Running On Average

Trail Running Season Begins!

Happy last day of winter!!

When I was little- in fact, until I moved to Pittsburgh last year- I LOVED winter. The more snow the better! Where I worked, I only had a ¼ mile commute, so the joke was that I was never allowed a snow day because I could just ride a toboggan down the hill, right into the office. Ah, those were the days.

I love my life in Pittsburgh now, but the commute is much longer and has made me hate when it snows. We don’t have sidewalks either, so running in the snow seems too dicey for me. And the sky is always gloomy and GRAY. I miss Berks County winters…

Anyway, tomorrow is the first day of spring! Yea! And we’re supposed to get snow. WHAT?!

But let’s get down to business.



Valentine’s Day and Battling Winter Training

Running | February 15, 2015 | By

Hey, how was your weekend? Did you have a great Valentine’s Day? Single or coupled? I’ve always loved it no matter my relationship status. But my first married one was amazing! Smile

To my great surprise, I actually DID wake up at 4:30 on Friday morning and get my butt to the gym!



And dark.


And I looked like this by the end of it.


But I busted out 5 awesome miles, 3.5 at race pace (1 mile warm up, .5 mile cool down). And I felt so great.

Trying to wake up at 5am on Saturday was a bit harder. I made it out of bed for peanut butter on rice cake before snuggling back into bed until 6:30, since the sun doesn’t come up until 7am. Then it started snowing big, thick, fluffy, pretty flakes. Unfortunately, our roads weren’t getting plowed and since it’s hilly with no sidewalks, Dave didn’t want me running outside (he’s a good and caring guy like that). So he offered to drive me to the gym because I am terrified of driving in the snow and my car was in the shop anyway.

On the way to the gym, Dave’s car skidded out because the roads were worse than we thought, so Dave was SUCH a trooper and hung out at the gym for two hours while I churned out 10 slow miles on the treadmill. He took a BodyPump class then walked on the treadmill next to me for company. I haven’t run more than 6 miles since….June? Yikes!! Has it been that long?! Anyway, I did it, finishing with a mile at race pace…which actually seemed easier!

After a shower and 2-hour nap, my Saturday was super relaxing! For Valentine’s Day, Dave surprised me this BEAUTIFUL Fossil watch. The style is called Jesse….it literally had my name on it! haha


My gift to him is a weekend at a lodge in the northwestern PA later in March. Look out for that post in a few weeks! Oh and a stuffed Woodstock that dances and plays the Peanuts theme song.

We ordered Chinese food for dinner (it’s what we ordered the night we got engaged and this was a throwback) and watched Gilmore Girls. That’s how we roll.



Check out my awesome fortune. Also, shout out to my sister for the Chocolate Raspberry Wine! SO GOOD.


Today was a rest day! Actually, it was a yoga day, buuuuut that didn’t happen. Whoops! Instead we braved the single digit temperatures to go to the Tanger Outlets, an outdoor mall, to check out the President’s Day sales, since we totally cleaned out our wardrobes a few weekends ago.

How’s the weather in your neighborhood? Who’s ready for some long days and warm(er) weather?!

Did you love Valentine’s Day?

Miles and Burgers

Last Saturday, I ran 1.74 miles, got really, um, sick, walked a 1/4 mile home and cried to Dave for about an hour. He was going to go run errands, but said instead he would stay home and keep his cell phone with him so that if I got sick or needed to run to the bathroom I could call him and he’d pick me up and drive me home…and even drop me back off again if I wanted. He. Is. Amazing.
So I sucked it up and headed back out for 18 more miles, heading against some good wind, riding hills, and visiting a lot of porta-johns on the run. Hey, when you’ve got colitis, you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if it’s precautionary measures.
I’ve been rocking nuun in Strawberry Lemonade and Swedish Fish as my fuel for runs. The Swedish fish are hard to chew while running, but I’m working on it.


Also, I got a whole bunch of nuun samples from work. Excitement!

Love me some nuun samples

Love me some nuun samples

After my run, I showered and Dave and I went to Saturday night mass, then decided to walk and try a bar called Sauce for dinner (burger lovin). Every time I go to mass, I think about getting engaged. It’s kind of awesome. 🙂

Snazzing up for mass and a dinner date

Snazzing up for mass and a dinner date

There was even a burger called the Messy Jesse! Which Dave got and it was tasty. I got Guiness black and it was AMAZING. Also. The waitress said that I eat really really slowly. Yes. Yes, I know.

This past weekend Dave and I went home to look for wedding venues. We looked at 4 and the first 3 were all nice, but not suited for us. Luckily, number 4 was the jackpot! We also met with the priest and I got to show Dave my home church, where the wedding will be. So we now have a church, priest, reception venue, date and time. CRAZY!

We dropped my little sister off for set construction on Saturday and Dave and I, reminiscing our high school years, decided to see if the door to the roof was still open. Success.

From the roof of the high school auditorium

From the roof of the high school auditorium

Those were my adventures the past week, did you have any good ones?


A Run, a Ring, and….what more do I need?!

So I realize that it’s been a while since my last blog. *Oops* Please forgive me and read on! I’ve got exciting news.
Let’s rewind and revisit February 8th. I had an 18 mile run on the schedule. Technically 17, but I like even numbers. OCD, party of one! Anyway, according to this plan I am following, I should be doing my long runs at a 10:20-11:39 pace. WHAT? That’s too slow for me. I know I am not a faster runner by any means, but I do have a hard time running too slow….until I get tired. Instead I run largely by feel for my long runs. I try to hit certain marks, but stay comfortable and honestly don’t know my exact pace until the end of the run.
I started my run at 11am, and remembering my complete bonk-out the previous week, tried to keep it slow from that get-go. At the suggestion of Danielle, I also filled my water bottle with nuun instead of plain water and stashed some Swedish Fish for extra energy. I was feeling great, I didn’t need to stop and walk or anything, just chugged away. I was really killing it on the pace, too! (for me on hills, anyway)
Mile 1- 9:37
Mile 2- 11:04 (uhhh…oops)
Mile 3- 9:44
Mile 4- 9:46
Mile 5- 9:16
Mile 6- 9:22
Mile 7- 9:25
Mile 8- 9:44
Mile 9- 9:31
Mile 10- 9:18
Mile 11- 8:57 (say whaaaatt!!)
Mile 12- 9:42
Mile 13- 9:04
Mile 14- 10:17
So it was at mile 13.5, that I stopped back at the house and picked up Dave for the last 4 1/2. Apparently doing this made my mind go, “yea!! We’re done! Hey, legs, we’re done!” And the last 4 miles were MISERABLE. With walk breaks. Too many walk breaks. Ugh.
Mile 15- 11:05
Mile 16- 10:14
Mile 17- 11:47
Mile 18- 13:17 (ouch, wounded pride)

Anyway, that was that. The evening MORE than made up for it. Dave and I decided to go to 5 o’clock mass so we could sleep in Sunday. Afterward, he asked me if I wanted to go up to Mt. Washington since we had been talking about it and it wasn’t snowing yet. So we did. We were up on Mt. Washington, in a more private little spot and he was standing behind me and I heard him unzip his jacket. It was freezing! I told him he was crazy, but thought he was just getting out his phone to take photos of the city like I was.  Then he goes, “Jesse,” and as I’m turning around he gets down on one knee, opens a box and says, “will you marry me?”
It was so easy! It was so perfect! It was so quick! I said yes and waited until he stood up to give him a huge hug. I cannot even tell you how excited I was. Another guy was up there with his dog and we asked him to take our picture. It came out a little blurry (sorry, dude), so we selfied it.
Before mass, we had decided on Chinese takeout for dinner and that is what we stuck with! When we got back to the house, Dave called in our order while I started calling my parents, sisters and grandmom. Then his family. His brother’s response was possibly the funniest ever….”well that was a long time coming.” haha! The reasoning: Dave and I have been friends since junior high, we dated in high school/the start of college for 2 years, then broke it off and reconnected after he finished grad school, finally getting back into a real relationship about 2 years ago. The time apart let us grow up and experience our own colleges, directions and friends. But back on topic…
We still had Champagne that I purchased during a Champagne cellars tour when we were in France, so we popped open the bottle of bubbly and celebrated with Champagne and Chinese takeout.
It was completely perfect. I am incredibly lucky and very excited to marry Dave!

