rock n roll marathon las vegas recap | marathon monday

Never have the words “your race, your pace” applied more to my running life than they did last Sunday at the Rock N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I originally committed to run my first Marathon (26.2 miles) during this race. However, in the last month or so, my hip started to give me problems and I decided I needed to stick to the half-marathon. Since I had run three prior to last Sunday’s, I felt comfortable with the distance and I knew I could adjust my pace and have time for stretch breaks if needed.

Due to the events of 1 October, the race course was altered. This meant moving the starting line from Las Vegas Village (where Route 91 took place) to The Park further North up The Strip located in front of T-Mobile Arena. I knew it was going to be an emotional race, but the turnout was still shocking. It was PACKED getting into our corrals before the race and the amount of Vegas Strong gear was truly amazing.

Another change from last year? The police presence. Metro was out in full force with a helicopter flying over the course for the entirety of the race and snipers with long-range rifles on top of man-lifts and buildings. A difficult sight considering the reason for their being there, but comforting to know that Vegas doesn’t back down.

Since I originally committed to the full course, my corral was close to the front (#9) and I got to begin my race shortly after the official start. I met a few locals who hadn’t considered racing before 1 October happened. After that, they said there was no way they couldn’t. A beautiful example of our community for sure.

When it was Corral 9’s turn to take off, I knew I had to go slow and easy to start. I knew it was important to see how my hip and knee were going to handle the movement. I also made sure to tell myself it was okay to stop and stretch if I needed. (I have this issue where I always have to endure through the pain, so I have to constantly make an effort to forgive myself.)

The first two miles were emotionally and physically painful. We made our way South, past Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Village, Rock N Roll’s memorial for the victims and to the Welcome To Las Vegas Sign. At this point we turned around and made our way North up The Strip – making another pass by the emotional block of our city.

Once I hit the two-mile marker, I think my body started to relax. (The night before, I started having lower back spasms that in turn were causing my hip to spasm. Now, looking back, I really think the stress of the race and the security precautions were manifesting physically in my body. I’d been icing, stretching and putting natural Icy Hot (aka Deep Blue) all over my pelvic region the whole day leading up to race time.)

My body relaxing was a very good thing. Seeing all the people who showed up to cheer and support the runners was an even better thing. I knew this wasn’t going to be my best half-marathon, so I decided to just chill out and enjoy it. And let me tell you, I enjoyed the fuck out of it.

It was so fun to see the little kids cheering with their signs, to run up one of the most famous streets in the world and to take it all in without having to worry about beating a time. And of course I cried because I’m turning into an emotional bitch in my old age. Of course.

All was well until the last two miles of the race. My hip was getting sore, but I really, really did not want to give up and walk even though I had already told myself that was okay.

In the end, I powered through and ran the whole damn thing. It’s a proven fact that your brain tries to get you to give up wayyyy before your body does. You have to practice finishing what you start. I say you have to practice it because it doesn’t come easy to everybody. Trust me I know.

I ended up completing the half in 2 hours 29 minutes 48 seconds – yes, the slowest half I’ve ever done and I don’t care because I had a blast and finished what I came there to do.

My family even joined in on it! They completed the 10K and we all agreed that it was such an amazing time! We also all got to attend the weekend headliner performance on Saturday night by the Goo Goo Dolls. The 90s child in me was thrilled. My dad is also a major fan so I think his life was made.

In the week after the race I can honestly say that I miss it and I wish I were running it again today. Although, I think my body is happy that we don’t have another race for a couple of months.

Speaking of…stay tuned for next week’s installment of #marathonmonday. I’ll be discussing my running plans and races for the next year!

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change of plans… | marathon monday #25

Let’s just get this out on the table here at the very first: I am no longer running the Rock N Roll Marathon.

: (

However, I still WILL BE RUNNING the HALF marathon on November 12th.

So why the sudden change of plans? Well, the change wasn’t so sudden.

On and off for the last month, I’ve been having weird pains in my right hip that have made it painful to run while also causing shin splints. On the other side of my body, my ankle has started giving me problems. What the hell why am I falling apart?? Good question – very good question.

Unfortunately, I have no solid answer to this question.  I haven’t taken a trip to the doctor (I know, I know – I need to), but I have consulted with runner and trainer friends. The general consensus and my personal decision is that I need to hang back and focus on what I know.

I know I can complete a 13.1 mile race, because, I’ve done it before three times. The distance is familiar and I know what to expect at various times along the course. If my hip starts acting up, I know how I’ll need to handle the rest of the course.

