Monday, September 16, 2019

Prioritizing Recovery with Nuun Rest!

Disclaimer:  Nuun Hydration sent me a tube of Lemon Chamomile Nuun Rest and a tube of Blackberry Vanilla Nuun Rest in exchange for this review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program of BibRave.com.  Search and submit your own race reviews at BibRave.com.


Last week, my one goal was to prioritize recovery.  The week prior, I had a killer workout - nine one-mile repeats and in the days that followed, I had my usual recovery workouts which were to be done at a pace where my heart rate didn't go above 135.


The trouble was, my heart rate jumped into the 150s even at 9:00+/mile pace, even three days after the mile repeats workout.  After a failed long run attempt where my legs felt concrete-filled, I was rewarded with an extra day off.  Typically I have one rest day (i.e., no running) per week, but in the last couple weeks, my plan was stingy on rest days.  That long run made 17 days of running in a row, so I had earned the bonus rest day.

Last week, my total weekly mileage was lower due to having not one but two planned rest days and I still got two quality workouts done.  I had a speed workout of 12 800s mid-week which felt hard but I managed to hit the intended paces.

At night, I have been incorporating Nuun Rest into my wind down routine.  Nuun Rest is made by Nuun Hydration and is currently available in two flavors: Lemon chamomile and Blackberry Vanilla.  I prefer the lemon chamomile but both are light tasting.  

Unlike the Nuun electrolyte tabs, the Nuun Rest tab is to be dissolved in about 4 oz of water.  This is good because any more liquid before bed and I would have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. 

Ingredients in Nuun Rest include magnesium, tart cherry and potassium which help promote relaxation responses in addition to reducing exercise-induced inflammation and overall muscle relaxation.  I was definitely sleepy within minutes of drinking it.

Overall, I liked the product as a consistent reminder to prioritize recovery, particularly with less than a month to go before the Chicago Marathon, my goal fall race!

My recovery week culminated in a beast of a workout - running for 2 hours and 40 minutes broken down by 90 minutes easy running, 40 minutes running in 7:00-7:30 pace land and finishing strong with 30 minutes of 6:30-6:50.  My legs felt great after the first six miles (#oldladywarmup) and I nailed the workout!


If you want to try some Nuun Rest, head to their website and use code HYDRATEBIBPRO for 20% off your order!

Let me know your favorite recovery tips!  I have 71 miles on the plan for this upcoming week and I'm going to need all the help I can get!




Sunday, September 1, 2019

A Sunscreen for A High Mileage Month!

Disclaimer:  Sawyer sent me a bottle of Stay Put SPF30 Sunscreen Lotion in exchange for this review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program of BibRave.com.  Search and submit your own race reviews at BibRave.com.

August was a big month of running as I continue to train for the Chicago Marathon. I ran 272.77 miles, which is a lifetime high for me!  I have some pretty strong runner tan lines from a summer of high mileage and something that I am not very great about is wearing sunscreen for running.


I have tried the spray-on sunscreens for ease of use but just do not like how sticky they make me feel.  I have used traditional lotion sunscreens and find that many leave me with streaks of white that run off as the sweat comes.

I had a renewed dedication to sunscreen when someone told me to get a strange spot on my ear checked out.  I hadn't given the area much thought but made an appointment with the dermatologist.  Thankfully, the spot is benign and nothing to worry about but how many times had I used sunscreen on my ears? Probably never.

The opportunity to try Sawyer Stay Put SPF30 sunscreen came at a perfect time!


I really like the consistency of the Sawyer sunscreen.  It feels and applies like regular body lotion, which is a product I use daily.  The lotion itself is white but disappears into skin without that strange white residue that many sunscreens I have tried leave.

The Sawyer Sunscreen also dries quickly.  I usually apply it within 5-10 minutes of leaving my house to run and I don't feel sticky or greasy.

I have had some tough, long workouts this month and the sweat has been running off me.  The Sawyer Sunscreen has lasted through a lot, including my personal best half marathon in Madison a few weeks ago!


I have been impressed with the product and have continually used it all month.  I have thrown it in our bag for lake activities too. My kids and I went fishing with my dad last Friday and we were wearing Sawyer:


Another important factor for me are breakouts.  Sawyer hasn't led to an increase in breakouts which is always a nice thing :)




Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Madison Mini As Told By My Free Race Photos

Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Mini Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for promotion and a review of the race.  Learn more about BibRave Pro ambassador program and read and write race reviews at bibrave.com.

The Madison Mini provided free race photos, which is always fun.  This year, they partnered with Strava to disseminate them and mine just arrived!  I really love how all of my photos really tell the story of my day so I thought it would be fun to show you all my photos with my captions:

And we're off!  Aw Shit - I almost lost my visor


Mile 1:  Running is FUN...


Mile 1:  Man, I just LOVE running


Mile 1: I even love when the photographer gets the dreaded downstroke of the leg photo. 

Mile 5/6ish: Yeesh.  This is starting to feel a little less fun, because Anne and I are no longer leading.

Mile 12ish:  OMG WHY ARE THEY HAVING US RUN UP OBSERVATORY?

Mile 12ish: I do not love the downstroke leg photo as much any more

Mile 12ish: THIS SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS

Mile 12ish:  DEAR LORD WILL IT EVER END?!

Finish line:  I LOVE RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finish Line: That was SO.MUCH.FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

PODIUM FINISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, that about sums up running a half marathon, doesn't it?! :)

You can register for next year's Madison Mini on their website.  Right now, the next 250 participants get special pricing - $59.99!

You can read my review of this race on BibRave here.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Madison Mini Race Report: New Half-Marathon PR!

Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Mini Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for promotion and a review of the race.  Learn more about BibRave Pro ambassador program and read and write race reviews at bibrave.com.

I ran the Madison Mini half marathon on Saturday and it was a great race. I had a crazy week leading up to the race - a work trip to Bismarck, ND and a day trip to Green Bay for work which threw off my training schedule and my sleep schedule.  (One night in Bismarck, my Garmin shows that I got 3 hours of sleep, which I thought I was generous.)

We left for Madison on Friday morning and got to the expo at the Alliant Energy Center after lunch.  My kids were running the kids' run so they were excited to also get packets and spin wheels for prizes.  The race director for the Illinois Marathon gave Will a box of Kodiak Cakes which he is enthusiastically clutching in the photo below.
Team Schlotty at the Expo

After the Expo we checked into our hotel and walked around Allen Centennial Gardens and then to dinner at Everly.  I had salmon, broccolini and risotto cakes with a version of my favorite cocktail: the French 75 (which Nate shared with me).  [Side note: I will be eating that before every race now, ha ha ha.] After dinner, we went to the Terrace to get some ice cream, watch the band and do the scavenger hunt in Alumni Park. We did a fair amount of walking on Friday, which I was a little nervous about.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5 AM and ate my Picky Oats in the hotel bathroom and got dressed.  I felt very calm and well-rested, which I was happy about. I was able to braid my hair on the first try!  I left my hotel around 5:30 to run to the start as I needed to do a 2 mile warm up.  The run to the start was exactly one mile.  The night before we had gotten an email from BibRave saying we had access to the VIP area, so I went into the Memorial Union to try to find that and go to the bathroom.  The VIP area was really nice.  They had several tables set up, a breakfast buffet, coffee, separate bathrooms and gear check.  I didn't really take advantage of any of the amenities pre-race but was THRILLED to have separate bathrooms because of my bathroom snafu at this race last year.  I found the bathroom and proceeded to drink my water bottle of lemon Tailwind.  I chatted with Emily and fellow BibRave Pro, Ang in the VIP area and then went to the fountain to take the Oiselle picture.  
Ang and I like the VIPs we are! :)

WI Volee Ladies! FIERCE FLYERS!

I had plenty of time to go back to the bathroom several times.  At about 6:45, I headed to the start and did another little jog warm up and saw Anne!  I ran some miles of this race with Anne last year and was excited to be running with her again after Illinois.

I knew that I was in good shape given where I was in the marathon training cycle, but the crappy training week and lack of sleep gave me a little pause so my main goal for the early miles was to run by feel. I really felt like a PR was in the cards for me because I ran much of this course for the first half of the Madison Marathon last fall in a time that was a second off of my half marathon PR.  The gun went off at 7 AM and we were off.  

I felt good and was running side by side with Anne through the first mile. Two bikes came upon us and referred to us as the leading elite females.  Anne retorted, "Um, we're just two moms approaching 40" and we were laughing.  We could not believe that we were leading the race.  I made some comment about the fast people not showing up that morning and we kept running.  We did some chatting but were moving at a good pace.  Outside of a really fast second mile (6:21) we were keeping it in 6:30-6:40 land.  My brain was definitely freaking out a bit that I felt good but what if I died.  I tried to ignore it and just keep running.  I took a SIS gel at mile 5.  I kept telling myself to stay in it - don't back off when it gets hard.

I think it was around mile 6 that another woman joined us and took the lead.  I can't remember exactly.  We were running in a small pack of three at that point and there was no more chatting.  I was focused on staying with the lead and the bike escorts.  For the most part, I did this and just kept repeating to myself "just stay with her just stay with her".  I struggled through mile 9 and thought it was over.  That was my slowest mile - 6:48.  Thankfully, I was still with the leader and we headed to picnic point.  She pulled away from me sometime between the mile 10 and mile 11 markers.  

I kept up my pace and tried to keep the leader in my sights.  She was not that far ahead of me but I couldn't make my legs go faster.  We had to get to the top of the hill on Observatory Drive, which is a doozy, especially after running 12 miles.  I got to the top of the first part and thought I was not going to get to the top of the whole thing.  I crawled up the top and paused there because I felt a bit dizzy.  I am fairly certain my bike escort was probably thinking I might need a medic.  She continued talking me through  - "Just keep going c'mon you got this".  The guys around me were cheering, "Let's go - go get her [the leader] you got this."  I don't know where it came from but I started sprinting down that hill.  I am a terrible downhill runner and always hold back for fear of falling but I let it go.  The bike escort was cheering, "YES!! It's go time!  You got this!"  She had to pull off the course for the last bit but she congratulated me on a great race.  I wanted to hug her but instead awkwardly patted her on the back and thanked her for being so awesome.  She literally talked me through the entire last two miles, nonstop.

I turned the corner to the finish and was scanning the bridge over the street for my family and I heard them before I saw them and I just went crazy!  I was so so excited.  Apparently my daughter was too (make sure you have the sound on for this).




I got under the bridge and saw the finish clock and really freaked out when I saw the 1:25.  I didn't drop any f-bombs Shalane style but I crossed the finish line with my arms in the air screaming YES YES YES!!!  I just ran a 1:25:37 half marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Holy shitballs.
Fellow Flower Amy took this shot of me approaching the finish!

I was handed my medal and a hat and so many people gave me high fives, including all the guys I was running with.  One even congratulated me on my kick.  I gave a hug to the first and third place women and cheered Anne to her PR 4th place finish.  So many sweaty hugs and smiles.
Anne and I at the finish!
My daughter made sure I rang the PR bell!
By this time, I realized that I had not stopped my watch at the finish line, as my splits below will indicate.  Apparently my frantic movements throughout the finish line and with my family are really a 11:29 pace mile, ha ha ha.


We all went to the Terrace to get our post-race beer and the awards ceremony.  Casey Fitzrandolph, an Olympic speedskater, gave us our trophies and he told me that he thought I made it look easy to which I laughed.
Awards ceremony - cool Terrace chair in the foreground

We then headed to the VIP area to see if Ang and Jonathan, the two other BibRave Pros who were running the race were there.  I saw Ang, but missed Jonathan due to the fact that my daughter was super anxious to get to the start of the kids' race.

The race does a great job with the kids' race.  This is the second year in a row that my kids did it.  My son was pretty nervous beforehand, but was all smiles during and afterwards.

Bucky Badger does an amazing job with the kids before the race.  I managed to snag a selfie with him between heats wearing my new Madison Mini Marathon hat:
We had a great morning at the race and I'm already looking forward to next year!!  Put this race on your list if you haven't already participated!
2019 Team Schlotty on State Street Post-Madison Mini


I can't remember a race where I heard so many cheers consistently throughout.  The water stations were amazing (The girls' swim team on Old University (around mile 9) is on of my faves).  We had great weather - a tad humid but otherwise perfect. 

I am heading into the final weeks of my training for Chicago Marathon with a lot of confidence!


Medal, Trophy and a Hat! 

I did it for the insta. ha ha ha

Friday, August 9, 2019

Madison Mini Marathon in one week!

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Mini Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for promotion and a review of the race.  Learn more about BibRave Pro ambassador program and read and write race reviews at bibrave.com.


Marathon training continues to move along.  I am about to wrap up my tenth week of training for the Chicago Marathon.  En route to that, I am running a half marathon next weekend (8/17) in Madison, WI.

I am returning to the Madison Mini Marathon!  Despite having a less than stellar race at this race last year, I LOVED the event so I am thrilled to run it for the second year in a row.  I actually was thinking that I don't repeat many races these days so the fact that I am repeating this race says a lot!  (You can read about last year's race here.)

While my priority has been marathon training (I just hit my first ever 70+ mile week last week!), I think that I can squeak out a half marathon PR next weekend.  The course is a bit hilly, but it is very similar to the first half of the Madison Marathon and during that race in Fall 2018, I DID PR my half marathon by 1 second.  My current half marathon PR is 1:28:35 and my first half split of Madison Marathon was 1:28:34.

The race is really well organized, you run through UW Madison campus (my alma mater!), the shirts are cool, the medals are blingy, you get free race photos and a beer on the terrace after the race.  Honestly, that comes quite close to perfect for me.


My only remaining to-do is get my kids registered for the kids' race.  They had a great time with this race last year...or maybe they just liked meeting Bucky Badger.


My family is excited to spend a long weekend in Madison as well.  Madison is always a family favorite vacation spot for us.

If you want to run the Madison Mini, you can take $15 off the half marathon entry fee with code BIBRAVE15 and $5 off the 5K entry fee with BIBRAVE5.  Registration closes on 8/16 at 11 AM CDT.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New 5K PR!


I ran a 5k last Saturday...and won...and set a new PR!

Obviously now that this is over and it went fairly well, I am pleased with it.  But leading up to the race, I wanted nothing to do with a 5k.

I have gotten in the good-for-me habit of not looking too far ahead of my training plan.  If I look ahead, I get anxious, and that does nobody any good.  For this reason, I didn't realize that I was supposed to do a 5K (or a 10K) at this point in my plan until less than a week before race day.

I really had no interest in running a 5K, particularly if it was going to be hot.  So I dragged on registering for any of them.  The night before the race I zeroed in on (The Racing Sausages 5K), it seemed as if the weather was going to be fine so I half heartedly got some running stuff together.

The only words (excuse me, WORD) of advice that I got (and really the only ones I needed) from my running advisor was "COMPETE". 

I was not really feeling COMPETE.  

Even though I watched some of the US Track and Field Outdoor National Championships the night before, including Rebecca Mehra's amazing race to get into the 800m final.  

I was not feeling it.

So I went to bed.

I woke up to my 6 AM alarm and got dressed for the race.  I gathered some things together and took some money out of my husband's wallet to pay the onsite registration fee (because I never have cash).  

My family was not feeling a race either and so I went by myself, which given the mood I was in, I was grateful to be going solo on this one.

A few exits into my drive and I realized that I didn't have my watch on.  I typically wear my Garmin 24/7 but it was bugging me the night before so I took it off to sleep...and forgot to put it back on.  I contemplated skipping it but knew that I was likely going to be running around parking lots for warms up and cool down so I exited the freeway to go back and get it.  I ended up taking the wrong exit so had to do a few U-turns.  Got home, grabbed my watch and headed back to the stadium.

I ended up in a long line of cars to get into the parking lots.  After I finally parked, I made my way over to the onsite registration table, which was very convenient.  Then I thought I should use the restroom.  Apparently I left my pins for my bib somewhere in there because when I went back to my car to get ready, I no longer had pins.  

I mean - this is not exactly the chain of events that you happening in the time leading up to your race.

I went back, grabbed pins and then realized that I had no idea where the race started.  So I asked where the start was and found it.  By this time, I had about 14 minutes before the race was going to start.  There was not time to do the 2-3 mile warm up that my aging body has become accustomed to prior to making it run fast.  I did a mile warm up, at about 7:30 pace and then it was time to line up.

I was able to start near the front, so I was grateful for that.

The gun went off and we were off.

It has been almost three years since I ran a 5K.  I used to run several of them a summer, but fell out of practice when I became uber focused on the marathon. I had no idea what pace to run, but the "5k pace" my advisor has me using is 5:55-6:10 a mile for my speed workouts.  This always feels so god damn fast in workouts, but my first mile of this race was faster than that pace window and felt slow.  I wasn't feeling the burn that I remembered 5Ks feeling like years ago.

That said, I was scared to push myself because I didn't want to burn out.  There was another woman with a college jersey running just in front of me.  My goal was to stay running with her.  

At around mile 2 though, I decided to pass her.  I spent much of the 3rd mile trying to chase down a guy ahead of me.  I passed him on the way out of the Miller Park stadium and made my way to the finish.  It was there that I noticed the clock in the 18:30s.  

PR FOR ME BABY!  My official finish was 18:38, a 15 second PR.  First woman across the line.

The outcome of this race was good, but my race tactics were terrible.  I did not "COMPETE".  I definitely was running fast, but not all out. Each mile that I ran was progressively slower.  By the time it started to hurt, the race was over.  

Despite this, I will take the PR (at my age, they aren't coming fast and loose anymore!)...and maybe run the 5K a little more frequently than I have in the last 3 years. :)

Monday, July 22, 2019

7 Weeks of Marathon Training with Science in Sport Gels

Disclaimer:  Science in Sport sent me a lot of gels (72 of them to be exact) in exchange for this review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program of BibRave.com.  Search and submit your own race reviews at BibRave.com.
  
It has been two months since I last posted here and though it was a welcome break, I am also happy to be back and give an update on SEVEN weeks of marathon training as well as tell you about Science in Sport gels.

I made the decision to try something new with training for my two priority races this fall and so after four marathon training cycles using Hansons Marathon Method training plan, I am using a custom plan made for me by my friend and long time running "advisor".  I was getting bored with HMM and wanted a change for the sole reason that if I am going to dedicate so much time to marathon training, I didn't want it to be boring.

I am seven weeks into my custom plan and wowsa.  It has not been boring.  It is fairly high mileage - I already covered 200+ miles in the first month of training which is a benchmark that I usually wouldn't hit until the end of a HMM cycle.  Three of the seven weeks were 65 mile weeks, although I only actually hit 65 miles this past week due to a somewhat crazy work schedule and an insomnia flare-up (100% because of the aforementioned crazy work schedule).  I have been doing longer long runs (my long run this past weekend was already 18 miles), and my long runs now vary between being all easy paced or mixing easy miles with tempo miles.  Instead of track repeats, I'm doing fartleks of varying time amounts and my tempo runs to date have been a block at my "current" marathon pace (6:50s) and a block at my hopeful marathon pace (<6:40) with strides and hill repeats thrown in.  It has been challenging, I'm not going to lie.

I also am trying new nutrition with this cycle.  This decision was fueled (pun intended) by a feeling that one reason I seem stuck around the 3 hour mark is due to nutrition and while in past training cycles I have used nutrition on my training runs, I had not been very diligent in its use.  Also, with HMM the longest long run is 16 miles.  All of my fueling issues in races have been after that point so with some longer long runs, I am excited to practice fueling after 16 miles.


So when the opportunity came up to test out the Science in Sport gels through BibRave Pro, I ran after it.

Science in Sport sent me a LOT of gels:

1 six pack of salted strawberry Go Energy + Electrolyte gels
1 six pack of Lemon Mint Go Energy + Electrolyte gels
30 espresso flavored Go Energy + Caffeine gels
30 apple flavored Go Isotonic Energy gels


The product I was most excited about was the Go Isotonic gels because these are specially formulated to not require water when you take them.  These have been a mainstay of my long runs and I have not had any cramping or GI issues when taking them without water.  I have been using one of these gels every 5 miles of my long run.  I was uncertain about "apple" flavor as my go-to flavor is always in the citrus family, but these are a nice light flavor and I like them.

With gels, the most asked question is always about consistency.  I have found all of the Science in Sport gels to be the same - they have a bit of a gloppy Jell-O consistency to them.  So they aren't super thick like a syrup.  To me, the gloppiness helps them not stick to any part of my mouth.

While I have been mainly using the apple Isotonic gels and the espresso caffeine gels, I have tested out the lemon mint and strawberry gels and have also liked them, and also didn't take them with water, without issue.  I will say that I have had fluids with me on every long run, and while I don't focus on taking them with the gels, it is not as if I am fluid free on long runs.

I have been using the caffeine gels right before my workouts and since I am trying to do more 5 AM runs with the hot weather we have been having, these also help wake me up a bit.  The espresso flavor is pretty strong, but being a coffee-lover, I don't mind it.



Overall, I am going to continue using Science in Sport gels throughout my training and so far, my plan is to race both the Madison Mini Half Marathon in August and the Chicago Marathon in October with them.  I have been feeling really really good on my long runs, and even with hard workouts during the week so I have to think these gels are doing something positive for me!  (If you follow me on Instagram, I have been posting my weekly long run fuel strategy on my Instagram Stories!)

You can use TRYSIS25 for 25% off your order online if you would like to try them.  They have some nice variety packs that would be a good way to try a few flavors and product types.  Let me know if you try them!