Monday, August 21, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 10 Recap

Spoiler alert: I did not hit the mileage goal for the week.  In fact, I was not even close.  I took an extra unplanned rest day and cut a few workouts short.  

Mario Fraioli retweeted something by @jcissik : "You cannot out train a bad diet, lack of sleep, lack of studying, and a poor attitude."  It was basically a sign from God.  Like DUH.  I have been complaining for weeks about the lack of sleep I have gotten.  My diet has been terrible lately.  I have skipped breakfast a ton.  (SUPER BAD IDEA....just in case you were wondering.)

I tried to get more sleep over the weekend.  There were some successes (nap on Sunday!) and some fails (daughter up several times last night because of bad dreams!).  I definitely paid more attention to eating this weekend - as in I ate really amazing food and I ate very hearty breakfasts both days.

I'm going to keep on keeping on with my plan and *try* to not be so down on myself.  It's always a work in progress for us type-A, overachiever types, right?

Here is my recap:

Monday, August 14
Plan says: Rest

What I do:  Rest

Tuesday, August 15
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 12 x 400m at 5k/10k pace with 400 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  This was the last speed workout on the plan!  (The remaining weeks focus on "strength" workouts which are longer repeats (1+ miles).) My kids had a rough night of sleep Monday night so I did not get up early.  I left work to do these before piano lessons and managed to get the repeats done but had to skip out on the cool down.  It was a nice sunny day, temperatures were in the upper 70s.  I again did these in my neighborhood (0.25 mi) on a quasi hilly stretch.  My goal was NOT to blow them out of the water - try to stay consistent and close to goal pace (1:33).  I didn't want to kill my legs for the tempo run later this week like I did last week.

1.6 miles warm up, 12:43 (7:55 avg pace)

0.25 miles, 1:30.0 (5:57 avg pace) / 0.25 miles, 2:01.0 (7:59 avg pace)
0.25 miles, 1:28.7 (5:57) / 0.25 miles, 1:56.1 (7:46)
0.25 miles, 1:30.8 (6:07) / 0.25 miles, 1:57.2 (7:48)
0.25 miles, 1:30.8 (6:05) / 0.25 miles, 1:59.2 (7:45)

0.25 miles, 1:28.7 (5:54) / 0.25 miles, 2:05.3 (8:01)
0.25 miles, 1:30.6 (6:02) / 0.25 miles, 1:58.8 (7:57)
0.25 miles, 1:28.5 (5:58) / 0.25 miles, 2:01.4 (7:55)
0.25 miles, 1:30.6 (6:03) / 0.25 miles, 2:06.7 (8:17)

0.25 miles, 1:30.2 (5:56) / 0.25 miles, 2:02.3 (7:58)
0.25 miles, 1:28.6 (5:54) / 0.25 miles, 2:03.4 (8:08)
0.25 miles, 1:29.8 (6:01) / 0.25 miles, 2:04.5 (8:04)
0.25 miles, 1:28.5 (5:57) / 0.30 miles, 2:26.1 (8:07)

The last time I did 400s was during week 2 (6/20/17).  I ran those on a track, and they were much faster.

1 - 1:24 / 1:55  (5:33 avg pace / 7:43 avg pace)
2 - 1:26 / 1:50  (5:36 / 7:23)
3 - 1:25 / 1:58  (5:40 / 7:53)
4 - 1:25 / 1:54  (5:31 / 7:39)
5 - 1:26 / 1:59  (5:38 / 7:59)
6 - 1:22 / 1:56  (5:22 / 7:47)
7 - 1:27 / 1:59  (5:39 / 8:03)
8 - 1:25 / 1:54  (5:27 / 7:36)
9 - 1:25 / 1:57  (5:31 / 7:43)
10 - 1:24 / 1:59  (5:23 / 7:49)
11 - 1:23 / 1:57  (5:20 / 7:45)
12 - 1:25 (5:33)

Wednesday, August 16
Plan says: 5 miles

What I do:  I stayed up late on Tuesday night (10 pm) to read my book which made it hard to get up at 5 AM but I did eventually roll out of bed.  These were easy paced miles, although I felt tired.  It is always harder to have a hard afternoon workout and then an early morning workout the next day!  I added some on to make up for reduced cool down the day before.

5.70 miles, 49:27 (8:41 avg pace)

Thursday, August 17
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Nothing.  Nada.  I was spent and slept terribly because my husband and I were kid-free on Wednesday night so we went out to dinner and wine was had.  I have noticed that whenever I have a DROP of wine, any sort, my sleep is awful.  I had several million drops (ok, half a bottle) with dinner and thus, I was up all night long and did not get a workout in before work.  The day sort of spiraled from there.  I ended up having to leave work early to go get the kids and then we had back to school night and by the time all was said and done, there was no way I was running.

Friday, August 18
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  Tried to get the tempo run in.  It was an epic fail, as I wrote about at the end of last week.

2.27 miles, 19:14 (8:29 avg pace)
1.35 miles, 9:23 (6:56 avg pace)
0.18 miles, 1:31 (8:38) and walk.

I felt like death and abandoned ship.  3.8 miles total.

Saturday, August 19
Plan says: 12 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I was up early so I decided to get a long run in.  I was not in a good place mentally but thought, "Try to get to 6".  Six came and it became, "Try to get an hour of running in".  An hour came and then it was "Try to get 10 in" and then I hit 10!  I had hit my max allowable run time (we had to get to an event that morning) so I stopped there.

10.06 miles, 1:20:28 (8:00 avg pace)

Sunday, August 20
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  I inadvertently napped on Sunday after getting the BEST night of sleep ever on Saturday night.  I slept through the ENTIRE NIGHT.  Hallelujah.  I laid down with my son to help him relax for his nap and ended up falling asleep myself! I did this run after the kids were in bed and the first two miles felt heavy.  I switched off of podcast mode and fired up some music and voila.  Hit some fast miles.  Of course this was off plan, but it felt good after the crappy week to show myself that I could get some fast miles done.

5 miles, 36:42, (7:20 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 32.27

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Struggle is Real

This was the Runner's World quote today.  Ugh.  Sometimes these drive me bonkers.

The last few weeks have been busy.  We had a lot of social commitments, family commitments, and of course, gearing up for school.  In our house, August is a rough month of anxiety for my daughter.  I have struggled with sleep.

I still was getting runs in, as you know if you follow my weekly training recaps or my Instagram. They weren't ideal, and my legs always felt tired, but I was having some punctuation of a good runs. Good runs are becoming the anomaly in my training instead of the norm.  That seems strange.

There are many ways to define a "good" run.  For me, a "good" run is one that first and foremost feels good.  It may not be easy but my body responds to the push I give it.  They have nothing to do with pace.  I can have a good run running 8:45/mile pace and one at 6:30/mile pace.

I keep pushing and pushing and my body is just not having it.  Everything hurts and feels very sluggish.  On every run.

I skipped running yesterday because I was so tired.  So tired that I went to bed at 6:30.  My kids barely fell asleep before I did.  I tried reading my book for a while, but the words were swirling together on the page so I reluctantly gave up and promptly fell asleep.

I woke at 3AM to the sound of my son getting out of bed, walking to our bathroom, turning on the light, and peeing.

Then I tossed and turned.  Tried deep breathing but could not get my breath to be slow and even and deep.  Eventually I fell back asleep.

This morning I got out of bed at my 5 AM alarm not because I wanted to but because I felt guilty that I had missed my run yesterday.