What I don’t know is how my hip and ankle will handle a 26.2 mile course. Will I push myself and cause damage? Will I collapse in the middle? Will I have to pee and get stuck in a port-a-potty at the wrong time and find myself on a moving truck?

Obviously the last scenario is highly unlikely, but you know me, I had to add some humor to this less than ideal decision.

And it sucks. It really, really sucks to spend time preparing only to have your body say “Nope not this one.” I’m the type of person who believes that things happen for a reason and this is no different.

Not only do I want to compete in future races (my goal is three next year!), but I also want to be able to keep up my active lifestyle for decades to come. Part of this decision comes from the fact that I’ve already had an ACL/MCL surgery on my left knee and an insane sprain in my right ankle at this point in my life. And I’m trying to avoid any further medical issues if possible.

Even though it’s a terrible feeling, I know this race is for something bigger. Regardless of the distance, the most important thing about this year’s race – is to run it. This is the largest event on The Strip since October 1st and all that matters is to show up and be Vegas Strong. To show the world that nothing stops us.

Not even a hip. (I feel like a Grandma.)

 

vegas strong | marathon monday week #23

the morning after. spreading some #VegasStrong love

 

Holy shit. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and on the afternoon of October 1st, I sat down to write my first Marathon Monday post in weeks. My world had been crazy with moving, work and life in general so I was glad to find some time to update the blog on my running progress.

Then, at 2am, I woke up to my neighbors screaming, the wind howling and no less than ten texts from an assortment of people. I quickly learned about the tragedy that took place five minutes from my house shortly after I had fallen asleep.

At that point, and for the last two weeks, everything non-essential has fallen away. Time spent on social media, time watching reality tv and time focusing on bullshit. Because the only thing that we could focus on was how we were going to move on from this nightmare affecting our city.

My focus has been my family, my city, working and running. In times like these, you begin to see what really matters in your life and what things make the cut. And I think the only thing that has really kept me sane these last two weeks is my hour or so everyday to escape it all and run the city.

And yes, this race is still happening and I will still be running it. There’s no way in hell I was going to let a sub-human scare me away from running one of the most famous streets in the world. Together with all of the other Rock N Roll Marathon participants, we are showing up to continue to show the world just what #VegasStrong means.

It would be easy to default to fear, stay inside, never do anything ever again. But that’s ridiculous. It’s not the way to live a life. Let me put it this way: I went to see The Grateful Dead five days after the Manchester Bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. Last week I saw Kings of Leon, five days after the 1 October shooting. Because fuck fear. I won’t let it stop me from doing absolutely everything I want to do.

kings of leon has been one of my favorite bands for forever ❤

So this is where I’m at. The events and the aftermath over the last two weeks have changed my mind and put into perspective so many things. I’m not sure where we all go from here, but I do know we just have to keep going.

WE are the lights of this city.

#VegasStrong #BattleBorn

GENDRY DIDN’T GIVE UP | marathon monday week #15

Hey guys I am BACK! I was packing and moving all of last week and that shit got stressful so I had to drop everything and work on getting prepped for the movers. Regardless, I did manage to get my running in and of course all the thinking that comes with it. Lol.

my parents were in town for my move and this was their view at planet hollywood. like HELLO VEGAS!
desert smash @ Hexx Kitchen – gin, blackberries, rosemary agave, lime juice

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So last week I did this amazing 5 mile run. I felt so relaxed and confident the entire time. The music was bumping and I was throughly in the groove. When I find myself in a good groove like this, it allows me to actually enjoy the run, which is a nice touch.

Once my run was complete, I looked at my pace and I wanted to faint. I was looking at thee SLOWEST 5 miles I have ever done. Talk about deflating that ego. What happened? Why didn’t my pace match how I felt about my run?

I’m here to tell you folks, sometimes the numbers do lie.

We’ve all heard stories about friends who are working to get into better shape. They feel so good, yet, their weight is slow to drop. There are stories about rich men and women who are the unhappiest people on the planet while some who are not-so rich are living full, blissful lives. One donut is perfect, yet seven of them produce unpleasant consequences.

You see what I’m getting at…the numbers aren’t always indicative of our level of success.

As a runner, I get so caught up in beating my pace from the last run or how fast I have to run to qualify for Boston. (It’s really fast.) In life, we get caught up with our weight, the amount of zeros in our bank account or pairs of shoes we own (so guilty).

