South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Run the Vineyards 15k

My first trail race is officially in the books. When I signed up for this race I read it as a on and off road race. So in my mind I imagine it to be split-half the race on the road and the other half trail. Never assume! You know how the saying goes… just under a 5k portion of the race was on the road. The rest of the race took you directly through the vineyard- zigging and zagging through rows of grapes. If that wasn’t bad enough the dirt and sand farm roads were not even or compact. To say the least this race was a bit of a challenge. The grass between the vines was thick and uneven. And please don’t take my description as complaining I’m always up for a challenge and pushing myself to the next level.

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This trail race did challenge me as I usually train on the road or a treadmill depending on my location. I’ve never trained to run a trail, but maybe this is just what I needed to encourage myself to train a little bit harder. The weather overall was pleasant. A bit chilly to start, but it warmed up nicely. I ran out of my favorite pre race fuel- power bar simple fruit energy gels and resorted to trying a different gel from power bar. It got the job done, but the taste just could not compare. I just wanted to get it down as quickly as possible.

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The 5k race started about 5 minutes prior to the 15k. The race was clearly marked and roped off to determine which turn was for the 5k versus the 15k. I found a comfortable pace at 8:30 min/mile and tried to constantly stay there. I refueled during the race with some honey stinger energy chews around mile 5 and I was carrying my own water in my Nathan handheld running bottle. By mile 7 I was ready to be done running up and down the rows of grapes. Though the scenery was beautiful and a change from my normal city run I had to put my mind else where. I gave myself a short pep talk to finish strong and that’s exactly what I did.

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I finished 7th in my age group (30-39) out of 71 women. 17th out of 184 women and 32nd overall out of 229 runners. Not too shabby, but this is definitely fueling myself to train harder. Running this trail race put me a little outside of my normal running comfort zone, but I embraced every second.
Next up is the Global Energy Race 10k in Philadelphia. Catch me if you can!
Xo

Leann

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Running a Mental Game 

I’ve probably written a blog post similar to this before, but I have to talk about it again because I feel the mental game is so important in running. I’ve been back to work for less than a month and I already am feeling so extremely tired even though I would consider myself in pretty decent shape.

Let’s talk work schedules. There’s the 9 to 5. I’m sure you have your mid week slump, or what I heard is a popular term-Sunday scaries (when you realize you have to go back to work Monday). Shift workers that can range from over night, late nights, early mornings. When you have a day off, how do you break that routine? Then the on call (me)! There’s no norm! I’m jet setting all over the place. Now I’m not complaining please don’t take it that way because I love my job and I’m lucky to have it. But in the past 3 weeks I have been in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Italy. Talk about some crazy time zone changes. img_9518

As a runner, how do we pull thru these slumps or times of weariness? Get inside your head! Tell yourself I’ve ran X amount miles before there’s no reason I can’t do it now. Sometimes it is a struggle, we are human, life happens, stressful events occur, but you must push through. When the mind tells you that you are fatigued it is important to focus on something positive and become head strong in that moment.

Over time I have learned that making excuses for not working out is just not acceptable. For example, I just worked a trip that was considered an all nighter and with only 3 hours asleep I came home and took a nap and once I got up I put my running clothes on. This way I was more inclined to get my run done and over with as soon as I was ready to get out the door. It was not one of my fastest runs today, but I got it done.

Mile by mile, focus on the positive, you are out there running. Give yourself positive affirmations. Getting out there is half the battle, clear your mind of can’t and just run!

Running is a mental sport more than anything else. You’re only as good as your training and your training is only as good as your thinking!

xo

Leann


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NJ State Tri-Race Report 

Yesterday was my first official triathlon-NJ State Triathlon. All of the time I spent training came down to yesterday morning. I am super excited to report that I was happy with my official finish time of 1:22 and 18th in my division. I want to share with you my overall thoughts on the race and break down each part of the race: swim, bike, and run! LEANNNJSTATETRI

Set up for transitions

I arrived at Mercer County Park around 6am to set up my transition area for the tri. Everyone had to out of the transition area by 7:15am. Being this was my first race I made sure to ask plenty of questions to USAT referees. There are many different reasons you can be disqualified or receive a time penalization.

