A Serious Refresh…

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TGIF!!! Is anyone else really happy it’s Friday? I sure am =)

This was my first full week back to work after our two week vacation, felt like it just took forever. As many of you know I did something completely unlike me and kind of out of my comfort zone this week. I tried a 3 day refresh/cleanse. It’s something I have always been interested in. Well a friend of mine that is a beachbody coach did it and had amazing results that packed with shakeology (which I have also wanted to try) seemed like the perfect combination for me post vacation. So while on vacation I made the purchase, so it would be at my doorstep upon our arrival home.

refresh

So this week I did it. Was it hard…..yep! Did I see results……yes! Would I do it again…….ummmmm maybe??? It was strange as during the refresh process I thought a lot about my food choices that I make and the lifestyle that I lead. I have to be honest, I make amazing food choices. I barely cheat and I run like a mad women…..seriously BUT it’s because I love running (well and food). So I thought to myself Jamie, if you already make these great choices what are you doing struggling through this cleanse??….great question.

I decided after this cleanse I need to be nicer to me, give myself a break once and awhile. I need to focus on how far I have come, as really losing 190lbs is no small feat and I should really be proud of this. While on vacation I knew I was going to gain weight, I mean come on WI is loaded with beer, cheese curds, and we all know how I love a s’more!

Yep....proof, I LOVE a s'more =)

Yep….proof, I LOVE a s’more =)

Wisconsin Cheese Curds, NOTHING like them =)

Wisconsin Cheese Curds, NOTHING like them =)

Before vacation and even during I couldn’t help but think of the weight, how much I would gain and how I would get it off……..seriously why?!?! I think it had to do with the gain I experienced after last year’s vacation. Last year (brace yourself) I gained 14lbs on vacation NOW let me say this……I went completely overboard. Did just have one s’more at night and call it good….more like 4! Found myself living vacation with some type of sugary food item in my hands at all times.

Just a sample of last years crazy sugar rush.

Just a sample of last years crazy sugar rush.

Well after vacation I came back and found it really hard to lose the weight I gained. Then other things came up, then the holidays…..before I know it I was gaining more ekkkkkkkkkk!! However once spring/summer started I lost all this weight and then some. It finally came off and I found myself one pound away from GOAL, ironically right before vacation this year, so I had a fear of a repeat of last year’s gains!

During this vacation I was better, kept my food somewhat under control. I also made it a goal to run at least 6-8miles a day, which I completed. I feel like my body was also in a different place this year, stronger and better. Also the usual foods I would enjoy on vacation (ice cream, brats, beer, fish fry) well they didn’t agree with my stomach, I felt miserable when I ate them. So at the end of the day yes I did gain this vacation, but I got this I have it under control.

One of my vacation runs for my buddy RY!

One of my vacation runs for my buddy RY!

I did sample some beer on vacation, and ENJOYED it!

I did sample some beer on vacation, and ENJOYED it!

So now that I have been all over the place you might be thinking Jamie where are you going with this?!?! Well, the truth is I probably didn’t need to have a knee jerk reaction and go on a cleanse as I really eat well and exercise my butt off (literally), and at the end of the day I need to realize something…..loses and gains ARE LIFE, it HAPPENS TO EVERYONE! I feel at times like a car on the highway that is going 90, swerving through traffic like a crazy lady to reach a destination (GOAL)! However I need to ask myself then what?????? Ok you reached your goal Jamie great (cue fireworks, confetti, bands)……now you get to maintain. Well you know what?? I bet you maintenance involves a lot of gains and losses, as LIFE HAPPENS.

So at the end of the day, I guess I would say YES I would do the refresh again. NOT because I lost 3.5 lbs, although that was a nice side effect BUT because it really put some things into perspective for me. I AM DOING FINE; I am honestly right where I am supposed to be in my weight loss journey. I need to slow the car on the highway down and enjoy the dang ride, think of how far I’ve come and the great things I have experience throughout. I just can’t continue to focus on the destination, as once I get there a whole new journey starts.

So I am making a pledge to all of you and encourage you to do the same….I Jamie Johnston will be nicer to ME, will celebrate my journey and how far I have come and enjoy the moment, I will not live for the destination……

Thanks for reading my ramblings, as I realize this post is somewhat all over the place!!!