What if we had no concept of the numbers? If weighing ourselves wasn’t such a falsely inflated milestone on a weight-loss journey? If we unsubscribed from those Nike Store emails?

Would we ignore what the numbers were telling us and determine success based on how we feel about our work? I’m guessing we would. Perhaps we would celebrate our success and that would only inspire and drive us to go out and do it again.

Now, I’m not saying that achieving big things is pain-free – not even a little bit! What I’m trying to convey is that it doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) be a 100% dreadful experience. Where’s the fun in that? Doesn’t leave much room to enjoy the journey.

I’m also not saying we should ignore our Amex limit and buy the new Gucci sandals in every color possible. Or that money doesn’t matter in terms of being able to fulfill goals such as travel or charity.

What I am saying, at the bottom of everything, is – none of it means shit unless we are happy and fulfilled by our achievements. What use is the house and the money and the glory if we wasted our soul and body away to get these things? In my opinion, not worth it at all.

While numbers can and do matter (especially in athletics), it’s important to listen to our bodies and take stock in how we feel. Even if that means slowing pace and not feeling like a lung will burst throughout that 5 miler. Like they say, slow and steady wins the race! You can’t finish if you give up halfway through!

And…GENDRY DIDN’T GIVE UP LAST NIGHT.

I cannot with Game of Thrones last night, how are we going to wait a whole year for the next season. How.

Happy Monday!

lord love a duck | marathon monday week #14

“Lord love a duck” is one of my mother’s favorite sayings. I don’t really know what it means, except that she uses it when exasperated.

I personally think the literal interpretation of this phrase would be hilarious. I feel this way because I’ve had a recent obsession with ducks. I know, random. It started with a post on the Passenger Shaming Instagram account. For those that don’t know, it’s an account that features submissions of people being terrible airline travelers. The photo I’m talking about featured a very adorable service duck, on a plane, in BOOTIES.

See?

Guys…BOOTIES!! Obsessed.

From there, I did some research about the feasibility of owning a pet duck in Las Vegas. Guess what? It’s not feasible. On to Plan B, which entailed setting my text tone to the duck quack and going to Sunset Park to visit the ducks. I talked about my return to this sport a couple of weeks ago.

On Saturday morning, I let myself sleep in before embarking on the run of the day. The longer I sat in my chair drinking my coffee, the more time I had to attempt to talk myself out of running. But then I thought of the ducks. My ducks. I needed to go see these damn ducks. I couldn’t let them down.

To clarify, I am fully aware of the fact that I do not own these ducks. They are wild, majestic creatures that dwell in the lake at Sunset Park and I have no claim to them whatsoever. So why am I attached to them?

Maybe it’s because while I’m sitting on the side of the lake, post-run, watching them swim around doin’ their thang – I feel so peaceful. Perhaps it’s because this is the next best thing to making an irresponsible life decision to acquire one as a pet.

Either way, I learned this weekend that I LOVE the ducks. I don’t know what this has to do with running or even life for that matter. If I could pull anything from this revelation, I would say that finding a quiet moment is so important to balance out our busy, stressful lives. Discovering a place to come to peace could be a crucial step in the process that is getting through a week without threatening to murder a coworker (you know which one).

There’s a reason so many of our favorite authors went out into nature. To be a witness of such perfect stillness and beauty is nothing short of satisfying – and inspiring.

I hope you find a place of peace this week, especially if things start getting crazy. Or, like me, you are having a mild freak-out after seeing both this week’s and the preview for next week’s GAME OF THRONES. OMG.

Happy Monday!

 

 

holy shit halfway check-in | marathon monday #13

this patron prickly pear marg was muy perfecto!
i got to see the killers last week live on jimmy kimmel! AMAZE.

“Holy shit.” Yeah, those are my exact thoughts on this topic. How did we get here so fast?! In 13 weeks, the big day will be real. So I thought it was time to check-in and see what I needed to adjust during this last half of training.

I’ve come to the realization that I do need to make this a more prominent part of my life because this is where the mileage begins to increase. In the coming weeks I will start running distances I’ve never reached before. I’m not afraid to admit it – that’s intimidating!

The only thing I can do is become obsessed with my training and do everything I can to contribute to this process and set myself up for success.

This is what I see looking back on the last thirteen weeks:

– Summer has been hectic! Between traveling and moving and music festivals, sometimes it’s been difficult to get all my workouts completed. Now that my schedule is clearing up, it’s going to be a lot easier to make this marathon a bigger priority.

