South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Global Running Day

Today is Global Running Day! If you have the time and energy, get outside or even on a treadmill and get a quick run in! I just wanted to write a post about how much running has changed my life for the better and what the sport has done for me.

After graduating from my undergrad-Temple University in 2009 I moved to Florida and this is were my running career started. After about six months in Florida I was not ready to return to the Northeast, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I started working in hospitality which allowed me time to figure out what my next move would be. While working in the hospitality industry I met so many wonderful people. This is how I found out about so many races that occur in Florida. I figured if these people were running, I could too. At first it was just something to keep me in shape, but I quickly learned it was so much more than that.  While living in Florida I ran my first 3k, 5k, obstacle course with 5k, and half marathon. Eventually I signed up for other races and began running all over the United States where ever I was and even a race in London.

Running has made me a healthier and happier person. I was never a morning person, sometimes I still struggle with getting up early, but I can attest that running has helped me recognize its not so bad. Running in the early morning when things are still quiet and peaceful is completely enjoyable. I’ve learned I can push past my limits and challenge myself. I no longer believe there’s no way I could accomplish something. If I put my mind to it, I’m going to do it, no matter what it is. If you would have asked me 6 years ago if I would ever run 26 miles I would have laughed and said there would be no way. Now I’m looking to go further and run an ultra, complete a triathlon, and even qualify for the Boston Marathon. There is no better feeling in the world than the endorphins I get after a run.

Running has also taught me it is important to fuel your body properly. My eating habits have improved greatly. As a child I looked forward to my weekly happy meal. Nothing could come between me and my hamburger, fries, and diet coke. HAHA! And those Wendy’s chicken nuggets! I could never get enough of them. Years have passed and I no longer crave that food, but I am always looking for new healthy recipes to try out. I try to educate myself on what foods I should be eating to give myself more energy and recover quicker.

I’ve gone from dreading running to simply being upset if I don’t get a run in. The running community is full of great people who are always willing to encourage and share training info along the way. It’s never too late to change your lifestyle. Get out there and give it a try!

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When your legs get tired, run with your heart.

xo

Leann


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Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family. 

I had a story I wanted to share on the blog, but I didn’t know how to spin it or how I was going to include my father. After this weekend I’m glad I waited and I am able to share these two seperate stories as one that allows me to tell you about my family.

As I child I was pretty active playing soccer year round. I wasn’t the star on the team, but I could hold my own. Eventually my Dad became my soccer coach as the town needed someone to volunteer their time. Everyone thinks at first it will be cool to have their parent as their coach- think again kids. He was extra hard on me because I was his kid. I can still remember a time where I hurt my ankle and I played the entire rest of the half until he was convinced I was actually hurt. My Father by no means is the athletic guy. 405718_10100569194795943_395316907_nI just learned he quit his high school football team even though he probabaly would have been great because his size and stature. Soccer gave my Father and I something to bond over and fight about all in the same. When I eventually burned out on playing soccer I gave field hockey a try, something I enjoyed, but eventually learned that my heart wasn’t in it.  I had been playing soccer since I was 5 years old! In my junior year I decided I would go back to playing soccer, but only problem was my high school did not have a girls team! The team allowed girls to try out if you could keep up! So the summer before my junior year I enlisted the help of my mom who has always been active and athletic. Long story short I made the team and both my parents were very supportive, never doubting my abilities or choice to join the boys soccer team.

Fast forward, over a decade later. A newspaper reporter reaches out to my mom and I. About what you ask? Our progression from running races together- 5ks to half marathons to marathons and now our biggest challenge a triathlon. You can read the full article here.  The completed article appeared on the cover of the Courier Post on Mother’s Day!

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My Mother and I have always had a strong relationship. She’s been my best friend and number one supporter from the beginning. We still have that amazing bond, but it’s gotten stronger and we challenge each other to push out of our comfort levels.  I don’t believe my Mom thought I would push myself and her to the ideas we have now of training for a half ironman which covers 70.3 miles between swimming, biking, and running. The thing is I’ve seen our progression from self training and it’s been amazing. This is the first year we have enlisted the help of coaches to take us to the next level. So proud of you Mom. Thanks  for never telling me goals were crazy or out of reach. You have always told me if I want it bad enough then I have to work for it because it’s not going to be easy.

Just this weekend we were out to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. He’s one of those guys who will never tell you what he wants and really doesn’t need another shirt. It dawned on me we still have not been to see the Philadelphia Union ( Philly’s own MLS team). My Dad is far removed from his side line coaching days, but this game is something that brought us together. As we cheered on the Union who brought home a win Saturday night-we booed the Rapids and gladly cheered when the referee threw yellow and red cards at the opposing team.

There was an awesome energy in the newly and specially built stadium for the Union as the challenge for Philly to get a major league soccer team was a struggle. The Sons of Ben (SOBs) fought for this team long before they were even a thought. The story and Netflix documentary captured my interest if you have the time check it out.

Both my Mom and Dad although have very different styles of encouragement have been there for me. Each supportive in their own way and challenge me on a daily basis to be a better me.

