Archive for the 'First Timer' Category

The Final Countdown and Game Plan

As I write this it is surreal to think that in a few short days I will be participating in my first half marathon. I have one final cross training workout tonight and then I’m on rest mode until Sunday. I will spend Friday and Saturday doing plenty of stretching, foam rolling, and icing to get my muscles ready. To be honest I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at. I’m very excited and have more than enough butterflies in my stomach already. But I am nervous about the weather this weekend. Currently it’s looking less than stellar with higher winds, rain, and humidity. Not exactly ideal conditions for any runner, but I know that I can persevere. My fingers are in a permanent state of being crossed that Mother Nature will decide to hold off her fury of rainy, yucky weather until late Sunday evening so that all the runners, volunteers, and spectators can enjoy this weekend’s festivities.

I’m in full on game plan mode at the moment. I’ve been slowly looking over all the information for the weekend and starting to devise a game plan to help alleviate any nervous energy prior to the race. I’ve been slowly sharing my bib number with friends and family that will not be able to attend the race so that they can take advantage of the text message updates that Cellcom is providing. THANKS CELLCOM!! It’s awesome that even though people can’t be there, they can still cheer me on and see how I’m doing.

I look forward to attending the Prevea Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday and picking up my bib and race info. For me that’s always the start on my race experience. Once I have my bib, it’s game on! The adrenaline slowly starts building and my mind starts to prepare for the next day. I’ve also started making a list of what I will need for Sunday, so that I can have it all put together on Saturday night. Anything to help give me piece of mind come Sunday morning will be appreciated. So here is my game plan thus far:

  1. Saturday is packet pick up and checking out the Prevea Health & Fitness Expo….definitely have to check out all the cool clothes and vendors that will be there
  2. My “last meal”. I always joke about my last big meal before race day and for me it’s going to be pizza! I’ve actually trained with different meals the night before and pizza seems to be the right food for me….and who doesn’t love pizza haha.
  3. Set out EVERYTHING I need for Sunday the night before so that I’m not running around like a crazy woman the morning of……….because that has NEVER happened before lol.
  4. Sunday morning will be an early morning (obviously). The plan is to leave for Lambeau at around 6:30 because I live near the course and don’t want to deal with too much traffic, PLUS I want to see my fellow Leaders of the Pack: Sara, Scott, and Alyssa be announced prior to the start of the marathon! GOOD LUCK TO EACH OF YOU!
  5. I will spend time with my friends and family before the half marathon starts and we will confirm our meeting spot after I finish, by this time the butterflies in my stomach will be on full blast lol.
  6. Get to my corral and get ready to go, once I cross the start line my mind will calm and I’ll settle into my groove. I know that once I start, I’m going to take in everything I can. This is going to be a lifetime experience for me J
  7. Cross the finish line! Haven’t decided yet if I’ll throw my hands up in the air like Rocky or if I’ll channel my inner Aaron Rodgers and throw out the championship belt.
  8. Celebrate with my fellow runners and well as my friends and family that came along to watch me run around Green Bay.

Since this is my first time EVER running this distance I really didn’t set any goals for myself besides just being able to finish. I have an idea of how long it will take me to run the course but I’m not gonna push myself too hard since I know that if the weather doesn’t cooperate that may be a fairly lofty goal already. But I want to enjoy every minute of my run and take in all the sights and sounds. Because I’ve never run this course before, it will help keep my mind of the miles and allow myself to really enjoy the full experience. So if you see me along the course make sure to wave and I’ll try to high five as many people as I can! I’m also looking forward to rocking that awesome finisher’s medal!!


Jen Leiterman

The First Timer


Because I Can

The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon is less than two weeks away (12 days as I write this). Last week was the hardest training week with the most volume and intensity of my training. The next two weeks will be tapering down to get my legs rested and ready for race day.

As I look back over the last 2 months of training, it is with mixed emotions. I have had a lot going on with both running as well as personally. Right around the start of training for the half marathon, my dad was diagnosed with emphysema. I have to say that as I was not surprised by this being a life long smoker, but it was still hard to hear. My uncle (his brother) has emphysema as well, and has been living with it for years. So while I know that the diagnosis is bad, it seems like something he can live with for a while.

Well, this past week, he was taken by ambulance and admitted to the hospital. He was inpatient for six days, and it seems like what caused the issue was the flu. This whole situation happens during the week that is my hardest training, as well as being busy with kids activities (dance recitals/rehearsals and baseball practices). Going to visit my dad in the hospital and take care of things for him at home, as well as work of course. It was a challenging week, emotionally, physically and mentally.

