Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now What???

Having my big races under my belt, I get the feeling that I'm not the only one wandering around dazed and confused about what to do next.  I forced myself to take a week off to give my ITB and piriformis a break.  It was really difficult after about 4 days, as I was starting to feel better and getting a little cranky.  Since then I've been out on a few runs....short and enjoyable....and have taken a few fun bike rides with the fam.

This past Sunday was Weight Watchers national Walk-it Day, and I had a great time running the Relay for Life 5k at Hawk Island.  We had over a hundred members participate with a combined team weight loss of over 4000 pounds.  That's pretty amazing!!  I just so happened to come in second female overall and won my age group, so it was a great day for me too  :)  Sometimes those small events do have their advantages over the hype and excitement of going to a Playmakers event. 

So what's next?

I'm going to do a 21 day raw diet cleanse...that's what!!!

I've been a little MIA this week, and it's because I've been researching and planning out my approach to such an experience.  I love being on a weight loss plan that provides me the flexibility to do something like this....making sure I'm meeting my healthy guidelines without any processed foods. So, my plates will be covered with a 75% raw foods/25% cooked food ratio.  Raw foods will be Veggies, berries, homemade dressings, beans, seeds, and nuts.  Cooked foods will be whole grains, gluten free pastas, soups, sweet potatoes, and beans.  I'll also be incorporating some green smoothies, protein shakes, teas, and LOTS of water!!


Why now?  Because I'm in between training cycles, and if I don't pay attention to what I'm eating and how I'm spending my time....I'll be feeling really yucky by the time I figure out what I'm training for next.  I'd love to start that next journey feeling my best....not the other way around.

So, it's time to dust off my juicer and get to the grocery store tonight for the eats and a supplement or two.   I will be sharing more on what I'll be eating in the days to stay tuned!!


Jen B.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Race in On!

Miles 1-5

As the crowd crossed the start line, I was confused as to where it actually was....I started my Garmin when I noticed most people starting theirs. Good enough right?  The first mile or two was a slight downhill, and I remember thinking that this might turn out to be a VERY bad day.  My stomach started growling during the first mile, I had to pee already, and at one point I felt really hot.  It was a warm humid feeling, like there was heat rising form the street...weird.  I tried to keep my breathing under control, I reminded myself that I had three gus and there would be bathrooms all along the course, and I decided to take the first five miles easy.  I tried to look around and take it all in, listen to the chatting around me and just chill out.

We jumped onto a two lane road at around mile 3 that reminded me of a park service road.  It had rumble strips running down the middle of it which kind of sucked.  At mile 4 I took my first gu.  It was a little earlier than intended, but my stomach was screaming at me, and since I didn't know exactly where the water stations would be I took it while running, without water...A FIRST.   I noticed that my mile split as a little slow and decided that I couldn't let the congestion of being on this narrow road get me stuck behind people.  I did a bit of dancing around and short sprints to squeeze between runners.  It was a fun game I played to keep things interesting and my pace where I wanted it to be.  As you can imagine the water stations were a complete cluster, but to prevent the dehydration fail after Martian I had decided to stop at every single one of them.  I had a big day ahead and I couldn't risk it to save a few seconds.  At this point I stalked every row of porto johns that would come into view on the off chance I could catch a break and be blessed with one without a line.  The sides of the road didn't have a shoulder, and I noticed that there was thick mud to jump through to get to them so I said "forget that" and kept trucking.   I did contemplate the fact that so many men were just pissing at every set of johns along the way.  What's the point I thought....if you're willing to piss anywhere...why wait til you see a line, why not just go when you had the urge a half mile ago.  I think I was just severely jealous. Two ladies during this time came along side of me and asked about my ribbons and what they represented.  I had to keep my composure to explain that I was honoring the loved one's affected by cancer who donated to my running team through ACS.  They congratulated me and we ran together for awhile.  Her PR time for this race was 1:38 or something crazy.  She pointed out that was more than 15 years ago, and this was one of her favorite courses and makes a point to do it every year.  Bravo to that!!

Right at mile five I looked to my left and saw a little girl holding a sign that read something like "My Mom is HOT" and immediately following it a random sign propped up on a camping chair with "JEN BRANCH" on it.  I pretty much thought I was hallucinating and practically bent backwards to get a second peek.  I also saw the name of a friend of mine and thought, "Could it be...My beloved Red and Spike are here somewhere?"  I'm not going to lie, the thought made getting to the finish line that much sweeter...even thought the chances were next to impossible.

Splits:  9:34, 9:21, 9:19, 9:28, 9:18

Miles 6-10

At Mile six I was feeling really great, settling into a comfortable pace and trying to keep the effort consistent even with the continued congestion.  Coming up to the gu station, which I didn't need, I felt sad for everyone else, as I watched a volunteer hand out the very last one they had.  I just can't understand how on earth they ran out with only half of the runners passing...bummer.  We came up a upon a huge crowd of cheerleaders and football players and I had a blast giving "hi-fives" and "Woots"  I also noticed a pair of ladies in front of me with really tight silver and black zebra print hot pants on.  They ran by two little old ladies who gasped in horror at the sight...I too was a little grossed out and decided that I needed to pass them with the quickness!  As we crossed the river and started heading back, I was on top of the world.  The spectators were lined along the road, which was now wider and more open.  I noticed a lady, a bit older than myself, come along side of me and she just looked really experienced and strong.  I decided to try my best to stick with her...she became my official rabbit.  It didn't take long to realize that the challenging rolling hills were upon us.  The spectators thinned out and the climbs became quiet as people were concentrating and working to keep pace.  Did I mention we were now running into the wind too.  I was so glad that I had incorporated some hills into my last two long training runs, because I was able to shorten my stride and stick with them pretty easily.  I was passing people left and right, even my rabbit on the uphills, but she would consistently catch back up with me on the downhills.  I gu'dButterworth and the most challenging hill awaits.  The damn thing lasted forever, but I was really excited to see a sea of spectators to fill me up with encouragements and praise.  I was having a hard time NOT peeing my pants up this hill, and I contemplated just doing it since the lines to the porto johns had been ridiculous up until this point.  I mean, how long can you realistically force yourself to hold urine...isn't 10 miles long enough.  Well it just so happened that a random porto john on Butterworth came into view, and as I approached it a dude flew out of it...and there wasn't a line.  I had to stop myself in my tracks to jump in before anyone else.  I remember in my mind bidding farewell to my rabbit...and thanked her for her help pushing me up until this point.  I felt like a million bucks and was determined to make up lost time.  Five to go, lets do this!!

