Friday, January 29, 2016

Runfession Friday!

This week I'm linking up with Marcia over at Marcia's Healthy Slice for her monthly RUNFESSIONS!

Today is my birthday.  I'm 21 years old today.  HA! Just kidding. 36 actually.  But, for the first time in weeks it's 40 degrees!  I am ecstatic about this!  40 degrees is seriously a Minnesota Heat Wave!  Might as well get out the bikini and sun myself in the driveway with a cold one.  Yes, I have actually done that.  No judging.  I guess that falls under.....

Runfession #1.  I have laid out in the driveway with a beer in my hand!  

In all seriousness, normally on January 29th, it's colder than a witches tittie outside.  I mean.....we are talking -30 below with windchill.  So, the warm weather is a welcome one.  I am over the moon that it's warm out.  

But, here's the big Runfession #2.  I hate running outside in the frigid temperature!  Seriously.. I really do!  

I'm living in the wrong state.  I LOVE to run.  It makes me feel alive.  I post nearly everyday my post-runs on social media and usually I'm all smiles.  And, truthfully, I usually AM all smiles at the end of my run.  There is something magical about the feeling of a great workout.  What you don't see is all the bitching during the run. :)  

It's so hard to run in MN in the winter.  5 pounds of clothes so that every inch of exposed skin is covered for fear of frostbite from the windchill.  Frozen fingers, frozen toes, icy roads, snow... the list goes on.  Don't even get me started on the darkness.  I just join the dark side for 8 months.  The only light I ever see on my early morning runs is from Mid-May to Mid-September. But, I continue to learn more everyday, and in the long run feel blessed to be able to run.

This week at work, my office has been celebrating my birthday.  My amazing co-worker made me my favorite cake:  Better-than-sex-cake.  Better-than-sex?  That's debatable, but I do love me some cake. 

This is the best cake on the planet.  And,  where will you find more sugar and candy than any other work environment?  In a dental office.  In fact.... this leads me to.....

Runfession #3:  I ate the WHOLE cake! 

I am feeling unbelievably guilty.  The sweet, sweet caramel, chocolate and whipped cream. It was a party in my mouth that I couldn't get enough of.  No amount of running this week has erased this.  And, it's never happened before.  Whoops!

So, today starts a new day.  The evidence is gone and I can go back to normal eating habits.  I hope. 

I'm sure there's more this month that I could confess.... but everyone needs some secrets right?  Had fun linking up this week for Marcia's Runfesssions! Looking forward to next month!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I'm a BibRave Pro Ambassador

2016 swept in with a BANG!  
I recently found out that I was accepted to be a BibRave Pro Ambassador and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity!

You may be wondering what BibRave is?  BibRave is like Trip Advisor......only MUCH cooler!  What other place can you find and write race reviews?  NOWHERE!!  BibRave is amazing!  It's a runners heaven!  Need help deciding if that race is for you?  Want to hear insider details about the race you are interested in?  You've come to the right spot!  Check out the link and leave your own race reviews. 

As a Pro, I have the opportunity to run races for BibRave race partners as well as test out great running gear in exchange for reviews!   I have already been blessed to try out 2XU hyoptik compression pants, xx2i polarized sunglasses and a BUFF thermal hoodie!!  

Another cool feature of this group is our Facebook support.  I have made new running friends and we are there for support for each other and all things running related!  

Every Tuesday night there is a super fast-paced Twitter chat at 8pm CST where we discuss all things fitness and running related.  We'd love to have you join in using the hashtag #bibchat.  The chat goes for one hour and usually involves 5-6 questions.  If you participate, you are entered to win prizes from the sponsors for that week!  Before I became a pro, I won a race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K.  How cool is that?  This race is actually an official BibRave Sponsored race as well! 

I am very excited to see where this year will take me and so happy to be involved in such a great community of runners!  

My first official BibRave sponsored race will be the HOT DASH 10 MILE!

This race is put on by Twin Cities in Motion, the same race organizers as the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon!  The  Hot Dash 10 Mile also features a 5K option and is lumberjack themed.  Hot dish and Finnegan's beer at the end will make your belly happy!  I am looking forward to this race as I'm sure that it will NOT disappoint!

