun because they are challenging, but attainable without taking over your whole life. I’ve only done one marathon so far, but it was such an awesome experience and so rewarding.
What is your favorite race?
I have done a lot of races that I really enjoyed, but so far no absolute favorite yet.
Even though it’s expensive, I like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half. It’s a fun, well done race, and you can get a lot of swag at the expo.
I like the “small town” half marathons that I’ve done - First Midwest Half in Palos Heights, IL, Sunburst Half in South Bend, IN, Applefest Half in Hollis, NH. All very well done races, and it’s nice to have “room” to run on a quiet course.
I really enjoyed the Rockdale Ramblin Run 10K (in Rockdale, IL). Small town race, lots of hills (which I actually enjoy, sort of), good crowd, you get a hoodie and “finishers medal” (dog tag), and it’s in mid-April, so good chance for weather.
Name 5 random facts about yourself
1. I’ve never dyed my hair and have no tattoos
2. I Facebook for a living (I work in online marketing)
3. I play the piano and the flute
4. I know how to drive stick
5. I didn’t run in high school, but I played volleyball and soccer and was on the dance team
Do you prefer cats or dogs and why?
Cats. I don’t know why. Cats are jerks. But growing up, I always wanted a cat, and my mom hated them, so I never got one. When I was an adult, I adopted a cat from my best friend. A couple years later, my husband and I moved in with my parents, and the cat came with. My mom, the cat hater? LOVES my cat. Anyway, I’m not sure what it is. I think cats are hilarious. And they are quiet, and easy pets - you can leave them alone overnight as long as you leave them enough food and water and a clean litter box. You don’t have to take them for walks. But there are still cuddly and rewarding. Although I would like to get a dog someday.
What sports or activities did you play when you were younger?
In addition to being on the  volleyball, soccer and dance teams in high school,  I also played flute in band and was on mathletes.  
What is your favorite running temperature/weather condition?
I really love running outside after it has snowed. It’s just so peaceful - most people are inside, and I feel like the snow on the ground “muffles” any noise. And it’s so pretty out - like you’re in your own winter wonderland. Also, I love running outside at night in December, when everyone’s Christmas lights are on.
Favorite workout tune of all time?
Lately, the only time I listen to music when I work out is during group exercise classes. Lady Gaga and LMFAO are great for spin class.
What is your most favorite piece of race swag? (Medal, shirt, belt buckle)
The Fort2Base pullovers. They are lightweight, quarterzip long sleeve shirts. Perfect for fall weather, but you won’t overheat. I have every shirt they’ve given out (the women’s light blue and men’s dark blue from 2011, and the women’s pink and men’s green from 2012) … maybe I can keep collecting all the shirts every year? It helps that my husband doesn’t wear his race shirts, so I order his in my size.
Proudest running moment?
Finishing my first half marathon. I didn’t really know what I was doing - my training was abysmal, I had no running group or buddy to train with, and no one to go to the race with. I woke up to rain the morning of the race, and seriously considered just skipping it. I didn’t, and I made it to mile 8 of the race, and felt like I couldn’t go on any further, so I mostly walked the last 5 miles. It was really hard. But I finished. And had no one I knew at the finish line to celebrate with, so I went home. I was really proud of myself afterward, and I’m still proud of myself, not just for making it to the finish and sticking it out to the end, but for even showing up at the start line. I feel like everyone needs a hard race to struggle through. It makes you a better runner. You realize 1) you can survive anything and 2) just how important it is to train properly.  
Ways to contact you:
Instagram - MagMileRunner

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Post - How To Find Your Ultimate BRF

Today's guest post comes from Yo Momma Runs. Special thanks to my fellow Oiselle teammate who put this together for me. :) Enjoy! :)

Hey y'all! Kelly and I met through team Oiselle (or team Weezy, as my brother likes to call it), and we got the chance to run together up in Chicago when I visited last month. You're reading this blog because you already know how awesome she is, so I will just confirm that in real life she's just as nice as she comes across in blog life. If we didn't live twelve hours apart, I would make her run with me every week.

Maggie from Mag Mile Runner already detailed why Kelly is a great BRF (best runner friend), so I'm going to give you some tips on how to find your own BRF wherever you live.