XX,
Jamie

Wink Frozen Dessert Giveaway!!

Hello all!!

The folks at Wink Frozen Dessert have been nice enough to partner with me for a giveaway!! This stuff is seriously amazing. They were nice enough to send me some samples =) My husband and I really enjoyed ALL of them but our favorites were the cinnamon bun and cocoa dough.

winks
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So now is your turn to give it a try! Go ahead and enter the giveaway! They will be giving away a box of pints as well as a Wink Shirt. Check them out on facebook https://www.facebook.com/winkfrozendesserts.

Here is the link for the giveaway:
Jamie Johnston Giveaway!!

Best of luck!!
XX,
Jamie

Cleveland Half 2014, AMAZING!!!!!!!

My Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon experience for 2014, WOW Where to begin??? No seriously?!?! I have been wanting to put together this blog post for a few days now BUT needed to decide how to sum things up as THERE WAS SO MUCH AWESOMENESS!!!

So I guess I will go with a play by play on how the day progressed. FIRST my parents arrived from Wisconsin the Friday before. They were pretty pumped to watch my 2nd ever Half Marathon, and were ready to spend some fun time together. Saturday my family and I went to the expo center to get my Bib and race packet. There is just something about an expo, especially a RUNNING expo that I LOVE!! It’s always nice to see the latest and greatest in gear and accessories. The expo was filled with tons of great things, Rite Aid Cleveland…GREAT JOB HERE!

Saturday night involved the annual cupcake baking. Yep that’s right (it’s annual now as this was the 2nd year it was done). My husband promised me a pink funfetti cupcake at the end of the race. He knows how hard I have been training, and also that I SERIOUSLY LOVE cupcakes. He has made it a fun tradition to make pink cupcakes the night before and to have one waiting for me when I finish. This year he even got fancy, using my pink mixer and apron (what a great guy).

Dana baking away =)

Dana baking away =)

He even used my pink mixer!

Pink cupcake wrappers too =) !

He even used my pink mixer!!

He even used my pink mixer!!

THEY LOOKED SOOO GOOD =)

THEY LOOKED SOOO GOOD =)

Now to the big event…..RACE DAY! Well it was recommended that all runners be in their starting Corral by 6am, that’s seriously early BUT understandable with a 7am start time. So just because we like to be early, and also you never really know with construction and traffic (yes even this early) we woke up at 3:45am to get ready for the big day! My family and husband also didn’t seem to mind this, talk about great supporters!! That morning everyone gather their belongings in a tired haze, the adrenaline was building =)

I did my usual pre-race routine. Had all of my “stuff” for the day lined up and ready to go in our kitchen. I usually run with a locket that has my grandparent’s ashes, however my running pants didn’t have a pocket that I felt comfortable leaving it in. So I made sure to get some positive energy and say a little prayer with their locket the morning before we left. I ate a bit, my usual race day fuel….greek yogurt, a rice cake with some PB2.

With Grandma and Grandpa's locket.

With Grandma and Grandpa’s locket.

Saying a prayer with my Grandparents.

Saying a prayer with my Grandparents.

At around 4:45am we were all loaded in the vehicle and ready to go! We were quickly able to find our parking spot, and made the walk to the starting area. Once at the start the wait SEEMED forever. It was a bit chilly and my adrenaline was in overdrive, I seriously was SO DARN EXCITED.

Good morning Cleveland!

Good morning Cleveland!

BURRRRRR!

BURRRRRR!

Once in my corral things seemed to pick up a bit, more runners arrived adding to the excitement. I took this time to try and unwind my nerves.
My husband took a few funny photos of me…

My pre-race nervous face!

My pre-race nervous face!

Ready to ROCK this thing (pretty sure the girl behind me is terrified).

Ready to ROCK this thing (pretty sure the girl behind me is terrified).

I said a few prayers…

Asking the Lord for a great injury free race!

Asking the Lord for a great injury free race!

I even saw Johnny football…

Don't worry Jonny Football, I am just rocking out to some Katy Perry =)

Don’t worry Johnny Football, I am just rocking out to some Katy Perry =)

Before I knew it was go time!!!!