Come out and run this 10 mile race with me!  Check back on the blog soon because I will be giving away a FREE pair of Hot Dash socks! 

One last thing.... please go check out our BibRave website and don't forget to review your last race!!  We look forward to reading your thoughts!

Friday, January 22, 2016

2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Pants Review

Disclaimer:  I received 2XU_USA Hyoptik Thermal Compression pants as part of being a BibRave Pro.  
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ( ambassador ), and check out to review, find and write race reviews. 

In Minnesota, there are a few things you become accustomed to as a runner:  DARK & COLD!
And, in order to keep your training regular, you need to adapt to the dark and cold or you will go crazy on the dreadmill; aka: Treadmill.

In the spirit of the new Star Wars movie, I added a picture that sums up winters in Minnesota.  From December-March, it's only light from about 7:15am-4:30 pm.  If you're like me, you get your run in before work; in total darkness.  That's not the most desirable time for some people, but you can do it!  Just use the force and come over to the dark side.  Besides.....

We get to wear amazing reflective compression pants over here!

Read on as my full review follows: 
When I received my compression pants I was so thrilled because they are the very first pair of compression pants I've ever worn.  I am thankful for the opportunity that Bibrave has given me! I was so excited, I immediately opened the box and tried them on.  Because it was my first time ever wearing compression pants, I was surprised at the hilarity that ensued.  Ever watch a ninja run into a spider web and wave their arms and legs to try and get all the web off of them?  Neither have I.  

Ha!  But seriously, these babies are tight!  I laughed my head off trying to get them on my body; I swear it took me 3 minutes.  All joking aside, after the first wear I do feel that they "learn" your body shape and are much easier to take on and off.  They fit true to size and are quite comfortable.  For all of you moms out there----they hold in your belly amazing as well.  

These tights maintain their shape and the compression quality is as good as the day I first put them on.  I have had them now one month, and have ran many many miles in them.  I have also washed them 4 times and they still are in fantastic shape! 

The beauty of these particular running pants is the technology that 2xu delivers.  Some of the features include: 
  1. Hyoptik reflective logos for visibility
  2. Thermal layer for added warmth
  3. Compression support for greater protection to muscles
  4. Graduated compression for improved blood circulation
  5. Antibacterial and UPF50+ protection
  6. Reduced muscle soreness
  7. Heightened proprioception - awareness of limb placement for agility
The first and the last feature are two that I'd like to comment on.  90% of my running is done in total darkness!  I am a proud member of the 5am running club.  With early morning running, especially in winter, comes the darkness I was talking about.  It is extremely important to have reflective clothing on while you run outdoors.  These 2xu tights are just the ticket!  They add a great element of reflection with the hyoptik technology and have been an excellent addition to my training. 

    As you can see from the photos above, I reflect nicely so that cars can see me on the road.  In my opinion, this is a very appealing feature of these tights!  When I purchase running tights, I always look for reflective properties!  

    The other feature of these tights that I found fascinating is the ability for me to really feel my legs.  I know that this sounds silly, but it's true.  I truly have heightened proprioception when I wear these compression pants.  I feel faster.  My legs move smoother. I have a bounce in my step.  I can run like a cheetah!  Wouldn't that be awesome??  I really do feel like I can take on my run so much better when I wear these pants.  

    Cold weather in Minnesota is real. Very real.  These pants have a soft brushed thermal layer for added warmth and they are very comfortable.  I frequently run in temperatures ranging from 0-30 degrees and I have never had a problem staying warm while wearing these!   

    The price tag on these compression pants is $139.95.  They are on the higher end of the running gear spectrum, but I have always thought that you really do get what you pay for and I know you would not be disappointed with this purchase!  These have become a regular staple in my running wardrobe and I am excited to purchase more 2xu products.

    Make sure you check out BibRave to write your race reviews!  
    While your at it, give us a share too!

