Friday, August 18, 2017

Snazzy! Pizzazy! Pack Run Hat

Disclaimer:  I received the UV BUFF® Pack Run Hat from Buff_USA ® 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.

I do love all things BUFF ®.  It wasn't a surprise that when I received the newest product, I would love it instantly!  The pack run hat is ultra light-weight, wicking and very compressible.  It  comes in 4 different snazzy colors and if you're anything like me, you'll want the brightest color!  It also has reflective properties!  The majority of my runs are in the wee morning hours when it's dark, so the extra reflection is a huge plus for me!

I have worn this hat in very hot weather, during rain storms and during cooler morning runs and it has performed very well.  My head never felt hot and it's so wicking that after my runs the hat is actually drenched!  It washes well, although I've always hand washed it - I'm slightly OCD that way.

I do love that this hat has a bit of pizazz to it as well!  I'm not the most hip person at 37 years old.  I'm not sure that this mom of two could actually pull off the look that I went with here, but it was sure fun trying.  Can you see the BUFF ® trademark logo on the underside of the brim?

Here are a few specs:

  • Lightweight, weighs only ONE ounce
  • Packable with a crushable brim that regains its shape for reliable sun protection
  • 4-way stretch fabric for comfort
  • UPF 50 protection
  • Fastwick fabric side panels wicks away moisture and improves breathability
  • Low profile sweatband keeps perspiration out of eyes
  • Adjustable elastic cord at back for comfort fit
  • Reflective tabs

My ONLY reservation with this hat is that I just don't really like the way it looks on me.  It's absolutely fabulous with it's other properties!  Nonetheless, I do see myself continuing to wear it.  The brim of the hat is designed to block the sun from your eyes and it really does  great job.  However,  it sits very low on my head.  I know that it sounds vain, but I love my fashion when running.  Isn't that part of the fun? 

This hat is reasonably priced at $32 and would definitely be extra awesome in very hot and sunny climates due to it remarkable ability to wick and keep the runner cool! 

If you would like to win one for yourself!  Make sure to check out our #bibchat on Tuesday, August 22nd, at 8 PM CST.  We'd love to have you! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Feel the OO-la-la!

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

It's NO secret that I am absolutely in LOVE with these sandals.  Full - on love affair.  If you want to here more about my love for these shoes, you can read my first review here.

However, for this review, I am going to concentrate on the technology behind the OOFOS shoes. These shoes were designed for the workout enthusiast and were built to reduce stress and aide recovery to the body part that takes the most abuse during long hard training sessions.  They are perfect for any runner and of course any other person looking to have their feet feel pampered!

Oofos are 37% more shock absorbing than traditional foam.  They have a raised arch that perfectly fits your foot and I personally can feel the ultimate comfort the moment I put them on!  The technology behind OOFOS shoes absorb impact, giving your tired and achy feet some much needed relaxation!

I will speak from experience when I say that these shoes really do help with recovery; just like they say they do!  I wore them after my marathon and I definitely felt a bounce in my step.  Dare I say I had less delayed onset muscle soreness?!?!  The OOFOS shoes for SURE helped aide in my recovery.

I've gone as far to say in recent tweets that I wish I had a pair in every color.  I like simplicity and I like comfort and these two features are accommodated with this shoe!  They come in a variety of different styles and a variety of different colors. You are SURE to find a shoe that fits your fancy!

The OOFOS Oolala sandals are my go-to shoes!  Especially, since in MN, right now it's summer and the weather screams sandals!  This meme made me laugh.  I think you're a Minnesotan if you wear sandals until your toes start to freeze!   Is this just a Minnesota thing?  I guess our winters are just so cold, we hold on to every bit of summer that we can!  OOFOS to the rescue!

You will not be disappointed if you purchase a OOFOS shoe.  I have already gifted my own mother and my mother-in-law with these shoes and they have gotten glowing reviews!

If you want to learn more and win a pair for yourself, make sure to check out #bibchat on Tuesday, August 15th!  8PM CST. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Live a Life You're PROUD of!

Hey there!  It's me!  Remember me? 
I'm alive! I really am! 