The first part of the race was awesome, loved all the crowd support. It’s hard to believe you are running with THOUSANDS of people. Everyone smiling for ear to ear and enjoying the run, makes me smile just thinking about it!!!

I loved every part of the race! This year there seemed to be a bit more crowd support, not sure if I was just more alert or of the new course provided us with a few more cheerleaders. Either way, I loved the folks of Cleveland lining the streets and yelling!! I always enjoy reading the creative signs and for some reason am always tempted by the group handing out beer, now I would never take it as it would probably kill my system BUT that little devil on my shoulder always says OHHHH come on.

Right around mile 7-8 I started to hit a darn WALL. Seriously, my legs felt like sandbags and my mind was telling me ughhhhhh can you really do this? I was trying to be positive, wondering if I should venture into my pocket and take my Gel I brought along. Also knowing this training period I didn’t really use many Gel’s so would it affect my stomach, it didn’t last year BUT you never know. My mind kept racing and my legs started to get heavier……….UGHHHH! Then out of the blue I see a fan on the sidelines that look familiar, my good friend KCEY!! Is that really her or am I delirious??? NOPE IT’S HER!!! Kcey jumps in and joins me!!! Giving me some encouragement, telling me that I look strong OMG this is awesome AND PERFECT TIMING! Kcey joins be for about ¾ of a mile, OH MY GOSH JUST WHAT I NEEDED!!!!!! Seriously can’t thank her enough!! We even managed to take a pic together (wow we are talented).

Kcey and I (THANK YOU KCEY)!!!

Kcey and I (THANK YOU KCEY)!!!

After Kcey left, I got teary and maybe okkk I did cry a bit…..what an amazing friend. I can’t thank her enough!!

The rest of the race went rather well, it wasn’t until the last 2 miles that I started to slow a bit but at this point I could see the city and knew the finish wasn’t too far away. I finished strong!!!! Also was able to make eye contact with my family, pointing at them as I crossed the finish line!!!

Finishing and pointing to my family =)

Finishing and pointing to my family =)


The thought of seeing their amazing faces really carried me through the last 2 miles.

At the finish I was greeted by more FRIENDS!! AMAZING!! I wasn’t sure how I looked but I managed a few pictures with them =)

Some amazing co-workers waiting for me at the finish.

Some amazing co-workers waiting for me at the finish.

My good friend Stephanie (she ran the 10K).

My good friend Stephanie (she ran the 10K).

After a few photos and a much deserved post-race banana, I found my family. It was at this point that I realized I CRUSHED my goal!! My family showed me the results on their phones, I had completed the race in 1:44 min….my goal was 1:45, an 8:00/mile average pace (holy cow!!!!!) !! I seriously couldn’t believe it!!

This was the best part of the race, hugging my husband and parents after the race! Everyone was so excited, these hugs were what I was looking forward to for 13.1 miles (well and the cupcake, but shhhh).

My husband took some great photos that I will cherish FOREVER! Just a girl that crushed 13.1 miles smiling HUGE with her SUPPORTERS =)

Smiling from ear to ear with Mom and Dad.

Smiling from ear to ear with Mom and Dad.

With my #1 Supporter, my husband Dana!

With my #1 Supporter, my husband Dana!

Kisses for my husband =)

Kisses for my husband =)

I ROCKED THIS!!!

I ROCKED THIS!!!

Traditional Rite Aid Cleveland post-race photo.

Traditional Rite Aid Cleveland post-race photo.

After some great photos we made our way back to the car for some water (had to get my NUUN) and CUPCAKES! OMGGGGG that cupcake was so darn good =)

OHHHH YEAAA cupcake time!!!!!

OHHHH YEAAA cupcake time!!!!!

Thanks Dana!!!

Thanks Dana!!!

Dad couldn't wait, he had to have a cupcake too ;)

Dad couldn’t wait, he had to have a cupcake too ;)

The morning concluded with a much needed shower and some serious brunch, ohhhhh YUM! Pretty sure I ate my weight in food =)

After bunch, I sat on the couch completely relaxed and enjoying life. I needed to post some pictures to Facebook OF COURSE (that makes it official right?). To my surprise I see my buddy Rylan has been following my race and posting some AWESOME PICTURES!!!! I teared up as I saw all these amazing photos and posts, what an amazing buddy!!! (I dedicate all my miles to Rylan through the IRUN FOR organization, I was paired with RY about 3 months ago AND IT HAS BEEN AMAZING).