For the first time in my training I was questioning myself. Wondering why I am doing this? I came up with an answer. Thinking about my dad and his situation, and all the things he won’t be able to do, I realized that I am doing it because I can. I am lucky enough to be healthy. I was able to fight and lose 135 pounds, and be in the best shape of my life. I have fallen in love with running and pushing myself to do the best I can. That is why I am doing it. Because I can. Because I want to, and because I love it.

I am getting very excited for the race. I am looking forward to participating in my first Cellcom event and my first half marathon. It is even going to be a family affair! My kids are running in the WPS run, my wife, brother, his girlfriend, my mom and step dad are all participating in the 5K event. My wife’s aunt and cousin are running the half and  2 other cousins are running the full. I think it will be a very exciting weekend and I am looking forward to it!

Adam Marin
The Transformer

Perfectly Imperfect

Sometimes the perfectionist in me is my worst enemy. I can easily talk myself into something, but I can also talk myself out of things as well. I had been toying with the idea of completing a half marathon since last fall, and when registration opened for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon I figured why not run a local race that just so happened to be nationally recognized and I had always admired from a far prior to becoming a runner. So that was that, I was going to do it! I’m going to run a half marathon!! Okay I signed up….woohoo! I found a 16-week training schedule that seemed to work for me and my schedule…awesome! Now let’s put rubber to road and hit the pavement….which means getting on a treadmill in January because Wisconsin winters are not always friendly and I hate the cold. Prior to this the farthest distance I had ever run was 7 miles, so I knew that I could at least run half of a half marathon. To be honest that was what gave me the confidence to sign up for a half marathon.

As the weeks continued and the miles increased I was impressed with how well I was doing. I was pushing myself to run a little faster and challenging myself to not quit. 7 weeks in and everything was going swimmingly…..until week 8. I knew it was going to happen, I knew there would be no way to avoid it, and I was even prepared for it. You see I enjoy running, but my knees are less than stellar. My knees have taken a beating over the years and I knew even before I signed up to run that they would be the deciding factor in whether I would be able to complete my first half. So I started skipping  out on runs to rest them up and doing as much icing and stretching as I could, but I could feel the self-doubt  starting.

One missed run turned into two, then three, the a few more. I could feel myself going why? Why are you doing this to yourself. Did you honestly think that you could do this, that your knees would hold up to the increased mileage? It was getting harder to motivate myself to go for a run, I felt like I could come up with a really good excuse or talk myself out of it so easily and using my sore knees as an excuse. I was still managing to get my long runs in every week, but I couldn’t seem to shake my self-doubt.

I had to remind myself that this is all a part of the training and that you might miss some runs, or they won’t go as smoothly as I wanted them to. To be honest what allowed me to shake that self-doubt and reset my mentality about this was my friends and family, as well as my fellow Leaders of the Pack, they each in their own way inspired me to keep going. Sometimes we need the external motivation to ignite the internal fire for our own motivation.

Someone once said: “I am perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I will always strive for perfection, but I know that I may not achieve it. But that won’t stop me from trying.”

So I am perfectly imperfect, I know that my training hasn’t been perfect, but I also haven’t given up and it doesn’t matter that I’ve missed some runs along the way. It’s the ups and the downs of achieving your goal that make you stronger and as long as you don’t stop trying, in the end you will succeed.

I will complete my first half marathon, it doesn’t matter if I run it all, if I have to walk, or if I’m crawling across the finish line, because I will not stop trying.

The First Timer,

Jenny Leiterman 🙂

The Learning Curve

I’ll admit that prior to becoming a runner I knew nothing of the sport, besides that it took a heck of a lot of endurance and stamina. If you’re in shape running shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Just put on a pair of shoes and go….yup was I totally wrong. It wasn’t until I decided to run my first 10K that I realized there is so much more to running than just putting on a pair of shoes and going for a run. There is a learning curve to running that I’m still on, since this is my first major long distance run I had to do research into what I should be or shouldn’t be doing to prepare myself for a half marathon. Some things I knew from training for my first 10K, such as breaking in a pair of running shoes before going a long distance with them, but there was a lot that I wasn’t aware of until I made the commitment to run a half marathon and really had to commit to getting myself both mentally and physically ready for what I am about to do on May 17th.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far, and am still learning:

  1. Find a training schedule that works for you. Whether it’s the schedule like the one that Cellcom Green Bay Marathon sponsor Prevea provides online for both half and full marathon participants, an app on your phone, or a schedule you found in a fitness magazine you have to find one that works for you. I’m a visual person so I have mine on my fridge so I can reference it at any time, as well as cross off workouts I’ve completed (because nothing feels better than crossing of a workout session).
  2. Accept that training will not be perfect: Not every run will be fantastic, some will be less than fantastic or downright ugly. You might even miss a run or two because of injury or a crazy work schedule. It’s okay, life happens. So you miss one, just make the effort to get the next workout in. And do your best to never miss a long run session.
  3. Pay attention to how you run, can you improve your posture or how your foot hits the pavement? Look forward and not down (this is a struggle for me at times). Holding your core tight and relax your arms and hands, to help your posture. Keep your breathing easy as well. Also have a few pairs of running shoes that you can rotate between while training, instead of just one that might be a little too worn down by race day.
  4. Use your training runs to try new things out, so you can figure out what will work best for the big day. Are you going to us energy gels or chews? This is something that I’m still learning; I’ve been trying out energy gels and chews on my last few long runs to see if they are something that I may use on race day. So far I’m leaning towards the gels as my preferred source of a little energy before a run.
  5. Nutrition and hydration: Learning what to eat even a day or two before a long run is something I’m still figuring out. At the being of my training I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating much, but as the distances increased I realized how important it is to put the right kind of fuel in my body. Food is fuel, and for everyone what type food works for you will be different than the next. And making sure to properly fuel your body after is key too, and again this is different for everyone. Also keep hydrated! I drink half my body weight in ounces of water a day just to keep my muscles hydrated. I can tell when I’ve haven’t drank enough in a day, even if it is a rest day. Our bodies are beautiful machines; we have to do everything to take care of them.
  6. Be mentally prepared as well as physically. Running is not only physically demanding, but it is mentally demanding. I’ve learned no matter what distance I’m running I have to learn to silence my mind from distraction and to remind myself that my mind will give up long before my body will. Listen to your body, it will tell you if that side cramp is something you can run through or if you need to walk it out a bit.
  7. Find what motivates you. Is it upbeat music? Are you going to dedicate your miles to loved ones? Are you looking forward to celebrating with a drink at the finish line? Whatever it is that motivates you, use it to your advantage. I love listening to a variety of upbeat music, and I actually will sing along. This helps my breathing and distracts me from how far I’ve run. Treadmill runs are hard for me because I always want to check how far I’ve ran, but I’ll count songs instead and check my distance only after so many songs.
  8. Have fun and live in the moment. Some days I’m so excited for race day, other days it’s my nerves that get the best of me. I know that come the day of the race I will have butterflies in my stomach, and adrenaline pumping through my veins. Once I cross the start line and settle in I will enjoy every step of the race. This has been a long journey, and on race day it’s all about living in the moment and enjoying the atmosphere around me and supporting my fellow runners.

This first timer is still absorbing all the advice and information she can get and is still learning as she goes, but I cannot wait to run through Lambeau and complete my first half marathon. I’m also looking forward to celebrating with a drink and raising my glass to say cheers and a job well done by us all!
Happy running!
Jenny Leiterman
The First Timer

Leaders of the Pack: Adam Marin

Some people run for pure enjoyment. Some people run as a mood enhancer. Some people run to be able to eat cookies. And some of us run to lose weight and get in shape. I fall under the last category, or at least I used to.

Just over 1 year ago, I weighed 320 (or more, I stopped getting on a scale) pounds. The picture below is me on March 8, 2014. To say I was overweight, was to put it mildly. I grew up always being on the heavy side. I always wore husky pants and was always heavier than most all of my friends. It bothered me at times, and at times I was more alright with it (probably more than I should have been).

adam marin before

It was after the picture above was taken and I looked at it, I realized how disgusted I was with myself and decided I needed to make a change and get really serious about losing weight.

In the past I had tried all kinds of weight loss programs. I did Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach and tried just going to the gym random times and not really doing any kind of program. As you can guess, they all failed miserably! Weight Watchers worked a couple times for a bit, but as soons as I stopped I would gain back twice what I lost. I ended up giving up after a month or two each time because it was just not working for me. I vowed to myself, that this time would need to be different.