– SLEEP. For sure, I need more of this shit. Then again, I could always use more sleep. This scenario is a little bit out of my control (I have some WEIRD ASS sleeping issues), but I can work harder to contribute to a better night’s sleep.

– Stretching. I can tell you right now that I do not make enough time for a proper warm up or cool down stretch. All I can tell myself about this one is…just DO. IT.

The marathon is a whole new distance, one that I’ve never run before. That means I need to constantly check-in and tweak my training and my approach. Which is a thing I can do.

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I want to close my “Holy Shit Halfway” Check-In with a quote that my Mom found in her local paper yesterday:

“Too many of us mistake the edges of our comfort zone for the limits of our endurance.” – Chris Huston (Journalist)

cheers bitches!

running with gratitude | marathon monday #2

It’s Monday, Monday, gotta get down on…Monday?

OK, maybe not, but, how productive is a song about Monday? Just kidding, “Manic Monday” is a thing. Anyway… let’s get into it.

Marathon Monday Round 2!

I’ve officially completed my first full week of training! I was scheduled for four runs, all of which I completed and even ran longer than the training plan required. Go team!

So I’ve felt really good overall and the inspiration during my runs has been FLOWING. I’ve heard that the first thing Ernest Hemingway did in the morning before writing was go for a run. (If you know me, you know I’m infatuated with Ernie.)

I can see why this was an important part of his morning ritual.

Today, I had a completely different post planned. Way back on last Thursday, I knew I was going to talk about some running tip that could also be applied to non-running life and blah blah blah. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good one and it will show up eventually on #marathonmonday, but yesterday on my run something completely different hit me.

Today, I feel so compelled to talk about GRATITUDE. It’s such a simple thing, being thankful for the things that we have. However, it can be easy to forget just how much we as humans in this world have been blessed with. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you have access to/own a smart phone, tablet, computer, etc. A blessing in and of itself!

Running is hard. It’s not only physically challenging, but mentally challenging as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to stop running during an individual run. The times when I hit that wall and I have to convince myself to just keep going.

And I’ve got to say, the times that I start being thankful for the fact that I have the equipment, time, freedom, health and even body parts required to run, it makes it a whole hell of a lot easier to keep going.

When I run certain routes, I encounter a lot of homeless people and their, well, encampments. Everything they own on a tarp, in a shopping cart or a backpack, in the middle of the city. It’s shocking and sad to see humans live like that, especially when I’m just casually running by on a Sunday morning in specialized running shoes, listening to music with my Spotify Premium subscription, on an iPhone 7 Plus, through Bose Headphones. Yeah, it makes me feel like a douchebag – see the need for gratitude?

Because let’s think about it…

Who am I that I was given this life?? Who am I that I was blessed with every single little thing I have?? Now, don’t get me wrong, I have worked really hard for a lot of the things that I have, but the man sleeping with his shopping cart by the freeway? Just as easily…that could have been me.

Is it fair? Not at all. And that’s exactly why we have to be made aware of this. I haven’t been given this life of blessings free of charge. It is my job to have GRATITUDE and try to make this world a better place along the way. Something as small as a smile can change someone’s day.

It’s easy to feel bad for ourselves when times get tough, trust me I know. But it’s so much healthier and satisfying to take a time out and list our blessings. Don’t know where to start? Let me help you out…

  • Did you sleep in a bed last night? In a house? With walls and a roof? With running water, electricity, heat/AC?
  • Are you getting ready to go to, currently at, just getting home from, or taking a day off from a job?
  • Are you wearing clothes, watching TV, drinking wine, eating dinner…?

I think you get the idea.

It’s been so humbling to see those less fortunate than me during my runs and it jump starts the gratitude list. Not only do I have physical necessities and non-essentials, but I also have the health and actual body parts needed to run in a marathon. Yep, that definitely puts it all in perspective.

Now that I’ve shared my enlightenment…it’s your turn.

I challenge everyone to do what I do each and every morning:

  • Write down 3 things you are thankful for

We’ve already done some brainstorming. It’s amazing how doing this simple exercise can alter the course of my day for the better. I feel myself having more patience and letting the petty things slide at work (for the most part – no one’s perfect!!)

So take my challenge, examine your life for the blessings and I think you’ll find that you have been given plenty to be thankful for.

Happy Monday! Kill it today, my killahs! I’m thankful for everyone who has ever stopped by and read the blog!! : D

❤ Jess