I started running and my legs were just screaming.  I chalked it up to mile 1, always a toughie.  My mile one beeped in at just over 8 min/mile.  I continued on and it was taking so much effort to run "easy".  My second mile beeped in at 8:47/mile.  I didn't feel great.  I decided that I needed to make up for the tempo run that I missed yesterday, come hell or high water.

I started running, fast, and immediately was huffing and puffing.  I got to the 0.75 mile mark and stopped.  I was at a 6:49/mile pace.  5 second slower than my goal half marathon pace.  I regained my breath and continued.  UGH.  Such a struggle.  My mile beeped in at 7:00.

I continued the fight for another 0.25 miles and then just gave up.  Clearly my body wasn't having this.

I tried to continue the shuffle/slow pace run and yet it was so so hard.  I ended up shutting my Garmin off and walking the rest of the way home (~0.6 miles).

I don't think I can keep pushing myself for 9 more weeks on this plan.  I know that I am supposed to be tired - that cumulative fatigue is the hallmark of the Hanson plan.  At some point I think I crossed a line into just fatigue.  I never felt like this during my marathon training.

I don't have any next steps.  I am just at a point where I am thinking long and hard about them.

Product Review: BUFF (R) Pack Run Cap

PRODUCT: BUFF (R) Pack Run Cap

Disclaimer:  I received a BUFF ® Pack Run Cap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

Are you a hat person?  I have amassed quite a collection of running hats over the years and am partial to a few.  I'm adding this BUFF ® Pack Run Cap to that short list after getting to test it for a few weeks.

My favorite feature of the cap is the adjustable drawstring cord in the back which allows you to customize the fit.  I have a big head, so many of the "running hats" out there, specifically for women, do not fit my noggin.  I have a few hats that I like that have a velcro closure in the back, but my hair always gets stuck in the velcro.

 I love getting mail so when I got this cap in the mail, I put it on my head to see if it would fit and then I went about getting stuff done and realized I never even removed the tag!

Another feature of the cap that I like is that it is very packable.  It is designed to be able to roll up and stash into a pocket and take up as little space as possible.  I tested this out when I took my kids to Lapham Peak State Park for a hike.  Much of our first route was in the shade but the second half was in the sun so I was able to stash this in my pack and get it out later.  Because it is designed to do this, the cap didn't have any weird creases or anything.
I also like this stash-and-go feature in packing a bag for "runch" (lunch run).

Some other nice features of the cap are the reflective details, which is nice when you start your run in the dark and then gradually the sun comes up.  The material on the upper panel gives you UPF 50 protection from the sun too!  That wide brim is protecting my forehead from wrinkles!! ha ha ha

The moisture wicking properties are similar to other BUFF ® products - awesome!  The inner lining of the cap is a sweatband so sweat doesn't roll in your eyes.

Overall, a big thumbs up to the BUFF ® pack run cap.

Here are some reviews from Meredith and Janelle if you are interested in more opinions.

I have the cap in the "Interference" color.  There are several more designs to choose from as well as plain black.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 9 Recap (Halfway THERE!)

Week 9 is finished and boom! I am halfway done with the Hanson Advanced Half Marathon Training program.  Last week was a bit crazy - lots of switching workouts around.  My July racing messed up my typical schedule and I have yet to recover from all the switching.   I ended up cutting 3 workouts shorter than prescribed this week, but was only 2.33 miles short from the weekly total plan due to adding little bits of mileage to other workouts.

Monday, August 7
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 6 x 800m at 5k/10k pace with 400 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I did some switching around because I did not want to do a speed workout the day after doing a long run.  Today = rest day.

Tuesday, August 8
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:
The weekly speed work was on the plan for today.  I was planning on getting up early but my Sense alarm never went off so I didn't wake up until my husband's alarm (which is an hour later than mine).  ARGH.  I left work early to get this workout in mid-afternoon but wasn't able to complete the entire cool down because I had to pick up my daughter and take her to piano lessons.

This was a workout for the books.  I felt great.  I was shocked when I saw the first 0.5 mi split because it didn't feel that hard.  To be sure, I had to fight to get the last repeat in at that pace, but hot damn!  It's about time I had a solid speed workout where I didn't feel like death. And check out that consistency across all six 800s!!!!

Per the Hanson plan, my goal pace for 800s is 3:05. I did not do these on the track because I try to follow their advice of doing speed work on the roads since that is the surface the race will be on AND I had a limited window of time to get this done so doing it in my neighborhood would allow for the maximum amount of running.

1.5 miles warm up, 12:01 (8:01 avg pace)

0.50 miles, 2:51.6 (5:42 avg pace) / 0.25 miles, 2:06.7 (8:25 avg pace)
0.50 miles, 2:51.9 (5:44) / 0.25 miles, 2:01.5 (8:04)
0.50 miles, 2:52.8 (5:43) / 0.25 miles, 2:09.1 (8:35)
0.50 miles, 2:51.0 (5:41) / 0.25 miles, 2:10.7 (8:37)
0.50 miles, 2:51.3 (5:42) / 0.25 miles, 2:15.9 (9:01)
0.50 miles, 2:52.9 (5:44)

0.78 miles cool down, 6:40.8 (8:34 avg pace)

I will admit that 800s are among my favorite track workouts.  I just love love love them.  It is fun to see some improvement in this training cycle, and since my marathon training earlier this year.  Here are my 800s on July 10:

1 - 3:03 (6:02 avg pace)
2 - 2:59 (5:57)
3 - 3:01 (6:03)
4 - 2:53 (5:43)
5 - 2:55 (5:48)
6 - 2:54 (5:51)

My 800s on March 16:

1- 3:04
2- 3:04
3- 3:06
4- 3:07
5- 3:02
6- 3:04

Wednesday, August 9
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Flip flopping Monday and Tuesday means that Wednesday and Thursday also have to be flip flopped in order to not have two hard days in a row.  I got up early and just went on autopilot to get the easy 6 miles done.  I added a little more to make up for my shortened cool down yesterday.

6.75 miles, 57:12 (8:29 avg pace)

Thursday, August 10
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  4:45 AM ALARM BABY.  Shut off.  Groan.  Roll over.  Groan some more.  Get my butt out of bed and get dressed.

I tried a Honey Stinger Stroopwafel before this run because I felt a little hungry when I woke up and it was hanging out in the cupboard, a free sample from something.  (Typically I do not eat anything before an early morning run.)  It was very sweet but went down easy and didn't seem to bother my stomach.

My first mile of warm up beeped in at 9:07.  I think next week I am going to try doing a 2 mile warm up and a 1 mile cool down versus 1.5 miles for each.  My body just does not seem ready to go after 1.5 miles in the early morning.

I switched into tempo mode and felt like I was cruising, but first mile clocked in at 7:05.  I could be checking my pace during my runs but when I do this, it seems to make me more nervous so I just am trying to only check pace during the mile beeps.  My legs were tired, I had more than 1 stop to catch my breath and then finally, 5 miles were done.  I am sure doing the 800s at faster than prescribed pace was partially to blame for how my legs felt.  I also am not very confident during my tempo runs. They totally freak me out and the pace is not comfortable which is something I am struggling with. During marathon training my tempo runs were at a 7:15 which I always could finish faster than that. I am finding that 6:44 tempos are a whole other ball of wax.