Splits: 9:09, 9:04, 9:14, 9:15, 10:02

Miles 11-15

Most of Mile 11 seemed to be a gentle downhill, which was much needed at this point.  I noticed that I was coming up upon and passing people I had once passed on the way to Butterworth St.  I had a little chat with myself that if I just kept a good effort on the nice downhill we were enjoying then maybe, just maybe I would catch up to my rabbit after all.  Gu number three went down with ease again...three for three felt really good.  Another sizable hill approached, and I remember looking up ahead and seeing that indeed she was within sight.  At the very top of that hill, a wonderful man was standing on the side yelling "You're done with the's flat to the finish."  I was so relieved...and it seemed so were many other runners as we ALL let out huge sighs.  I again was feeling great and in what seemed like a minute or two I did indeed catch my rabbit.  I checked my pace and realized we had 5k to was time to push even harder.   I wanted to see 8's...even if it was 8:59.   I passed my rabbit and started to pay attention to  tangents as were entering neighborhoods with lots of turns.   I felt like I was passing  a bunch of people....the crowds were getting thicker.  Another lady came up next to me and asked about my ribbons and I had a hard time talking to her.  She couldn't hear me very well so I turned a bit to explain.  She complimented me and I was back to focusing on the last 2 miles.  As I passed the 14 mile mark I was astounded at how good my body felt with entering uncharted territory.  In fact...I kept thinking "I'm running the race of my life."  In true fashion, it was just my luck that at exactly 14.6 miles...when we start a decent and noticeable uphill for the last mile, the ever so frightening twinge of my left ITB decided to be present.  Was is all the turns...or how I adjusted my stride to chat with that lady?  I don't know exactly, but all I could think was "NOT now, DON'T mess with me!  It kept getting worse, Uh Oh!

Splits 9:11, 9:15, 8:58, 9:06, 9:16

The final .5

As silly as the girl thought it was that I would stop for a cup of water at the the 15 mile she yelled "You only have a half mile to go!"....I had to walk for a few seconds and assess the severity of my ITB's wonkiness.  I had to keep myself from concentrating on that dreadful day that Jeff had to come get me less than a half mile from home last summer, when my ITB took me out of all of my intended fall races.  It seemed to calm down with only a few steps so I picked it back up.   Now anyone who has run this race knows, the finish is cruel with it's uphill climb up Ottowa St.  I was working so hard to keep a steady shuffle and to tell you the truth...had the deafening cheers from the spectators on both sides of the street not been there, I'm not sure I wouldn't have finished walking.  I wanted to cry my leg felt so unstable...and I literally limped across the finish.

Split:  Garmin reads (.69) @ 9:25

Official Time  2:25:57 for 15.5 @ 9:24P

I can not believe how long that corral was as it seemed like another mile was added.  I turned around and waited for a few minutes to catch up with my rabbit and thank her for the push, but was unsuccessful in locating her.  Who knows, she could have passed me in that last bit.  If so, kudos to her!  Within a minute or two I heard Leah and Lainie screaming their heads off for me.  They both kicked some major ass that day!  I grabbed a couple rolls and some chocolate mile...the best I've ever tasted, and headed to the DetermiNation tent to regroup and head out.

We Did It!!

We snapped a quick pic and took off for our cars.  I was already running late heading to meet my Cleveland crew so we walked/shuffled/hobbled our way as fast as we could.  I was so glad that my ITB calmed down and didn't stiffen up, that walk did me wonders I think.  I got on the highway pretty easily and called Red to tell her I was going to speed my way to meet her!   I had a wonderful time reflecting on every inch of that course.  I was so proud of myself...for ALL that race represented....What an amazing Day! 

See You Next Year River Bank Run....I WILL be making this a yearly tradition!!


Jen B.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Beginnings of an Epic Race Weekend

Golly Jeepers, I hardly know where to start!!! I just had THE most amazing weekend with all things running related!!

Friday afternoon, after getting my hair did  (Thanks AJ), I headed for Grand Rapids to meet up with my lovely Abbey Road Runners teammates at our hotel.  I'm not going to lie, we were in the hood....Ann St., kinda industrial and sketchy, but close enough to downtown.  We were assured by the front desk that the place was full with runners.  Now if that doesn't make a nervous nelly long distance runner feel better, not sure what will...LOL.

As soon as I threw my bags in the room, we jetted for the expo to get our packets and race singlets.  The second we got downtown on Monroe St., I fell in love with Grand Rapids.  The Devos Center is absolutely gorgeous, and the energy of the race was electrifying.  We enjoyed the expo for a bit, but by then it was getting late and we were all starving.  We had decided a week or two prior to have dinner at Founders....a pretty well known Michigan brewery, and I'm so glad we did.  The atmosphere was so cool as the whole side of the building opened up to a large porch.  I was practically drooling over the specialty beer selection that they only brew in-house, and the bartender seemed more than excited to concoct his own pairings for us to sample.   The food was also great.  We shared a Tomato-Basil-Mozarella sandwich, a sandwich called the Tree Hugger (lots of veges with honey mustard), and chips and salsa (They were out of quacamole).  Being that Leah and I are vegetarians, they had many options for us to choose from.  We all made a pact that we HAD to come back and enjoy this town without an impending race.

The Abbey Road Runners....Carb Loading the only way we know how  :)

If it wasn't enough that we had to rip ourselves away from the most awesome beer Grand Rapids had to offer, our hotel had a D.J. dance party going on in the lounge when we stopped at the front desk for a few forgotten toiletries.  I was more than ready to get to bed, but my teammates, I'm pretty sure, would have been willing to take the chance and check it out.  Sorry ladies for being so "Mama" on your ass...but we had a race to run in the morning!  Hopefully, you don't still hold it against me  :)   We were in bed by a little after 10pm (way late for me, and way early for Leah), luckily I slept great!

With no surprise, my bowels internal alarm woke me up at about 4:20.  I'm got them trained, finally!  LOL.  After getting that out of the way, I spent the next hour or more hanging out in the bathroom eating my bagel, peanut butter, and banana....pinning my ribbons to my singlet...guzzling water....and planning my parking situation.  It was imperative that I parked somewhere that I could get out of Grand Rapids with the quickness.  Kyle (or team DetermiNation organizer) had stuck a number of options in my race bag...LOVE HIM!   I decided to park at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge and walk the half mile to Charity Village.

At about 5:30, I could hear Lainie starting to stir and promptly make the decision that it was a reasonable time for us to get up on a race day....I was more than ready to get things repacked so that I could leave at 6am to get downtown.  As the girls continued to get ready, I headed out.  I arrived at the parking lot with no problems and was actually very surprised at how quiet it was.  The 5k was set to start at 7 at which time lots of roads would be closed off....I think I expected more traffic. 