Whoever may be there for you at the end of the day make sure you recognize it.

Xo

Leann

 


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Broad Street Run

Warning-Some may find this blog post extremely annoying, stuck up, or down right vain. If you can not appreciate other’s opinions I urge you not to read the rest of this post.

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So I finally caved and ran the Broad Street Run. I’ve never had the desire to run this race for several reasons. I’ve run Philly in half marathons and marathons, what was the big deal about running a 10 miler through Philly? I didn’t see what the draw was, the largest 10 miler in the United States, but there isn’t a whole lot to see during the race-running straight down Broad Street. Everyone who never runs enters this ballot, yes you heard me correct, you have to enter a ballot for this race. Yes there are elite and top runners that do take part in this race, but for the most part I feel like there are so many people that never have run that decide to run this race. They may decide to give training a go and try to get some milage under their belt before its go time, but after the run, their training stops and they go back to their normal every day routine. There are people I know that actually only run this race and barely train for it and don’t start running again until the race comes up again next year. This is absurd to me. Are honestly looking to hurt yourself?

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So I figured I really needed to experience this for myself. I’ve run several half marathons in Philly, the Philadelphia Marathon, Hot Chocolate 15k, a 5k for the Philly Zoo, and of course I have my own favorite paths around the city I like to run. So a few months back I entered a ballot with my Mom and when the time came we did get selected. (Does anyone get denied, few and far in between) I had run a few races before this and I was in training mode for my triathlon until my injury. The doctor cleared me for a light jog, so I decided I would still attempt this race, but more as a fun run to get my milage back up and spend time with my training partner-my mom.

img_5724The morning of the race the Broad Street line (the subway line) is free. This 10 miler is a point to point race so you start and finish in different places. I know you have all seen videos of how crowded subway cars look in different countries and people just push their way on. This is exactly how it is for this race. At first is was kind of fun and I had a few laughs, about 15 stops later I wasn’t exactly laughing, but ready for the heard of people to slowing push out of the subway car.

After arriving at the start point, back above ground, it was complete chaos. The corrals were separated by colors, but not well marked so we decided to just slip in where there was an open space. The race was set to start at 8am, but I didn’t even start running until 8:30. I thought that was a really long time to wait and I was ready to get moving. Once the race started, it was hard to get pacing img_5732because the streets were so jammed pack so there was a lot of zig zagging around people. Broad Street runs straight through Temple University (my alma mater) so I did enjoy running thru campus and seeing all the new improvements. After finally reaching the 10 mile finish, it was unclear which spot was specifically the finish line. There was a timing mat prior to the finish line. According to my Garmin Forerunner 235, that first timing mat was the finish and crossing the finish line was .05 after which did not track anything.

So now we are done running and pushed through tents that allow runners to pick up a bag of treats and then at the end get handed their medal. Gear bags were checked on to buses, buses were assigned numbers and you the runner wore a wrist band that matched the number on your bag. After walking down rows of buses I found the one I was looking for and climbed aboard to search for my things. Side note-I highly dislike buses. How unsafe was is no one was checking that the bag I took was actually mine. Runners could then filter through another line to a field where I think pictures were being taken and other snacks were being handed out? It was such a crazy crowd I just could really care less about it. We then had to take another bus that would drop all the runners off at the end of the Broad Street line subway stop to make your way home or to where ever you were headed. It just felt so unorganized. I’ve run many races at Disney World where there are equally large crowds if not more and the organization is so much better. img_5802

Overall, I had a great time with my Mom. The weather wasn’t to bad, it could have been a little warmer, but that doesn’t matter. I have to say I was really happy I was able to run with minor pain. I did feel it today and my ankle is still swollen. Even though I ran this race for myself, more of way to test my abilities with minor training to see if I was ready for a comeback I am still slightly disappointed with my time. I am trying not to think about it and just to think of the positives that my ankle is healing and I will be training at full speed in the near future.

Just keep running!

xo

Leann


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Pre Race Jitters

I have to be completely honest with you. I usually never get pre race jitters. I am either really excited or anxious to start a race because I’m focused. I know I have trained and I will give each race everything I’ve got. This time is completely different. This is my start of a come back from a injury that has kept me out of work for almost a month. I keep telling myself this run is for me and this is just the start of my comeback.

Tomorrow I will attempt to jog ten miles. The most I have ran/jogged since my injury has been a mile and a half. The distance I’m not so concerned about, but how my ankle will hold up does have me nervous. I’m not only thinking about myself, but the road conditions, the surrounding crowd of runners, and how aware and in tune to myself I honestly need to be. Last weekend I was cleared to ride my bike again. I had planned a metric century, but because this was my first ride post injury I was only able to complete 40 of those miles before pain set in. Even though I was happy to be on my bike once again, it as made me even more determined for what my future rides and racing times should be.74974722159b748e447fdb882090e699

Last weekend’s bike ride has given me hope that I will be able to complete this ten miler. I’m going into this race with a completely different approach and attitude. When I run, its always me trying to beat my previous time, race the best that I can and finish strong. This time, this race is for fun, its for me to prove to myself my true potential. I’m not worried about what time I finish in, it’s about completing this race and finding the joy and passion running gives me that I have been missing. I have whined and complained to my family and friends this past month about how much I miss running and I can’t wait to start running again. Well, slow and steady for the comeback, because this is going to be an awesome start to my new goals I will share with everyone in the (near) future.

I’m going to enjoy this run one mile at a time!

xo

Leann


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Belly Hungry Vs. Head Hungry

Managing my appetite, especially when I’m training can be difficult. Work out more and my appetite just seems to grow unreasonably.  As promised, this is some more information from Matt Fitzgerald‘s book- Racing Weight. Being able to tell the difference between actual belly hunger (physical hunger) or head hunger (hedonic hunger) can be a struggle sometimes. 51fqplNG5lL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Belly hunger signs are the desire to eat because of rumbling in the stomach where head hunger is eating just for pleasure. Fitzgerald explained that actual belly hunger is marked by an empty stomach, an increase of hungry hormones-ghrelin, and low blood glucose. Head hunger is not actual hunger! It is temptations, cravings, habit, or even emotional state. We are all fully guilty of eating something we shouldn’t, but it looks so good.

So what determines how much we eat you ask? Fullness. Portions. Environment. There are levels of fullness that include just barely eating enough to being uncomfortable. Each individual needs to find the acceptable level proper for him/her. Portions especially in America are drastically larger than need to be and very calorie dense.  Environment plays a part in this as we tend to eat the same amount of food as those we surround ourselves with no matter if we would eat that portion regularly.

Try not to over eat. It’s much easier said then done. I can stand by this. Learning the difference between belly and head hunger can be a huge help. Listen to your body. What does it need? Clean out the fridge and pantry and try to keep healthy foods and snacks stocked to make easy decisions when you are hungry.

Learn what your body needs!

xo

Leann


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Will it be easy? Nope.

Will it be worth it? Absolutely. I hate the saying good things come to those who wait. What the hell are you waiting for? If you want something bad enough you have to go out there and suffer for it. No one especially in this day and age are going to hand you anything (few exceptions, but we are not going there).

As you all know by now if you have been reading my blog I injured myself at work and I’ve been totally bummed out about it. I don’t have any kind of cool story to go along with the boot I’m dragging with me, I didn’t save puppies from a burning plane or run an ultra. But this time in recovery, rest, and healing has given me the time to reflect about what my passions are, what drives me, and my plans for after my ankle has healed.

We all tend to go thru times of trial. While in the middle of something we think to ourselves what the hell am I doing here or why am I doing this to myself? My mother always taught me to stick through it, no matter what it may be because there is always a lesson to be learned. Read Jared’s story of how he didn’t want to go to college, struggled through it, and is now working on his master’s degree at an ivy league school. He also shares his many passions on his website.

Today was my first day of physical therapy and my therapist answered and gave me the straight up facts I needed to know to get myself focused on this road to recovery. It was clarified that I tore ligaments or fibers that connect the bone. This explains why there was so much bruising (blood under the skin, gross). He gave me the ok to bike, but I can’t go to crazy! And he fully support swimming because of the lack of pressure. Running is something we will be working back up to.

Zig Ziglar once said, ” Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.” This quote is what leads me to my point of this post. Years of running developed into a habit. It was something fun, to keep me in shape and is now a passion. I’ve never really pushed myself until the last two years. I saw with my dedication to running my times were getting better. With more drive to see improvement I started cycling for cross training where eventually I pushed my limits as far as an 80 mile ride. I’ve already got two centuries (100 miles) lined up for this year. My motivation to stay healthy and in shape as turned into a lifestyle with some serious dedication and life changing goals. With my first triathlon coming up in July I already know that I want to train for an Ironman 70.3 and eventually qualify for the Boston Marathon.

None of these goals I have presented myself with appeared over night. Training for my first marathon was intense. After my second marathon I was so thrilled with my time and my comfortable pacing, I knew I could push myself harder. Each time I set new goals  I also have to hurdle new challenges.

The one saying I do like, if it was easy everyone would do it.

xo

Leann


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Swimming Beneficial to Runners

I don’t have many options for exercise at the moment-so swimming it is! I started to do my research on what benefits swimming has for runners. As you can properly assume there are a ton of great perks for runners.

1-No Impact!!!! This is a total win for me right now. Running can put  a lot of impact on the body particularly the joints.

2-Breathing Control. Proper swim technique forces rhythmic breathing. When you are swimming you have no choice, but to have your breathing under control and this can translate to running which will allow for a more smooth and efficient run.

3-Flexibility. Swimming allow the upper and lower body to develop flexibility and strengthen ligaments throughout the body that will in turn be of assistance in running (ankles and hip flexors).

4-Burns Calories! Swimming is a full body workout. Working arms, legs, back, core, and shoulders. While swimming provides resistance training for your entire body helping burn calories during your swim and even hours after!

So even though I am struggling mentally and physically not being able to run or bike I am starting to appreciate the pool a little more.


Chlorine is turning into my new perfume.

xo

Leann