1.51 mi warm up, 13:32 (8:59 avg pace)
5.0 mi tempo, 34:16 (6:51 avg pace)
1.5 mi cool down, 12:22 (8:15 avg pace)

Friday, August 11
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Throw my alarm clock on the floor.  Ok, not intentionally, but in an attempt to shut if off, I knocked it over. I got up 45 minutes later than I should have which meant an interception from my son, which delayed me getting out even further.  I eventually got out the door and did 4 miles, which was pushing my luck with morning timing, but my daughter has been a fan of helping to make lunches in the morning so that helped me.  One of the joys of kids growing up I guess - more and more they can do things for themselves! (...yet at the same time sobbing that they are growing up.  Motherhood in a nutshell.)

4 miles, 34:09 (8:32 avg pace)

Saturday, August 12
Plan says: 10 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  We had an insanely busy weekend.   Friday night I had dinner with girlfriends. I was home at a very reasonable hour, only about an hour past my bedtime, but my son had breathing issues all night long so we did not get a lot of sleep.  Saturday morning was thrown off by a trip to urgent care for breathing treatment and Saturday afternoon we had an outing with my husband's office.  Thus, come 8:00pm, I was outside running.  I didn't have the energy to tackle 10 or 7 miles, so I logged 5.25.

5.25 miles, 43:04 (8:12 avg pace)

Sunday, August 13
Plan says: 7 miles easy

What I do:  I slept in on Sunday because I needed sleep.  We had a Brewers game (baseball) with my family all day which was a lot of fun.  My kids were zonked and went to bed early so I again had night miles, but early bedtime meant that most of my miles were done in daylight and I was able to squeeze the long run in!

10.1 miles, 1:19:04 (7:50 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 43
Total Weekly Miles: 40.67

Friday, August 11, 2017

Product Review: OOFOS OOriginal Sandal

Product:  Oofos Women's Ooriginal Sandal

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Oofos Women's Ooriginal Sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.


It's no secret that this round of Hanson's training has been kicking my butt.  Whether it is the fact that I am trying an "advanced" plan, the heat, the humidity, I am not sure but I have been tired and sore most of the summer.  After my first pair of Oofos shoes (reviewed here), I was happy to get a pair of sandals using the same amazing technology to assist recovery.

Again, I am boring, so I chose the OOriginal sandal in black.  Flip flops are not known for being very supportive but these are not just any old pair of flip flops.  The arch support is my FAVORITE.  The footbed is so cushy!  The sandals use the patented OOfoam technology to absorb 37% more impact, provide more arch support and are biomechanically designed allow your body to move more naturally.  I have found I do have a different posture and gait when I wear these which allows for some additional comfort in my low back.

These are my go-to throw on shoes for when I need to go outside with the kids in the yard, go get the mail, etc.  Easy on/easy off and some bonus recovery time.

This summer they have been a great shoe to throw in my race bag to wear after my run/race.  This saves the miles on my running shoes for actual running and gives my body an extra boost in recovery so that I am ready to go the next day.

We spend a lot of time at a family lake house during the summer and these shoes are great to wear on kayaks and boats since they are made with moisture repellent materials.  They also FLOAT in case your kid accidentally knocks them overboard :)  My mother-in-law has several pairs!

Post-run recovery staples: La Croix, Rx Bar and OOofos
Sizing advice:  Per the website, if you wear a whole size, order that whole size.  Women should size up if they wear a half size and men should size down if they wear a half size.  I have found this to be true.  I typically wear a 9 1/2 women's shoe and my sandals are a size 10 and fit perfectly.

OOFOS is sponsoring #BibChat on Tuesday August 15 at 8pm CST.  Join in and you could win a pair of your very own and #FeeltheOO.  Your feet earned it!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Product Review: Knuckle Lights Colors

Product: Knuckle Lights Colors

Disclaimer:  I received a set of Knuckle Lights Colors to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

I bought my first pair of Knuckle Lights in late 2014 and they have been a staple of my running ever since, particularly through the dark winter days and nights.  They have made numerous appearances during my training recaps over the years.  I was super excited to be able to test out an updated version as part of this BibRave Pro campaign.  I was sent the Knuckle Lights colors.  Because I am boring, I selected the black ones, but they have a fun hot pink and pretty blue to choose from as well.

So what are knuckle lights?  They are small hand-held lights that are designed to wear over your hand with minimal discomfort to help you see during dark runs.  The strap is made out of silicone and is adjustable so you don't have to focus on actually gripping them while you run.  The button to power them on/off is right where your thumb rests so you can easily click and go.  They weight less than 3 oz each.  I am someone who does not like carrying things while I run, and these do not bother me. The lights have a magnetic center which helps with storage AND also is a nice feature during morning runs where you may need them to start but not need them as the run progresses and the sun rises.  I like to switch them off, and hold them in one hand for the remainder.

Together, the lights provide 120 Lumens of light.  Don't know what a Lumen is? HA! Me either.  I know that I have used these for the mornings that aren't quite light enough recently AND have used them for training for a marathon in the dead of winter when your entire morning run is in pitch black. LOVE THEM in both situations.

Speaking of winter running, while we aren't dealing with cold right now in WI, I can also attest that the lights' claim to work in -20 Celsius weather is legit.  AND THEY ARE WATERPROOF! Each light in the Knuckle Lights Colors runs on 1 AA battery (included with the set).

Each set has a FIVE YEAR limited warranty.  FIVE YEARS.  (My original set is almost three years old and is still kicking!).

A set of Knuckle Lights colors is $39.99 on their website.  Use the code BRKL2017 to get 15% off (expires 9/1) on their website.

It sounds kind of weird, but I have gotten a lot of compliments on Knuckle Lights from people who are out in the wee hours walking around my neighborhood!  They are "hand"y. :)

*Note: Ok, I couldn't leave you hanging.  I Googled "Lumen".  Lumens equal brightness.  Watts (a term I was familiar with in regard to lighting) refer to energy use, not output.  More here.

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 8 Recap

Week 8 of half marathon training is in the books and after a few weeks of getting close, I finally crossed the 40 mile threshold, despite only logging 5 running days instead of 6.  I still struggle with motivation.  I also am dealing with a bit of fear that my goal pace is too much.  I think a lot of my motivation struggles are really just being afraid of the goal I set and not knowing if I can do it, especially after I struggled to run a 10K at the pace I want to run a half-marathon at.

Monday, July 31
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 x 1km at 5k/10k pace with 600 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I went to a concert with my mom on Sunday night and thus, went to bed late, slept like crap and did not plan to get up early to get this done in the morning.  I started this workout at 3:30 in the afternoon, it was 81 degrees and sunny.

For the most part, the heat did not bother me.  Put that in the win jar.  I incorrectly thought that 1km =0.63 miles so I technically did a bit over the 1K so I was pleased that my paces were below my goal pace for this workout (3:48 / 6:07 avg pace).