It's tradition to have a rainy day, and this morning didn't disappoint.  As I'm walking I am looking down to keep it from getting in my eyes, it dawns on me that I'm sloshing around in the shoes I intend to race in.....FAIL!!  Why...when I had a backup pair of Kinvaras in the car didn't I wear those to get all soaked in?  I had a vision of Jeffrey being very disappointed in me...he would have never done that...LOL.  I got to Charity village at just the right time as it started to pour buckets not two minutes later!  I can't tell you how blessed I felt to be in a cozy, wind breaking tent.  Oh and did I mention we had one of these.....

Oh yeah...our very own porto john.  Rock on!!

I can't tell you enough how well we were pampered by being charity runners!  We also had our own table of tasty snacks, coffee, our own bag check.....Amazing!!!  By this time...7ish...Lainie and Leah had made it to the parking lot, and texted me to let me know they were going to try and wait out the heavy rain in hopes that it would stop.  I got a call from Red....I'm not sure what all I said, but I know I wanted to puke and that I was freaking out enough to want to let her go to spare her from it.  She always has the most perfect things to say to invoke calmness and confidence.  Thanks girl!!  The rain actually did let up, and  it wasn't long before my teammates walked up.  They were excited to see the 5k instant energy boost.

I went through my bag and did my last minute preps....imodium (check), three gus in my spibelt (check), my race band from Races2Remember (check), my wrist rocker (check), Garmin (check), Bib and D-tag (check), Sanity....Well....kinda.  We took some photos with our team.....

My Race Band I designed from Races2Remember after wining a bloggy contest!!  Thanks Marlene!!!

Check em out!!

Getting Ready to Race our Brains Out!!

Before we knew it, Kyle announced we should get going to the start....all we had to do was walk down a flight of stairs and we were dumped into the coral.  The pacers were starting to line up and it was quite overwhelming.  I started to get a bit I always I ducked into a parking ramp to do a little warm up.

As much as I was hoping for a decent time, it didn't take much reminding of why I was actually running this particular morning.   I thought about my surgery and how I DIDN'T have cancer....I looked down at all of the ribbons pinned to my spibelt and how even though some of them are no longer with us, they were certainly about to run this race with me.  I prayed that their angel wings would help to carry me to the finish.....and how next year I hope to see more "In Honor" ribbons and less "In Memory" ones.  I can only hope that the money I raised during this experience will somehow change a person's life....I just know it will!!   I was really glad I took that final ten minutes to be alone and find clarity. 

As I came out of the ramp....Leah, Lainie, and I wished each other a good race one more time before we split up and found our spots in the crowd.  There was No looking back now....the whole crowd started to do the final countdown followed by lots of cheers and it was GO TIME!!

I get goose bumps just thinking about that moment....Next up, the race!!

Peace and Blessings

Jen B.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Race Weekend Extravaganza!!

The race week crazies are still in full affect.  I've been reading countless blogs about upcoming plans (and loving every minute of it), but I haven't been able to sit still enough to get my own thoughts down.  At this point, ANYTHING that can keep me from mindlessly snacking and stressing is exactly what I need to do, so here I am.

I've received my last newsletter from the DetermiNation team organizers, and I can't say enough about the hospitality of being a charity runner.  I mean, sure I did work hard to raise money for the American Cancer Society, but our own back check...private porto potty...and parking at the finish line?  Hey, it's the closest I'll come to feeling like an elite know I'm doing to live it up!!  I am so humbled by the wonderful generosity of those who donated, and being part of this team has been so sweet!!  It has just been such an amazing opportunity.  In that newsletter, we were giving a little push to keep our last minute rallies for donations alive.  It was an all out war to be in the top 5 yesterday, and I had an absolute blast "competing" with my teammates throughout the day.  Is there a better reason to compete with your friends than seeing who can raise the most money for charity?  I think not!!  I'm thinking this will certainly be an annual event!

I'd like to thank B.o.B from Discom-BOB-ulated Running for your donation.  
I am looking forward to meeting you in a few short days!!  

So here's the plan.....


The day will be filled with lots of list checking and hugging and kissing my kids.  This is the first whole weekend away from my family!  I can't believe it really, but it's probably a little past due  :)  I'm getting my hair cut in the afternoon, and then heading to Grand Rapids to meet my Abbey Road Runners Teammates at packet pick-up and also get my racing singlet.  I hope to have the chance to meet some of the other DetermiNation teammates before heading to dinner.  We are having dinner at Founders...a local Michigan Brewery.   After that it's off to bed.


I finally race...thank heavens!

There are a lot of things I'm planning to differently for this race than Martian.  I'm not going to list them here, but will share if they were good changes or not post-race.  My main goal is to enjoy the experience and fuel and hydrate enough so I don't feel dead afterward.  That in itself will be a huge success!!  When thinking of time goals, I think 2:25 is a realistic goal to shoot for, but 2:20 would really be tits.  I'm not hung up on it, and if I've learned anything from my Martian experience, there are sure to be wonky wooden bridges things along that course that I won't be able to control and might affect my overall time.  

Following my run, the REAL race begins.  I gotta book ass out of Grand Rapids to meet up with Redhead, Spike, and Bob in order to get to Cleveland in time for Beth to get her packet for the Cleveland Half Marathon on Sunday.  Five hours in the car following the longest run of my life...I know, I'm nuts.  I can't wait to enjoy a nice dinner out in a different city, and prepare to spectate my first marathon.  I am really looking forward to  the adventure of it all.  My life kinda resembles the movie Ground Hogs the excitement of going here and doing this, to then go there and do that is truly making me feel young  :)  I'm confident it will all work out...I have a plan and the will to make shit happen  :)


I'm pretty much in the passenger seat for the day...whatever they want to do, I'm down.  I'm just going to soak it all up, hopefully sans a duck waddle.   Go Beth Go!!!

Good luck to ALL who are running this weekend.  May your legs feel light and carry you to meeting and beating any goal you have set for yourself.  Your training is in the books so lets shoot for the moon!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.  Pardon my language...I'm in the middle of reading a book where the author constantly swears.  It's temporarily wearing off on me  :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Tuesday!!

Taper week and all it's glory is making me batty!!!   How is everyone else getting along?

I happened to watch a hilarious episode of Arthur this of my the girl's all time favorite cartoons!!! 

Peace and Blessings!!

Jen B.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Graditude is My Attitude.....

This time each week I review the previous one and list out my workouts and cumulative mileages.  This week I'm going to do things a little bit different.   I'm going to start it all off with a big huge Thank You!!!

