Once a sprinter…

…always a sprinter?

Me receiving the baton in a 4x100m race

Me receiving the baton in a 4x100m relay in high school

Indeed, I began my running “career” as a sprinter and mid-distance runner. This is one reason I think I often have trouble with pacing. But I think any runner can get caught up in the excitement of the beginning of a race.

At the Run for the Door 5k last weekend, I definitely got over-zealous and thought I was super-Vanessa. I was hoping to run an even paced first mile at an average 7:30 min/mile pace, but instead I ran the first half mile at a sub-6 minute/mile pace. Instead of running negative splits as I intended, the first mile was the fastest (I totally wore myself out), the second mile was the slowest (I had to recover from the first mile), and the third mile I luckily had enough left to speed it back up again.

Despite going out a bit fast, I am still pleased with my performance. While I wasn’t aiming for a personal best this time, I was trying to improve upon my most recent race time  and run between 22 and 24 minutes. I did just that, crossing the finish line in 23 minutes. I was pleased to place 1st in my age group and 3rd among females.

On one hand, I regret not sticking to my guns and going out a bit slower, but on the other hand, this gives me hope for my races later in the summer (the Donor Dash and Human Race) where I plan to pace myself a bit better and run a personal best (under 21:18).

But until then, it’s on with the training plan!




A Wish Met and Training Unleashed

Just a few days ago I wrote a post called Can I Get a Day Off? That question was just begging the following cliché statement…

file000874288359Be Careful What You Wish For!

Four hours after hitting the “Publish” button for the blog post welcoming a mental health day, wouldn’t you know it, I got a nasty bout of food poisoning that forced me to have the most terrible kind of sick day. Oh, the irony.

On Monday, between the hours of 2am and 8pm, I spent 99% of  my time in bed or hanging over the toilet. I’ll spare you the projectile, dehydrating, and exhausting details.

chiliNow I will say, I was SO hesitant to eat those chili leftovers from my fridge. I didn’t just fear the original spice, I sensed something was off about this 3 day old chili… should I not be eating 3 day old leftovers??? Yeah, I didn’t think so! Why oh why did I ignore the intuitive voice saying, “Something isn’t right with that chili!” and instead listen to the heedless voice that said, “Oh Vanessa, let’s not be wasteful”!?! Oh, don’t worry, I have since thrown out almost everything from my fridge. And luckily, I didn’t let my overly frugal ways lead anyone else to sickness. But my family certainly suffered the loss of not having me as a resource for the entire day…whoops.

Training Unleashed

Unleashing the speed within

Unleashing the speed within

Being confined to my bed for the day also affected the official start of my training plan in order for me to reach my running goals. Despite my week getting off to an uneasy start, I have hit the ground running once again and I am regaining my strength.

I have been building up my mileage over the past few months and starting this week, I am officially kicking off a training plan I found from Coach Jay Johnson out of Boulder, Colorado.

Here is his 5K running plan and below are some complimentary videos that will help implement the plan:

As I unleash the speed within me once again, let me know if you want to join me on this running adventure by running together, supporting each other virtually with our respective running goals, or _________________ (you fill in the blank).

A race with 18 year-old me?

When I decided to start this blog, I had a lot of things I knew I would eventually write about. I planned to have a series on being a newbie gardener, chronicles of my ongoing nutrition and fitness efforts, and battle stories about days spent with toddlers and preschoolers. There have certainly been many blogging ideas that have crossed my mind. But there is one thing in particular I have been thinking and dreaming about and I’m excited to share it with you now.

Beating My 18 Year-Old Self

I turned 30 years-old in October of 2013 and in honor of getting older, I set a goal of running my personal best time in a 5K race before I turn 31. In high school, I was primarily a mid-distance runner and I only had the chance to run a handful of 5K races my senior year before injuring myself. I was devastated when I couldn’t run the regional cross country meet especially since I knew my best time would have qualified me for the state meet.

Despite the fact that I have always thought I have a lot of potential and room for improvement as a distance runner, it is still scary for me to think about beating the speedy teenage me. For the 5K, my personal best from high school is 21:18 and my most recent race was slower then I ever ran in high school, a whopping 24:45 (though it was with no training plan in place). So, I need to shave off over 3 minutes from my most recent race… I can totally do it! Don’t you worry, I have a plan and will share more about that soon 🙂

I have indeed been sharing this goal and my training plan with close friends, but there’s a huge accountability that comes with sharing it publicly on this blog and in social media. So with a few ounces of courage, I invite you to follow along as one of my encouragers, as I embark upon this journey to meet my goal. There is much work to be done and I look forward to sharing my progress with you along the way.

For now I will leave you with some words from 18 year-old me:

Crossing the finish-line to qualify for state in the 400 Meter Dash

Crossing the finish-line
to qualify for state in the 400 Meter Dash

Life is like a race. To get better you need experience and practice. You learn from a race just as you learn from what each day brings you. Someone is always trying to be on top and you never know who will be eating the worms that are kicked off your spikes. Each curve brings something new and unexpected. You find yourself striving to keep your knees up and not lose your composure. When you find the will and desire to keep going you may find yourself failing. Each time you pick yourself up with more courage than the last time, is the extra second you improve your time. Every time you practice, someone else could be practicing too, so work harder. You keep getting better and in the end when you find the determination, desire and heart to win, you will succeed.


I am participating in the Blogging 101: Zero to Hero Challenge. This post was Day 3: A Penny for Your Thoughts