Rylan, wishing me luck for the race!

Rylan, wishing me luck for the race!

RY must have known I would need a little push at mile 10!!!

RY must have known I would need a little push at mile 10!!!

I sent RY some cupcakes to decorate so he too could celebrate at the finish of the race =)

I sent RY some cupcakes to decorate so he too could celebrate at the finish of the race =)

I finished!!! CUPCAKE TIME, that's my BUDDY!!!!

I finished!!! CUPCAKE TIME, that’s my BUDDY!!!!

HECK YES I DID!! =)

HECK YES I DID!! =)

What an adorable sign, I am truly honored to run for you RY!

What an adorable sign, I am truly honored to run for you RY!

A video I took before the race for Rylan:

Also pretty sure I was dead tired come 7:30pm, my dad even managed to capture this in a picture =)

Just about to fall asleep after an amazing day.

Just about to fall asleep after an amazing day.

Thank you all for your encouragement. Thank you to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for this amazing opportunity, I loved blogging and interacting with the other bloggers during our training. Most of all thank you to my husband, my rock and foundation…..seriously don’t know how I could ever repay this man for everything he has done to keep me running strong, best SUPPORTER EVER. Also, thank you to my parents traveling over 10 hours just to wait 1 hour 44 min to watch me cross the finish line.

I am already excited about next year =) Going to have to rock this thing again!!!

XX,
Jamie

Guest Blog Post, KATIE’S FIRST HALF!!!

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The whole Official Blogger experience has been nothing short of AMAZING!!!!!! I have had the opportunity to interact with many folks through my blog as well as my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JamieJohnstonsJourney). I also love the fact that the wonderful folks at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon provided me with an entry to give away for any race during race weekend. Through my giveaway I have met an incredible lady, Katie! Katie WON my giveaway and used her free entry for the Half Marathon. THIS WILL BE HER FIRST! I thought it would be great for Katie to let us know a little about her and her training. So please read the following guest blog post by Katie =) Also PLEASE, please leave her a comment below SHE’S BEEN WORKING DARN HARD!
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Katie’s Journey to her FIRST Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon

I am not an athlete. Never have been, never will be. Friends use to ask me to join leagues with them (volleyball, softball, etc.) but my response was always “I don’t DO sports.” In the tenth grade I decided to join the track team…I quit after two practices. True story. So what am I, the chick who doesn’t DO sports and who quits track, doing running a half marathon? Proving to myself that, while sports may not be my thing, running can be.

I started running three years ago to lose weight, but instead, found myself. (Wow, that sounds totally cliché, doesn’t it??) But it’s the truth. At the time running came into my life, I needed to escape reality, and that’s what it offered me. It didn’t solve my problems, but it did give me perspective. It helped me to realize that there is nothing more important than the need for forward movement. And oxygen…lots of oxygen. I wasn’t fast, but I was defying my odds. I was already doing better than I did at that first track practice! That year I told my husband that I wanted to run a 5K….I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy, but he seemed to understand that I needed it. So, on May 14, 2011, two days before my 30th birthday, I ran my first 5K.

5k, The Dart Frog Dash 5/14/11

5k, The Dart Frog Dash 5/14/11

The weather was miserable, but the race was jam packed. There were hills (W…T…F…I need to train for hills?!?!?). There were walkers who passed me…talk about a humbling experience. But I ran, or jogged rather, to the finish line and nearly burst into tears when I crossed it. I finished with a time of 37:32. Not great, but my very first PR! I went on to run four more 5Ks that year and learned the harsh reality of an automatic PR – I had to really work for my next one.