1.5 miles warm up, 12:05 (8:03 avg pace)

0.64 miles, 3:51.6 (6:04 avg pace) / 0.37 miles, 3:07.9 (8:24 avg pace)
0.63 miles, 3:48.8 (6:01) / 0.36 miles, 2:58.2 (8:09)
0.63 miles, 3:43.9 (5:55) / 0.37 miles, 3:08.6 (8:25)
0.63 miles, 3:47.4 (5:59) / 0.37 miles, 3:20.1 (8:59)
0.64 miles, 3:49.7 (6:00)

1.75 miles cool down, 15:09 (8:39 avg pace)

One of the big differences with the Hanson's Advanced half marathon training plan compared to the beginner marathon training plan is that the amount of speed work is larger in the advanced plan.  In the beginner marathon plan, I had 6 weeks of mileage building (re: NO speed work), followed by 6 weeks that included speed work, followed by 6 weeks of "strength" work (1, 1.5, 2, and 3 mi repeats). The speed work weeks started with 400m repeats and ended with mile repeats.  In this advanced plan, I have 9 weeks of speed work followed by 7 weeks of strength, so the speed work is done like a ladder, from 400m repeats up to mile repeats and back down to 400 m repeats.  Thus, I had to do 1Ks a few weeks ago, during week 5 of training.   I would say my pace was more consistent this time around and I recall the first session of 1Ks being a struggle.  I was pleased that I gained some consistency and this was not as difficult as the first time around AND I did them in much hotter weather this second time!

Tuesday, August 1
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:  Rest.

Wednesday, August 2
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Had to set the alarm for 4:45 for this one as I had an early morning meeting at the office.  UGH.  Even though this alarm is a mere 15 minutes earlier than my standard, why does it seem so much earlier?!  My sleep was terrible.  My son fell out of bed at 3 AM and I never fell back asleep after that so the good news was that I was ready to go for this run.  I grabbed my knuckle lights and ran the warm up in my neighborhood as well as the first 2 miles.  Then I ditched the lights and grabbed my water bottle to finish it out of my hood.  My goal for this was to ease into the tempo run and not start out mile 1 of tempo at full on pace.  It went well.  It was so humid already that morning so even though my pace was a little slow, I was satisfied.

1.5 mi warm up, 12:55 (8:36 avg pace)
5.0 mi tempo, 34:00 (6:48 avg pace)
1.5 mi cool down, 12:24 (8:16 avg pace)

Thursday, August 3
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  We were lucky to have our friends from Calgary staying with us Wednesday night so I stayed up late talking my friend's ear off.  My alarm went off at 5 and it was raining/storming so I shut it off and went back to sleep.  I left work early to get this run done and on my way home, it started downpouring.  So I thought, "I'll do it after the kids are in bed."  Then the kids were in bed and again, it was raining.  I was zonked by that time so I just threw in the towel.

Looking back, I'm annoyed that I just didn't hop on the treadmill.  After all, this is why I got a treadmill!

0 miles

Friday, August 4
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  My husband has a weekend in Northern WI every year with his college buddies and this was the weekend he was going to be gone.  SO I had planned on getting up super early and knocking my long run for the week out before he left. Except then 4:30 am came and I was like, ugh.  I finally peeled myself out of bed at 5:15 which meant I wasn't doing 12 miles before work.  I ended up with 6.4.

6.4 miles, 51:51, (8:06 avg pace)

Saturday, August 5
Plan says: 12 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I had big ideas that I might be able to get up before my kids and get on the treadmill. Unfortunately, Friday night was sort of a cluster getting them to bed. I might have fallen asleep before my son.  They definitely woke me up in the morning so I stayed in bed snoozing in and out of consciousness while they watched TV.

I had big plans of taking them hiking a few times this summer and had yet to do anything about that so we loaded up and went to a nearby state park.  They did better than I was expecting!  We did lots of climbing.  Being there actually made me want to do more trail running.

It came time for bed and again, it was a shit show.  My son would not go the f*** to sleep.  It was 8:30 and I was tired and I was about to just skip running but then I was just like, no.  I let this bedtime situation infuriate me the night before, I was not going to do it again.  I changed into my running clothes and jumped on the treadmill.  It was slow and mentally so painful but I did it.  I logged 6 miles.  Best part was when I came back upstairs, everyone was asleep.  I drank some Nuun mixed with LaCroix, read my book and crashed.

6 miles, 53:15 (8:52 avg)

Sunday, August 6
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  My husband returned from his trip mid-afternoon so I was like, SEE YA!  I went to run my long run and really had no motivation for it.  I just kept saying one more mile and did a bunch of small loops (which mentally always helps me for some reason) and before I knew it, I had 12 miles in!

12 miles, 1:32:53 (7:44 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 45
Total Weekly Miles: 40.31

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July 2017 Recap

I ran 157.36 miles in July!

This is huge for me as July has traditionally been a very low mileage month.

2014      53.13 miles
2015      87.18 miles
2016      34.55 miles
2017    157.36 miles

July 2017 was a 355.5% increase over the previous year.  (Ok, yes, I was injured July 2016 but still!!)

I missed a handful of workouts in July as well and had two races, neither of which really were stellar performances.  I have to remind myself that my goal (and my plan) are targeted to running a stellar half marathon in October, which might mean that I am not exactly primed to have break outs in the 10K or 5K, particularly when those races come during a cumulative fatigue building portion of the training plan.  As someone who struggles with wanting to be good at all the things, this feels disappointing at times.

Luckily, I had a great workout last night which was a good confidence booster.

What else happened in July?  I retired two more pairs of running shoes!  Neither of these shoes made it to the 400 mile mark.  I started noticing that much of the tread was totally worn down on the soles so thus, retirement.

Magenta Adidas Energy Boost 2 made it 378.07 miles.  The Mizuno Sayonara 3 made it 363.11 miles.  I really liked both of these shoes and am sad to see them go.

Currently, I have three pairs left in my rotation:

Adidas Ultraboost X (current mileage: 96.8 miles)
Saucony ISO 2 Triumph (286.37 miles)
Asics GT 2000 - 5 (171.45 miles)

I am excited to go shoe shopping with the gift card I won from the Race for the Bacon.  It has been a while since I purchased shoes at a running store (my two newest pairs I got for free - one through BibRave Pro and one through winning a contest) so I am excited to potentially try something new.  I like the Ultraboost Xs a lot but the other two pairs that I am currently running in I am only lukewarm on.  What shoes do you run in?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 7 Recap

Week 7 is in the books.  It was again all over the place since I had a mid-week 5K race but by the end of it, I recovered nicely and finished all of the workouts.  I am looking forward to a "normal" week of no races! I finally feel like I am not on the brink of falling asleep.

Monday, July 24
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 3 x 1 mi at 5k/10k pace with 800 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I was not going to do another speed workout the day after a 10K race so I opted for 6 miles easy.  This felt good.  I was able to get out of bed early, the air was cool.  I was slower than usual, which I was happy about.

6.05 miles, 51:31 (8:31 avg pace)

Tuesday, July 25
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:  Wanted to do my tempo run today since I was using the 5K as a "replacement" for mile repeats.  I did NOT get out of bed early to do this because I went to bed 2 hours later than usual (and having consumed more wine than usual, #bookclub ).  I ended up doing this late afternoon, when it was hot out, but not nearly as hot as it had been.  I had attended a work conference all day and had different food than usual for lunch, including quinoa.  Ever since doing Whole30 last year, quinoa was a food that always provoked a reaction:  major stomach cramps, sweats, total gross.  Two of the salads that I ate huge portions of at the conference were quinoa-based.  I knew this was taking a chance, but I was hungry.

Needless to say, I left for my warm up and wasn't feeling so great.  Thought it would just take a bit to get going.  Ran 1.5 miles and then had to kick it into gear.  I opted to start out a little slower than tempo pace and was still not feeling that great.  I circled back to my house since I had a water bottle on my mailbox.  I started chugging the water bottle when stuff started coming back up in the opposite direction.  Ew.  I thought I would be ok, so I continued on.  Yep.  It wasn't ok.  I abandoned the tempo run 2.6 miles (and plenty of stops) in.  I walked home from that point feeling like I was going to die, the sweat just running off me.

