St. Jude Memphis Marathon

I got all of my ducks in a row the night before.  (I say ducks because we’re staying at the Peabody…I quack myself up!)


Saucony Kinvara 5’s, Fleet Feet Racing Kit, Swiftwick Zero Socks, Oiselle Strappy Bra, and Garmin 620


Amphipod Handheld, Picky Bar, Gu, and Cocogo

Woke up at 5:30 for coffee and banana bread.  I’m superstitious about this pre-race breakfast.


Met up with my Run 4 Others friends at 7:30!  It’s so fun to do a destination race and still have so many friends.



Temps were in the low 50’s with a cold 15mph wind!

The race started at 8am.

After running the Flying Monkey Marathon two weeks ago, I wanted to go out easy.  I started with the 3:55 pace group.  I stuck with them for around 6 miles and realized I wanted to pick up the pace.  I really tried to run this race by feel.  I stayed talkative and gave lots of high-fives!




Here are my splits:

9:10, 8:46, 8:46, 8:27, 8:20, 8:50, 8:44, 8:43, 8:45, 8:35, 8:40, 8:39, 8:33, 8:23, 8:25, 8:26, 8:15, 8:08, 8:12, 8:16, 8:04, 7:58, 7:51, 7:52, 7:37, 7:34


You get to run through the St. Jude campus at miles 5 and 24.  I teared up both times feeling such gratitude for my health.

Finish Time: 3:41:42


I got really cold immediately after the race…probably from the strong wind.  I took a hot shower and ate pretzels in bed.


I loved getting to wear some of my race swag afterwards:)


I always crave chips and dip after a race (must be a salt thing) so I inhaled this spinach dip…


over a glass of wine!



Gu 15 minutes before the race and then at miles 8, 15, and 21.

Cocogo in my handheld and sports drink at the water stops on the course.

Muscle Milk immediately after the race for recovery.  It’s not my usual, but it got the job done.

**I walked every water stop…still haven’t mastered the pinch the cup running technique.

Can you drink and run at the water stops?

What’s your favorite recovery/protein food and drink?

Do you have a reward food after you race?


Join the Conversation

  • Kate

    My water breaks were less than graceful. I ended up with more water all over my face than in my mouth!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Me too! Its easier to just walk for a few steps! How was your race? Im so proud for you!!!!!

  • chasing26point2

    Awesome job!! Your splits looked great! What shorts do you wear? I’m in the market for a nice black pair and can’t seem to find anything i love. So frustrating- Also, does your shoulder/arm ever cramp up from racing with your hand held? I ran with mine in Chicago and could barely lift my arm over my head hours after the race:( I typically try and run through the water stops for fear if I stop and walk, I may not get started. I think that all goes away with experience though:) Fantastic job! Love following your blog!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I wear the lululemon speed shorts. When I first started running with a handheld, I hated it. Now I don’t even notice it. Thanks so much for reading my blog!!!

  • lmicklich

    I’m actually pretty good at getting water on the go. I think my stubbornness is what keeps me determined to run & gulp at the same time! You’re racing so much I bet you’ll master it!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Maybe one of these days!!

  • Sarah @ KS Runner

    I’m ok with taking water on the go, but I prefer to walk thru water stops.

    I like chocolate milk after a race and I always crave mac and cheese!

    Great run!!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Ill keep working on it! Mac n cheese sounds so good!!

  • Becca Lipscomb

    I always have to walk through water stops…otherwise it ends up going up my nose ?
    You killed this race, lady! You’re a rockstar!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thank you!!!

  • Running ‘N’ Reading

    Jen, if I try to run through the water stop, all of the liquid seems to fly out of my cup – ha! Not so nice for the runners around me and kind of defeats the purpose! Congratulations on a great race and a PR, woman – woo hoo! You are on fire! Couple of quick questions, if you don’t mind…I have the same handheld bottle you do; are you fitting all of your GUs/Huma in that pocket? I would love to run with less “stuff;” did my 20-miler with a FuelBelt yesterday, but not sure I want to wear it through the marathon. Also, I see you have headphones on; are you running with your phone? If so, where did you put it? I’m trying to make a plan for the race, as you can see. Thanks so much for your help and I’m so excited for you! Woo hoo!!!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I put two gus in my handheld pocket and one in my shorts pocket. I ran with a little ipod shuffle that i clip on my singlet. I rarely run with music but when i do this works really well! Thanks so much for your encouragement!!!

      • Running ‘N’ Reading

        Thanks for the info, Jen; I think I’m going to use my old iPod nano that clips on because that will take up much less space. So proud of you, chica! You’ve got to be pleased with your training and efforts; you are doing great!

