Spring in February and A GIVEAWAY!

Hi, friends! It seems like it has been awhile. I would love to blog more frequently but I’m finding it difficult to fit everything in! I’m now at peak marathon training, so that’s time consuming. My work has also taken up some extra time and mental energy because I’ve just been assigned to a new project. I know many of you readers live incredibly busy lives yourselves, and I applaud you for balancing your family and personal lives, work lives, and running/marathon training/fitness goals.

At least my week hasn’t only been filled with work! I’ve fit in a few good runs, both before and after work. Boston has seen some incredible “winter” weather lately, and it’s been in the 40’s-50s for much of the week. No complaints here!

IMG_2455IMG_2443Evening & dawn running pics!

The weather almost reminds me of springtime in Boston. The sun is still setting around 5 but that’s getting later by the day. I cannot wait until the weather truly warms and I can head outside in a tank and shorts. I barely remember those days in my home city!

IMG_2456View of my favorite city during during even warmer times!

I was able to enjoy a great meal with a friend, and her very cute cat. I am not the biggest cat person (sorry cat lovers!), but this little fur ball might be an exception.


I am looking forward to the weekend ahead and getting through my last long run! This will be my last big “test” before my goal race. If it’s warm enough, my coaches recommend that I wear my race gear- but the forecast isn’t looking like it will be in Phoenix at the end of February! I will also plan to eat the breakfast that I plan to eat on race day (bagel, half a banana, and peanut butter, along with one packet of generation ucan). My coaches also recommended that when I hit the last three miles of the run, I should do some visualization—getting through that last 10k takes a lot more than physical strength!

I’ve found that positive visualization truly helps me get through a race, particularly the second half. It often boosts my self-confidence and allows me to toe the line feeling excited- perhaps because due to the culmination of countless mental thoughts! Visualizing crossing the finish line and being able to report back a certain time I’ve hit or goal to Mark, my family, and friends keeps me strong until the end. I am not alone in visualization- many of the world’s top athletes often practice mental visualization in their training and competitions.

Fortunately for me, I’ve found a video of the Phoenix marathon course that will help me prepare for the race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N0gJsTPYog


One piece of running gear that I will be using during my long run this weekend is my SPIbelt (link here) and H20 companion (link here). I’m a huge fan of SPIbelt, but have also recently discovered the great H20 companion, an on-the-go hydration system. The bottle clips on to SPIbelt, and much like the belt- there is no bounce when you run. The design of the water bottle is one that fits well against my side, and I barely notice the bottle being there. It’s a nice change from carrying water in my hand with a handheld! The H20 companion is perfect for training runs (there will be water along the marathon course).

SPIbelt is giving away one original belt and an H20 companion to a lucky reader—color of your choice!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know whether 1) you use visualization to get you through a race/tough workout/competition, 2) what is one thing you are looking forward to this weekend, or 3) anything else you want to say!

Giveaway ends Friday! Good luck and happy running!


  1. I am definitely more of a dog person for sure, but my dad had two cats when I was younger that I was actually really attached to. I just love animals. I probably use more inner self-talk over visualization to help me get through tough runs–I repeat mantras in my head to keep me going. This weekend I have a friend’s baby shower, an easy 10K for my long run, and a brunch date Sunday!


  2. Hi Jane I couldn’t agree more – the old saying goes that the first 20 miles of a marathon are about your body, whereas last 6 miles of a marathon are run in your head. I’ve found that to be very true! That said I’m a nightmare with setting off too fast. Good luck – I’ll be watching out for your progress!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ooo boy, visualization takes me back to college. Before our practices, our coach would make us sit in our lockers (don’t worry, they were big! haha) and visualize practice and what we were going to do. Not going to lie, I spent the first few weeks trying not to laugh while sneaking a peak of an entire women’s lacrosse team packed into their cubbies, but soon enough, I was really starting to buy into it. It calmed me down, focused me and I think the most powerful piece was that once I saw it, I could believe it. I found it to be SUCH an important part of my pre-game ritual. I also did it before my first triathlon…not intentionally, but I was so excited, all i kept seeing was crossing the finish line!

    I’m in a very “writer” mood today so you’ll get an answer to question 2…too! I’m headed to Chicago with my boyfriend on an impromptu date weekend! If you’ve ever seen Master of None, that’s where we got the inspiration. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest it!

    I’m always inspired by your words; running is my weakest discipline so I love learning from your posts. Good luck with training! And YES, enjoy this weather!!


    1. Thank you so much! Glad to hear that visualization works for you as well. I LOVED master of none and think its AWESOME that you’re heading on a getaway just as Aziz and Rachel did. Have so much fun out there, and hope you guys have some good weather!!


  4. I am a super slow runner and use the run walk run method with short runs and long walks. As a beginner runner I find that conversation keeps my mind off the difficulty. If I am silent and just running, then all of the bodily complaints (tired, achy, etc.) make it super hard to carry on.

    But if I am engaged in conversation I can go for miles without noticing that my knee is aching or my head is hurting. Of course I am always listening to my body for important messages but I find so frequently that without conversation my body takes the smallest complaint and blows it out of proportion making it extremely difficult to complete my running goal.

    I am looking forward to the Superbowl this weekend!! I always through a big Superbowl party for family and friends so it’s super exciting!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having a running partner or pacer- someone to talk to or even just run alongside- is so helpful! Makes running much more enjoyable as well :) Good luck out there and let’s go Panthers!


  5. I’m not big into visualization, but I know it can help others. I’m always asked what I think about during long runs and I never know what to say. I don’t run with music anymore, in training or during races, so I know I tend to focus on the sights and sounds around me but my mind isn’t busy. When it comes to a race like a marathon, the last 3 miles I’m focused on getting to the finish line. It’s more like a mind game because at that point I’ve already run 23 miles, what’s another 5k or so? Piece of cake right? Maybe I should try to visualize sometime!

    This weekend I’m looking forward to running (6-miler and a 13-miler), a work party and my friend’s birthday. Hoping for a quiet Sunday (after my long run, of course) since Saturday will be busy.

    Have you tried any other hydration options? I have a belt (that’s pretty good, but definitely shifts while I run) and a small handheld, but I definitely don’t like things in my hands while I run. I was looking at a water bottle Orange Mud sells that goes on your back. It seems promising. I’ve also looked at camelbaks, but they don’t seem made for someone who is a bit bigger on top. Obviously we don’t need these things during races, but on long training runs it’s nice to have something that’s easy and comfortable.

    Best of luck as you wrap up training and head to your race!


    1. Thanks for your comment! It’s interesting that you don’t listen to music while you run– I have often thought about it but get nervous that I’d go crazy without my tunes during a race. I should try it more often during training runs! As far as hydration systems, I have used both a camelback and handheld, but like the SPIbelt the best. I don’t love carrying the handheld and the camelback is bulky- but great for bringing stuff back and forth between work if I choose to run there or back! My favorite is bringing nothing and just running a loop in Boston that has a lot of water fountains– but those are only running during the spring-summer-fall months! Happy running :)


  6. i’m not sure i ever thought of it as “visualization” but now that i consider it, i definitely have had moments during long/hard races where i think about the end, the finish line crossing, hugging my parents, etc…and how good that will feel. and sometimes when a great song comes on i visualize myself singing karaoke and dancing and that helps me forget i’m running for a bit. :) haha but seriously, good luck with the training and i am a big fan of SPIbelts as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I too have never tried any sort of visualization, but I’m definitely going to give it a go. Can’t hurt to try, right?

    I’m just looking forward to the weekend in general! Although I do have a 9 miler that’s making me nervous (may be the perfect opportunity for visualization!).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not really sure what you mean by visualization, I get what you are saying about thinking what you are going to do when you cross the finish line but is that really visualizing? I’m hoping my back is well enough for the 16 mile trial run this weekend, finger crossed, I know its still injured but seems well enough today… but you never know about these things do you. I need to redeem myself last weeks was a horrid fail


  9. I find that vizualization is key, but just as important as what you vizualize is what you DON’T vizualize. As in, if you refuse to vizualize anything but a strong, successful finish, nothing else will be within your range of options.

    I sometimes compare this to driving to work on a day with bad traffic. The last time that happened, did you give up in the middle of your commute, turn around, and go home? Probably not. You were driving to work, so your commute would finish at work. Maybe it would take longer than you’d hoped or expected or included some unforeseen hassles, but turning around and going home simply wasn’t an option. You’d get there when you’d get there, as quickly as you could manage.

    The same holds true in a marathon. There will be moments when you feel fatigue or pain, for certain during the later miles but on some days those feelings will hit sooner than you expected. Simply continue going forward, and allow a successful finish to be the only option on your table.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a really good point- visualizing all of the things that could go wrong is really important in terms of preparing for your race/outcome. I should have added this important part of visualization, thank you!
      Good luck in your long run this weekend– hope it goes well! We are supposed to get snow in Boston (finally, and unfortunately)– so hopefully I can trudge through that. Have fun and thanks again for your comment!


  10. I use visualization! So last October I ran my first half marathon and I decided the goal was just to finish! I had heard the race was an awesome experience and there are people lined up along the streets the whole way. In order to make it through, I literally read almost every sign. It got to a point in the course where the elite runners were coming towards me on the other side of the street and I was just mesmerized at their techniques, outfits, strides, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi there!

    I’m very much an in the moment sort of person. I love the sensations of a marathon and have done enough of them to know the general pattern. The emotion of the start, the fun of the first few miles, the getting down to business after the half marathon point, crossing the half way point at 20 miles, the pain of the last few humourless miles and the emotion of the finish. I love being there and feeling that. No amount of visualisation can prepare me for the rollercoaster of emotions that is the marathon. The tears when I was passed by Darth Vader, the pain of hitting the wall in a tunnel on the Hong Kong marathon. The joy of the sign that says “this is about half way” in the beachy head. The wonderment at being given beer on the Munich marathon and the noise of the London marathon. No amount of visualisation could have ever equipped me for that and now I have those and a lot more as vivid bitter sweet memories of going the distance. No I feel every twinge, every high and every low whilst on the course. Have you ever for example got into such a rage at a spectator for yelling at you whilst in the dark moments of struggling? I have, if I’d had the energy I would have laid them out flat. The rage fueled run after that got me to the end, but only because I wanted to hunt him down and make him run 26.2 miles.

    This weekend I’ll mainly be doing the house work (if I can find time between running, swimming, cycling and attempting to eat my bodyweight in cake). My cat on the other hand may move from the bed to the sofa and back again whilst giving me that all superior look and mentally questioning my need to run around.

    Best of luck with you training and racing x


    1. Thanks for your comment! I haven’t ever been angered by a spectator on the course! But there’s a first for everything. Good luck with your training and have a great weekend!


  12. We are having the same weather here in Nova Scotia. It’s like Spring outside today but going to get messy tomorrow for us!
    I sometimes use visualization for races – it can get me excited for what’s to come. This weekend I’m just looking forward to spending some time with my family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! Yes Boston is getting some weather tomorrow and no doubt it’s heading in your direction! I’m sure it’s been beautiful up there lately like down here. Have a great weekend!


  13. Thanks for checking out my blog! I like your mix of social and running blogging – I feel like I’m getting to know already and look forward to hearing about your marathon!

    I tend to shift my mind from the moment and visualize finishing strong! I am a decent little casual runner, but in no danger of placing in my age groups, but when runs get tough I like to imagine that I am super awesome and am going to cross the line with an amazing time and realize that I won my age!! Another thing I like to think about training a new runner – I haven’t done it, but focusing on what I would tell that runner to support and encourage them takes me out of the pain and into a positive mind set. It also reminds why I am out running in the first place!

    This weekend I am looking forward to my first 10 miles run in a long time! I am really enjoying building mileage again!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Jane,
    I have used visualization but very minimally I should say. I do hope to use it more as a motivation tools in the coming months. I am looking forward to my bachelorette party (yaay!!) this weekend :D and super excited about it!! And I have kind of taken a break and hope to get back to running soon :)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m not much for visualization and tend to meditate and be mindful during my runs and races. During my last long race I said a certain prayer every hour and every time I wished for a breeze or some rain and it came I made sure to say a prayer of thanks.

    This weekend = long run and run with the fellas and probably Kung Fu Panda and our at home Lunar New Year celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have not used visualization, but I’m always open to something. I haven’t needed it in races at all, but on some of my longer runs I would keep a song going in my head. (I don’t use an iPod, but as a musician I have a jute box up there already.) I try to find my pace to the beat in my head. I don’t yet know if that is a good thing or not.

    This weekend involves work for me (Friday through Monday). I am off Saturday afternoon so we can have a party for my daughter who is turning 5. I will look forward to going to work Sunday morning after having a bunch of preschool/kindergarten girls at our house. Not sure what our plan is for the Super Bowl yet.

    Don’t let work bog you down too much. Don’t take the fun out of running with your marathon training. Enjoy the “spring” weather before it goes back to winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have never tried visualization, but see how it could help. My longest run is 10m Broad Street Run in Philly last year. With the large crowds at the BSR I didn’t really need it. I am going to do my first Half this year so will try anything.
    Looking forward to a couple runs this weekend including a 10k run on Sunday pre Super Bowl. I am visualizing me eating too much on Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. yep, i use visualization often…during training for Chicago i visualized having to push hard the last couple miles no matter how hard it felt in order to reach my sub-4 goal – i often dedicated the last mile of every training run as a “Chicago mile” and had to run at race pace or better as if my PR depended on it..turns out it did :)

    your other questions – looking forward to most this weekend, well it’s nothing to do with a game on sunday, go ‘Hawks, so i’ll go with happy hour with wifey on Friday and just some fun family hanging out time with some mid-range runs as training for SLC has began (or resumed however you look at it)

    the spibelt attachment looks cool…i’ll take one in blue or black, cheers! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yes! I use visualization. It really helps. You are what you think you are right? That cat is so fluffy!!! Love it. And those city pictures…so beautiful! I can’t wait to hop outside in a tank and shorts either. Winter makes getting dressed too long. Ugh. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ooh. Well your training is going well. And I know what you mean by being able to fit it all in! Especially at the peak of the training season! But it’s nice that you’re able to get in a nice dinner with your friend and her cat :-) I’m a cat person anyway.
    As for visualisation, I totally learned the power of it this last season. I used it during training for my 5k so that I could visualise pushing through that last 800m, and now I’m using it for my marathon on the 14th. I had an interval workout yesterday, and for the last two sets I came up with words that would help me get through the last mile, especially if I would feel the same way… I don’t know yet if it works, but we’ll see!


  21. I totally use visualization to get myself going during a hard run! It’s so much easier to push through the pain/distance left when I’m visualizing something! This weekend I’m looking forward to my last few days of running before I head to Disney for the Princess 10k!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Visualization is something I should work more on. I’ll try to remember that during my run tomorrow. I use visualization the most during speed workouts. I pretend I am racing on the track at an Olympic meet and racing toward the finish. It’s kind of fun and brings a smile to my face :-)
    This weekend I am working and possibly trying out a new pair of shoes. I’ve never ran in Mizuno shoes, but they feel really good so I am considering buying them.
    Something else…I would love to win a SPIbelt and would use it at my FIRST MARATHON!! :-) :-)
    Have a great weekend Jane <3


  23. Wishing you well from Virginia! We too have had a crazy winter; however, looks like I might have to break out my cold weather gear this weekend. Like you, I feel it’s important to practice like you play – race day prep is my key to success. I have actually been doing all of my long runs for my upcoming marathon at race pace (or close as possible). This helps me sort out what I should modify prior to the big day. I also feel this helps me recover quicker…less pain on Monday.

    Last but not least, I would love to replace my aging Spibelt…I have not found a better product to hold my phone/key/ID while trying to stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Like BubblyRunner, I’m more of a inner voice, mantra person. During races I need to stay focused if trying to achieve a time goal so no music for me. The mantra helps me along the way as I take one step at a time…it propels me. As I get closer to the finish line, I ‘feel’ what it will be like to finish – relief, joy, achievement. To some degree I visualize finishing strong at the end – going as fast as I can to beat that clock – looking up as I cross the finish line!

    Have a great weekend, all! Aloha.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Visualization isn’t something I have used, instead I try to do a lot of positive self talk, like for example, instead of thinking “OMG I hate this hill!” I switch to “I’m going to kill this hill!” It really helps! On harder runs, I also break the runs down in my head, I’ll acknowledge the halfway point, and also the point where I’ve only got one big hill left, and so on.
    I’m headed out for a run in the snow soon here, I woke up to a call from the school I work at saying we are having a snow day, which was a total surprise! I am already enjoying my unexpected 3 day weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. 1) i definitely use visualization to get me through a workout- depending on my goals. I started doing this back in highschool playing volleyball and softball- and now that I am older, it definitely keeps me going at the end of a long race in a different way. I picture the beer at the end.

    2) this weekend I am looking forward to seeing The Big Short -and having a coffee and snow walk around Boston Saturday morning.

    3) I want that spibelt because I have sexy Valentine’s Day plans for it!

    Liked by 1 person

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