1.5 mile warm up, 12:04 (8:03 avg pace)
2.5 mile tempo, 16:44 (6:47 avg pace)

3.97 miles total

Wednesday, July 26
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  Took my off day here.  Day before the race.  Felt amazing to do nothing.

Thursday, July 20
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: Race day! 5K.  Race recap here.

1.69 mile warm up, 12:29 (7:24 avg pace)
3.13 race, 19:33 (6:15 avg pace)
1.65 mile cool down, 14:19 (8:40 avg pace)

Friday, July 21
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  OOH Thursday night was a rough one.  I was pretty amped up when I finally got home after the race and went to bed around 10pm but could not fall asleep.  This turned into one of those nights where every noise made me think someone was in our house.  Then I had a bout of digestive distress similar to my entire day Thursday.  When I finally felt myself drifting off, my daughter came in because of a bad dream.  This happened again a few hours later.  I got back to my bed at 4 AM.  On the plus side, because I was already awake, it wasn't too hard to get out of bed and get out the door!

This was a beautiful run.  I intentionally chose to run laps around the pond so I would not be able to go fast and just sort of zone out with a podcast.  My right hip was REALLY bothering me though.

6.1 miles, 52:39 (8:38 avg pace)

Saturday, July 22
Plan says: 10 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I struggle with waking up early on the weekends because I so love laying in bed with my husband and kids in the morning.  During the week, our mornings are GO GO GO so it is nice to veg out with them on the weekend.

I am then running during my son's afternoon nap, which is usually the warmest part of the day.  I mostly have been successful at convincing myself that this will make me a stronger runner.   Mostly.

I headed out in the hot sun to get this done.  I really wanted to be around 8:00 for the first half this, to ensure that it would not go off the rails and I was successful in this endeavor.  I ended up getting a Garmin tan because I did not put sunblock on my arms which was a dumb move.  My hip was still sore but not feeling as rough as it was on Friday.

10 miles, 1:16:40 (7:53 avg pace)

Sunday, July 23
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  My family went on a long (6 miles - long for a 6 + 3 year old!) bike ride mid-day and I ran afterwards.  I again went on the pond to get 5 miles in (flip flopping my Friday and Sunday runs).  I was hot and tired, but got it done which was my only goal.

5 miles, 39:26 (7:40 avg pace)

Plan Miles: 42
Total Weekly Miles: 37.6

Friday, July 28, 2017

Race for Bacon 5K 2017

I again raced for bacon last night in Sheridan Park!

I wanted this race to go better than it did, but given all of the events of the week, I am ok with my time.  (She says in an effort to convince herself.)

I have been struggling with some GI stuff this week, which likely started on vacation in Chicago.  Getting out of my routine usually leads to disruption in my GI system.  I started drinking this Smooth Move tea on Monday to try to remedy this.  Then I had a crazy lunch with lots of quinoa (which previously has never lead to good things with my body) on Tuesday which led to a failed tempo run and some vomit.  Thus, I took Wednesday off.  I was not looking forward to the race in the beginning of the week.

Then, we watched Moana, a movie that I love, and I had a great night of sleep.  I woke up Thursday with a better attitude.

However, I made the mistake of continuing using the Smooth Move tea throughout the day AND had Indian food for lunch because I attended a talk for work.  The pairing of these two things led to a lot of bathroom time for me.  (Sorry - I am trying to be real about this situation without being too gross.  Fine line, I get it.)

The race began at 6:30 pm and is on the south side of the city.  I live northwest of the city so I wasn't going to have enough time to go home between work and the race with traffic.  Thus, I changed into my race gear at my office and went straight to the park.  I arrived really early, went to the bathroom, picked up my packet, and then went back to my car and read my book for a bit.  I did a warm up run and felt a little weird at the beginning of the warm up -- wobbly legs --- but I was really nervous for the race so I chalked it up to that.  Then had to hit the bathroom, again.

We started to line up for the race, but it was strange because no one seemed to want to line up on the starting line.  I usually am hesitant to be on the line, but because no one else was, I stepped up.  There were protesters that cleverly got a hold of the race microphone for a bit before anyone figured out what was going on, and then we were off.

A younger guy took off after the bikes.  And then, it was me.  There was a guy next to me but that appeared to be it.  I was thinking that the situation was strange and thought, "Am I running too fast?" but I didn't feel like I was running fast so I just kept going.  I have not been able to pace very well lately (which is something I typically am decent at) so I should have checked my watch but I didn't.  I just kept running.  At about 0.75 miles, another woman came up by me.  We turned a corner and BAM!  Full-on headwind, which sucked.   My mile beeped at 6:00.  AW shit.  That was way too fast.  I could feel myself getting tired.  The woman took off and I did not go with her.  I just tried maintaining but the wind wore me out.  We finally turned a corner and then were on a bike path with the wind behind us.  I was done for.

So. Tired.  I sort of mentally gave up at this point.  My legs hurt, I was winded.  My second mile was 6:11.  Just keep running.  Just keep running.  Do not stop.

I could hear no one behind me but I didn't turn around.  The woman ahead of me had left me in her dust.  Seriously she was CRUISING.

I turned another corner and just could not believe how far away the finish line seemed.  I also saw that there was a guy catching up to me.  Randomly a family friend who lives on the south side was running with a group (not part of the race) and cheered for me, saving me a bit.  I mustered all I had to get to the finish.  I maintained the third place overall, second place female finish with a time of 19:33.

I had to wait at the finish a bit, bent over.  A guy came up to me and asked if I was ok and I was...eventually.  I talked with the first place female, who I believe ran a 18:22.  So fast and so nice!

I headed over to do a cool down.  My family wasn't there, and I didn't know anyone at the race, so that made it easy to get a cool down in.  I really struggled to move my legs during the cool down, but got 1.7 miles in.

After my cool down, I changed my shoes and went to grab my post-race food.  Given that this race is around dinner time, they post-race food is substantial for this.  Each participant gets a beverage of choice and then essentially a boxed lunch type meal.  I sat on the lawn to watch the band and eat my meal.

At that point, I remembered how cold it gets by the lake at night.  I remembered freezing at this race last year.  A little too late since I hadn't remembered to pack a long sleeve shirt or jacket.  Luckily the awards started soon.

It turns out that my finish time beat the previous course record, which meant that the first place woman has the new course record!  That was pretty exciting. (We high fived.)  It was fun to be a part of a strong women's finish, being the top two and three overall.  They also improved the awards this year.  The top three men and top three women all got the cooler full of bacon (and other pork products) AND a gift certificate to Performance Running Outfitters!  I was pumped as last year I finished second woman and did not get the gift card (only the first place in each gender did).

I again could not resist texting my husband, "I'm bringing home the bacon". :)


So I did have a bit of downward spiraling after this race.  I really thought I would be faster.   I ran a 19:49 last year at this race, only two weeks after ditching a boot for a stress reaction.  I have been so consistent with training, particularly over these summer months, I was expecting a big payoff in this race.  I feel better about it today and am also happy that I have a break from racing for a while.  My next planned race, an 8K, is not until mid-September.

Monday, July 24, 2017

BTN BIG10K Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I was given free entry into the BTN Big10K as part of the BibRave Pro program.  For more information on BibRave Pros and to review races, go to

I ran a 10K yesterday: the BTN BIG10K!  The 10K is my most challenging race.  I have yet to run a good one.  I also don't have a lot of experience with them.  So much so that, even though it was a rough one, yesterday is a PR for me:  41:59.