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    Finding the QUALITY in Your Running

    In three short weeks, my marathon training will begin.  In three short weeks, I can officially say "I'm training for my first marathon."  

    For this post, I'm linking up with Deb for her Wednesday Word:  QUALITY.  
    I have been blessed with some pretty amazing women that I call friends and they push me past my limits of running.  They make me better.  They make me laugh.  They have been factors in my success with running.  Their un-wavering dedication motivates me to get out of bed and out the door to hit the pavement!  Some days, I feel that they are the main reason I love running.  Running is part of my life.  I'm lost without it.  I would be lost without my running friends. 

    With the marathon only 5 short months away, I am finding myself reflecting on the quality of my running.  Are my runs doing enough?  Are they too comfortable?  Do they push me past my comfort zone which allows me to get better?  Do they help me achieve my own personal greatness in running?  Susan, my trainer and friend says, trust the the miles, show up, get it done and you will finish.  

    My sub-4 marathon still lingers in my brain.   I don't know if that goal will ever go away.  It may get a bit more realistic and change to finishing, but it's always there.  Is the quality of my running there though?  In the next 5 months I am going to focus on making my training runs matter.  My friend Christian, who is also a track coach, told me to avoid the "junk" miles.  "If you can read a book while running, you might as well be resting."   Those are his words, but they really hit my heart.  Sure, if you're running at a comfortable pace you're still burning calories, but are you improving?  What do you think?  

    The marathon is just as much mental as it is endurance. His philosophy is to work on the quality of your running so that you can focus on the mental aspect.  Your body will do so much more if you just put your mind to it. 
    Have you ever run a race and a few short miles from the finish line thought... "I can't possibly go more miles?"   I think this all the time.  I think our mind plays tricks on us.  No matter my distance, I always feel fatigued before the finish line.   It's like my mind prepares for a certain distance and that's it, it tells my body no more.   I'm hoping that mentally, I'll be better prepared for the marathon because I will know ahead of time it's 26.2 miles.  Not 15, not 18, 26.freaking2!!!! 

    In the past few weeks, I have looked at the training calendar/plan I swear 25 times.  No joke.  I have even written my weekly goals down and planned out the next five months of my life to fit in my long runs so that I am leaving the least amount of burden on my husband and my children.  

    My focus moving forward is going to be on quality miles.  Currently, my training calls for 5 days of running and two days of rest.  I have hill day, sprint day, easy day, long run day and tempo day.   The calendar is packed!  I'm most worried about my tempo runs. Tempo runs need to force you out of your comfort zone, if you can carry on a conversation, you're not running hard enough.  However, the tempo runs needs to be sustained for 20-40 minutes.  I think for me this is around the 8:20 pace.   I'll be finding out soon enough!

    I'm going to allow myself days where I fail, but I'm also going to remember that you don't achieve greatness in one single step.  It takes practice and dedication.  It takes a strong mind.  It will take dedication, sacrifice, sweat, tears.  It will take focus on the quality of miles;  not the number.

    I am up for the challenge. 

    In three short weeks,  I will be putting one foot in front of the other.  

    I will train. 

    One step at a time, until that finish line.   

    Friday, January 8, 2016

    Fighting that Winter Wind, Cold and Snow? I Have Your Solution!

    Disclaimer:  I received the Buff Thermal Hoodie to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ( ambassador ), and check out to review, find and write race reviews. 

    Those of you who have been following my blog or my social pages know that I live in Minnesota.  Minnesota has some great nicknames:  The Frozen Tundra or Minne-SNOW-ta, just to name a few!  You can also think of Minnesota with the Slogan:  "Minnesota: One day it's warm, the rest of the year it's cold." 

     The last statement isn't exactly true.  We have absolutely beautiful seasons and the summer in Minnesota is spectacular.  However,  the winters can be absolutely brutal and a bit dreadful at times.  Our temperatures vary from the extremely cold -30 below all the way into the upper 30's.  As a runner, I hate the treadmill, so the outdoors is where I go.  This forces me to find creative and warm clothes to keep jack frost from nipping at my nose! 