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The dreaded swim! Ugh! My weakest link in the triathlon. I’ve put a lot of time and energy to the swim training. Open water swim is very different than swimming in a pool.  As I lined up in the water with my age group reality set it. When the announcer said, get out of here, the group started to swim! I started off my swim feeling pretty comfortable until there were a few kicks here and there. It became hard to get in my groove because everyone was thrashing around me. I had to talk to myself and ensure myself that I had this under control. The water temperature was 88.9! Bath water!

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Transition-3:10 swim to bike

Bike 38:28

So this ride was 11 miles and I averaged almost 18 mph. For the majority of the ride it was flat with a few little hills. There were mostly right turns and at every turn there were police officers with flags making sure everyone was making the turn. The only thing I wish there were markings of the milage. I would have liked to know at least the half way point. It wasn’t until I was re-entering the park I knew I was close to the transition. I felt I had a solid ride, but would like to improve my time here some.

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Transition-2:43 bike to run

Run 26:02

The run, my strength! At this point it was brutally hot. I told myself, it didn’t matter how slow I ran, but I was going to finish strong and not walk. I still had plenty of energy and felt good. The downfall of this run was it was on a paved trail inside of Mercer County Park and it was narrow. This was an out and back course and the runners shared the one path. At times it became a little tough to be able to pass, but at the same time I liked the camaraderie. The other triathletes seemed to encourage others to continue on, not give up, and the finish was close up. When I rounded the corner and saw the 3 mile sign, I knew it was time to release all the energy I had left and give it my all until I crossed the finish.

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Overall, this was a great race. I was able to meet some of my Mojo Racing teammates. Which was awesome! My experience at my first triathlon was great. I’m already hooked and looking forward to my next race in two weeks at the AC TRI!

Keep calm and tri on!

xo

Leann

 

 


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Trust Me! I’m a Flight Attendant. 

I’m officially back to work!!!! Hooray! I’m in the middle of my first trip back and it’s going great. The first day, yesterday I worked Philadelphia to Charlotte to Sacramento, California. I’ve never had a layover in Sacramento so I was really looking forward to seeing what the capital of California has to offer. I was also super lucky to snag a spot on this trip with a friend of mine, Korey!

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Great crew!

After being out of work for nearly 3 months I have been eager to get back to flying. Traveling and being a flight attendant is a huge passion of mine. Take away your passion and you just seem to feel completely lost! I was a bit nervous on the first flight to see what changes have been made while I was gone, but eased back into things quickly. Our plane came in late and we were delayed out of Charlotte because one of the airplane tires had to be changed! They wear out just like car tires!

 

Having never been to Sacramento I reached out to my running teammates at Rabbit to find out what people from the West Coast would suggest as far as a location to run.  They did not disappoint. I got many suggestions to check out the American River Trail- mainly used for biking and running! This trail runs for 32 miles and is just beautiful! So glad I got to check some of it out on foot. After my 6.5 mile run it was time to catch back up with Korey and explore Old Sacramento and the capital building!

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Old Sacramento as you can imagine is the historic district. It is here where you can visit the California State Railroad Museum. Many people settled here during the Gold Rushe era because it was a main traffic route for supplies.

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Our next stop was to the Wells Fargo museum where we tried our hand at being railroad messengers. Wells Fargo’s history dates back with the transportation and communication technology sending telegraphs!

 

The old Sacramento one room schoolhouse was our next location, showing education in the early days. Last, but not least we made our way to the Captial building.

 

California is defiantly one of my favorite states to visit. Every city in Calirfornia has its own specific culture and things to visit. I enjoyed my time in Sacramento and now it’s time to rest up and take a nap. I work the red eye from SMF to DFW tonight. Have about 12 hours before I work another flight back to Philadelphia!

Come fly the friendly skies with me!

Xo

Leann


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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