One of the things that I didn't have when I first started running in 2011 was a regular running partner. I had just moved to a new town, so I was forming regular friendships and hadn't even really considered yet how important running friendships would be. I ran at the gym a lot because they provided baby sitting, which helps when you have four kids, and I ran outside on the weekends when my husband was home. I spent a lot of running hours soul searching and fine tuning my playlists while I marathon trained, but after a year of mostly solo running, one of my goals for 2012 was to finally make some runner friends or make my friends into runners.

As we're about to wrap up this year, I cannot believe how much my running world has changed in just a year. So the 2012 Find Some Friends For Running Experiment was a complete success.

Here's what I did:

1. Make friends where you work out most. Because I spend a lot of time at the gym, I needed to make friends there. For some reason, all of my regular friends go to another gym, so my normal plan of making friends go to the gym with me for various classes or to treadmill next to each other would not work at this gym. So I finally just started talking to people who were there at the same time as me every day. Most important, I scoped out who the runners were, and, surprise, surprise, those people are now my gym BRFs. What makes them great is that they know my schedule, and if I don't show up, they worry that something is wrong with me. So on my lazy days when I'm just feeling it, I can very easily get motivated to get with it by a text from my gym BRFs.

Here are my gym BRF and I. Bonus of treadmill dates: you can all run your own pace but still be next to each other for plenty of chatting.

This can work for you if you run trails or your neighborhood. If you start seeing familiar faces who are often out at the same time as you, start to slowly get to know them. A wave and some small talk might be the start of new running relationship.

2. Start a blog. I started Yo Momma Runs in January of this year to help with my 2012 goal of getting out of solo running. I wanted to connect with other runners, and I knew the blogging community had lots of support to offer. The hard part about blogger friends is that they aren't always local, but I eventually started meeting local runners through the blog as well. I made one of my first local blogger friends a few months after starting the blog, and then she introduced me to her local runner friends. So it was like a chain of happiness and friendships that started with the blog. Also now when I travel, I can almost guarantee that I know someone in that area who I can connect with for running, even if it's just someone I can message for tips on where to run. Occasionally I get lucky and actually meet up with those people for a run.

3. Convert regular friends to running. By being an obsessive runner and talking about it constantly, you can begin to figure out who has a slight interest in running. Some signs are if they don't roll their eyes or look at the floor when you talk about running again. If you spot a slight interest, start talking about possible races you could prep for together. Last year, I had a group of a few friends who were vaguely interested in running a half marathon. They told me the parameters (how far they would travel, how long they wanted to train, whether or not they wanted to try and have a baby), so I went home and performed lots of Google searches until I found the right race for us. Four girls ended up running that race, so add four new BRFs to my tally.

4. Race locally. Eventually you'll start seeing familiar faces. I have several local runner friends who I only know because I talked to them before or after a race. This is a great way to find people who are similar to your pace because you end up near each other during the race.

5. Join a running club. Mine is the Birmingham Track Club. I originally joined because they had a discount at my local running shoe store if you were a track club member, but when I became dedicated to finding runner friends, I knew the club was a hotbed of potential. They also host my current long-run group that has completely changed my marathon training. Provided water stops and tons of people who run the same pace as me for three hours every Saturday morning, sign me up.

6. Look for runner meet-ups sponsored by local businesses. Do your local running stores meet for group runs? We have three stores in our community (Alabama Outdoors, Fleet Feet, Trak Shak) that host free weekly runs. Also, my local Lululemon store hosts a free weekly run. If you are nervous about these, invite one of your current running friends to go with you, and you can figure out the scene together.

7. Encourage relatives to run. I'm lucky to have a brother who lives in the same town who runs with me a lot. He's definitely my ultimate BRF. Here we are at the Mercedes Half Marathon in February.

If you have some family members who might be interested in running, start small and non-obligatory. At this year's Thanksgiving, I invited everyone to join me for a 5K (not a race, just a run) on Thanksgiving morning, and to my surprise, ten people showed up for the run.

Here we are laced up and ready to go.