I have been working so diligently raising money for The American Cancer Society for my upcoming race next weekend, and it has donned on my just how many of my bloggy friends have helped to support me.  I am continuously humbled by the generosity of people, many of whom I hardly know!!

Thank you Marlene from Mission to a(nother Marathon for your donation!!  I am loving your blog and all your mad training and race recaps.  You always have the most uplifting things to say to me through my blog, and I can't tell you how lovely it is to receive them.  They inspire me everyday!!!

Thank you Redhead from CAUTION: Redhead Running for your donation!!!  I can't say enough how lucky and honored I am to know you in "real" life.  Your strength and bravery through all these ups and downs over the last few months has kept me going with a smile on my face, even when I'd rather not do shit sometimes. 

Thank you Spike from Running Spike for your lovely donation....I love your DetermiNation to give more than Red  :)   Even though she already donated, it really was amazing that you too gave on your own.  I know, you're not married...blah blah, but you're a couple so it could have counted to give as a collective effort.   Thank you!!

Thank you Jessie from Live~Love~Run.  In the midst of raising money for autism and other important causes of your own, you found a way to give to something so important to me.  Thank you!!

Thank you Joanna from Joanna Runs!!  Girl, I cannot tell you how shocked I was to see your donation come through.   It was so nice to meet you at Martian, and I can't wait to give you a great big hug at Cleveland for your donation.  You really don't know how much your support means to me!!!

I'm so glad to have this place to share my gratitude to everyone that has donated.   There is a long list of people who have given money to support my efforts who are not part of this crazy blogosphere, and I will surely take time to thank them as well in other more conventional ways  :)

With all of your help I'm currently in Third Place with $961.96

I couldn't be more proud!!

If you haven't donated yet, and want the link below :)

Back to last week...mid week was sprinkled with a small bit of running, some weights and barely any biking.  I spent most of that week nursing my foot and muscle tightness issues in anticipation of my long run....which by the way never happened on Sat.  Throughout the day with all of the hoopla of Ella's Birthday party...I know, maybe it was the 10 screaming children running a muck at the bowling alley....I developed a splitting headache and took a nap instead.  I was ready to take off Sunday morning....and it went a little like this...

Warning to all of my Dailymile friends...I'm merely reposting the run so you can skip/skim if you'd

Country 14 Miler

With the River Trail a complete mess with all of this flooding, I decided to go out to my parent's house to get in this run. It was set to be my last mileage building run before Fifth Third. I was determined to make it a great run with proper hydration, fueling, music selection, route, and plan.

I set out feeling amazing with the mild temps and light breeze and had to keep myself from going out too fast. It was great to be out on the open road on a Sunday morning. I got to enjoy lots of wildlife and farm animals, and I got the feeling they thought I was a little crazy. At least the traffic was minimal :) At mile three the sun started to peak out and I was really happy to see it disappear a short time later. It kept things a little windier, but less humid or warm.

I stopped back at the house at mile 8 to hit the bathroom and gu/hydrate. Miles 6, 7, and 8 were into the wind and anyone who's been down Grovenburg knows the rolling hills are quite numerous. It was a much needed break! Back out I went for another out and back up to Holt Rd. I felt great until the turn around, as heading back into the wind and hills was much more challenging this time. I stopped long enough to turn on my 5k racing mix to get some decent techno going and just kept pushing through. The last half mile was a long downhill and I was pretty sore during this, but I did it!

My longest run to date is under my belt with two weeks until the race. I needed this so much, as I've been feeling like my body has been on strike for a week or two. Can't say my attitude has been much better...bad combo to have with a big race coming up so soon.

I feel really good post-run, which gives me hope for actually getting to enjoy Cleveland fully!!! It's going to be a great weekend, only thing to do now is survive the taper madness :)

Splits: 9:31, 9:40, 9:32, 9:04, 9:10, 9:23, 9:34, 9:17, 9:22, 9:19, 9:29, 9:50, 9:56, 9:45


I had been looking at the race maps and stumbled upon an elevation map on Map My Run, and it showed more than I had been training in currently, so I was glad this run with the elevation below went as well as it did.  It wasn't a cake walk, and there was just cause for the soreness in those last few miles.  I never did get the latent muscle soreness I usually do a few days out so maybe....shall I even fathom, that I might be getting somewhere with all of this.  Shhh....

Anyway...I hope everyone had a Fab week!  All of the recent race recaps have me itching to race!!!

Peace and Blessings!!

Jen B.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Whirlwind...Like Whoa!!

What a Week!!

I'm happy to report that my foot/piriformis muscle issue has "worked" itself out...Woohoo!  I happened to be reaching into the back seat to hand Ella a snack and my back cracked like crazy and the pain in my rear and foot are gone.  How's that for saving money on copays...rock on!!  You know what that means....tomorrows 14 miler is a GO!!

Speaking of baby turns 4 tomorrow!!!   It just doesn't seem possible!  This morning, a day shy of this monumental day, she sat on the counter licking a beater clean of cupcake batter while watching a real princess get married (you all know what I'm talking about...yes, I tuned in), and I stood there for as long as possible ingraining that moment in my brain.  It's like a reel of every precious memory leading up to this one replayed in my mind, and I couldn't help but get emotional and smile the biggest grin at how amazing she is.  In true fashion, she looked over at me as she could finally feel me starring and said "What Mom!"  I smiled and told her how cute she was, and that she must really like cupcake batter.   She knew it was all over her face and started to lick all around her lips.  Reading my mind she followed it up with...."Don't ask to take a picture, I don't want anyone to know I look silly."  I have to add that a few moments earlier I took Paige's picture after she decided to dip her pretzel into her paints and smear it all over her face and arms.  I sent it too a friend who I knew would get a kick out of it.  Anyway, just like that she is such a "Big Girl" that she doesn't want to be silly, or for me to smile at her, or even take her picture.  Perhaps, maybe, I'm a little sensitive today  :)

Last but not least, I thought I'd give a quick update on my DetermiNation fundraising.  For those that don't know, I'm running the Fifth Third River Bank 25k on May 14th, and am raising money for The American Cancer Society too!!  As it stands right this second I'm in Third Place with $936.96!!!  We are two weeks out from the race and I'm in the final push.  If you are interested in making a donation I would really love your help!!!   Just go to my donation page HERE and do so.  Thanks a bunch!!

The sun is finally shining here in Mid-Michigan....gotta get outside Stat!!


Jen B.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Body's Training Plan Protest.

It seems that what was written on the trusty training plan was completely thrown out the window this week...Ugh!  The week wasn't a total loss, but it does nothing for building my confidence for race day either.  Let's see...