        • jenchoosesjoy

          Thank you!! :)

  • Meghan Smith

    Great post!! Amazing splits too!! I usually run with my Nathan hydration vest filled with my Cocogo. That way I won’t choke while trying to drink. That banana bread looks delicious! Do you have a good recipe to share?

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thank you so much! I dont have a link for my recipe, just an old notecard. Ill share it on my blog shortly:)

  • FLRunnerBoy

    Awesome job Jen!!! I have mastered the run/drink skill. And my post race food reward … a big honkin’ cheeseburger, smoothie, and peanut butter cups or a black and white cookie. Now, a running question for you … was it hard for you to adjust to running with a water bottle? I keep debating on running with one or not to especially for longer races. I know it can be a benefit cause it allows you to fuel with what you want as opposed to what the race provides.

    • jenchoosesjoy

      It took me a little while to get used to running with a handheld. Now, i dont even notice it. A lot of trail races require tou to carry one, so i had to learn.

  • jmarshall2511

    I have not mastered running and drinking technique yet! I end up getting half in my mouth and half all over myself. I am anal though and hate stopping to drink. My favorite post race hydration are the nuun hydration tablets (Kroger sells them and super convient) after my race race I enjoy whatever I want but usually my stomach does not agree so I stick to bland foods ?. Congrats on race! I need your secrets to running high miles. I start running about 35 miles a week and start falling apart! (Dealing with piriformis injury right now) Again congrats!!!!!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thanks so much! Sorry to hear youre fighting an injury…hope you have a speedy recovery!!!

  • jmarshall2511

    Congrats on the PR! Excellent splits! I have yet to master the grab and go drinking method… Only half ends up in my mouth! I usually enjoy nuun hydration post race. (I find it at The grocery so usually pretty convient to buy) I try to eat whatever I want but my stomach says otherwise so usually end up eating something bland. I am amazed by your high mileage months. How do you keep it up? As soon as I go above 35 a week by body starts to hate me! (Dealing with piriformis issues right now) Anyway congrats and great job!!!!

  • Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen

    Congratulations on a great race and great way to finish so strong! I still can’t figure that part out, I fall apart at the end. We must have been near each other on the course, I was just ahead of the 3:55 group for awhile, they ended passing me in the last half though. Running through St. Jude’s and seeing what the kids and families go through makes me so grateful for me health and for being able to be out there running. And I can’t seem to drink from a cup on the go either! I can if I use my water bottle (I have the same one as you), but I have to stop if I’m using a cup. Hope your recovery is going well and you aren’t too sore today!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I always go out too slowly. I need to work on starting strong. Im feeling suprisingly good today and went for an easy 4 mile jog this morning! I hope youre having a good recovery too!!

  • charissarunning

    Holy negative splits, Jen!!! I admire that so much – that’s amazing! I have found a pre-race dinner/breakfast that I now religiously eat before each big long run and race. Gluten free pizza the night before and a sweet potato the morning of! Banana bread sounds good though…maybe I’ll give that a try sometime 😉 And I just ran my big marathon this weekend too! I always love to celebrate with oysters, french fries, and usually wine but this time it was beer since the finish was right near Dogfish Head Brewery. How could I not?!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      It sounds like youve figured out what works for you!!! Congrats on your marathon…i would have had beer, too!!

      • charissarunning

        Thank you!! 😀

  • fitsickle

    So glad you ran.. I missed being in Memphis for the race this year! Fabulous choice for food after too.. Houston’s spinach dip is my jam. Congrats on the race!!!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thanks SO much!!

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  • Al Frazier

    I’m practical, rather than efficient. I walk at water stops depending on the weather. You know me well, so you know I’m like Typhoon Blume in the summer. So, in the heat, I will run through the water stop since I’m probably soaking wet anyway. However, on a cold race day, I walk at the water stops. There’s nothing worse than being cold and wet.

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Typhoon Blume…thats hilarious!!

  • Sun

    Congrats on a great race! Those are awesome splits for the last few miles :)

    My favorite treat food after a race include guacamole, pizza and cookies!

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  • Jess@Flying Feet In Faith

    Wow–you are speedy. Nice negative split! Really great race review! I’ll be running Nashville RnR marathon for St.Jude in April!! Super exited. I usually just fuel with whatever Gatorade is on hand and my all time favorite post marathon treat is a good burger! So glad I stumbled across your blog. I look forward to following you. :)

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thank you so much!!! Good luck with your Country Music Marathon training!!!

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