Well, I guess holy cow!  Where did the summer go?  It's August 3rd?  I'm still scratching my head wondering that very question.  Between completing my 2nd marathon in June, diving in head first into my online health and fitness coaching, working full-time, and spending as much time with my kids as I can ---  nothing else has happened.  I'm enjoying every second of this summer and that's a good thing!  But, I have missed blogging.  So... here I am.  Helllloooo!! I've missed ALL of you! 

What's new with me?  Even though I'm not blogging regularly, most of you know that I've recently starting my own online health and fitness coaching business.  WOW!  I never dreamed it would be as fulfilling as it has been!  The best part of it all is that I get to join other amazing women and motivate them to their own personal successes in health and fitness!  How COOL is that?!?!

So, what am I doing?  I'm using Beachbody programs via the On Demand programs and drinking the super food Shakeology.  I haven't felt this good in years!  Plus, my heart is FULL with the good fortune that my groups have brought it's members.

What do I do?  Monthly,  I run accountability groups and we all work together to push ourselves to our limits!  We see results, we love on each other and it's as simple as that!  It's so much fun to see their smiling faces in the morning after a good sweat session!  

I'm learning so much more about myself in the process and realizing that I do have what it takes to be a great motivator!  My glass is always half full and I try to see the good in all situations.  I work hard to add value to my social messages and post content that engages my followers.  Currently, my team is growing and I can't wait to see it grow more.  I'm very excited for the mentoring aspect of this business as well.  

I really could ramble on and on about what BeachBody has done for me.  Instead... I'll plug a shameless invite!!  My next group is starting on Monday, August 14th.  We will focus on the program that started it all.  21 DAY FIX.  In this group you will learn how to portion control and lose weight while connecting with women who all want the same thing!  I'd love to have you!! 

Just check out my results from only 3 weeks on the program!  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hot Chocolate 2018 Here I COME!

Disclaimer:  I get to run Hot Chocolate 5K/15K  in Minneapolis on April 2018
as part of being a BibRave Pro.
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador),
and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.

For the most part, my huge race season of 2017 is already over.   I know... you're saying - "wait a minute.... there is 6 months left in the year?"  But you see, here's the thing....

I had so much preparation leading up to my recent marathon a few weeks ago,  I had little time to focus on anything else.   I promised my family that after my June marathon, I would take it easy in the training department and just run for fun!  

Run for FUN!  I can't think of a better way to run for FUN than to run a Hot Chocolate Race!  I first ran this race back in 2015 and loved every minute of it.  Plus, the post-race medals for the 15K finishers were "BLING" enough for me to register.  In addition, the 15K is a fantastic distance for me because it requires little extra training, as I usually can pick up and run 9 miles at anytime.

I was disappointed in 2016 when an injury gave me my very first DNS.  Major bummer.  Then again this year in April, this race fell on Easter weekend.  In my book, family is always more important than a race, so it was a year that I again could not run it.

April 2018 is my year!  YES!  I'm coming for you Hot Chocolate and I can't wait!

If you're looking for a great race with awesome gear!  Check this one out.  Here are a few highlights!

  • Amazing medal

  • Great Finisher Shirts
  • Post race chocolate!  YES!

It might seem a bit crazy to think about running a race that is still 10 months away... but I say GO FOR IT!  It's a great race!

Plus!!  For bonus SWAG, use CODE "BRHCMINN18" for this super cute baseball cap!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grandma's Marathon - A Race to Remember!

Disclaimer:  I ran Grandma's Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.
Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador),
and check out BibRave to review, find and write race reviews.

What a weekend it was.  It's almost impossible to put into words the emotion of the race!

I have so many wonderful memories from this weekend, it doesn't seem fair to only touch on a few.  But,  just so this post isn't pages long,  I will try to be succinct.

I have written a full review on and it is here  if you'd like to check out all of the logistics of the race.  Grandma's Marathon is a fantastic event and if it's not on your bucket list, it should be.

This was the first race I have ever recorded a post-race video.  I'm not exactly sure why I even decided to record the moments after the finish, but I am so glad I did.   I've played this moment back many times since the finish and I still get emotional.

Many of you reading this know that in the final five weeks before the race, my knee was hurting.  I was struggling to even finish 5-6 miles at a time, my marathon finish looked bleak.  I had trained smarter, not harder this training season.  I was doing everything right, but still my knee had other ideas.   Even going into race weekend, I had doubts on whether or not my knee would "let" me finish.