Tuesday~Saucony Fun Run at Lake Lansing~4.15 Miles @8:42P

Playmaker's, our local running store, has really been putting together some fun events for us.  I was hoping to test out a shoe of theirs, I solely run in their Kinvaras, but wouldn't mind having a pair of shoes with a little more to em.  I had been experiencing some phantom foot pain on the outside of my foot randomly on Monday following my windy "almost" twelve miler.  Unfortunately they didn't have my size, so I just enjoyed myself running with my husband and other running buds.  The pizza was delish and the beers were fantastic.

Wednesday~4.02 Miles @ 9:15P

I was blessed with time to get out and do something and I chose to run  :)   Nice and easy out and back.  Foot pain was fine during the run, but felt like a sharp spasm when I took off my shoe.   I iced it and it felt better by the next day.  By better, I don't mean 100%.  Here and there it twinges and aches.

Thursday~Free Ab Class At The Gym

A really great 30 minutes concentrating on core work incorporating full body moves.  Did some partner stuff with the medicine balls, mountain climbers, planks, and dumbbell exercises.  Lots of squats got the legs burning too.

Friday~Upper Body Strength Session

My husband had the day off for Good Friday, so back to the gym for some arms, chest, and back strength training. 

Saturday~Sunday~No Long Run

At about the time I was set to take off for my long run, I decided on a whim to call a dear friend of mine to ask about my foot pain.  She is a massage therapist and helped me so much during my ITB injury.  She came right over speculating that it was housed somewhere in my hip/glute and the pain I felt was nerve pain instead.  Sure enough, it didn't take her long to find a sweet spot in my butt that sent me into delirium with pain when she went to get the muscle to release.  It was my piriformis...ALL sorts of jacked up.  She really encouraged me to give it some time to heal, no stretching, just icing.  Each night I'm falling asleep on my stomach with my bag of peas resting on it.  So, no long run Sunday either...just didn't want to push it.

Weekly Total   8.17
Running 8.17
Cycling 0
XT 1 hr 35 mins

I feel like I'm in the same spot as right before Martian, in that I am going out for a med-long run today with a 14 miler on deck for the weekend (longest mileage to date).  I'm not going to push through today's run if it's not feeling insure I get through the mileage this weekend, BUT it would do wonders for my mojo if it all works out this week!

I'm trying to stay patient and trust that I will have a successful race day like Martian again, but this just isn't how I planned to feel at this point.  I won't give up, and I'm getting butterflies when thinking of the race.   I'm really excited and will do the best I can!!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

~With a Blink of an Eye~

I am in deep concentration as the woman, who's hair I'm braiding, is sitting with a serious 
lean to the left.  I am strategic in how I pull and tug the strands to get them to lay in 
a neat row down the center of her scalp.

"Can I tell you about my dream last night?" she says, quick to retract her statement.  
"Perhaps it wasn't from last night...or even this week really, I can't remember."

"Sure," I say, fumbling with the brush to tackle some tangles.

"My dream was that I was sitting in a chair and you were on my lap, and Ella was on your lap, and Paige was on her's.  I looked up and all of a sudden there was a whole 
line of children, waiting to be held.  I kinda felt like Santa Claus."

Strange, I thought.  As I am finishing up the intricate part of my work, I'm glad to only have a few quick twists left.  When finished, I casually reach for a rubber band.

She continues...

"Remember when I used to hold you like a little baby??"  With a chuckle she adds, 

"I mean, EVEN as a middle schooler??" 
"I think my dream was really about wanting to hold you like that again."

I stop, stunned and paralyzed. My mind starts whirling....

There's that photo I have in my "School Life and Memories" 
album in the storage bin labeled "Old Photos."  
It must have been from the summer of 1991....or 92.  
How old was I then?  
I always cherished those moments....

"Time for A Snack," my grandmother says.  

Just like that, the silence is broken, and life goes on.  

The universe has a funny way of presenting us with exactly what we need at a time we least expect. 
The planets align is such a way that a moment is created in which, we can either cloud our brains with details and when's and where's, OR allow ourselves the opportunity to be right there ready to say exactly what we've practiced in repetition a million times.  A slight hesitation, and the moment passes and a sense of disbelief follows that what just happened couldn't have ACTUALLY happened. 

Could it?

Dear Mom,

I have waited patiently for two decades for you to say such a sweet thing to me.  I remember the days that we would sit in the recliner, and I would listen to your heart beat.  In times of separation I often wished I had the opportunity to enjoy your loving affection.  They are my most precious times as a child.  See mom, I even have a treasured picture to share.... 

I apologize that I wasn't able to share this with you the other day.   

With Love and Compassion,


Growing up, I watched my mother ravage her body living a "Rockstar" lifestyle.  Forty plus years of excessive amounts of opiates and booze has left her now in her mid fifties living with, and slowly dying from, chronic health issues as a result. With her liver unable to filter toxins from her blood, she has permanent brain damage and is unable to care for herself.  Although incredibly painful to see the suffering she endures, I have found the courage to visit her whenever time allows.  Conversation is usually dominated by memories from her past.  I can't imagine looking to the future has much relevance.  She has a shrine of photos from throughout her life, and I am sending this one to her because I know it will bring her so much joy. 

It is a constant reminder why taking care of my body and putting my health number one on my long list of to-do's is so important.  It's been easy for me to know what I don't want to be like later in life.  There are always consequences to the choices we make now, there is always a price to pay.  It is my mission to inspire my children to know what you can be and do through a positive and conscious example.

This is why I run

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Seems that it's taking me longer to get back into the training groove than expected.  My 25k is less than 4 weeks away, and I keep finding myself feeling like I just need to hold on long enough to get through it.  My attitude needs some adjusting to say the least.  I've been shaking things up a bit by cutting back on the running a little and incorporating more cycling and strength training.  This approach will demand that I be creative in finding the time to fit it all feels extremely foreign and I'm not sure where to start sometimes. 

Monday 5Miles Easy
Actual 5 Miles @ 8:59P

It was a great day to run on my favorite out-and-back route.

Actual~7 Miles on the Bike @ 13.6 mph

I'm really enjoying every minute of being on the bike.   Perhaps it's because I just zoom around with no expectations or goals in mind.  My quads get quite the workout as I have to slow down a lot to get around people and then I push hard until I get nervous with the speed.  I'm feeling more comfortable on it each time I take it out.

Thursday ~Strength
Did the Slim and 6 pack Dvd and then some arm weights and alternating lunges.   I finally admitted to myself that this kind on "at home in, the basement" approach is NOT working!!

Friday.....I joined a gym  :)

Sat~12 Miles Easy
Actual~ZERO...had a bit too much fun Friday night with a few girlfriends.

Sunday~11.41 Miles @9:33P

The weather has been so wishy-washy the last few weeks, no surprise as it's springtime in Michigan.  The forecast called for High Winds at 25-30mph and unfortunately the weatherman actually had it right for once.  My goal was to make it through the mileage, conserving energy from not plowing through the wind to then use to keep a consistent pace at the end.  Legs were toast a mile from home so I just decided to bring it in instead of trying to extend the run to get a full 12.  As my first real long run since Martian I'm happy with it. 

Total Mileage  23.37
Running 16.41
Cycling 6.95

As plans are starting to be set up for the weekend of the big race, my excitement is building.  I feel I am running that race for something larger than myself.  I can't wait to honor my pledge to raise money for the American Cancer Society, as well as give back to everyone being affected by cancer.


Jen B.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Recovery Week & Randoms

First things first....I finally have my official half marathon results....

Kinda late on sharing, but I was hoping to have my finishers photo too and they haven't sent it to me yet.  Has anyone experienced a lapse in time of getting their jpeg?  
This week was recovery week from the race....and it was interesting to say the least!!

It started with some major delayed muscle soreness...just as my youngest daughter came down with the nasty stomach flu that seems to be going around.  I spent two straight days with her on my lap, trying to get sleep in between bouts of projectile vomiting.  I can't imagine how the body can do this as such a small child.  Too cruel to even wish on my worst enemy!!   She finally started to come around Thursday night...and has since returned to her spunky self, still snugly yet not as clingy.  Phew!!!
I managed to get in two runs...
Wednesday~3.3 Easy @ 9:47P   (Super Stiff and Hurt Like the Dickens with each step)
Saturday~8.03 Miles @ 9:18 P  (Getting much better....need a few more zzz's and some nutrition and we'll be 100% with a snap)
Sunday~Biking extravaganza!!
Because I felt like such a slacker all week, my hubby could tell I was all sorts of fidgety on Sunday morning, so he put air in my tires and I went for a fun ride around the river trail.  We were experiencing a 24 hour heat wave here in MI...getting up to somewhere in the low 80's, so it definitely felt like summer!  That afternoon when I got home from work, Jeff took off to take a look at a used bike trailer.  It's been a goal of ours to get one so we can take the girls around town to different parks and the local zoo with greater ease.  We was successful in finding an amazing deal, so after dinner we went back out for a cruise.  The girls had so much fun!! 
Weekly totals~~Running 11.33~~Cycling~~11.04

With all of that said though....this week has been the weirdest week in quite some time.  This is where the "Random" part of my post comes in.  Jason B. hit the nail on the head with his recent post HERE.  Does anyone feel like they did whole lot of waiting around and mental "Shouldn't I be doing something today" kinda stuff???   Granted it's not exactly comparing apples to apples when I mention his post because he completed a Half Ironman last weekend (kinda makes my half marathon a casual Sunday stroll), but my body had gotten used to working hard on Tues, Thurs, and Sat.   As my body recovers and heals, my mind has been playing all kinds of tricks with me since the race.....
For Example....
I've been pretty tight lipped about saying this out loud, but my attitude has been less than desirable.  I find myself thinking....
"What is the point of ever running a 5k again"   
                              As in "I'm too good" for the distance....Who am I?
"Why even run this 8 miler when it isn't going to compare to that zen buzz you got at the race" 
              Um, hello, that's why we we can feel that awesomeness on race day!!
I even ate two pieces of bacon and drank a 12 pack of IPA's this weekend...WTF!!  
 I rationalized it with the old...."Because I Can and Damn It I Deserve It" line.  
Shame on me!!!
I became increasingly confused....why all this crazy banter, this so me.......5 YEARS AGO!!
OLD HABITS my friends.  I had nothing really on the hit me a curve ball, and I completely reverted back to the lazy, pathetic, negative procrastinator mentality I once had.  Tsk..Tsk 
I'm happy that my realist rational side of me is able to put my ego in its place pretty quick with each encounter.
Although I'm happy to report that a bolt of lightning did NOT hit me for eating the bacon, I'm kinda glad I took the moment to have it because it totally reminded me that I'm not missing anything.  The beer situation is a continued work in progress.  Anyone who knows me knows I love me an IPA, but this weekend certainly didn't seem moderate, so I will be back to cutting back as of today.  Time to rehydrate!!!
I'm really grateful to have Fifth Third to reel me back in.  I've spent quite a bit of time thinking of this race, and what I'll be doing differently this time around.  The list is long and I'm going to save it for a future post.   I see improvements in my future so I'm excited.  I do so much better this way, and my attitude is always better for it too!!

 Peace and Blessings,
Jen B.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Martian Invasion Half-Marathon Race Recap

I've given myself a day to bask in the after glow of my biggest race to date.  My quads hate me, but my spirits are high and I'm so excited to devote some time into preparing this recap.

Race Day ~ Rise and Shine!!!
The day started when I awoke at 4 am desperately needing to hit the bathroom...damn nerves!!  When I was heading back to bed I peeked outside and saw DRY PAVEMENT!!  Anyone stalking the weather up until heading to bed knows that it was calling for rain/sleet at a 50% chance or more ALL night and into Saturday afternoon.   Could we really be blessed with decent weather after all?  I headed straight to the computer and sure enough, dry...low winds...and perfect temps until well after our race would finish!!

I laid back down...until 5 or so and then started getting dressed and getting my stuff around.  This was proving to be way more nerve racking than I had anticipated.  My stomach was in knots, I was shaking, and I could barely choke down my breakfast.  Before I knew it, we were pulling out of the driveway and on 96 Eastbound.  It was a pretty quiet ride...talked a bit about race strategy and how to use our new camera.  All the while, motivational texts and facebook comments kept coming on my phone...wishing me well and pumping me up.  Just as we were heading down Michigan Ave into Dearborn, the sun was rising.....

~Such a Gorgeous Morning~

......and Jeff fumbled with the radio to put on my favorite race song...the one posted the other day...James Holden "The Difference It Makes."  I of course balled my eyes out, but I kinda needed to get it out of the way.

With that...we found our parking lot, got my bib and shirt, and then headed to the blogger meet-up, hosted by our beloved Redhead.

Wasn't hard to spot where to meet!

Check out Red and all her Martian Bling
So nervous I can barely put lip gloss on

My Hero!

I can't say I stuck around much...time was ticking fast and before I knew it, it was time to hit the porto-johns...warm up...and Toe The Line!!! 


Miles 1-3

It took us a bit to get to the start line, but once we crossed those mats and started our Garmins, it was go time!!  I choked up thinking about the experience I was about to have...said a few prayers...and looked forward to seeing Jeffrey at about mile 1.   I was FINALLY running, and all of those jitters and nerves just seemed to melt away.   I practically had to wave and scream to get Jeff's attention, a second later he snapped a quick shot...

Goofy grin...feeling good!

With Jeff's words "Settle in Babe," it was time to focus.  I was officially on my own. I kept things nice and easy for the first 5k.  I was able to feel my toes and fingertips again just as I moved on to the next phase of my race.

Splits:  9:10, 9:27, 9:14. 

Miles 4-11

My goal for this portion of the run was to maintain or slightly sub a 9 minute mile pace.  I was really feeling great out on the open road with lots of room to move around and minimal congestion at water stations.  I ditched my gloves, hydrated, and gu'd at mile five.  It was fun to see all the runners coming back in our direction and I was able to cheer on my buddy Spike as he passed. The turn around came and I was so stoked to be half way there.  It put a little pep in my step as I headed back.   At mile 10 I took a honey stinger and a full cup of water.  I happened to catch Mike out taking pics on the course somewhere during mile 10...can't wait to see if he got any good mid-race photos.  This is about the time that I started to really assess how I was feeling and how to approach my final few miles.  I still felt really relaxed and maintaining my pace well, so with two miles to go, it was time to push just a bit more.

Splits:  9:00, 8:53, 9:02, 8:53, 8:59, 8:56, 8:57, 9:01

Miles 12+

My plan was to hit the last two miles at a 8:30ish pace and give whatever I had left to the last .1.   When Garmin chirped 11, I picked up the pace that felt "comfortably hard" in effort.  We transitioned from the open road to paved trail much like the river trail here in town.  I quickly noticed that things were a lot more congested and this portion of the race would take mental focus to keep pace regardless of what everyone else was running.  Passing people was a so many folks seemed to be dropping like flies.  All of a sudden we start running across this wooden bridge and I literally have to break stride in order to keep my balance.  This thing was so bouncy that I got off of it and had to run off into the grass and stop.  I seriously thought I was going to pass out and the dizziness was crazy!  After a few seconds I force myself to start running again since I seem to be still standing.  My legs come back after a minute or two and at mile 12, I stopped at the last aid station to drink two full cups of Gatorade.   I look over and see a man being helped by medics and I thought to myself...."Oh Hell No, I'm not going out like that!"   I start running again and encounter ANOTHER shitty wooden bridge that this time I have to walk across while holding the rail.  This one didn't affect me as bad so I start running again...passing people on the uphill climb back onto Michigan.  I remember thinking that at almost 13 miles, I should be hearing announcers by now.  Just as I get to the corner,  Garmin chirps 13 miles and the finish line is NOWHERE in sight.

"Where the fuck is the finish line!!"

My mind starts going all crazy and by breathing gets all wonky while fighting back tears and I literally have to tell myself to "Calm the Fuck're almost can do this!!"   

Thank god that last half mile was downhill!!  At the bottom of the hill I see my amazing husband....Hear Spike and Morgan yell their encouragements...

No more fighting back the tears...

Form is still strong

Almost there!!

And just like that, I rounded the corner to the finish and my first half-marathon is done!

Splits  9:22, 9:15, (.5) 8:42

I grabbed my medal and a water....the chip nazis cut off my tag...and I headed back towards the corner and received the best hug and kiss from Jeff.  Not long after we found Morgan and Spike, more hugs, and we're ready to head towards our brunch destination.

****Huge fail...and something I will never do not grab something to eat right after I finish****

I was surprisingly ready to bail really fast after the race.....I wanted to stretch, sit, and eat. 

In the car I finally had a moment to look at Garmin....and my thoughts were....

1.    2:02+ I must have really tanked those last two miles....
2.    Hmmm....those splits weren't so bad...
3.    Yup...the course was long....phew!

When we got to Leo's Coney Island for breakfast I could tell that I was all sorts of shaky and kinda loopy...whooped and ready to stuff my face.   Waiting patiently for my food we all had a chance to chat about our races.  I shared my inspirations I wrote on my arms...

Run Strong...Breathe...Ella & Paige
 I don't even remember what my pancakes tasted like, but half-way through my eggs my body was officially revolting all I had put it through that day.   I literally glazed over and could no longer pay attention to anything...the time to go was now!  We said a quick good bye...thank you's to all who had come to spectate...and headed home.   I went straight to bed and took a nice nap.

I have to say that it was so cool to finally put a face to some names of bloggers that I follow.  So nice to meet you Marlene, Bill, and Joanna!  Hopefully next time I won't be so out of it, and able to be more social.  Your encouragements along the way have been so nice...Thank you!!

On the injured list and smiling....LOVE YOU!!

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Morgan and Jeffrey for being two of the most amazing supporters and spectators I could have EVER asked for.  Thank you for all of the encouragement before the race...throughout my entire training cycle....through all the ups and downs along the way.   Thank you for being at the race....injured and unable to run....for all of us who did.   I love you both dearly!!!  

I'm still waiting on official results and to see my finish photo.   Right now my time is 2:02:28 for an official 13.4 mile race.  I've looked around at different calculators and predict it will be 1:59 something.  I am super stoked to have a sub 2 hour half marathon as a baseline to work at....Woot!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.  Looking forward to Fifth Third 25k in May...the adventure continues!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pre-Race Wrap Up

I thought I'd post the last two workouts and some other thoughts before the big day tomorrow.  Hard to believe it's finally upon excitement is overflowing as I prepare to head east.

Actual~7.66 @ 9:15P

This was my last longish run that carried over into this week after a very busy and exhausting weekend.  I shortened the original plan since this is race week.  I felt pretty good, keeping things feeling easy and not looking at my watch.

Splits:  9:11, 9:03, 9:19, 9:20, 9:23, 9:19, 9:14, (.66) 9:09

Wed~4 Miles Easy
Actual~4 Miles @ 9:20P

Is it me or is it practically impossible to go "Easy" on short runs right before the big race!!!  At least I kept myself from pushing up the last .4 worth of hill that leads to my house.  The wind in my face helped too  :)

Splits:  9:17, 9:17, 9:18, 9:29

So with that I am now about 24 hours away from the race.  Lots to do today, including pack up the kids and get them to their sleepover with their bff Daphne (shhhhh....don't tell them just yet, they need to get a nap in first), laundry, pack my own bag which apparently will include a variety of clothes since the weather can't and won't cooperate, and love on my husband tonight since we'll be childless  :)

My favorite racing tune keeps coming to mind....Enjoy!

I love me some techno to get the blood flowing!!!

Oh!!   I almost forgot!!!   Who went to see "MY RUN" last night?   I had the privilege of going with my girl Red to see it in our city.  I had watched the trailer before attending the show, so I kinda knew this movie was going to be a tear jerker, and more focused on the human spirit than running, but I didn't realize I would need a WHOLE BOX OF KLEENEX.  This movie came at perfect time in my life, as I needed this cry session in the worst (yet best) way!   This was the perfect story of inspirational triumph and just how determined a human, both mentally and physically, can be. My favorite line was right at the end when Terry Hitchcock said "Get off your butt and do something....Be a Hero, Be somebody's Hero."   How profound is that? 

With that I'll be back in a day or two or three with my full race recap of the Martian Invasion Half-Marathon!!  Wishing all my fellow peeps a safe and successful race! 

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.  Run Strong, Breathe, Relax!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week 7 ~ Taper Time

Here Goes....

Tues ~ 5 Miles Easy
Actual ~ 4 miles sub 9's @ 8:49P

My schedule has proven to be a huge adjustment and I've failed several times at remembering to pack breakfast to fuel up before my runs.  This was one of those days and even though my stomach was growling like a raging animal, I made it through my run anyway.  Time constraints left me shortening the run a little and getting it done a little faster than planned.

Thurs  ~ 7 Miles Alternating
Actually ~ 6.67 Miles Steady

The high rivers forced me to detour around my original biggy, just left it a little short at the end.  I spent this run reflecting on the incredible energy shifts that are happening in the world and in my life.  I am so blessed to be healthy and able to enjoy such a gorgeous day even though it might be too cold for the majority of people around me.  I sent out lots of prayers to all of those who are suffering in the world, the Japanese and people in the Middle East, and wished that my hubby and dear friend were able to enjoy the day running too.   With a renewed focus and perspective, I find these runs are the most important to me.  I feel free, light, and humble.

Sat ~ 8-9 Easy
Actual  ~ 0

This weekend was a complete unexpected whirlwind.  I had so much to fit it, (when don't I), but I always seem to fit in my run.  Well, not this weekend.  I was so exhausted that I just couldn't justify making myself get out there when I felt so rundown.   I did get it in Monday...a shortened version of it, so I guess I file this away in the "Life Happens" compartment of my brain and keep my eye on the race later this week.

Weekly Total  ~ 10.83

Speaking of race....The Martian Invasion is within our sights!!!  In 5 days I'll be running my first half-marathon and I can't wait to soak it all up.  The racing jitters have started to creep into consciousness each time I think of my race strategy and all of the list making of gear and what-not to remember.   I am really excited to have my husband spectate me, as I'm sure his presence on the course will do wonders for my moral.  Also, I'm so excited to meet so many bloggers that I have come to enjoy too  :)

One of them....Marlene from Mission to A(nother) one of them.  I just love reading her blog  She always has the most encouraging things to say and share.  I am so stoked to have won her blogger giveaway from  I haven't picked out what I want to get just yet, but I will surely incorporate it somehow for the Riverbank 25k in May...keep an eye out.  Thanks so much for all of your support girl...can't wait to meet you!

See all of you on Saturday....Stay Calm, Focus, Breath....You Got this!!

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.   Everyone who has run knows that its most important value is in removing tension and   allowing a release from whatever other cares the day may bring.  ~Jimmy Carter

Friday, March 25, 2011

Silent Auction Success!!!

I cannot begin to express the overwhelming gratitude and pride I have today following our DetermiNation Silent Auction.  What started as a faint possibility, through hope and generosity, grew into a full blown charity event. 

The Abbey Road Runners, (Lainie, Leah, and myself) really put in some quality time and effort to make it happen, but it is without question that none of this would have been possible without our sponsors.....

First and Foremost....MBC Lansing.

Having never organizing any type of charity event in my life, I sat down with Marc Wolbert, General Manager, and worked out the details of our event.   I was humbled by how the word "Yes" just seemed to flow from his mouth.  We had a great conversation, and I left with such a positive feeling about the possibilities we could create.  We had a date and time, some giveaways, and a starting point to then venture out into the community to ask for auction items.

All three of us "Hit the Ground Running,"sharing our vision, goals, and passion for the American Cancer Society and our event.   I'd like to recognize those generous individuals and companies who so selflessly gave to our cause....

Sansu, NCG Cinemas, Champps, Max and Ermas, Buddies, Enso, Anytime Fitness in Haslett, Brookhouse Fitness, Weight Watchers, Playmakers, Brighton Harley Davidson, Jill Lenkowski with Two Ring Photography, Car And Driver, Maggee Moos, P F Changs, Ingham County Parks, Panera Bread Company, Hair Express, Amy Frick Masi with Thirty One Gifts, Chapelure Bakery, The State Room, Mark's Watershed, Anytime Fitness in Haslett, and Gary Brewer with Dart Container.

Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!!!

Event day arrived and we felt confident that we were set to have a great turnout.  It was great to see our family and friends, share stories, laugh, and enjoy the wonderful food and Michigan made beer that MBC is known for.  There was a definite feeling of love floating around as we were so grateful to each and every person who made the time to come. I loved to see a number patrons, who were there that day for other reasons, made their way over to check our what we were doing.  The last few minutes were exciting, as the final frenzie of flying pens and laughter surely drove up the final bids.   Here are a few pics.....

The Abbey Road Runners...Leah M., Myself, and Lainie P.

Mark W. behind the bar working his magic 


Our Mini-Bake Sale...The kids loved it!!

Our setup....

One great addition to our auction that I would like to share is pictured right above.  Mike Massey with Capital City Sport Auctions was invited by Mark to join in the event.  They provide high quality sports memorabilia and autographed one-of-a-kind items (including jerseys, helmets, and balls) to be auctioned off in silent auctions just like ours.  Not only did he come and set up all of his merchandise, but he was so easy to settle up with after the event.  They really provided unique opportunity to our bidders.  Thanks you to Mike and Mark for setting that up!!!

So with the auction behind us, our team was able to meet and count our final tally....



In two short hours we raised $1000!!!  

I can only imagine the wonderful things this money will help to provide for those challenged with the diagnosis of cancer.  Again, I am so proud of our team, our sponsors, and our supporters for such a wonderful day! 

Peace and Blessings,

Jen B.

P.S.   The American Cancer Society combines a never-ending passion with the wisdom of nearly a century of experience to save lives by helping you stay well, helping you get well, by finding cures, and fighting back. Learn more at