Here is my lifetime 10K history:
7/4/04      Peachtree Road Race    52:08 (8:23 avg)
10/21/12  Fall Classic                   45:03 (7:15 avg)
6/25/17    Bigfoot Trail                 42:58 (6:54 avg)
7/23/17    BTN Big10K                41:59 (6:46 avg)

The fam and I tacked on a long weekend in Chicago to coincide with this race.  We left mid-morning on Friday to make the drive and luckily hit no traffic.  We stopped at Fleet Feet Old Town for packet pickup on the way to our hotel.  Packet pickup was a breeze and took no time.  I really like how Ram Racing uses QR codes for packet pickups. Our packets included a race shirt, a B1G1 Chipotle coupon and our bibs.

The race is centered around the Big 10 college football conference, which includes the University of Wisconsin-Madison (my undergrad alma mater, and my husband's).  When you register, you are able to pick from one of the ten participating schools and in doing so, your race shirt and race medal are themed accordingly.  Thus, I selected University of Wisconsin and my shirt and race medal were both UW themed:

The shirts are ok.  The fabric is "technical fabric" but that thicker variety that traps heat.  I also am not a fan of short sleeve technical fabric race shirts.  They never fit me very well - Women's shirts are always tight in the shoulders and Men's are always too big.  I would prefer tanks.

On Saturday, Ram Racing posted a weather advisory for the race indicating that temps and humidity would be high.  UGH.  (My Garmin data indicated that it was 75 degrees and 89% humidity when we ran.) Saturday night, I laid out all of my stuff, made my water bottle of Gen UCan for the fridge and set my alarm.  I slept terribly, doing the thing where you wake up every hour because you are afraid you are going to miss your alarm.  My alarm was set for 530 am, and the last time I woke was 525 so I just got up.  I quickly got dressed and left our hotel room.  Upon opening the door to the outside, I was blasted with warm air.  Already at 5:45am it was disgusting outside.

The start area was 1.6 miles from our hotel.  I started walking, ate a Picky Bar, and then jogged to the start.  I was DRENCHED with sweat.  When I arrived to the start area, I drank my Gen UCan and gear checked my stuff.  I had a little under an hour to go before the race start but was going to try to meet up with a few different folks: My friend Erica was running, Some Oiselle Wisconsin ladies were running, and a few other BibRave Pros were running.  Unfortunately, it was difficult to meet up with any of these people since I had already gear checked my phone.  I went to the bathroom and then randomly saw one of the BibRave Pros.  We took a group photo and then went to the starting corrals.

I was excited to have gotten elite corral placement for this race. Unfortunately, by the time I went to the corrals, they were jam packed with people and elite was combine with Corral A.  Thus, I started in the back of Corral A.  It was like sardines - there was no way to weave to the front without being a super jerk.  The starting gun went off and I ended up weaving in and out of people, which is always a bad move.  I know this, yet I still do it.  I ran past one of the Oiselle WI women which was fun and then ended up running past my friend Erica.  My first mile was 6:38.  I was really hot because the first part of the course was on underground streets.  I told myself to calm down and got through the second mile in 6:15.  Right after the second mile was the first hydration station.  I grabbed a cup of Nuun, chugged it, then grabbed a cup of water for my head.  I was already really thirsty.  Bad sign.

I just tried to hang on through mile 3, which clocked in at 6:40.  Just like in the Bigfoot Trail race, I could not believe I was only halfway done.  My official results indicate my first 5K was 20:34 (6:38 pace).

Mile 4 was a doozy.  When I saw the second water station, I stopped running to drink the Nuun and do the water cup on my head.  This water stop featured a slip and slide.  I SO WANTED to go in it.  I was SO.HOT.  Reluctantly, I joined the running masses again.  Thus, mile 4 clocked in at 7:06.

Most of the second half of mile 3 through mile 5 was along the lake which was nice.  I was solidly running with another woman and two men.  I told myself to just stay with them.  Mile 5 was 6:49.

They added a third water stop due to the heat (which was amazing) right at about mile 5.25 which featured a second slip and slide.  Again, I avoided the slip and slide, grabbed Nuun to drink and water for my head.  At this point, I just tried to pick up the pace to at least beat the woman I was running with (I did).  I knew we just had to go back under the street and through to the finish.  I tried to make my legs go but there really was no gas.  Mile 6: 6:54.  I saw my family right at the finish and was able to get a decent finish at 6:07 pace.  I was so grateful for the icy towel and bag of ice at the finish.  I just kept stuffing ice cubes into my 3/4 crop top bra.

At the finish runners got the generic medal, a bottle of water, Clif bars and bananas.  At the post-race party, you then were able to get a beer, an AmyLu chicken sausage with bag of pretzels and cookies and visit all the Big 10 school tents.  You had to go to your school tent to get the magnetized token for your medal.  They had a decent band at the finish (Maggie Speaks), and to my children's delight, school mascots (except Bucky Badger!).  We stayed at the post-race party for a bit, but then my friend Erica and my family went out to brunch.

Overall here are my placing stats:
108th finisher of 5,946
20th female of 3,207
4th female age 35-39 of 250
9th Big 10 Alumni Female of 2,035

The BTN Big10K also gives free race photos, which is ALWAYS an awesome perk.  You can also read my review of this race on

I'm not really sure what I expected out of this race.  I was not nervous about it, like I usually am, and I also knew from the moment I got dressed that it wasn't going to be a great one because I wasn't excited like I usually am.  I was coming off 2 weeks of feeling blah during workouts.  I was under hydrated and tired.   I have a hard time judging what a "good" 10K would be for me.  Do I align a 10K with a half-marathon pace or a 5K pace?  My 5K PR pace is 6:04, my half-marathon PR pace is 6:48.  I am hoping to move that to a 6:44 this fall.  I generally think that I should be able to do a 10K in the 6:30 range, based on my 8K times in the past few years.  I do not have any other 10Ks on my race calendar, but THURSDAY I have a 5K!  CRAZY.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 6 Recap

If you stay true to the book on the Hanson's plan, they are anti-racing during training.  I stuck to this during my marathon training but I enjoy shorter races so have not stuck to this during my half-marathon training plan.  I get why they don't really encourage it - it messes everything up!  I wasn't sure which workouts to keep, what order to do them in, and/or which to modify so this week is a little all over the place.  I ended up skipping the long run entirely.

Additionally, I am still super tired during my runs.  I recall feeling like this around week 12 of the beginner marathon plan.  I didn't start speed work until week 6 of that plan - so this would correspond to week 12 of that plan.  I kind of am feeling a little overwhelmed that I still have 12 weeks to go on this plan.

Finally, the fam and I took off for a long weekend in Chicago leading up to the BTN Big10K race on Sunday.  That did nothing to quell my fatigue, even after taking Saturday off running.  One forgets how much walking is involved in the Windy City...and carrying/pushing two kids who are also not used to it!

Glad this week is in the books.

Monday, July 17
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 x 1200 at 5k/10k pace with 600 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I did 6 miles easy on Monday as I was going to do speed work on Tuesday.  I don't recall my rationale for this.

6.06 mi, 48:43 (8:02 pace)

Tuesday, July 18
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do: Rest.  I pushed the 1200s off another day because I overslept.  I overslept because I stayed up late to watch Spartan races on TV with the hubs.  #truth

Wednesday, July 19
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  UGH.  I had to do the 1200s.  I was using the 10K race on Sunday as my weekly tempo run (which no doubt will mess up next week too).  I had to do the 1200s after work when it was no joke 88 degrees and sunny outside.  At least the humidity was not off the charts.