I looked around at my options and most were too expensive or not structured enough. I really needed something that told me what to eat, how much of it and when. I found a book by Ian K. Smith called Super Shred: The Big Results Diet: 4 Weeks, 20 Pounds, Lose It Faster! I used the book for two cycles of 4 weeks each to kick start my weight loss and to help me figure out how to eat a bit better and when and what to eat. The book also had a bit of a workout schedule such as do 40 minutes of cardio today. That is the part that may have changed my life.

At first, being as big as I was, I really took to the elliptical machine. It was good low impact cardio workout that would burn a lot of calories and I didn’t mind doing it. As I started to lose weight and started feeling like my cardio was getting better, I found that I needed something else to really take my workouts to the next level and give me a little variety.

Now my wife and I started this process at the same time and she had been doing some treadmill running and kept telling me I should try it. I have never been a runner. I played soccer from age 5 up through high school, but was not interested or good at any kind of distance running. I resisted her attempts to get me to run, but finally gave in one day. It was TOUGH!

I literally could not run for much more than 30 seconds at a time. I struggled, but kept with it. As my weight kept going down and my cardio improved, the running got easier. It wasn’t long before I was running, doing the elliptical and the stair climber plus some weight lifting every workout. The weight started coming off even faster, and I became more and more interested in the running part of my workouts.

I was so excited one day when I actually ran the whole distance of a 5K with no walking breaks. It took me just under 44 minutes to complete it, but I think from that moment on, I was hooked. Was the time great? No. A little slower and I would be walking, but that didn’t matter. I had done something I never thought possible. I kept running and doing my other workouts and my times started to improve.

It was also around this time that my wife finally talked me into running outside. Being heavy, I was very self conscious about running where people might see me in public. Now that my weight was down and I could run more consistently, I was alright with running outside…early in the morning…when less people were around. We ran outside a few times and I told her that if I could get my 5K time down under 33 minutes, I would consider doing a 5K event.

A few weeks later, I was running near my house, and my 5K time was 32:58. My first thought was, “Crap, I am going to have to actually do a 5K event.” I decided to look at it as an opportunity to prove to myself that all my hard work was paying off and I was bettering myself. I completed my first 5K (The Scheels Paperfest 5K in July 2014) in 32:12. I was hooked! I had just run a PR (personal record) and on a tough hilly course. I was no where near the top of the results but it didn’t matter. I had run faster than I ever did before. It was at this point that my running turned from just a way to eat more calories, to a competition with myself. I knew I would never be an elite runner. I doubt I will ever even be a great runner, but I can try and be better than the runner I was yesterday. And for me that is enough. I thrive on competition and running is one of those things where you can compete with yourself to be the best you can be.

I kept running and using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track my calorie intake. One year to the day, on March 8, 2015, I weighed in at 185 pounds. I had lost 135 pounds over the course of one year through a lot of exercise (mostly running) and counting calories. Below is a picture my wife took on that morning.

adam marin now

So why do I run? Well, these days it isn’t about just getting in shape. It is about competing with myself and trying to be the best I can be. Will I win the half marathon? No way! Does it matter? No way! I am running for me. I am running for my wife (who I really owe for getting me to do it in the first place). I am running to be able to live long enough to see my kids get married and have kids of their own. Whatever reason you are running, and whatever speed you run at, good for you! Good for you for putting it out there and challenging yourself to complete something. Whether it is the 5K, half marathon, full marathon, or relay event, good for you! Good for all of us!

Leaders of the Pack: Jenny Leiterman

If you would have asked me four years ago if I would ever in my life consider participating in a half marathon I would have thrown my head back and laughed hysterically. A half marathon? What are you nuts?? I’m lucky if I can run five consecutive minutes, you want me to run 13.1 miles. You have a strange sense of humor. It took me about another year before I looked in the mirror one day and realized that if I didn’t do something to take care of me, I wasn’t gonna be around. Heart disease is prevalent on both sides of my family, and I knew that if I didn’t stop making excuses and start making an effort to get into shape and make better choices I was going to be in big trouble.

So I started slowly making changes to my diet and incorporating a fitness routine into my schedule. As I lost weight I was game to start trying new things, and the one thing I always wanted to do was to be a runner. I had always wanted to participate in a race, but was extremely self conscious because I was by no means any where close to being a runner. But I set a goal for myself to complete a 5k, and not just complete it but run the entire race. I had done some training for it and as my stamina increased so did my confidence. Race day finally came and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but let me tell you this…it was AWESOME! Yes I was able to run the entire race, and faster than I expected but I was addicted to the atmosphere. Everyone is cheering you on no matter how fast your pace is or if they even know you. Seeing all different ages and levels participate together was the neatest thing for me, because I was no longer self conscious about how fast I was going, or how well I did because you just enjoyed the moment and the camaraderie.