I continued running off and on for the next year, only running in one 5K, but pulling out a PR on that one and renewing my love of the race. Early in 2013, a friend asked if I was interested in training to run a half marathon with them; I respectably declined (13.1 miles?!?!? Are you crazy?!?!?). Instead I focused on improving my 5K time and becoming a more consistent runner. Then another friend decided to train for a half marathon for the fall of 2013. There it was again…that ridiculous number. But this time I was more intrigued than freaked out, and decided it was time for me to build my endurance. No, I didn’t sign up for a half marathon, but the next best thing, a 10K. It was a nice stepping stone for me and, more importantly, it was obtainable. So that was my goal for the summer of 2013, to train for my first 10K. I went into that training only knowing what my friend had been sharing with me about her training and what I had read in Runner’s World. I built my base, and then started adding distance a little at time. I can’t even express into words the joy I felt the first time the little voice on my phone announced 4 miles, then 5, then 6, and then finally 7 miles! I was more than ready, and had discovered something new about myself – I enjoyed the longer distances! My first 10K was, in one word, Awesome. The weather was miserable yet again, but perfect for running. It wasn’t a pretty race for me, there was a lot of walking due to high winds, but I finished in 1:08:18, which was under my goal of 1:10, and I loved every minute of it!

After my first 10k, Findlay Red, White, and Blue Half and 10k, 10/6/13

After my first 10k, Findlay Red, White, and Blue Half and 10k, 10/6/13

After that, I was mentally ready to consider a half marathon. As my friend prepared to run her second half of the season, I told my husband about some of her experiences at the race. His response was a typical non-runner response – why would anyone do these things to themselves willingly??? I knew the answer, but how do you make one understand?

With the holidays approaching, I put the idea of a half on the back burner, especially since my runs had become a little lackluster. I knew I wanted to do one, but was I truly ready? I started talking to another of my running friends who had also just finished her first 10K. We both talked about wanting to run a half, but did we have the time and would our spouses understand??? At first we looked at a fall 2014 half, but then I spotted the Cleveland Marathon and felt in my gut that was the race for me. It was in my hometown (born in Solon and raised throughout NE Ohio, Cleveland was home base), my family is in the area, and it is two days AFTER my birthday (four days after my race “runiverssary”). Could it be anymore fitting???? I broke the news to the hubby. He actually took it rather well. I think he knew that I was gearing up for it. (One of the many reasons he is so great!) So there it was…the decision was made. What now?

My supportive husband Shaun!

My supportive husband Shaun!

Thankfully the internet has given us so much access to, well, everything. I knew I couldn’t go into this without a training plan of some sort and I knew I would need time to build my endurance back up. My “half” running friend and her hubby had always used the Smart Coach training plan through Runner’s World and it worked for them (they both finished under 2 hours so it had to be good, right?!?!?). I printed out two schedules to see which felt more do-able – the only difference between the two was the number of days I could dedicate to training, I chose the one with less and sacrificed some distance because of the limited time I had available to actually run (I am a “dark ‘O thirty” runner due to my husband’s work schedule). There I had it – the next 20 weeks of my running life planned out for me. Tempo runs, speed runs, easy runs, and long runs with my first run on December 30th.

I started my training, but still had not actually committed to the race yet. One week into training my ovaries decided to hate me and sprouted some cysts. And while my doctor told me it was okay to continue training, I was terrified to register. (I had to have emergency surgery before due to a cyst, so I was a tad gun shy, to say the least.) During my panic over registering I found that the official marathon bloggers were running contests to win race registrations, so I feverishly started entering. I figured if something came up, they could easily transfer my registration to someone else and there would be no money loss for me. Seemed like a win-win. Well, winning one of these contests is easier said than done. I kid you not, I did at least 5 other contests and no matter how many or how few entries I had, I always lost. With the prospect of surgery still out in the air, I entered Jamie’s contest. It was a long shot, but I figured one last try, then I would just pay for the registration and risk losing it if surgery happened. Two days before Jamie closed the contest, my doctor cleared me. My ovaries didn’t hate me anymore!! Woo hoo! Okay, it was time to commit. We booked our hotel and waited, knowing that I wouldn’t beat the price increase, but “what’s another $10??” Then I got a text – “OMG, you won!” Seriously?? I don’t win things. But there was my name on Jamie’s blog. The winner! Woo hoo! Again!

Training kicked into overdrive and that’s when I really learned what training for a half was all about. Never before did I have to think so much about what I was putting into my body for fuel, how and when to refuel, water stops, bathroom stops, planning around work schedules, all while running in one of the worst Ohio winters ever. I’ll admit, I’m a fair-weather runner. I was treadmill bound for the worst of it, but it had its benefits. Speed training and tempo runs are easier on a treadmill because it controls your speed for you. However, running on a treadmill for one hour is the most boring hour ever (Jamie, I don’t know HOW you do it!!!). Once the arctic decided to recede back to where it came from, I headed back into the world. Yay for running in the streets again!

