Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Holiday Run

We (Chicago Endurance Sports) hosted an easy run last night as part of the half marathon training program for the Miami Half in January. We decided to run the course through the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and through the Lights Festival because it was rainy and damp and we knew there wouldn't be a large crowd to navigate through. And it is fun and FREE!

What was going to be a nasty run in the damp, icky rain turned out to be a holiday treat! There were ice sculptors, lights and even the animals came out to wave to us.

It was a night to remember for sure. And a lesson learned...the best runs usually come in the worst packages. Some of my favorite runs have been in the worst weather conditions or on those days where I haven't felt very much like running.

Happy running holidays...

Coach Jenny

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Feeling Goofy....

Okay, today I confirmed (with myself) I am going to run the Goofy Challenge again this year. John and I ran it last year and I just loved it. I wasn't sure whether I would get in the miles needed to be officially Goofy, but I have. So, I am Goofy about racing Goofy and it is only a few prescious weeks away.

The Goofy Challenge is a Disney Sports Event. You run the Disneyworld Half Marathon Saturday (and earn a Donald Duck Medal). You run the Disneyworld full Marathon Sunday (and earn a Mickey Mouse Medal). Together, half and full you finish as Goofy as they come and you earn a Donald, Mickey and Goofy medal. We all know it's all about the medals!!!

I won't be alone either. Last year, the brilliant Disney folks came up with the idea thinking maybe 300 people would do it. Well, 3,000 people later.... If you build it they will run!

So,I am feeling Goofy today. I have very fond memories of my father carrying me on his shoulders through the Magic Kingdom. This year, he will be on mine as I run through the Magic Kingdom...TWICE!

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Preventing the Holiday Five

They say the average American gains five to seven pounds during the holidays. That is not hard to do these days. All it takes is inactivity and overindulgence and boom, your gift from Santa is a larger pair of pants.

I have a strategy for the holidays, especially this year. I have been creeping up a few pounds more than I want to be and whenever that happens I use It is a free online software program that allows me to keep my calories in balance just like a checkbook. I enter in what I eat during the day, I add my running, cross-training and strength workouts and it gives me a runnig balance of what is going in versus out. I know if I am spending too much (eating too many calories), too much fat, or not enough nutrients. It is the best way for me to get back into reality. Plus, it gives me a breakdown of percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. This is great for a runner!

These days it is so easy to over eat, or over spend as I like to say. Portions are out of control and as a society we have to move less and less each year. Keeping tabs on my "In and Out" inventory keeps me honest. I am back to my fighting weight again and more aware of my choices. In most cases, I begin to gain weight when I am not paying attention to what I am eating. One cookie becomes two, one serving doubles and my one sweet per week rule somehow changes to sweets every other day. Using allows me to get focused and back on track. It typically takes 2-3 weeks and I am back to reality again.

There are a lot of online fuel logs, but I happen to like this one. It is easy to use and free! What is better than that?

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Magic Rock

I had the pleasure of running with Anna Saturday morning during our long run for the Chicago Endurance Sports Winter Warriors Program. The team is training for the Miami Half Marathon and we got a break with weather that was sunny and in the 30s! Anything above 30 in the Chicago winters is a gift.

Anyway, back to Anna. It was a special morning for her. It was her wedding day...and she chose to share it with her running buddies. Anna ran her first half marathon with CES back in March, when the team traveled to the Valley of Gold Half in Tucson, Arizona ( a John Bingham Racing event).

On that trip, I hosted a hike in the Catalina Mountains the day before the race to see the sites, work off a little pre-race gitters AND show them the rock where John proposed to me. When we got to the Magic Rock, I told the story of how he carried the ring in his pocket until he got to this rock and sat me on it and bent down on one knee and proposed. All the girls in the group began rubbing the rock (the single girls, that is) for good luck and we all giggled.

Well, I am happy to report Anna got engaged to Seth, husband seven weeks after rubbing that rock and there are two other girls in that group that are in relationships. Happy wedding day Anna and Seth!

I believe in Karma. And now I believe in that Magic Rock!

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Friday, December 08, 2006


This is a little embarassing to write, but thought it might be useful information. Last night I was setting out running gadgets and winter clothes for my next long run and found a keychain canister of Spitfire which I used for safety when walking our dog Bear and on some runs. Spitfire is a handy device you can carry with you and sprays pepper spray in the case of an assault.

Curiosity got the best of me and I started to push the button just to see if it still worked (dumb). Well, it worked and it worked on ME! Let me tell you it is not fun at all and would really have an affect on someone coming a little too close to you! I had it everywere. It was in my eyes, my sinuses, and I was sneezing and crying for hours.

So, if you ever wondered if pepper spray works, it does folks. Just make sure to try it outside and spray it away from yourself.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running on Ice

Well, we came home from North Carolina to wind chills below zero and snow and ice. Although I love running on treadmills in the winter, I really need to get my butt outside and run to prepare for the Antarctica Marathon in February. The course could have anything from ankle deep mud to snow ice and sleet. It is unusual, but I have perfect training grounds for this race.

I am using Nike Air Pegasus Clima-Fit shoes as they offer a more durable sole for traction and have water resistant properties which help keep my feet warm and dry. I also use a product called Yak Trax which easily slip on my shoes and provide more traction in the snow and ice. If you run in the snow and ice, these tools make a big difference in safety.

Some things I've found to be helpful when training through the winter are...

-If it is cold and challenging terrain, take it easy and run slower. The conditions are not suitable for setting personal records or getting in that speed workout. I always run my speed on a treadmill when it drops below 35 degrees. It is less risky in injuring something and provides a better quality workout too.

-I shorten my stride and keep my feet lower to the ground to prevent slipping and falling.

-I wear reflective clothing, flashing lights and a headlamp in the dark to make sure I am visible and can see where I am headed.

-I keep my body relaxed when running on ice and snow as my natural tendency is to tighten up. This can cause your hips and inner and outer thighs to be sore and become tight post run. Plus, if I am tight running over that stuff, I am a higher risk for falling.

-I always take a hot shower before a long run and use a foam roller to warm and loosen my muscles before heading out in the cold. In temperatures colder than 30, I wear a pair of tights as a first layer and windproof shell pants over them to keep my legs warm. Keeping your legs warm will reduce the risk of injury by keeping the legs warm.

These tips have kept me running through the cold Chicago Winters safely and successfully. Even when I would rather be in watching Ellen on a treadmill.

Run Safely...

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Victory Junction Run

We are just back from a truly amazing event weekend. We were in Randleman, North Carolina for the Innaugural Victory Junction Half Marathon Run. An event to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Victory Junction Gang Camp enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun, and empowering, in a safe and medically sound environment. The Camp was founded by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie, in honor of their son Adam.

The Camp is operated purely on donations of kind people like the runners in this event. The Camp is run on the spirit of life. From the Camp Staff to the volunteers that come from all over the world, it is a truly inspirational and special Camp. More than 700 runners toed the line on race morning, running a challenging yet rewarding half marathon course. Plus, they all got a "high-five" at the finish from Kyle and Pattie Petty!

I had tears in my eyes most of the day. Not because I was sad, but because the generosity of the human spirit is far greater than we can all imagine. We raised over $65,000 this year and I am sure we will double that next year.
Victory Junction Run

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny