5k on a Sunday

I ran a 5k this morning (Boston River Run). It was a great race, a benefit for the Andrew Graham Semper Fi Fund, a scholarship at Bunker Hill CC.

IMG_0943More beautiful Boston foliage!

The race was held along the Charles River in Boston- couldn’t have been more convenient to get to!

FullSizeRenderGetting ready to run!

Some thoughts about running a 3.1 mile race:

  1. Even though the distance is much shorter than a marathon, the race is a challenge of it’s own. Shorter distance = faster pace. It was a good way for me to start to introduce speedwork into my routine- lots more of that to come over the next few months! I was happy with my overall pace for this race, although next time I will try to push a little harder.
  2. A race is a race- no matter the distance. It’s still an accomplishment and leaves you with positive feelings once you cross the finish line.
  3. You can still learn from a 5k distance- even more so since I haven’t run that distance in awhile. It was chilly this morning but I ended up being overdressed. I was a little overheated by the end.

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Pre-race shot

The race left me excited to run another, perhaps my town’s turkey trot in a few weeks?!

After a large post-race brunch with friends (fellow runners, including a friend who ran her first race today!!), I am vegging/watching the Patriots/enjoying the rest of the day off before a busy week ahead. Hope you all have a great Sunday! 

Nice fall Saturday in Boston!

Hello Saturday! Hope your weekend is off to a great start.

Last night I saw “The Martian” with friends and I highly recommend it. It would be amazing to experience being in outer space- but it could be very lonely out there! I won’t say anything more to spoil the movie- but just see it if you haven’t!

I had 12 miles on the schedule to run today but was only able to get in a few miles in this morning as I had to get to a brunch to celebrate a close friend. Splitting up runs is not something I normally do- but it is better than nothing. I had another time constraint in the evening, so knew I’d only have a short window of time in the afternoon to run the second set of miles.

IMG_0909Boston has some beautiful running paths!

It was another beautiful fall day in Boston- would love the temperatures to just stay put for while!

IMG_0913Heading towards the Charles for a run- suddenly the scene seems more winter-like!

I’m taking it easy tonight because I’m running a 5k tomorrow morning. I haven’t run a race at that distance in awhile and I’m looking forward to it!

Anyone else racing tomorrow? Good luck!

Almost the weekend and marathon training begins!

Happy Friday! Last night was a gorgeous evening in Boston- can’t believe how warm the weather has been!

657Drone over my favorite city. Thanks @imnotquitejack!

I decided to take a “rest day” from running and instead did some stretching (mainly using the foam roller) on top of a 7 minute workout. I love this short workout because it targets all areas of the body and enables you to get a little sweat in only a few minutes. Check it out if you haven’t already (link here)!

With my alarm set for 6am this morning, I headed out for a quick morning run before work. It was another unseasonably warm day and I was able to head out in a tank and shorts, with compression socks.

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Foam rolling is my heaven and hell!

Saturday marks my first day of training for Phoenix marathon at the end of February. I recently chose this marathon as my next target for a Boston qualifier, given the fast and flat course (with the exception of a large hill at miles 4.5-6!), the positive reviews from other runners about the course and race logistics, and because I wanted to run a race in a new state! Phoenix marathon will be my 10th state– I am super excited to explore that area of the country through running. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to head to AZ in the middle of a Boston winter :)

IMG_0898That time I went to AZ for work and it was 100 degrees– hopefully it will be a bit milder in February! 

My training cycle will start with a 12 mile run on Saturday, followed by a 5k fun race on Sunday. I will be taking it relatively easy for the rest of November as I continue to recover from Marine Corps Marathon. Longer runs and more intense speed work will start in December. Have a great Friday and start to your weekend! Happy running!

Chicago Marathon Review

I ran the Chicago marathon in October 2013. It was a race to remember for many reasons, but most memorable was the fact that I ran with my sister and brother (my cousin came too but sadly couldn’t run due to an injury). My parents also came to watch the race, and we had a fantastic time together in the Windy City.  There are so many things to say about the race, one of the largest races in the country, but I will narrow it down to two quick lists of what did and didn’t work. Chicago was my 7th marathon, but I still learned a lot from the race.

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What didn’t work:

  1. Not following the #1 running rule of thumb of not going out too fast in the first half. I had not trained adequately for this race (skimping on the long runs, no speed work), so thinking that I could pick up and run 8 minute miles was not a reality that would last for long. I bonked somewhere between mile 16 and 18- not ideal!
  2. As I mentioned above, not training adequately for this race. In 2013, I pulled away from having a focus on running and training for races for many reasons, and this resulted in some slower marathon times, including Chicago. It is what it is- you get what you put into it. I am not disappointed by this span of slower races- I was happy to even finish them! Running was there for me when I wanted to get back into being in better shape/work hard in training.
  3. I went out too fast, and I think this is why I tweaked my left hamstring at mile 20. So I had to walk the last 6.2 miles, but I was determined to finish. My second half was two hours longer than my first half!
  4. The weather in Chicago was on the warm side for this marathon- the race started in the high 50s and jumped into the mid-to-high 60s towards the end. My ideal running weather is in the 40s and 50s (this is proven to be ideal for most runners- read here), so this was a bit warm for me. The weather factor was unavoidable, but just added to the difficulty of this marathon.

IMG_0891The Chicago bean (cloud gate)! Can you spot me?

What worked:

  1. Chicago really does live up to expectations of being a flat, fun, memorable race. It is very well organized, with so much spectator support. My parents said that it was very easy to get around and watch us at several different locations, so a great race for spectators!
  2. Given the popularity and size of the race, the course tends to be crowded, but I felt that there was a good flow going with my corral. All water stations were well-supported with volunteers so there wasn’t much traffic there either.
  3. Chicago is an amazing city (I don’t have to sell you on that!)- beautiful buildings, great restaurants and bars, and great people. It was a welcoming city to spend a weekend and run a marathon.
  4. Staying in the downtown area made getting to and from the start and finish line very convenient for my siblings and me. I would highly recommend staying on Magnificent Mile.

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I really want to run this race again one day, after training sufficiently. It is certainly a race to run a PR- and if not, you’ll still have a wonderful time in the city!

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Happy Thursday and Some Treadmill Tips

Happy Thursday guys! Thank you so much for checking in to my new blog. I am very excited about it and appreciate any feedback you have.

Boston has had some great weather recently, so I have kept my runs and workouts outside- even in the dark after work-hours. But as I start to train for my next marathon (Phoenix Marathon in February- post coming on that soon!), I am anticipating some treadmill runs in the future as we head into winter. I like to run outside as much as possible, but there are some winter weather days that are simply safer to be inside.

317Let’s face it- not all of our outdoor workouts can be met with a gorgeous hot sunset over the Charles River.

Here are a few treadmill tips that I have learned through trial and error over the years:

  1. Dress for warm temps- shorts and tank are recommended for sweaty treadmill runs.
  2. Bring everything you need so it is easily accessible during a run/less tempting to stop. This includes water, GUs/other fuel, headphones, ipod/iphone (to watch movies/listen to music/stream Netflix/text friends that you’re treadmill running in order to make you feel hardcore), and a towel.
  3. As suggested above, bring your iphone/ipad for distraction. I stream the Netflix app on my iphone- might not work for everyone, but it is a great distraction for me. Nothing like binge watching Lost, Sex and the City, or Friday Night Lights to get me through a long treadmill run!
  4. Even though you might have a goal of running “X” miles, play with different speeds or inclines on treadmill- it will also be a good distraction. Note that the incline should normally be set at 1% to simulate outdoor running. I like to mix up my treadmill runs by running 30 seconds to a minute at a certain speed or incline, then increasing this speed or incline in the next 30 seconds, and repeat until you’re running uncomfortably fast. Staying on autopilot mode/never changing things up can make treadmill running boring very quickly.
  5. Treadmills can be handy for hill training- uphill or downhill. A previous marathon I ran, Big Cottonwood Canyon in UT, was a steep downhill course for the first 19 miles (followed by a very unfortunate uphill). Given that I was training in Boston as opposed to the mountains in Utah, I knew that training solely on flat terrain wouldn’t cut it for this race. So I did several runs inside on a treadmill with a downhill decline. This wasn’t an exact replication of the trail, but the constant downhill did help somewhat. The same can go for uphill terrains. Play around with the incline/decline function to mix things up!
  6. Similar to running outside, remember to warm up and stretch appropriately prior to treadmill running. Warm-up can include a few minutes of walking or slow jogging.

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What are your favorite treadmill tips?

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Running outside with friends always beats inside- but I’ll take the treadmill over ice!

Nashville Half and Running in the Rain

Good morning! Although we’ve had sunny skies in Boston lately, this post is about running a race in the rain. Don’t let wet weather discourage you from getting out there!

A couple of years ago, some girl friends and I decided to meet up for a destination race. We chose Nashville, and weren’t disappointed with this choice. The Rock and Roll marathon was held at the end of April, and we signed up for the half marathon.

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The race started downtown Nashville on Broadway, and curved around the city past all of the main sites, including the Country Hall of Fame, Music City Center, and down Music Row. The forecast called for rain so we came prepared with plastic bags and extra layers. Unfortunately, cold rain did not let up throughout the entire race, which was particularly challenging since the course was full of irregular rolling hills. Through trial and error, I have come up with a list of tips for running in the rain.

  1. Wear a trash bag or poncho to the start- something that you can toss when the gun goes off.
  2. Make sure any electronics are sealed.
  3. Wear a hat or visor to keep the rain out of your eyes. I always opt for waterproof over cotton materials.
  4. Wear darker colored shorts and shirt instead lighter colors/white, as white can become see-through. For darker times of day, bring out the neon/reflective gear. I purchased my neon vest and jacket here.
  5. Wear wicking socks and apparel to minimize the chaffing. Wearing tighter tops also helps.
  6. Use more Body Glide than normal, and apply it more than once prior to the start.
  7. If you are checking a bag at the race, pack dry socks, a long sleeve and a jacket. I would recommend hand warmers as well if you plan to be out there for awhile.
  8. Know that waiting for the start might be a bit miserable, but once you start running your body will heat up and you might start to have fun out there!

NashvilleDespite the difficulty of the race, I was happy to end up with a half marathon PR, crossing the finish line at 1:43. Post-race we rested and then re-grouped for a night in Downtown Nashville- which was an absolute blast! The rain had also run its course, and the sun came out as we headed out. We headed to Broadway to purchase cowboy boots, and then proceeded to bar hop the city’s variety of country western and modern bars.

I hope to run Nashville again, but will aim for the marathon distance next time!

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Los Angeles Marathon Review

Good morning, hope your week is off to a great start! Running outside after work in the dark yesterday reminded me that daylight savings won’t happen again until March! Only about 4 months to go until longer days! :)

Last March my sister and I decided to escape the Boston winter and run the Los Angeles marathon. While running a PR was not the goal of this race, I did fit in some long training runs prior to the race. However these runs were mostly inside on the treadmill because of the weather. The race was just over three months after my previous marathon, Plymouth Plantation in MA.

015 Santa Monica Pier 

We flew to LA the Thursday night before the race. We stayed in Santa Monica, near where the “stadium to sea” race ended at the Santa Monica Pier. We loved this area of LA (like most people!), and found some great food options. Sugar Fish, Stella Barra– pizza and other carb-rich items were perfect pre-and post-race! We also enjoyed exploring the Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach, and Rodeo Drive and shopping at Third Street Promenade.

Bib and t-shirt pickup were at the LA Convention Center- plenty of parking and we thought it was conveniently located in the city. After eating our pre-race meals of peanut butter and banana on bagels, we shuttled over to Dodger Stadium a couple of hours prior to the 7:30 am race start. We felt that the shuttle system was convenient, and enjoyed hanging out in the stadium until the race started. Always a luxury to use real bathrooms instead of porta potties!

019 (1)Dodger Stadium prior to the start

The race started with a steep downhill, and a few more rolling hills followed. The rolling hills continued throughout the race until mile 24, when the course veered steadily downhill until the last 0.2. Course was overall scenic, passing all of the notable LA sites including Hollywood Hall of Fame, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Palisades Park, and Santa Monica Pier.

FullSizeRender (7)Santa Monica Beach

There was also a decent amount of entertainment along the course, and adequate water stations. The issue that my sister and I had with the race was the heat—the race started with a 70 degree temperature and climbed up into the mid-80s by the time we finished. I decided early on that given the heat, I would take this race easy and enjoy the sites. The race directors pushed up the date of the race by several weeks, which I think is a great idea. Hopefully future LA marathons are met with cooler temperatures!

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Santa Monica finish line shot

My sister and I were happy to relax in the California sun on Santa Monica Beach for the rest of the trip!

Miami Marathon Review and a Destination Half!

A couple of years ago I ran the Miami Marathon (I also ran the half marathon in January, 2016- check out the recap here!). I signed up to run this race in January with some friends, knowing that it wouldn’t be a goal race but a recovery/fun race (being in Miami and all!). I had run Philadelphia Marathon two months prior and was a bit disappointed with my finish. I crossed the line in my goal time, however did not feel physically well during the race and post-race, so wanted to move on from that as soon as possible. I have more thoughts on the idea of jumping into running another race too quickly following a disappointing performance- stay tuned for a future post on this!

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Needless to say, Miami Marathon would not ultimately be my “comeback” race (that wouldn’t happen for a couple of years), but I did enjoy my time out there.

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Boston runner feeling the Miami heat!

Positive memories about running Miami marathon include:

  1. The race is relatively flat- the only hills are the highway overpasses connecting the islands.
  2. The race had adequate water and fuel stations, and plenty of support from volunteers.
  3. Course is fairly scenic, running throughout the city and Miami beach. I was tempted to drop out and jump in the cool ocean on more than one occasion! I was also tempted to drop out and head to the clubs that were still active when I arrived to the race.
  4. Spending a weekend in Miami in January. 80 degree weather always beats 10 degrees.
  5. Excellent pre-and post-food options, including one of my favorite restaurants Yardbird, can be found everywhere in Miami.
  6. Expo is well organized and situated conveniently with lots of parking or walking distance if staying in Miami Beach.

039View of the city from Brickell

Some things to keep in mind if you are running Miami Marathon (or the Half Marathon):

  1. Even though the race is in January and starts before sunrise, it’s Miami in January. This is a hot race, and not ideal for a PR. It’s one to enjoy as a destination race. Drink water and/or Gatorade at every water station!
  2. The second half of the marathon is always tougher than the first, but even more so given this marathon’s course. Miles 14-19, the first few miles post-half marathon finish, are a bit boring, and this continues when you cross into Coconut Grove (mile 19) until mile 22 (to the start of the Rickenbacker Causeway). After the causeway, you head back into downtown, where the crowds and entertainment pick up.
  3. Wear sunscreen, even though the race starts before sunrise. Miami sun is intense, particularly if you haven’t seen the sun in months.
  4. Enjoy being in such a fun city and make sure to load up on Cuban food post-race (not recommended pre-race!)

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So much relaxation and recreation in Miami!

Mark and I decided to head back to Miami this January and run the half marathon. It will be a great training race for Paris, and well, an ideal time of year to get out of Boston.  Can’t wait to explore Miami more!

588Miami Beach 

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Marine Corps Marathon Review

My first MCM and marathon #13 was a great experience overall!

Registration for the race was in March. My sig/running partner Mark and I were lucky enough to secure bibs this year through a lottery system where we think only half the registrants got in.

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The MCM was held on the last full weekend in October (the 25th). Mark and I flew down to DC on Friday night, and headed to the expo on Saturday morning for bib and t-shirt pickup. The expo was huge, one of the largest I have been to! We were able to pick up the goods and grab lunch before heading back to the hotel for a relaxing rest of the day. Dinner was at Ella’s Pizza with my cousin and his girlfriend who was also running. It was a great pre-race meal and I recommend the pizza for all DC friends!

584Walking by Washington Monument the evening before the race.

Race day: We woke up around 5am, and did the usual pre-race routine:

  • Quick hot shower
  • Application of body glide to most areas of the body
  • Dynamic and foam rolling stretches
  • Coffee
  • Banana/bagel/peanut butter pre-race meal. I also had half of a honey stinger.

After this, we were off on the metro! It was crowded but easy to get to the Pentagon stop where the race started. What we hadn’t planned for was the hour-long security line to the runners’ village at the start. MCM decided to increase security this year, and therefore 30,000 people had to go through metal detectors to gain admission to the start. Fortunately we got to this point ahead of time, but we only had 20ish minutes to use the porta pots and scurry over to the start before the guns went off.

MCM put on quite a show at the starting line with a flyover and five parachuters from the sky displaying massive American Flags. It was incredible! Soon after this moment, we were off! My goal was to just enjoy this race and take it easy, given that my previous marathon (Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT) was just six weeks prior. I hoped to finish in just under 4 hours.

FullSizeRender (1)Walk around the National Mall on the Monday after the race

Instead of writing a recap of the entire race, I’m going to write what worked what didn’t work for the race. If you are considering running MCM, take note!

What worked:

  1. The enthusiasm displayed by the Marines handing out water and along the entire course was incredible!!
  2. The race was run very well overall- loved that we could take the metro straight to the start and finish. Post-race food was great and water and Gatorade were plentiful during the entire course. Starting line had some great effects. Mile markers shown throughout the course.
  3. Crowd support along the entire race was incredible! There were a couple of areas with no spectators, but crowds did line the majority of the course.
  4. Medal, tech t-shirt, and other race swag were great.
  5. Running along the “blue mile” was incredibly memorable- this was a memorial for fallen soldiers, and their photos lined a stretch of the course.
  6. Course was overall interesting, passing many monuments and other interesting areas of DC and Arlington.
  7. Plenty of porta-potties throughout the race!
  8. My race nutrition worked well- my pre-race meal combined with three GUs and Gatorade at every other water station throughout the race kept me from bonking (for the most part!). I usually have 3-4 GUs throughout a marathon, but found 3 to be sufficient this time.
  9. Receiving my medal at the finish line from a Marine was amazing. Made me feel so hard core!

What didn’t work:

  1. Long security lines at the start did not allow us time to use the porta pots more than once, so I had to use one along the course (around mile 2). Check out runnersworld.com‘s review on the long security lines.
  2. The pouring rain at the start until mile 8 made the beginning mentally and physically tough!
  3. The course was hillier than I had anticipated, particularly the first three miles and the last few (miles 21-22 were on a highway that was not flat), and there’s a fairly steep hill right at the end. I had not trained for this.
  4. The course was crowded throughout the entire race. There was not one moment where someone wasn’t running beside and in front of me, which resulted in a lot of zig-zagging and ultimately running over 27 miles according to the GPS. Water stations were a bit of a cluster too.

Overall, Mark and I each had a great race and would highly recommend this marathon to anyone. I met my goal of running sub-4 hours (3:58), and felt strong in the hours and days following the race. Looking forward to some rest before I start training for my next!

Relaxing Weekend and Race Morning Routine

Happy Sunday! It was so nice to gain an extra hour this morning, despite the fact that it will start to get dark at 4:30PM where I live! Hope you all had a fun Halloween yesterday- we sure did! We ended up dressing as a tree and a treehugger. As the treehugger, I sported a comfy flannel, whereas Mark was covered with leaves. I think I got the better deal :)

My Halloween started off by sleeping in (it’s been awhile!),  and then my sister came over to visit before heading out on a long run. She is training for the Philadelphia Marathon, and yesterday’s 20 miler was her last before taper. My sister often comes in to the city from the suburbs so she can join other runners or enjoy her favorite running paths in Boston!

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I also went out for an nice 7.5 mile run, first run since last weekend’s marathon! It was a perfect fall day outside. I wore my new favorite running shorts, favorite long sleeve, and compression socks. It was the best weather for running!

I wanted to completely recover before I jumped back into my running routine. As I was getting ready to head out the door, I thought about my typical pre-race routine.

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My typical routine on the morning of race:

  1. Wake up EARLY with plenty of time to stretch, eat and wake up before you head out the door
  2. Take a quick hot shower to warm up the muscles
  3. Foam roll routine
  4. Stretch routine, with dynamic stretching
  5. Apply body glide to most areas of the body
  6. Eat my banana-bagel breakfast, sometimes with a honey stinger
  7. Drink one cup of coffee and a lot of water. If you are a coffee-before-race drinker like we are, check if your hotel has a coffee machine. If not, buy cups of coffee the evening before (Starbucks usually isn’t open at the early hour of the race, especially if it’s on a Sunday!). It may be cold, but cold coffee is better than no coffee before a race! You want to stop drinking fluids about an hour prior to the race, otherwise you will have to use a port-a-potty along the course. Now is the time to drink!
  8. Put on my throw-away, make sure I have all my gadgets (ipod, phone, garmin), and head OUT!

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Packing List When Travelling to a Race

Good morning and happy weekend! Given that I recently ran a race away from home (Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC), the logistics of running a destination race are fresh in my mind. Destination races/”runcations” are one of my favorite parts of running! You don’t want to be without the essentials for race day, so I have developed a list of things you should bring with you.


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Continue reading “Packing List When Travelling to a Race”

Seattle Review

A few months ago, my sig Mark and I jetted off to Seattle for a long weekend. We loved our time in this beautiful northwestern city- including the food and coffee,  and access to amazing national parks!

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Trail runners/hikers/outdoors enthusiasts: I’m sure you’re aware of Mount Rainier National Park. A roughly two hour-three drive from Seattle, the park offers many hikes of different durations and difficulties. Mark and I drove out to the northwestern section of the park for a two hour hike which started at Mowich Lake– an unbelievably crystal clear and majestic sight!

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Continue reading “Seattle Review”

Welcome to Jane Runs Wild!

Hi, I’m Jane!

I am a 30-something from Boston, MA and I love to run, travel, and be out in the wild! Follow my blog for a glimpse into all of those things.

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The History:

I started running with my high school track team and continued with shorter distances into college. I built up the courage to try longer distances post-college and I signed up for my first half marathon on May 2010. My first 13.1 miler was full of highs and lows, but as soon as I crossed the finish line I wanted to tackle my next big goal: the full marathon.

In 2011, my sister and I agreed to run our first marathon together. We trained by following Hal Higdon’s Marathon: Novice 1 . On race day, I had no idea what to expect, but once I crossed the finish line I knew that this would not be my last marathon.  Since then I’ve run 12 more marathons, and each one was its own unique experience! One of my big goals was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I have twice met the official qualifying time, but both times ended up missing the final cut because of the number of registrants!

The Blog:

With encouragement from friends, family, and fellow runners, including an elite runner that I highly respect, I decided to move away from a strict time goal and instead focus on my love for:

  • Running long distances
  • Travelling the world
  • Exploring the great outdoors

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Most recently I ran the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon. Next up (so far) in 2016: Paris MarathonMissoula MT Marathon, Wineglass Marathon, and Miami Half Marathon.

Stay tuned to Jane Runs Wild for travel tips, runcations, marathon training, and other adventures! Hope you enjoy!

xoxo Jane