After I finished my first 5k, I was ready to set my sights higher… up a 10k! Double or nothing as I double my distance and realize this is going to take some planning and an actual training schedule. The beginning of training was great, I can tackle these walk/run intervals no problem, but as the running increased and walking decreased I really had to focus on pacing myself and not letting the distance get to me. The first time I ran 5 miles without a break was the day that it really sunk in for me…I am a runner! The day of the 10k was hectic to say the least. I arrived just as they were getting ready to start the race….oh no…I’m late, I’m late, I’m late….I kept thinking to myself. I ran as fast as I could to get to my starting corral which was slowly moving towards the starting line and was mildly freaking out on the inside…how did I not give myself enough time to get here….way to go Jenny…smooth move……

Well I got a good 5 minute warm up run in before I made it to the start line haha. By the time I finished my first 10k I was beat from the “minor” freak out I had as I arrived, and from all of the built up nerves and adrenaline of completing my first 10k, but even though I was tired I was excited to sign up for another one. I couldn’t wait to continue to run more races.

So at the beginning of this year after running more 5 and 10K races I decided to do a half marathon. I thought I can run 6.2 miles, running 13.1 can’t be that bad right? Always the optimist lol. After I made the decision to run, it was time to pick the race I was going to complete this fete at. As someone who has grown up in the area the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon has always intrigued me, because I’ve known others who have participated and I thought it was the coolest thing that we had a marathon race in Green Bay. And now that I live fairly close to the marathon course I thought it was neat to see the runners going through. So that’s all it took for me to decide that this first timer was going to make her debut at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon! And the fact that I get to finish by running through Lambeau is pretty darn sweet too! (Big Packer Fan Over Here)

So that’s my running story… was a pretty condensed version but you get it, right? I am so excited to be able to participate in my first half marathon, and who knows I may become inspired to attempt a full marathon next year 🙂

Happy Training to my fellow runners!

The First Timer,

Jenny 🙂

Officially Becoming a Runner

2013 (749) - CopyBack in the day, I was never a runner. I hated it. I never ran the mile in gym class, and my husband used to say I ran like Phoebe from “Friends.”  That all changed 2 years ago.

I was outside playing with my 2 young daughters, running around the yard. I couldn’t even make it around the house (and we live in a small house!) I was completely out of breath and my face was all red. At that point I realized “holy crap, I am out of shape!” It really started bothering me, and after talking with some friends and family, I decided to begin the couch to 5K program. I didn’t care about training, or racing, or any of that. I just wanted to be able to run and not feel like I was going to die!

I went online and researched the program. I came up with a training schedule and printed it out.  Next, I signed up for a local 5K run that was happening in 11 weeks – shortly after I would be finished with the Couch to 5K. Then I started running. I didn’t have a smart phone, so I would write the run/walk times on my hand with a sharpie, I soon learned pen came off with my sweaty palms, and timed my sessions using a regular old watch.  I didn’t really have “running” shoes or clothes, but my favorite old t-shirt and tennis shoes worked just fine. I ran this way for a few weeks, feeling accomplished and proud of myself at each milestone. One day my husband let me use his phone, so I could try running with music. Yep, the next day I went out and bought my first smart phone! Then my girlfriend told me I should really get new running shoes, and I bought those too. Then I discovered “performance” running clothing, and bought a bunch of that too.  WOW – all these conveniences really did make a difference. And I was officially becoming a runner!  I’ll never forget, at one point my dad looked at me and said “you aren’t going to become one of those crazy people that run half-marathons and stuff?  Are you??”

I finished that first 5K I had signed up for.  My family came to cheer me on with posters and cow bells.  I was so proud of myself, and cried the entire last ½ mile.  I didn’t care about my time; all I cared about was that I ran the entire thing without stopping.2013 (741)

Now that my mission was accomplished, I stopped running; for about a week.  Then I realized that I actually missed it, and that I NEEDED it!  That was it.  I was hooked.   Now, here I am training for my first half-marathon.  I’m still not sure I’ll be able to accomplish it.  But I’m trying.  And again, I don’t care about my pace or overall time – I just want to finish it.  And sitting here writing about it makes me cry just thinking about the feeling I’ll get when I cross that finish line.  With the words from my dad in the back of my head, I just want to say “Yes dad, I’m becoming one of those crazy runners that do half-marathons and stuff.”

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