Without my knowledge, my family had already discussed how to handle my emotions if I didn't finish.  For weeks leading up to the race, my husband was very concerned that I was going to even attempt to finish.  I promised him that I would not run through pain.  When I got to the expo, I made sure to immediately seek out help with taping and stabilizing my knee. 

What made this race so unique for me was all of the fanfare leading up to it.  I had several meet-ups planned and couldn't wait to get the festivities underway.  First, I met up with some of the Bibrave crew - some I have met before, others I have not.  This is such a great organization to be a part of and I just love everyone in the group!  Here we are at the finish.  Congrats to Julia ( 3rd from left ) who smashed the race and finished 18th overall female with a time of 2:58:10.  This girl is a rockstar!!

I was also very excited to meet-up with a few other bloggers and friends you all know well!  Rachel from Running On Happy and Kim from Kim Runs on the Fly.  These girls are so fantastic!  I have met Kim once before at another race but it was my first time meeting Rachel.  Here are some of the pictures from the weekend with the girls!

 Would you just LOOK at the artwork that Kim made?  She is so artistic!  I actually was very excited that she brought her chalk as I admire her art on Instagram all the time!

The other set of feet you see belong to Kim's good friend Barb!  She was also amazing and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

I was fortunate enough to be able to room with Kim and Barb right on Lake Superior in a bed and breakfast.   How cool is that?!?

This picture was taken by Rachels' husband.  After I introduced myself to him, Rachel said he asked where I was from.   This was the joke of the weekend.  Apparently, my Minnesota accent is so thick,  I sound like I'm right out of the movie Fargo.  Hey girls..... you betcha!   And, when will I see you all again Eh??  And..... you're right Rachel - "Marathons are DUMB. "  LOL

Due to my lack of miles the last five weeks of training, I went into this race with zero expectations.  As Coach Marcia said to me " the hay is in the barn. "  I definitely had trained hard for 15 weeks leading to the race, but I also knew that my dreams of a sub-4 were a bit off base.  I modified my race plan  to.... "let's just finish. "   My typical training runs were usually around 8:50 - 9:00 min/miles.  For this race,  I wanted to start out conservative; my goal was 9:30's-9:45's.  I figured the easier pace would conserve my knee and I could play the later miles by ear.  My new race plan in the my head was a 4:20 finish. 

Remember when I said this race was emotional?  By mile 9, my knee was still feeling fantastic and this cued the first set of tears.  I was so happy that I had gotten 9 miles into the race without knee pain, I just couldn't contain the emotion.  I quickly pulled it together and kept a steady head - maintaining my pace.

By mile 15, with no knee pain, I knew this was my race.  Cue tears.  I repeated, "this is MY race, this is MY time" the entire rest of the way.   Shortly after mile 15, someone yelled you are on pace for 4:20.  I was ecstatic!  I just couldn't believe it.

Because I ran the marathon last year,  I was familiar with the course.  As I approached mile 20, I was just under 3:30.  It was at that time that I knew a course PR was well within my reach.

Approaching the last 0.2 miles of the course, spectators lining the rails - once again my emotions got the best of me!  I wanted to be done.  I seriously couldn't take another step.   But, the pure joy of that finish line is something I won't ever forget.

This race was MY race.  The deck was stacked against me.  I had my doubts.  It was my will for that finish line that got me through this race.   I would have crawled over it if I had to.

My official finish time was 4:37:00.  A 23 minute PR from last year.

Ecstatic, elated, emotional.  All the feels.   This was by far the most memorable race in my career.   I'm not sure that any other one will be quite this special.  

I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of YOU!  Especially a few of you who have supported me that little extra during this marathon training.  Wendy,  you were so missed, but you were with me every single step.  I love you from afar!  Marcia, your advice resonated with me.  Thank you for taking your time to coach me through the emotions.  I know I've singled out a few, but you all are so special to me.  My own little corner of the blogging universe.  I enjoy each and every one of you and you were all with me on race day! 

Now, will you just look at that beauty!  It will be treasured forever.   And, yes.... I wore it ALL day!  I even contemplated sleeping in it!  I should have because I was so sore, I could barely sleep Saturday night anyway!   I'm happy to report that on this Wednesday eve, I'm finally walking like  a normal person. :)

Will there be a next marathon?  That's up for debate.  Hmmmmm........?????