It did not seem to matter though because they felt like hell.  My goal pace for 1200m is 4:35.  I only had one come in under that.  I did these on the road so 1200m = 0.75 miles.

1.5 mi warm up, 11:52 (7:52 avg pace)

1 - 0.75 mi, 4:38.9 (6:09 avg pace) / 0.38 mi, 3:13.1 (8:27 avg pace)
2 - 0.75 mi, 4:27.5 (5:54 avg pace) / 0.37 mi, 3:06.7 (8:19 avg pace)
3 - 0.75 mi, 4:41.8 (6:15 avg pace) / 0.38 mi, 3:22.2 (8:55 avg pace)
4 - 0.75 mi, 4:44.8 (6:19 avg pace) /

I was pretty dizzy and hot after this.  I ended up walking a bit as I wasn't even sure I could do a cool down.  I was back at my house and chugged 1/2 water bottle of Nuun and felt ok so I trotted along.  I cut the cool down short as I had to go pick up the kids and I was still feeling a little out of it.

1.12 mi, 9:40 (8:40 avg pace)

Thursday, July 20
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: I was up in the morning!  Unfortunately, it was lightening and pouring outside so I stayed in bed and hoped to get in my run after work.  I was able to squeeze it in.

6 miles, 46:33 (7:45 avg pace)

Friday, July 21
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  I was going to try to get a long run in before we left for CHI.  OMG.  My legs would NOT move.  I called it quits at 4 miles, after stopping a bunch.  Absolutely no gas left in my tank.

4 miles, 34:28 (8:36 avg pace)

Saturday, July 22
Plan says: 12 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  0 miles running.  My legs were tired.  I had two full days of walking around.  My iPhone indicates that Friday was 4.7 miles of walking and Saturday was 5 miles of walking.  I know that doesn't seem like a lot but I probably walk 0.25 miles a day normally.  Ok...I just checked. 0.48 miles on Wednesday and Thursday before that.  I did a terrible job hydrating which I knew would come back to haunt me.  Add in two hot and sweaty kids who at times needed to be carried and pushed in a stroller, and you have two hot and sweaty parents.

Sunday, July 23
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  10k race plus 1.5 mile warm up.  It was not that great.

41:59, 6:46 avg pace.  Race recap coming tomorrow.

Plan Miles: 44
Total Weekly Miles: 30.6

Friday, July 21, 2017

Product Review: Orange Mud Phone.Flask.Vest

Product Review: Orange Mud Phone.Flask.Vest (PFV)

Disclaimer:  I received a Phone.Flask.Vest from Orange Mud to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

The Orange Mud PFV is the first pack that I have had experience with.   My running has not been accessory-heavy, particularly when it comes to any sort of hydration pack.  I usually use a hand-held water bottle for long runs and stash water bottles along my route in some instances.  My hand-held bottle sometimes randomly squirts water out at me, which can be annoying, particularly since I usually do not have plain water in it so it can get sticky.  I have been curious about packs, and thus was excited about this product test opportunity.  I ordered the S/M size (chest circumference less than 40").  Ladies, my bra size is a 32/34 C if that is helpful in reading this and my chest circumference around the fullest part of my chest is 35".

Angie, one of the BibRave Pros, made these amazing photos which detail all of the features of the PFV:
Photo Source Used with Permission

Photo Source Used with Permission

What I liked about the Orange Mud PFV
1.  I loved the easy, no-mess hydration.  I don't love having a water bottle in my hand and this pack allowed me to run with 14 oz of water and I could easily drink this while running by turning my head to the left.  The hydration flask did not leak and the design of it allowed for smooth, easy drinking without air bubbles.  The pack has a valve cover on the left shoulder to tuck the valve into while you are not using it so it doesn't get all grimy.

2. The design of the pack with all the fasteners to secure items was great.  The hydration flask has a bungee cord fastener to make sure it is secure.  The phone pocket has the same type of system.  The underarm straps have little clips to secure the excess strap fabric so it is not swinging around. There is a stretchy elastic band to secure the straw of the hydration flask so that is not flinging around.

3. The phone pouch was big enough for my phone! I have an iPhone 6S with a huge Otterbox case.  This easily fit in the front pouch, which again could be secured with the bungee fastener.  I never run with my phone so it was fun to take it on some routes to get fun pictures.

4.  Extra pockets.  The pack was small and breathable, and I could fit my housekey in the pocket on the left side chest strap; my iPod Nano on the right shoulder pouch (which also could hold a few gels); my larger phone; and 14 oz hydration.

5. Even if I loaded up the pack with all of that stuff, it never felt heavy, nor did it feel like my chest was pulled forward with the extra weight.  The pack itself only weighs 6.8 oz.

6.  The fabric was very breathable.  I ran mid-afternoon in some high temps and did not feel like the pack was causing me to overheat.

What I had trouble with
1.  As I mentioned, I have zero experience with packs so it may be that all packs take a bit to get the fit right.  I struggled with the fit of this on my first 3 runs with it (3mi, 4mi, 6mi).  Part of the right shoulder strap rubbed against my neck and I was constantly adjusting the underarm straps to accommodate my chest. I consulted some of the other BibRave Pros for advice and found that the pack works best if the underarm straps loosened a lot and then tightened evenly.  When I started over and made sure to place the pack on my shoulders and tighten the underarms equally, I had a better experience on my 4th run (6mi).  It also may be that the pack fabric had begun to soften as that was my 4th run with it.  I think I would like it better if the front cross did not cross directly in the middle of my boobs, as you can see in the photo below:

2.  The pack comes with 14 oz (450mL) hydration flask, and also fits a 600mL size flask (sold separately).  This is about enough to get through, at most, a 6 mile run in summer heat for me.

3.  I liked using the pack on my recovery runs (i.e., slower paced runs) but not for a faster paced workout.

All in all, this was a good pack to try and I think I will continue to use it on mid-distance recovery runs, particularly in the heat of the summer.  I also think it would be good for hiking or biking, particularly if I am with my kids because I usually like taking my phone along on those activities to take photos of them!

If you are interested in other female perspectives (given the design of this over the chest area), Mel also has a review on her website.  As more pros post their review, I will try to add them here!

Finally, the code BRPPFV will get you 10% off anything at the Orange Mud website.   You could win a PFV by participating in the Twitter BibChat on Tuesday July 25, sponsored by Orange Mud at 8 PM CST.  (Follow @bibrave for more info!)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Next Race: Big10K!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the BTN Big10K race 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!

Tomorrow we leave for a long weekend in Chicago because I am running the Ram Racing BTN BIG10K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very excited about this race as it has been one I have wanted to do for a while.  Thankfully this year the timing worked out where we could combine our annual long weekend trip in Chicago with the kids and this race.  The course looks great. We start and end in Grant park and get to have some lakeside running as well.  When I lived in Chicago, oh TEN YEARS AGO, I loved running along Lake Michigan.

The BTN Big10K has a lot of perks:

1.  Preferred start corrals:  I was excited to qualify for a preferred start corral!

2. Early start time - 7 AM.  Hopefully it won't be too hot!

3. Post Race Party featuring Big10 mascots!  As a University of Wisconsin alum, my heart belongs to Bucky Badger.  This was a big draw in getting my husband and kids to come as well!  