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In the last 6 weeks I have seen parts of Findlay I never knew existed, almost got hit by two cars (in the same crosswalk within seconds of each other), and learned where every bathroom is in a 5 mile radius. I’ve tested gels, chews, sports beans, water additives, sports bras, socks, hats, head bands, and broke in a new pair of Mizunos. I’ve discovered I prefer to run with no music, but still take it with me so I don’t get lonely on my long runs (and so I can call the hubby if something happens). I ran my fastest, unofficial, 5K time yet – 30:20! (That was a serious high point for me!) Most importantly I learned the power of a positive attitude. I’m not saying I’m a negatively minded person, but let’s just say, my glass is generally half empty. I have a lot of distrust in the world and often doubt myself, but when you’re training for something that is 90% mental, you can’t think that way.

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Every time I gave into the idea that I was burnt out from running, my runs would fall short. And the worse my runs were, the worse my attitude became. It was after a less-than-stellar long run that I realized what I was doing to myself and decided to become my own personal cheerleader. (I also took it upon myself to be a cheerleader for a friend who needed it – and she just finished her first half marathon in 2:31!)

So here I am, two weeks out from my first half marathon. It feels crazy, and looking back on the last 18 weeks, I’m not sure how I got here. So much sacrifice went into this training on my part and my family’s part. My husband and son have been very understanding about planning around my long runs and they have had to endure the tired, cranky bee-yah who rears her ugly head after early morning runs and long, painful runs. I am so thankful for their support during all of this and can only hope they understand why I needed to do this – to prove to my non-athletic self that it can be done and that while some of the goals in my life may never be realized, this one can not only be achieved, but improved upon. Who knew so much clarity could come from running 13.1 miles???

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And for those who are interested, my goal time if the sun, moon, and planets align is under 2:20, my realistic goal is under 2:30, but ultimately I just want to finish, even if I’m crawling across that finish line. And as my husband said before my 10K – the only way I won’t finish is if I quit, and I’m not a quitter.

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Good luck to all the other runners – may you have swift feet and a strong heart to carry you to your goal!

Relentlessly moving forward,
Katie =)

Chomps, and Gels, and Jelly Beans, oh MY!

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It’s hard to believe it but only 3 weeks from today is the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. As many of you know I will be participating in the ½ marathon! I am beyond excited!!!! I have been busting my butt all winter, trying to better myself for this race. I have some goals in mind (some rather big goals) that I am really hoping to crush! I am keeping my goals to myself for now, but might share them as we get a bit closer =)

If you have been engaging with the Ride Aid Marathon on social media you will see they announced a partnership with Carb Boom Energy Gel. These Gels will be the ones provided at the race. Now many of you have asked me about gels, chomps, jelly beans, gu, and other forms of fuel that I might use for my runs. I have to tell you, no two people are the same and it’s all about trial and error.

Last year around this time (maybe a bit earlier) I found myself completely overwhelmed. My training was going well but I did need a little extra push around mile 9-10 to help me finish strong. Well, all my running friends had advice (running friends always do). They said things like well try these jelly beans, peanut butter works, I eat a fig newton cookie around mile 7, try these honey stinger chomps, I like all natural forms of fuel carry some grapes with you, raisins are good at mile 10………..whoooooaaaaaa so much information!!!!!

I knew I needed to find something that worked, and everyone seemed to have a different answer. So I set out to try different things and find a combination that worked for me. I tried fig newton cookies, I LOVE THESE darn cookies but didn’t find they provided me with any help during my runs. Then I ventured into various chomps, gels and jelly beans. Let me just say these will all have a variety of effects on your stomach!!! Some might work, some might cause cramps, and others well others will find you wanting to break into a strangers home just to use their restroom (even if there home looks questionable….it’s THAT SERIOUS).

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I found that my stomach and body really enjoyed hammer gels, specifically the huckleberry flavor. One of these gels around mile 6-7 helped me get over the 10 mile wall and finish strong. I found that when taking this gel I needed water at hand, as it’s a bit thick going down.