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Adidas Ultraboost X - Review

Disclaimer:  I received the Adidas UltraboostX from Adidas 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.

Running shoes are as important to a runner as a banana is to a monkey; as white is to rice or a moth to a flame.   In fact, it's not uncommon for an avid runner to have multiple pair of running shoes in their monthly mileage rotation. 

I know that I currently have three pair in my rotation.  I am always seeking out the perfect pair to add to my collection.  When Bibrave gave me the opportunity to test these light and sleek UltrasboostX, I was super pumped! 

What makes these unique is the new adaptive arch that is designed to hug your foot.  It also allows the runner to feel supported on the run.  As you can see from the photo above, these shoes are sock-like.  They fit my foot perfectly and the first time I put them on I could feel the comfort!  I regularly wear these out-and-about without socks. 

I will admit, at first try on, they felt a bit snug.  They did require a tug and adjust to feel just right.   I ordered true to size at 9.5.  My regular shoe size is 9, but I always size up 1/2 size when I purchase running shoes.  Reading other reviews online, some comments were that these shoes run small.  I can see how they 'feel' a bit snug at first, but the toe box was perfect length for me and they were tremendously comfortable.  My big toe had ample room toe move up and down. 

The sock-like feel of the shoe is like no other shoe in my arsenal.  I do have to wear thin socks however, because if I have too much cushion, it got distracting and I felt like the shoe was too tight on the top of my foot.  

They are really a beautiful shoe.  Being the girly-girl that I am, I am very happy that I went with the orange color.   They do come in black as well as gray.

The shoe had their maiden voyage on the treadmill when I completed a one mile sprint.  These shoes had an incredible bounce to them and I really enjoyed my first run wearing them.  They are ultra light-weight and have the right amount of support for the treadmill for sure!

Throughout this last month, these shoes have been to several spin classes, some cross-fit and to the grocery store.  Because they are so comfortable, I reach for them to even run errands.   Today, I even got complimented at spin class.  I know theses shoes aren't designed for spin, but the traction control in the pedals is great!   Plus they are breathable, which I like.  I also don't have super sweaty socks when I'm done wearing them and that is always a bonus!

My sister and I at spin class

I feel as though these shoes handle well on the road and have great traction.  My only disappointment was that they seemed to bother my arch with longer runs stretching over 7-8 miles.  If I concentrated on tempo runs with shorter mileage,  they were comfortable and light.  Would that deter me from purchasing these shoes?  No.  But, I do feel that I need more cushion and rise for my mileage.  I don't necessary think that this is a shoe 'flaw.' 

These shoes are a neutral shoe; as are all of the shoes in my current running rotation.  Could the sore arch have been a fluke?  Maybe.  But, with marathon training in full swing,  I didn't want to take a chance, so I stuck to shorter mileage with these shoes. 

Here are some specs:

  • Neutral Running Shoe
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Primeknit flawless fit
  • Breathable
  • Second-skin experience
  • Adapts to foot strike
  • Great traction

For a girly-girl like me, these shoes are super stylish and comfortable.  I love the versatility that I have in this shoe because it easily goes from treadmill, to road, to spin bike and to the store.  

I do feel that these shoes are a bit pricey at $180.  Yes, running shoes ARE expensive and you do get what you pay for.  However, in a market with many shoe brands to chose from, I feel that the price tag may be the biggest deterrent of these shoes - ultimately making many consumers not even give them a fair shot when they really do have so much to offer.

If you are looking for a great, light and adaptive shoe,  certainly give these a try!  I will continue to wear these for the coming months ahead.   When they have worn out and ran their last mile, they will be placed alongside my other fallen comrades in the shoe graveyard in my closet.  :) 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Beat the Afternoon Munchies

Sponsored Post:  This post is sponsored by Quest Nutrition, 
but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

We've all been there.  It's three in the afternoon.  Our stomachs are growling.  Our energy is fading. We could sink into our covers, pull the sheets over our heads and crash for an afternoon nap.  But, who has time to do that?  Certainly not me!  I'm a busy working mother who can use all the help I can get!  I need a hero in my corner, and I've found that Quest Hero Bars are just the ticket! 