The key to all of these, except maybe the relatives one, is that you can't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people. We moved a lot when I was growing up, so even though I was a very shy child, I was forced out of that at an early age. You may be shy and not care about having BRFs, but if you are shy and care about having BRFs, just start small. And if you're not shy, well, get out there and start converting future BRFs. The more runners who exist, the better our chances of finding our ultimate BRFs.

Where did you meet your BRFs? 

Does anyone in your family run? 

Have you converted any of your regular BFFs to BRFs?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Poultry Predictor Race Recap

As I may have mentioned, I have been doing a lot of studying lately. What has suffered the most? My running. I have had to choose work or sleep over running and I feel like my fitness has dropped off. I have been in denial about it mostly, until the race on Thanksgiving morning. Yikes. Let me back up a bit.

The Pilcher Park Poultry Predictor (say that 3 times fast) is a race where you win by guessing a time close to what you thing you will run. You don't win by being the fastest, you win by being the closest to your predicted time. What do you win? Pies and turkeys! I put my predicted time down of 32:00 which is an 8:00 mile. For 4 miles, I figured this was doable, especially since I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k at an 8:05 pace less than a month ago. I was able to register the day of the race for $10 ($8 if you pre-registered). There was no shirt and the race was gun-timed, not chip timed. The race sold out at 350 people. If you wanted to run the race, you still could but you weren't part of the "predictor" competition. A bunch of the FNRC was there and we took a group photo before the run.

I started the race with Nicole Fritz (occasional guest post writer, local speedster, half fanatic) and her cousin. We snapped a quick pre-race photo.

What is that on my head? Oh yeah, my awesome turkey headband that my co-worker made. It was quite the hit and appeared to be much easier to run in than some of the other turkey hats I've seen. On to the actual race. It was gun timed and pretty crowded at the start. We did some weaving and I could tell from the beginning that it was going to be a rough race.
Early in the race and still feeling good, hanging with Nicole's cousin.
Thanks for snapping the pic Nicole!

I started off strong but really started to feel it about half way. I wished Nicole and her cousin good luck as I had to drop back. As this was a "predictor" race, there were no mile markers and no Garmins or timing devices allowed. (Kind of freeing actually, but makes it really easy to go out too fast.) There were mile markers on the trail, but from a previous race. I spotted a "2" mile marker which was more around mile 3 and it totally beat me up mentally. Was I really only at mile 2? I felt awful! I wasn't in physical pain or anything, I just didn't feel like I was running my best (and I knew I wasn't).
(This is what pain looks like. And paleness. This is definitely what paleness looks like.)

It was a looped course and was well stationed with people directing you where to go. EXCEPT at the finish! I almost missed the last turn and was thankful that there were some of the speedier guys on a cool-down that helped direct me in the right way. I could hear some footsteps behind me and I knew a guy was right on my heels. I was going to do everything in my power to not let him pass me. He pushed and I pushed harder. I hear him call out "Nice kick!" as I entered the finish chute without letting him pass me. (Gotta say, that did feel good.) I was happy to be done and now it was time to wait for the results! When we finished, there was no clock alerting us of our time so we literally had NO idea how we did. I kind of wished there would have been a clock to let us know if it was worth hanging around or not. I had a hope that I finished in 32:00, but that was only a hope.

I waited with some of the FNRC for a little while, picked up my bag of goodies (clementine, granola bar, and 2 mini muffins. I only ate the clementine and gave the rest to a friend). The coffee pot was empty fairly quick, and I wasn't able to grab a cup (one of my favorite things about local races is the post-race coffee). I was next in line after the guy that took the last drop. First World Problem, for sure.
One more photo, modeling my headband
As I had to head home to hit the books, I didn't stay for the awards ceremony. I figured with this type of process with a lot of manual entry would take some time, and it did. A few of the other members of the group also had to leave to finish their Thanksgiving day food prep. My friend Amanda stuck around and was able to send me a copy of my time (Thanks Amanda!). Official finish time was 33:08. That is 7 seconds slower than my time last year on a very, very hilly course and also slower than my average pace for the Hot Chocolate 15k earlier this month. Just proof that my speed has dropped off a bit during this busy period with everything else going on in my life. I know I can always get it back with a little work and some time. :)

In summary, this race didn't have many frills, but that was one of the things I liked about it.