So I encourage you if you are considering the gels, chomps, fruit or other form of fuel during your run TRY IT OUT! You must test drive these fuels and see how it interacts with your stomach and makes you feel. I would also encourage you to try the Carb Boom Energy Gels (if you are taking on the Rite Aid Marathon) as they will be available to you at various spots throughout the race).

Also when trying these different fuels, make sure you are mindful of when you are taking them as taking something at mile 3 is a lot different than taking it at mile 7. You are trying to get ready for when you think you need an extra push, usually taking something 1 or 2 miles before needed is ideal.

While training this time around I have yet to use my hammer gels, I will probably take them for a test spin during my long run next weekend. As for me, I only use gels when trying to get a good pace/speed otherwise I personally would rather eat my calories (keep in mind these little gels really can add up in the calorie department, each packet can range from 90-130 calories).

So after reading this you are probably thinking I really didn’t provide you with an answer as to what you should be using. That is true, as there is no right answer. We have 3 weeks until the big event!!! Use the next few long runs to figure out what works for you =)

With that being said please comment below with the best way you like to fuel (if you already know), you could be helping other readers too (I really appreciate it).

Happy training friends!!!

XX,
Jamie

I fell in LOVE with running AGAIN

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It was very spring like this weekend (FINALLY) and I was once again able to RUN outdoors. As some of you know the weekend before was the first time I have trained outside this YEAR. Yep that’s right!!! The snow, cold, ice, rain, wind……..ughhhhh all kept me indoors. I hate all of these conditions and knew I would be miserable running in them so I DIDN’T =)

During my first run outside for the year I have to admit I was a bit nervous. The treadmill does a great job with pace and you basically are gerbil like moving your legs and focusing on form. Most of you know the great outdoors is a bit different. Outside there are different grades and elevations (ohhhhh HILLLLLLS) and also you are in charge of your own pace (luckily I have sprinkles my running watch (Garmin 610)).

My first run outside wasn’t terrible and I felt as if my winter training had paid off (even celebrated this with a little air guitar and fist pump during my run). I did however feel like most of my run was me having conversations with myself, checking in to see how I was doing, almost like I expected this to be the worst run of my life. I guess I didn’t have faith in myself (WTH). I decided to run again outside the next day, it was a little bit better than the day before (I think there was less chatter in my head).

Now comes this most recent weekend (Easter Weekend). The weather was once again nice and I knew my training had to head outdoors. Saturday I headed out for a nice long training run. It was so nice, my legs felt great, I was still having mini convos with myself but not as bad as the weekend before. I manned a 8:24 average pace for these 12 miles, not bad at all. At this point I was starting to think well well look at you Jamie Johnston, you are a force to be reckoned with the Rite Aid Marathon isn’t going to know what hit it =)

Then this morning happened (4/21). Some of you know I always workout in the mornings. Well, I hate running in the pitch dark. I use to do it more but found myself more creeped out and really unable to focus. I talked to Siri and she told me that sunrise was at about 6:30am, I figured if I left my house around my usual time, I wouldn’t have much darkness to deal with. SO I DID IT! I also decided to put my Garmin screen so only my pace would be shown. I know my usual outside route and approximately how many miles I was going to do and didn’t want to focus on the miles. So I RAN and watched my PACE and felt AMAZING. YEP SERIOUSLY AMAZING! I WAS BACK, BACK IN MY ZONE!! I watched the sun come up, my music seemed to be amazing (first pump for an awesome playlist). I felt like everything just aligned PERFECTLY this morning. I feel awesome just writing about it =)

As I was finishing up my run I decided to check out my average pace as well as how many miles were logged. WHOOOHHOOOOAAAA this is what I saw
garmin results

I just seriously can’t believe it. I guess what really makes me smile is the fact that this run felt nothing short of AMAZING, and I honestly thought I had only completed around 7-8 miles. My legs felt good, my mind was in a great place, I had a bit of confidence in myself. I was reminded why I LOVE TO RUN!!!!!! GOSH I NEEDED THIS! Only 4 weeks until the Cleveland Rite Aid Half! I hope I feel this fantastic on race day!!

How is your training going? Are you all running outside too?

How do you Cross Train?

