Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Movie Review: Godspeed: The Race Across America

"Disclaimer: I received a link to preview the film, Godspeed: The Race Across America, to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

Today is the premiere of GODSPEED, the documentary about two men's quest to finish the Race Across America!

You can find showtimes and theater locations at the Fathom Events Website The film will only be in theaters TODAY.

I was given the opportunity to see the film in advance.  I think I need to start watching more athletic endurance documentaries while training as it was such a great source of inspiration and motivation!  Watching the film also made me excited for my own relay adventure - Ragnar Relay Chicago!

The film follows two men, Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper, as they cycle, relay style, from the Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean in the Race Across America to raise money for orphans in Haiti.

The experience comes across as particularly brutal as they start in 100+ degree temps while cycling across the desert, and then have to finish in days of torrential downpours on the east coast.  One of the cyclists commented that there wasn't one day that didn't have a brutal two-hour section.

There were of course, so many parallels that I was able to make between their cycling and my running.  The film really highlights the importance of having a support crew in an event like this.  Having just completed Ragnar Relay, where each of our vans had two AMAZING crew women, I can attest to how important they are!  Even when you are not participating in large event, having a support network is key.  I know I would not be able to train, take care of my kids and work a full-time job without one!  I loved how much their family played a role in their journey as well and how excited everyone was.

The sheer focus of the two men was also highlighted.  They consistently talked about picturing the end to get them through.  One of them said, "Knowing the end was in sight got me going" near the end when it was pouring rain.  They also were able to stay in the moment and appreciate the amazing scenery.  (Hello Rocky Mountains!!!)

One comment made during the film was "If it was easy, everyone would do it" and how true is that of endurance sports?  I know the fact that training is HARD WORK is one of the things that attracts me to distance running.

You can find a showing of the film near you here.

Here are a few more reviews of the film:




Monday, May 21, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 14 Recap and RAGNAR RELAY!!!

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

Last week was crazy and I am already sad it's all over.

First, it was my first week in my new office location, which is located farther away from my house.  This means more commute time for me, and although it's not a crazy amount (I am spending about 20 minutes more in my car per day), it is enough to make me feel a little off kilter.  I'm sure in time, I will adjust.

Then, I ended my week participating (and our team winning the women's open division) in Ragnar Relay Chicago!  I knew participating in this would throw a wrench in my schedule so prepare for the fact that I moved my whole schedule around (after consulting with my friend Eric of High Miles Running).  Eric recommended swapping the Ragnar miles for my tempo run so I got out of doing that last week.  JAZZ HANDS ALL AROUND for that one.

Sunday, May 13
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did:  No running.  It was Mother's Day and our day was pretty booked.  I did not get up early to run, because my family was planning breakfast in bed for me and by the time the day ended, I was pooped so I opted to take my rest day on Sunday instead of Tuesday

Monday, May 14
Plan Says: 2 x 3 mile, with 1 mile recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  I did the 5 miles I missed on Sunday.
5.01 miles, 40:49 (8:09 avg)

Tuesday, May 15
Plan Says: Off

What I did: Top of the strength ladder!  I did Monday's missed strength workout on Tuesday.  My goal pace for these workouts is ten seconds faster than my marathon goal pace (6:52) so my strength workout goal pace is 6:42.  My first was a bit slow, but my second was a bit fast.

1.12 mile warm up, 9:35 (8:34 avg)

1.  3 miles, 20:11 (6:43 avg pace)

Recovery mile: 8:43

2.  3 miles, 19:53 (6:37 avg pace)

1.2 mile cool down, 10:31 (8:46 avg pace)

Wednesday, May 16
Plan Says: 9 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:   Friday's 8 easy miles
I told you there was a lot of switching around!

8.1 miles, 1:07:46 (8:22 avg)

Thursday, May 17
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: Saturday's long run!  I got luck in that my long run this week was only 10 miles (and not 16).  10 miles before work means an alarm in the 4s but it is doable.