*I had never run on this trail before so it was a really nice change of pace.
*The support along the way was great, with signs of things we're thankful for, and volunteers directing us
*Cheap race without a bunch of stuff that we won't use/don't need
*Warming area and bathrooms. We had nice weather this year, but I imagine this isn't always the case. It is nice that this was offered
*Stroller and dog-friendly race... Not all races are popular with jogging strollers or dogs and it nice to know that this one is.

*The results took a long time to post.Given the old school method of tearing off the bottom of the bib, and the associated manual entry of the predicted times, this was kind of expected
*No one directing you into the finish area! A volunteer or sign would have been really helpful.
*Not really much of a post-race spread, but for the cheap price I was glad there was at least something :)

I'm not sure if I would do this race again, but I think that is just because I'm not sure if I'm a huge fan of the "predictor" style of the race. :)

Have you ever done a race like this before? What are your thoughts on the more "non-conventional" races?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guest Post - Why Kelly is a Great BRF

Today's guest post comes from Maggie at Mag Mile Runner. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you should. Maggie actually sent me 2 guest posts (expect another one to come later as well) and this post really made me smile. I love paying it forward in the running world and it is nice to see when my efforts are appreciated. :)
When Kelly asked me to do a guest post for her blog, I wasn’t sure what to write about. I had a suspicion that many of her blog followers are also my blog followers, and what could I write about that I hadn’t already written about in my blog? Or that I didn’t want to save for a post for my blog?
So why not talk about Kelly?
So, I bring you, 10 reasons why Kelly is a great BRF (best running friend):
1.) ENERGY! I don’t know where she gets it from, but she has a lot of it. And it really helps if SOMEONE has energy during a group run.
2.) Conversation. We never run out of things to talk about. Work, husbands, family, friends, running, food, blogging, pets.
3.) Pepper! Sometimes Kelly brings her dog Pepper to group runs. Pepper is adorable!
4.) Runnerd. Kelly is not afraid to be a runnerd. She’ll wear an ugly reflective vest and headlamp, while peeing in the dark on the side of the trail, getting burrs stuck on said vest. (Whoops, sorry, was I supposed to keep that story to myself?)

    5.) Reliability. She’s always out there on Thursday nights, ready for our group run. Even when I’m not. (In my defense, I had some weird hip/groin pain that was new to me and had to skip a run.)
    6.) Runner General Store. When she spectated/paced the marathon, she had everything a runner could possibly need stuffed in her shorts.
    7.) Pacing. She’s also a great pacer, and really helps distract you during miles 16-23 of a marathon.  

      8.) Awesome photography skills. Seriously, have you seen the amazing iPhone self-timed photos she takes of our group?.
      9.) Cooking. During ZOOMA weekend, Kelly taught us the art of fine carbo loading. Pasta & sauce. I hope you can keep up with her mad cooking skills.
      10.) Gangnam Style. She likes to do it all the time. In the car. While running. Which is good, because I like doing it too.
      Oh, and bonus reason:
      11. She always offers to drive when we have to carpool to a race. I feel bad, I haven’t driven us nearly as many miles as she has.
      Do you have a great BRF? What makes them so awesome? And if you don’t, maybe you can borrow Kelly once in awhile.

      Tuesday, November 20, 2012

      Race Advice for First-Time Racers

      As I've mentioned a few times before, my work pays for race entry into certain races as part of a company-wide health initiative. It has encouraged a lot of people around the office to join in on races that they may not otherwise have done. I'm sure most of you guys have a race or two under your belt...  With all the Turkey Trots around the corner, I thought it would be helpful to go through some tips to help out those newbies, heading out to their first race!
      I'm ready for my local Turkey Trot! Are you?

      1) Bibs should be worn on the front, not the back: If the race has photographers, no one will see your bib for the post-race photos. If the race is a small, local one, the finish times are usually determined by tearing off the bottom of your bib. If it is on your back, this can be cumbersome and annoying. I'm sure I was guilty of doing this exact thing for my first race, before my friend graciously told me that the bibs go on the front. Why do we assume they should go on the back? Maybe because of numbers on the back of jerseys? Either way, you'll be happier when wearing your bib on the front (and, you'll look like a pro). 