I wish I could post pictures, but this site is being a little B, so I will post them separately. A post of just pictures. YEA!!! 😀

Okay, it’s 10:30 and I’m exhausted. WanderlustRunner OUT!

Running and Ulcerative Colitis

Last time I blogged, I wrote about having ulcerative colitis and it screwing up my runs. I was originally diagnosed with colitis when I was 17, during my senior year of high school. At that stage in my life I was not a runner- at all- which I suppose is good because it may have completely turned me off from running. It was took until sophomore or junior year of college until I really got my colitis back under control, but even then it was something I struggled with during every rugby and track practice, match, and meet.


My Rugby Days


My Sprinting Days

Before my first 5K, my stomach was in knots. I wanted to run the whole race, with my longest race prior being a 200 meter sprint. But I also wanted to make it without stopping for a bathroom issue. And finish the race in under 30 minutes. I put a lot of pressure on myself.
I did all those things. Ran without walking or stopping and finished in 29 minutes and change.
That gave me more confidence and I began running longer. A month and a half later I ran my first 10K, no bathroom stops. 6 months after my first 5K, I ran my first half marathon then 6 months after that my first marathon. They were all huge accomplishments and stepping stones for me, and I felt like after each race, I was kicking colitis in the butt. It felt great! It wasn’t easy and there were runs that still made me feel awful and a few times I’d come home and cry to my mom that How could I ever run a marathon if I can’t run XX miles without an issue? But I always pushed through.
Since I’ve moved to Pittsburgh, my stomach has been taking a life of its own. Some days it’s fine, others it feels like my colitis is out of remission. Worse, sometimes I will start a run feeling great and fantastic, only to be suddenly searching for a bathroom a few miles in. It makes me worry before every run and wears on my mind. It makes some runs worse than others.
Two weekends ago, I ran the 14 miles I had planned after failing to do it the weekend before. WOOT! And it was glorious! I did the first 8 on my own, circled back to pick up Dave and out we went again for the last 6 miles. Afterward I was ecstatic.

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The top of one of the Big Hills. It’s steeper than it looks.

photo 2

Last Wednesday, while on my 6 mile interval run my ankle started killing me 1/2 mile in. I finished the run, but found my ankle started to swell/grew a lump under my ankle bone, so I skipped the Thursday easy run and moved Friday’s lifting to Thursday.

photo 5

Ice ice, baby!

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Post run snack. The world’s smallest apple.

Friday Dave and I drove back to Reading for his cousin’s baptism on Sunday. He’s the godfather. He’ll be a good one!

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I got to see my love, Murphy!

That Saturday, I had an early 16 miles on the schedule.

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Sunrise in PA Dutch country

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Love Under Armour Coldgear!

Less than 2 miles in my stomach started giving me issues. Moreover, the sidewalks were icy from all the snow that got dumped the week before, some of the sidewalks weren’t even shoveled. Then it started snowing and laying. A lot. So after I made my 3rd stop in 4 miles, frustration got the better of me and I decided to head home. I stopped at mile 6 1/2 and said hello to my grandmom and had a nice chat with her, then finished the last half mile and called it a day at a mere 7 miles. But not without large loads of guilt and making my little sister, dad and Dave convince me that it was okay.

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Freshly fallen snow on the run

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Winter running

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Not my best run!

Yesterday I FINALLY got my (hilly) 16 miler in! The weather was unusually gorgeous. After weeks being in the negatives, single digits or teens, a 50 degree and sunny day made me feel like Superman. I started off accidentally at an 8:33 pace, then averaged a 9:15-9:20 pace for the first 10-12 miles. Then I got so hungry and my legs started getting tired and my pace started falling. BUT, I finished my run with under a 10-minute mile pace so all’s well that ends well.

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16 mile success!