I've been in this situation so many times!  Especially in the afternoon, my mind is full with chocolate candies dancing and potato chips crunching.  Unfortunately, when I get "hangry," I don't make the best afternoon snack choices.  I find myself craving everything in sight!  Most always, in order to get me out of the slump, I reach for high calorie, sugary fixes.   Not anymore! 

I'm now on a quest with delicious protein bars!  I have found just the right balance to help me fight off the sugary cravings!  

What makes Quest Hero Bars unique?  Allulose.  But what IS allulose?  It's a natural sweetener found in some fruits and it contains almost zero calories.  It has a bold sweet taste without the calories.  Allulose is not absorbed when eaten.  From your lips, straight through and NOT to your hips.   How great is that?  Plus, they taste like a sinful decadent dessert without any guilt!  

My favorite is the Chocolate Caramel Pecan!  Just look at the yummy, gooey goodness! Each bar has a delicious chocolate coating and a satisfying protein center. 

They contain between 170-200 calories.  They also have 10-11 grams of fiber and a whopping 15-17 grams of protein.  They fill me up and leave me satisfied!  I usually eat them on my way home from work and can't wait to pull it out of my purse and rip the wrapper. 

These bars come in three perfect flavors:  Chocolate Caramel Pecan, Vanilla Caramel and Blueberry Cobbler. ( pictured below )

If you are looking for more information please visit the link here.  You will not be disappointed you gave these a try!  

If you want a decadent paradise with every bite, these are for you!  Next time that afternoon sugary craving strikes, grab your favorite hero and melt away with the flavors!  

Friday, June 2, 2017

HEY! Where the HECK have I been?!

Hey there!  Where the HECK have I been?!?

It has been FOREVER, one month to be exact, since I've written anything in my blog. 
I've missed you all and I've missed writing so much! 

Life has really gotten in the way and the first time-suck to go was blogging. 
I mean that in the most loving way possible.
But let's face it... it's time-consuming to write often. 

Gosh, so much has happened in the last month, I won't bore you with all of the details, but I'll fill you in a bit.  My month of May was full of twists and turns and ups and downs.  

It was filled with lots of this....

Some of this.....

And....... maybe a bit TOO much of this.....


I've also been plagued with yet ANOTHER injury.  Seriously universe?  You can stop anytime now please!  More on that later, I'm on the mend. 

The beginning of May, my husband and I traveled to Colorado ( our favorite place ) and Utah for a getaway alone.  Fortunately, between both sets of our parents, we are able to travel with little worry about our two chicklets at home! 

During our trip,  I checked Colorado off my "states I've run" list.  The 5500 ft. of elevation gain from my flat-land of Minnesota is no joke.  The race went very well; as I finished my half-marathon in a time of 2:00:48.  I was pretty darn happy with that because it's only about 5 minutes off a half PR for me and at elevation, I really couldn't complain.  

Of course, we had to travel into the snowy mountains for an epic post-race pic! LOL

And... the medal is my favorite!

Strangely, and completely out of the blue, during the race, my knee decided to act a bit wonky.  By the 11 mile water stop, I knew that I had to be done for the day.  I was starting to develop a stabbing pain on the lateral side of my leg;  IT band issues I'm certain.   I pushed through the last 2 miles to the finish and pretty much collapsed at the finish line.  My knee just said "FORGET IT, I'M DONE!" 

Consequently, I've spent the better part of the last 3 1/2 weeks rehabbing my knee -  and worrying, and rehabbing, and worrying, and crying.   All of the above, incessantly.  Isn't that what runners do??

My dream of a sub-4 hour Grandma's Marathon finish is looking pretty bleak.  But, I haven't given up yet.  You know when you see a sign from the universe that gives you a glimmer of hope in an ever so huge and overwhelming world?  The kind that just stops you in your tracks?

Last week, this was my sign.  Right out my front door.  It was the most amazing rainbow I think I have ever seen.  Of course this picture doesn't do it justice.  But, I realized just how blessed my life is. After a few weeks of moping around, I came up with a plan to get to that Grandma's finish line. 

The last few weeks, I have been focusing ALL of my energy into getting the knee stronger.  I'm certain it's an IT band issue, and with rolling, stretching and strength training,  it is slowly getting better.  I've even been able to run pain free the last few runs!  