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Happy Tuesday Friends! I hope everyone is having an amazing day. I am happy to see that the temps and weather here in northern Ohio will be more spring like! I am hoping winter is OVER (I hope I didn’t just jinx it).

I am so ready to hit the pavement and run outside! I am hoping the rain and cold stay away =) I realize some of you have ran outside all winter, and don’t mind a little rain. I think I am kind of a fickle runner. I don’t like the cold and I HATE running in the rain. Good thing I have a gym membership =)

I am feeling pretty solid about my training so far. All of my training has been done on the treadmill, so I am anxious to get outside. As many of you know this is my 2nd ½ marathon. Last year my training ONLY consisted of running. I didn’t do any cross training or weight training. This year is different! This year I have cross trained and weight lifted! I feel stronger overall and I hope this is going to help me master all 13.1 miles =)

Here are some reason I think you should consider cross training and weight lifting:

1)      Helps with the boredom! I don’t know about you but as much as I LOVE running, the same old running routine can get a bit boring. So why not challenge yourself and try something different =)

2)      I have read numerous articles and reports that these types of activities help with recovery and injury prevention. If you think about it, it makes sense! You are strengthening your muscles, helping to use them to power through your runs.

3)      TONING! Last year when I was solely running, I felt great yes but I still felt a bit flabby. Now I DO understand that after losing over 180lbs not everything is going to be tight and let’s face it lose skin will be there BUT there are ways to combat this a bit. Weight lifting! I am seeing a bit of definition in my arms and other parts of my body, this makes me smile and helps me feel better about wearing tank tops and short sleeve shirts =)

4)      Building muscle helps burn calories =) If you are looking for a little extra push, weight lifting helps you burn calories throughout the day, not just during your workout.

So if you are just starting out, or have been training awhile give weight lifting and some cross training a try. I am sure you won’t regret it.

On top of my running routine I am currently rowing, weight lifting, and using the elliptical =) What cross training are you doing?

Treadmill, my Frenemie =)

It’s hard to believe that April is almost here!! April should mean warmer temps right?!?! This has to be the LONGEST winter EVER. Just when you think winter is over, it gets colder and more SNOW!!

I have been trying my very best to prepare for the Cleveland Rite Aid ½ marathon by training indoors. The treadmill strangely is no longer an enemy, but it’s not really a friend either…… it’s ummm right in the middle, I believe the term would be FRENEMIE ;) Along with the treadmill I have been elliptical training as well as weight training. THIS HAS BEEN SO HELPFUL. I think the different treadmill exercises in combination with these other exercises are going to have me rocking this ½ marathon (fingers crossed).

www.pinterest.com

As I look to April I am hoping for warmer temps and long runs outdoors!! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!??!
Also, I realize I am a blog SLACKER soooo until the Cleveland ½ you can expect to see at least one post from me per week about my training, heck it’s go time right????? So let’s do this thing =)

Any of you training for a race? How have you been managing the winter from HEL! ?

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Entry Winner!

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After writing down all the entries and using a random online generator we have a winner!!!! Congrats to Kathleen Soukup Field!!!! Kathleen I look forward to running the streets of Cleveland with you =)

If you didn’t win please consider signing up for the race. This is a great course, with wonderful folks cheering you on (what more could you want). Also if you are still hoping to win a race entry visit the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Bloggers blogs. Some of them still have entries to give away….

http://www.clevelandmarathon.com/Run_Train_Blog/

Please continue to visit! I would love to learn more about you and will be posting more about my training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon!!!!

XX,
Jamie

One Last Chance, Rite Aid Marathon Entry =)

Well friends, this is it. My last post for you to comment on to enter into my giveaway for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon (any of the races this weekend). Your comment counts as an entry and I also decided to give extra credit points to those that actually answer tonight’s question (hey it’s my giveaway so I can do what I want =) ).

My question tonight is, what would you like to hear more about on my blog? What will help you train? What information in general would you like to read, find useful.

At the finish of last year's Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon enjoying a cupcake my husband made!

At the finish of last year’s Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon enjoying a cupcake my husband made!

Best of luck all!
XX,
Jamie

Also remember you can get two more entries by visiting https://www.facebook.com/JamieJohnstonsJourney commenting/sharing my status.

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