4. Beer Me - Runners get a complimentary beer from Revolution Brewing and a free AmyLu sausage at the finish.

5.  Live runner tracking - Live runner tracking is always SUPER helpful when you have people joining you to cheer you on.   It is DOUBLE SUPER helpful when the spectators include children who may not always be into watching the race (ahem, my kids).  

6.  Lots of other runners!  I know there is a Oiselle WI contingent, there are other BibRave Pros and my friend Erica is running with me!  Erica and I met while training for the 2007 Boston Marathon.

I am running this after 6 weeks of the Hanson's Advanced Half Marathon training plan.  Thus, I am TIRED.  I adjusted a lot of my workouts this week to accomodate this race, but I still don't think I'll be running on fresh legs.  This workout is replacing my 4 mile tempo run so I am hoping to at minimum run it at a 6:44 pace (my tempo pace).

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 5 Recap

Monday, July 10
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 5 x 1000 at 5k/10k pace with 600 m recovery in between, 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  REST.  I switched up this week as I was still very tired from the weekend and knew it would not be in my best interest to do a speed workout today.

Tuesday, July 11
Plan says: 0 miles

What I do:  Speed work! Unfortunately I had a 7 AM meeting at work so that meant 4:30 AM alarm to get this done.  Ooh I laid in bed for ten extra minutes.  I was so not prepared for that alarm, despite my 8:30pm bedtime the night before. Eventually, I rolled out and got dressed.  It was still kinda dark so I wasn't sure if the track was open so I did this on the road (which Hanson's prefers to track anyways).  This was struggle bus for me.  I definitely could have used another rest day, or at least an easy workout today.  The barometer for this is my recovery jogs - faster 1Ks were slower recoveries!

1.63 mile warm up, 14:07 (8:40 avg pace)

5 x 1000m with 600m recovery  (Goal pace for 1000m = 3:48)
Road conversions = 1000m = 0.62 miles, 600m = 0.38 miles)

1 - 3:51.6 / 3:15  (6:12 avg pace / 8:48 avg pace)
2 - 3:47.2 / 3:10  (6:06 / 8:23)
3 - 3:38.6 / 3:27  (5:50 / 9:04)
4 - 3:46.3 / 3:22  (6:04 / 8:49)
5 - 3:40.7 / (5:54)

1.6 mile cool down, 13:22 (8:22 avg pace)

Even though I know I am probably setting myself up for disappointment in doing this dumb comparison game, I can't help myself.  The comparison this week isn't great.  Back in March, I did this workout on a treadmill so I could basically guarantee hitting my goal pace of 3:48.  These were my 5 1Ks on 3/19.

1- 3:48
2- 3:48
3- 3:47
4- 3:46
5- 3:47

Wednesday, July 12
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 miles at half-marathon pace (6:44), 1.5 mile cool down

What I do:  I planned to do tempo on Thursday this week to have a day in between the two hard workouts of the week.  Since I had taken Monday off, this meant that 5 miles easy was up.

Wednesday was one of those days, beginning at 2 AM when the severe weather alert on my phone went off warning me of the possibilities of flash flooding.  Trust me when I say, I did not care.  We were having crazy storms, complete with downpour, and in between the loud thunder and drip drip drip on my windowsill that my brain refused to ignore and my kids waking up, I did not get much sleep.  Thus, when the alarm went off at 5 AM and it was still pouring, I said "F it and went back to sleep".

This led to all of us OVERSLEEPING and me getting to work 30 minutes later than usual, translating to me getting home later than usual.  It was so hot and muggy out, but I did have time to squeeze in 5 miles.

I started running and it was so hard.  I was listening to a podcast trying to distract myself but it wasn't working.  Then the few routes that I tried to take were underwater.  I stopped several times and at around 3.5 miles I said that I was quitting at 4.

4 miles, 31:32 (7:53 avg pace)

Thursday, July 13
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  It was time to tempo.  Again, I overslept.  I think my sh**ty sleep from last week just caught up with me.  (I know scientifically they say that this doesn't happen, but I truly think it does for me.)  SOOOOOOOOOO....again I was running after work in the heat.  The good news was that the humidity was not as bad as Wednesday afternoon.  The bad news was that this run still felt so hard.  My legs were dead, with no zip in them at all.  I made multiple stops along the route for water.

1.51 mile warm up, 11:49 (7:50 avg pace)
4.0 miles tempo, 26:52 (6:43 avg pace)
1.5 mile cool down, 12:17 (8:11 avg pace)

7.01 miles total

Friday, July 14
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  I was up around 3/4 AM because my son woke up.  I tossed and turned, but never went back to sleep so it was not too difficult to get up at 5 to go run.  Reflecting on my week of running, I had the duh moment that I got caught up in pace and again was in a place where I was trying to force the run.  This lead to feeling like junk, being extra tired and really not enjoying myself.

My goal for this run was to run EASY.

6.1 miles, 53:39 (8:47 avg pace)

Saturday, July 15
Plan says: 10 miles at long run pace (7:30-9:00)

What I do:  I wanted to get this done early, but slept through my alarm.  (That is basically the theme of my summer running.)  Thus, I was running in the heat in the early afternoon for my son's nap.  This run was fine.  I was excited to run over a newly constructed bridge over the river.  I was excited to be able to fill up my handheld several times along my route.

10 miles, 1:17:36 (7:45 avg pace)

Sunday, July 16
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  We stayed at my husband's family lake house on Saturday night and I was in charge of making breakfast so I wasn't able to get up and run early.  I again headed out when my son was napping and it was a breezy, partly cloudy day and scenic.  When I returned to the cottage, my son was awake, but CRABBY.  I did a few cannonballs off the pier in my running clothes to cheer him up.  They felt AMAZING!

Additionally I got some more stand up paddle boarding in AND a long kayak ride.  I LOVE SUMMER!

Plan Miles: 41
Total Weekly Miles: 39.96 (FOR REALZ.  I should have checked the weekly mileage before heading out to at least get that up to 40).

And with that, I've cleared the 1000 mile mark for the year!!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Still trying to slow down

One of the biggest lessons that I took away from my first go at Hanson's Marathon Method was the benefit of slowing the eff down.

You've seen some version of this diagram, right:

This week I have found myself somewhere in that scribbled mess on the right.   The "run your recovery runs at a recovery pace" lesson somehow escaped my brain.  I have been trucking along with the advanced half marathon plan AND doing some races AND not really running a recovery pace for my recovery runs.  Every run that I have done this week (with the exception of this morning's run) has been so hard.  Even my "easy" run on Wednesday.  My legs have not been turning over, they have no zip and I have really had to force the run.  Consequently, I have not had much fun running this week.

I was looking at all my paces and noticing that my 4 mile "easy" run on Wednesday was still in the 7s for pace.  My "recovery pace" for my goal half marathon finish time is 8:30-9:30.  My warm ups and cool downs have been in the 7s, or low 8s if I am lucky.  TOO FAST.  No wonder I am tired as all get out.

This morning I forced myself to SLOW down.  My first mile clocked in at 8:45.  My next was the same (8:47).  I noticed so much more on my run and I wasn't caring about the pace.  I stopped to take a picture of a waterfall and forgot to pause my watch so my 3rd mile was at 10:32.  I wish I could tell you that I didn't care.  Nope.  I picked it up slightly on the way back home (next 3 miles were 8:13, 8:16, 8:11) so that the 3rd mile would not mess up my overall avg too much.


Needless to say, pace is something that I still struggle with.