Due to my increasing injury rate, I've also had to re-evaluate how I train.  Up until a few weeks ago, I really have only been a runner.  Logging mile after mile after mile.  I love to run.  I live to run.  But, I'm not getting stronger.  I'm not becoming a more efficient runner.  

I've been contemplating joining the BeachBody ranks for a very long time now.  I figured, no time better than the present.  I'm loving my programs at my fingertips.  I'm loving what Shakeology has done for my nutrition.   Overall, I'm feeling better.  PLUS - since starting the 21 day fix I'm down 4 1/2 pounds.  Yeah Baby!   

Just to celebrate,  I did a little "Flex Friday" at the cabin this weekend.  *Note:  I may have had a bit too much of my favorite cocktail before taking this photo.  I really can be a cheese-ball sometimes. 

I'm conditioning and strengthening muscles I didn't even know existed.  Shoulder push-ups?  Who knew?!  I guess having an injury isn't all that bad because it's forced me to focus my energy somewhere else. 

As it stands right now, Grandma's Marathon is just 15 days away.   I plan on having an absolute BLAST in Duluth in two weeks.  I have a plan of attack for my marathon finish and I will give it all I have.  Trust me,  I will drag myself across that finish line if I have to.   Plus, I get to meet up with some other awesome people too!  Wendy you will be so SO missed.  Rachel and Kim we are going to have so much fun! 

When life throws lemons, I flex, flash a smile and make some lemonade - even though it may have RUM in it. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

UV Protection, Moisture Wicking, Mosquito Repelling!

Disclaimer:  I received the UV Buff arm sleeves from Buff_USA 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.

These arm sleeves were a product I was excited to review for a few reasons!  First, the most obvious, is because BUFF products are just plain awesome.  Second, I really like the idea of the added warmth of arm sleeves. Third, well... because in Minnesota early morning runs are still quite chilly.  I want to rock shorts and tank tops and these sleeves help me do that!  

The morning I snapped the picture above, the weather was perfect.  48 degrees was just a bit too chilly with only a tank top and shorts.  However, it was absolutely perfect for my arms sleeves!  

What makes these arm sleeves so cool? 

  • UPF 40+ sun protection (put them on when it's cooler, but benefit when it heats up) 
  • Moisture-Wicking
  • Antimicrobial
  • Packable
  • Machine-Washable ( I also lay flat to dry ) 
  • Comfortable elastic arm band ( I did use a bit of Body Glide - just in case ) 
  • Reflective technology ( I love this feature ) 

I have really enjoyed testing these sleeves over the past few weeks.  I even found a comical but extremely useful benefit - MOSQUITO REPELLENT!

My last run was a nice 6-miler in the Northwoods.  Let me tell you... I completely forgot how gigantic and ruthless the mosquitos are here.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the arm sleeves make a pretty fantastic barrier for those little blood suckers.  *Note: bring your BUFF arm sleeves when running or hiking in the woods.  Who knew!?

It is pretty easy to find your measurements for these sleeves. If you look on the website here I have included the direct link for sizing. 

I measured 11 1/2 inches and ordered a size M/L.  They fit me great.  They are not too tight at the top of my arms and they give me a nice light compression as well. 

In my opinion, if you are close to another size, I would size up.   However, (in my completely non-scientific thinking,) unless you have thimble size arms, I would say that the majority of women would be in a size M/L and the men would be wearing a L/XL.   

Nonetheless, please make sure you give your upper arm a good measurement so you have a good idea on your personal sizing. 

Lets talk about reflection shall we? 

BUFF sure knows how to do gear right!  You can see in this photo that even in low-light conditions, I have reflection at the top of my sleeve.   For me, I ALWAYS look for reflective gear because it is so important for my visibility during my early morning runs.

You may be wondering - "Do the arm sleeves sag or fall down?"  In my experience, they do not.  In actuality, I hardly knew they were on!  However, this is where sizing is important. You want to find that the sleeve fits snug, but doesn't strangle your arm either.  There is nothing worse than a wardrobe malfunction mid-run.  We've all been there.  

I will also note that I DID where Body Glide at the top elastic edge, but this was only for precaution.  Chaffing anywhere is a nuisance,  so I covered my bases just in chase. 

I have tested many BUFF products recently and these are definitely a favorite of mine.  At $24.99 you can't go wrong and I am happy to add them to my daily running attire. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It Takes An Army

I can do hard things.  Really hard things.  

Let's face it.  Running and life is hard.  But, the hard is what makes it great!   

This week I didn't focus on running.  To be honest,  I have been pretty damn scared that all of my hard training would be in the toilet because of my stupid shin.   I've touched my shin five-thousand times in the last two weeks.  'Is it hurt?'  'Am I sore?'  'Stress reaction?' ' Shin splint?'   The uncertainty consumed me. 

I drove myself mad.  I ran very few miles to continue nursing my "maybe-I'm-hurt" leg.  This new found madness forced me to focus on other areas of my fitness.  I am still attending my weekly kick-boxing class where I once again thought that calf raises were a good thing.  LOL - My goodness, I was sore!  I have also been focusing at home on core strength and have been working on my plank skills and pushups.   It's a whole new kind of sore.  

Amidst all the chaos that is life and marathon training,  I have learned an invaluable lesson.   It takes an army.  

Running and training for a marathon is not a one-man job.   Of course,  I am in control of my success. I am the one actually running the race.  I am the one with the 4:45 am wake-up calls on a Saturday morning.   I am the one with the sore muscles.   am the one who cries tears of joy after accomplishing such a feat.  I cross the finish line.   

But, we've all heard that there is no "I" in team.  There is no "I" in army.    I would never accomplish completing a marathon without the ones around me.  

My most important army is my husband and my kids.   I do try to do most of my training runs early in the morning before work and before my family is out of bed for the day.   Unfortunately,  that can't happen for my long runs.  Long runs are time consuming!  A three-hour run, then turns into an ice bath, followed by a shower and a huge breakfast to restore depleted calories.  Those Saturday long runs are entire morning commitments. 

I run knowing that my family is fine and my husband has it under control.   Sometimes, my mother and father-in-law help too.  It really does take an army. 

And, then there's YOU!  My internet army.  My friends in our little corner of the internet.   Some I've met,  some I can't wait to meet.  I couldn't do this training without YOU!  I value all of the advice.  I love the compassion, the camaraderie,  the joy,  the tears.  All of it.  If it weren't for my running and blogging friends near and far,  I simply couldn't do it.  So, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.  Thank you! 

Saturday, I had an important 20 mile training run on the plan.  I didn't want to skip it due to my nagging shin.  But, I also wanted to be smart as well.  Grandma's Marathon is only 7 weeks away.  My training is ramping up in mileage.  I knew that I would be disappointed if I didn't at least try to run the miles.  My shin was feeling good after 5 days rest,  so I went for it. 

My plan was to take it easy, see how it felt after a few miles, and go from there.  I only ran Monday this week and the run was fantastic with great tempo splits.  5 days off did me good.  

I finished my 20 miles in 3:08:18.  9:25 per mile.  The first 16 miles were at marathon pace 9:09, which made me very happy.  I really struggled to complete the last 4 miles though.  My body was cramping from my hips to my knees.  I had strange cramping on the inside of my quads even.   My running partner told me that she only saw me eat once during the 10 miles she ran with me.  She literally willed me to keep going and pointed out that if I could continue, I should.   She knew that I would be so disappointed in myself if I didn't get to 20.  

She was right.  I didn't eat enough the 2nd half of my run.  Fueling is a weakness.  I need to work on it.   It takes an army.  If it weren't for Heather and her encouragement,  I would have stopped at 17 miles and walked home.    After the run she texted me this,  

"Holy shit.  You're hard core.  I KNEW you would've been so upset with yourself if you hadn't hit 20.  I was prepared to drag you by the pony tail if I had to.  In a completely loving way, or course. " 

I texted right back.  

"THANK YOU!!! Seriously, I love you!"

You see, we can do hard things.  It sometimes take an army.   We can make our minds and our bodies do crazy things if we work hard.    Surround yourself with family and friends who "get" you and the sky is the limit.

I am happy to report, other than the fact that I'm walking like a 100 year old grandma and I'm sore in the most crazy places,  I have no shin pain.  WAHOO!!

Well, army - thank you!

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Shin Splints, Stress Reaction, OR Overly Cautious - that IS the question?!!

Grandma's Marathon is important to me. 
Honestly, there are days that I'm consumed with thoughts of the finish line. 
Those of you who have been following me along my journey would be living under a rock if it wasn't blatantly obvious just how much it means to me. 