    And, THAT is where my Buff Thermal Hoodie comes in!  BUFF _USA gave me this awesome BUFF because I am a BibRave Pro.  My nose is free from "nipping" with this awesome accessory!

     Don't mind me, I felt like a ninja!  

    One of the fantastic features of this buff is that it is a two-in-one:  a hoodie and a baclava of sorts.   For me, this works perfectly!  I can keep my head nice and toasty, but also shield my neck and face from the frigid winds of Minnesota winters!  I am able to breath through the lightweight fabric well and if I need a breather, I just gently pull it down under my nose.  

    I had to laugh at the picture above because there truly are times that I feel this way.  I have laid in bed after the alarm several times debating on if I'd venture out in the cold, wind and snow.  However, if you have great gear like the Thermal Hoodie Buff from BUFF_USA the very cold temperatures are enjoyable.  Did I just say freezing temperatures are enjoyable?  Well, they are and they can be!

    My first morning out, I had a whopping -1 degree forecast. Yes, you read that right NEGATIVE ONE DEGREE!   I wasn't worried, I had all the correct gear to wear and I was very excited to test out my new hoodie!  

    After the run.  Ice crystals formed on the mask! :)
    I had 5 miles planned for that morning, so I laced up and jumped out the door.  At first, I was skeptical that the hood would stay in place when I ran.  It absolutely does. The hood is made from a very soft fleece-like material and it did a great job at keeping me warm and shielding the wind.  I used the face guard for most of my run, and only pulled it down a few times.  

    My only criticism, I say this loosely, would be that the tassels that cinch the hood tighter flew up and hit me during my run.  I quickly realized that this would be a deal breaker for me if I couldn't find a place to "stash" them.  I was able to place them down my neck and they were out of the way and I didn't notice them after that.  

    I tweeted about my first running experience with Buff about a week ago.  I was pleased that Buff responded to my tweet and we briefly discussed the tassels.  They had great costumer service and feedback regarding my input.  I'm not sure they intended it be used for runners, but I'm here to tell you it's my newest and one of the most important running accessories I own.  

    I absolutely will be wearing this outside often for my runs!  Make sure to check it out!  It gets my "runner  stamp-of-approval." 

    Make sure you check out BibRave to write your race reviews!  While your at it, give us a share too! 


    Monday, January 4, 2016

    Winter Running is Ass-Tastic!

    Winter in Minnesota is absolutely BRUTAL.  No, not everyday.  But many days the best way for me to describe winter in Minnesota is by the word "ass-tastic."  Yes.  Ass-tastic.  I said it.   Ass-tastic! This is my sarcastic for fantastic!  I am NOT kidding.

    Some days are so cold my teeth hurt.  My eyeballs feel as if they are going to fall right out of my head because they freeze on contact.  Yes, that last one is a bit of an exaggeration.  But, my skin is dry, my hands crack and bleed, I rarely shave my legs.  True story.  Want more?

    Sometimes, it's so cold I can't feel my legs when I run.  Last year, my right nostril froze during a negative -8 degree run.  Sometimes, I take comfort in my warm hair dryer.  

    The act of simply strapping my children into their carseats ---in.the.garage.--- HURTS.  We don't even open the garage door for more time than it takes to actually pull the car in and out!   My cheerful mood can go from sweet, friendly, labrador retriever to raging pitbull in a matter of seconds!
    Just for comparison, how did your run go this morning? This was mine. :)

    Ok, Ok I'm complaining a bit.  Can't a girl complain?  BUT,  my point is.  Sometimes situations SUCK.  You can't control them.  Everything goes wrong in your day!  What you CAN control is how you adapt to your situation.  You CAN change your situation. You CAN make your day great!  Go after your goals even if it means it sucks every once in a while.  Even if it means you run in crazy cold temperatures.  I only couldn't feel my face for a few hours after my run this morning. :)  Just kidding.  I was fine, just being dramatic.  

    I'm chasing my marathon goals and a girl's got to run!  Nothing can stop me now!  Even the projected forecast for next week!

    You can do anything you put your mind to!  Go out and make your day great, no matter your challenges!