      2) Do not wear the shirt of the race to the race: I always think of a scene from Can't Hardly Wait. "You don't wear the shirt of the band you're in."  I know some people like to do this to support the race. I can be pretty superstitious and I think it is bad luck to wear the race shirt before you've completed the race. Maybe that is just me and my goofy superstitions? I usually like to wear the shirt after the race (even immediately following) or the next day...

      3) If you need to stop and walk, move to the side: I have had to do this a few times during races (ie Chicago Marathon 2011). I've even had people cut me off (and give me a dirty look) as I was slowly on my way to the side. During crowded races, there will be people cutting other people off--it is inevitable. However, it definitely is much safer trying to move to the side to walk than stopping in the middle and having people move around you. You wouldn't stop your car in the middle of the highway...

      4) Line up with other runners that look around your speed: If this is a big race with a corral system, look up suggested paces of the various corrals before the race to make sure you're in the right spot. You don't want to get run over or run other people over. If it is a smaller pace, just take a guess, or ask some of the people around you. Runners are usually friendly folk, so I doubt anyone would mind the question. :)

      5) Don't run more than 2 (or 3) across: This is much more of an issue at crowded races or a small/narrow course, but still something to mention. 

      6) Smile for the camera (or video camera): Even at small races, it is becoming more popular to have a photographer snapping photos, if only for the local Patch (or cable access show). You never know where a race photo could end up so why not smile along the way? :)

      7) Have fun out there! That should be easy... :)

      Does anyone else have any other tips for newbies?

      Monday, November 19, 2012

      Almost There...

      Thanks for all of your kind words on my Blogiversary post! I'm excited to see what the next year will bring! I have a lot of fun running ideas already planned out, and I'm super excited to see how things turn out! :)

      Full blown panic has set in. The exam is less than 2 weeks away and I still have a lot of information to get through. I have a few more guest posts lined up and I appreciate you guys sticking with me as I get through this. Things will be back to normal in December and I already have a few races lined up for the winter! I'm looking forward to the first snow falls, the absence of 100+ degree days, warming up with hot cider and hot chocolate and wearing all the new running clothes I got on clearance last year (and of course, trying out some new Oiselle items too). Anddddd, who can forget my favorite holiday, Christmas. This year I'm not doing any decorating or fun Christmas stuff until after my test is over--it will be my own personal reward for my hard work. We are even thinking about getting a real tree this year! (I've never had a real tree before, only a fake one.)

      What are you excited for this winter? Do you love winter running as much as I do? 

      Who's excited to be running through the snow? This girl!

      I like the summer, don't get me wrong, but I HATE the heat... like, more than the average person. I love the winter. I think it is because I'm a January baby? Who knows. :)

      Friday, November 16, 2012

      Happy Blogiversary!

      Today is Running Kellometer's 1st Birthday! 

      What a difference a year makes!

      There have been PRs
      Tears shed
      Races ran (and swag accumulated)
      Friends made
      Food eaten (duh)

      And I'm looking forward to what the next year may bring!

      Thanks to all my readers that have helped make the past year great!

      Thursday, November 15, 2012

      Guest Post -- So Just Keep Running

      Today's guest post comes from Paulette at So Just Keep Running. Thanks Paulette for another great guest post!

      Kelly is away to focus on studying, and I’m excited to write a guest post for her this week. She sent this lovely little survey, which I took advantage of because I love surveys. Check out my answers and thoughts below and drop me a line if you want to chat!
      What is your name and what is your blog? My name is Paulette, and I blog at
      Why do you like to run?
      Running is the part of my day when I get to destress and enjoy being outside. Running alone is a nice way to think through issues or plans, and running with friends is fun social time. Either way I can’t get enough it! Aside from this, I enjoy the goal setting opportunity of races and pushing myself toward better times or longer distances.
      What is your favorite distance to race?
      I’m a half marathon lover, hands down. It feels like just the right distance to challenge myself and to work on beating my time, and it doesn’t involve the extra recovery time that the full marathon does. I enjoy the 10K as well, but the 5K is a bit too short for my liking. I’m slow at warming up and the 5K is over before that even happens.
      What is your favorite race?
      This has to be the hardest question on the list because I have quite a few ‘favorites’ to pick just one! My top race events and why:
      The San Francisco Marathon - I ran my first 5K (2005) and my first half marathon (2009) with the SF Marathon events; you could say this is what hooked me on running. After running the 5K while visiting from Michigan for a conference, I decided that someday I would run the 1st half to go over the Golden Gate Bridge. It took a few years, but I did it on another visit in 2009! I love the race because of the Golden Gate Bridge crossing, running along the water and in the marina, and because the weather is always fabulous in SF. I repeated the 1st half marathon in 2012 and am also an Ambassador for the 2013 race. Note, you can run the 1st half or 2nd half of the marathon course, which is unusual. Check out my 2012 race report here.
      SF Finish Line with medal, note GG bridge on ribbon

      Detroit Marathon - I’ve run the half two times in 2009 and 2012, and it’s unique because you cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and come back into the US via the underwater tunnel. The race is well-organized with great medals and shirts too. I love the weather for this race as well; both times it was pretty cold at the start and stayed in the 50s or below for the duration. Here’s my 2012 race report.

      2012 Race Swag, shirt folded to show back design

      Pittsburgh Marathon - I ran the half for this one in 2010, and I was impressed with the organization and crowd support along the course. They have many bands and cheer groups along the way. The race goes along the water and over about 5 bridges (sensing a theme here?) as well as through the city. The race swag was great, Nike long sleeve shirts, Nike socks, and nice medals too.

      Name 5 random facts about yourself.

      1. I love skiing; my husband and I spend many weekends skiing during the winter especially now that we have easy access to Tahoe.

      2. I’m an only child, and my parents are named Paul and Paula. Crazy, huh?

      3. My hometown is St. Clairsville, Ohio, and my family is very Polish on both sides. I grew up doing to Polka dances on the weekends - I miss it!

      4. I’m a coffee, wine, and beer tasting nerd. I love trying new flavors and types of each, and I’m newly addicted to the beer tracking app called

      5. I have a B.S. in Molecular Genetics and an M.S. in Cell & Developmental Biology, but I don’t work in that field anymore. Instead, I’m a project manager for a tech company.

      Do you prefer cats or dogs and why?
      Cats! My husband and I have two cats, a 10 year old, Akai, and a new 6 month old kitten, Willow. I love them both, but I’m betting our kitten is the cutest cat ever born. I can’t get enough of her!

      Cuddly kitties

      What sports or activities did you play when you were younger? I played indoor volleyball and ran track (hurdles and 200m) for a couple of years each, but I was much more into music than sports at that point in my life. I play trumpet and was a member of the marching, concert, and jazz bands at my high school. I also played for the show choir back-up band. In college at Ohio State, I was in the marching band and basketball/hockey bands.
      What is your favorite running temperature/weather condition?
      Easily 40-50 degrees, which I don’t often see where I currently live in San Jose, CA. I grew up in Ohio and spent 7 years in Ann Arbor, MI, prior to moving to California for work. Heat tends to be my nemesis especially when running, and I truly miss the cooler fall temperatures and even the winter running in Michigan. Believe me, I know I should rejoice in the California temperatures and fantastic running weather year round, but I also miss what I consider to be ‘normal’ weather! That said, I do love the lack of humidity here.
      Favorite workout tune of all time?
      I haven’t run with music for years, but I remember loving the beat of ‘Come On Eileen’ when I did. I still claim that as my fave workout tune.
      What is your most favorite piece of race swag? (Medal, shirt, belt buckle)
      Ooooo, another question where I could show you ten! The medal and shirt in the Detroit 2012 swag photo falls into this category, and aside from that I love both of my Chicago race medals. I love the quality, design, and how the ribbon goes through the medal.

      Chicago Full and Half Medals

      Proudest running moment? This has been a great year so far, and my proudest moment was winning 1st in my age group at a local 5 mile race, Lake Vasona. It was a small race and generally I wouldn’t come close to placing with my times, but I worked super hard that day and really pushed myself so the AG win felt awesome! I also met up with Oiselle Team member Sophia that day, who was visiting family in the Bay Area and won 3rd in her AG.

      Me, Sophia, and our medals (and matching outfits!)

      Ways to contact you:



      Instagram: @paulettezf