However, marathon training - like life, throws you curve balls.  
This week my emotions have been tested. 

Monday's workout was truly amazing; almost effortless.   I wanted to do some speed work because it had been a while since I'd tested my tempo pace for a consistent 3-4 miles.  However,  I decided to do hill repeats instead.  My thoughts were that if the hill repeats went well,  I could sprint home.

The morning was crisp and cool.  My breathing was perfect, my legs were fresh.  Even after five  - 3/4 mile repeats I was able to tempo home for more than a mile at 8:15 pace.  If runs could be rated A+ this was it.   Plus - say hello to the sunrise.  I cannot tell you how excited I am that it's light when I get home from my run!  

I was looking forward to Tuesday because I knew that I could run easy and relax.  Not right away, but about 2-3 miles into the run, I could feel my legs get tighter.  My shins were not painful and I had no problem running, but we all know our bodies and I just "knew" something was a bit off. After my run, I knew that I would be taking at LEAST one day off.  Turns out, I took Wednesday and Thursday to rest and recover. 

All day at work, in any spare time I had,  I did the jump test.   You know what I mean - jumping on the "injured" leg to see if it hurts.  Yeah - that was me.  Does it hurt?  Do I feel weak?  Is it a stress reaction?  Maybe it's just shin splints?  Is there any swelling?  Do I get pain in just one single area?  Am I crazy?  Sometimes, yes.  I am crazy.  Aren't we all? 

I won't bore you with all the answers to the questions.  But, what I will say is that my left anterior tibia is just not perfect.  No,  I don't have swelling or weakness.  I can take my stairs with no problem at all and I passed MY self-diagnosed jump test.  

When I iced on Tuesday night, the look on my husband's face was priceless.  "WHAT are you doing? Are you in pain?"  He was concerned and I was a tad concerned as well.  But I know that ice and rest are good so that's what I did.  

My leg was no longer bothering me at all on Friday morning,  so I ventured out for my long run.  I knew that I could quickly push the stop button and walk home if I needed.   I also didn't have any reservations about cutting down my plan of thirteen miles.  

Up to this point, I have gotten multiple long runs in.  Last week,  was my first 18 miler since last June and it went very well.  I finished 18 miles with an overall pace of 9:21/mile.  That translates to a  4:04 finish time if I would  hold on for 8 more miles. 

I was ecstatic.  That's 55 minutes faster than my first marathon attempt!  

After Friday's run, everything was great.    No pain during.   No pain after.   Did I know my leg was there?  Yes.   But,  I wasn't super concerned.  

I finished 9.5 miles and felt very good after.  Would you look at the light! YES!  6:30 am and it's bright.  Hallelujah!!

As I sit here today, 36 hours past my last run, I can feel my leg.   I for sure have another rest day ahead and Monday morning I will re-evaluate whether or not to go out for my run.  My first 20 mile run is next week.  I'd like to be rested and ready for it.   I built in three 20-mile runs in the last 8 weeks before the race.  Maybe, subconsciously because something like this may happen.  

I've resigned myself to "safe-mode."   But, it does feel a little bit like a bomb - will it explode?  

I will not push.  I have 8 weeks before Grandma's and Dammit  -  I.WILL.FINISH.  

But, really universe??  I've been being such a good girl.   I made a conscious effort to design a training plan that only utilized 4 days of running in hopes at doing a better job at preventing any injuries.  I never run more than 2 days in a row.  I'm cross training.  I'm training smart.   I'm sleeping well.  

Maybe a good loud scream outside will feel good?  

I've been here before.   But this time,  I refuse to get "officially" injured or let this nagging pain-in-my-ass get any worse.  I am prepared to run much less.  I have a good base.  I will overcome this.  

What would YOU do?!

On another note, I know that I'm late to the party and this is so last year,  but I am officially obsessed with Snapchat.  I have laughed so hard the last few days.  Yesterday,  I discovered the voice changer and OMG - I nearly peed myself.  

I actually don't ever send my chats.  I just save my photos so I can laugh at them from time to time.  Here are a few of my gems. 

Do YOU Snapchat? 

Of course,  I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.  The link is live on Sunday, so I'm a tad early.   Enjoy!