10 miles, 1:22:59 (8:18 avg)

Friday, May 18
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did:  First day of Ragnar!  Our start time was 3 PM.  Our projected finish time was based on each of us entering our half marathon pace when we registered.  At that time, I entered 6:45 as my pace for this so my goal was to run all my miles at 6:40-6:45 pace, which is in line with my tempo pace of 6:42 for this training cycle (also why we decided to not run the tempo this week).

I was runner 11 so that meant that my first run time wasn't going to be until 9:13pm.  I started running at 9:15PM.  It was dark and raining and I was running into the wind.  Most of my 6.3 mile leg was running on a dark trail through the woods, with no other humans in sight so I was pretty scared.  I am definitely used to running in the dark, but running through my neighborhood in the dark and running through the woods in the dark are NOT the same.  The other thing that was annoying to me is that I had to stop at stoplights in the 2nd mile, which definitely affected my mile pace.  Despite stopping at lights, I still almost was hit by a car.  ARGH.  (For the record I was wearing a reflective vest, a headlamp, a blinking tail light and a reflective hat.)

I ran my 6.3 mile leg in 41:19 which is 6:34 pace.
My mile splits were: 6:31 / 6:56 / 6:31 / 6:26 / 6:26 / 6:30

I warmed up a lot for this leg and generally felt ok while running.  I definitely felt that I hadn't eaten enough food during the day though so I wanted to eat more before my next leg.

Saturday, May 19
Plan says: long 10 miles

What I did:  I had two more Ragnar legs on Saturday.

Leg #2 began at 3:43 AM, which was still right around the predicted time I would be running (3:38 AM).  I had 4.5 miles.  I had gotten some sleep in the van, and we had a midnight stop at McDonald's to refuel.  It was the only place that was open, but honestly, a cheeseburger and fries never tasted so good.

We had finally started catching up to some teams so we weren't running alone and it was FUN to start to pass people (every pass is a "kill" in Ragnar terms).  I felt really good on this leg.  I only had a few stoplights on my first mile and then I was back on a dark trail.  I passed 15 people on this leg.

4.44 miles, 28:59 (6:31 avg pace)
Mile Splits: 6:40 / 6:26 / 6:23 / 6:31

Then it was back in the van.  I was able to sleep a little bit more and then I woke up and ate a banana with peanut butter, and two superhero muffins with peanut butter on them.  My stomach was definitely feeling off.  As the day progressed, it stopped raining and became more and more humid.  I didn't plan on running with any liquid on any of my legs, but my teammates convinced me to run with water for my last leg and I was so grateful.

At 11:33 AM, I was off for my third and final leg.  We had gotten far ahead of our projection by this point as the time prediction sheet had me beginning my last leg at 12:15 PM.  (Side note - this time sheet was pretty cool - they had some algorithm that calculated each running slowing down a bit with each leg and our team did not slow down as much as their algorithm would suggest we would.)  I had no gas in the tank and my stomach did NOT like me.  My route was through the east side of Madison and had so many freakin' stoplights and the first mile and a half was uphill.

4.41 miles, 30:44 (6:58 avg pace)
Mile Splits: 6:55 / 6:52 / 6:43 / 7:33 (SUCH A LONG A** STOPLIGHT right before the exchange)

All in all, I ran a total of 15.14 miles according to my watch for a total run time of 1:41:02.  My avg pace across all miles was 6:40, which is right where I wanted to be!

It was definitely hard to run short distances fast in the middle of marathon training, but an unforgettable experience!  The results are not official yet, but unofficially my team won the women's open division with a total time of 21:37:11 which was 34 minutes and 23 seconds faster than the 2nd place women's open team!!  There will be a blog post about our team's experience on Oiselle's blog sometime this week.

Weekly Total
Plan says: 48 miles
What I did: 47.58 miles.  I was happy that I was able to get this close to the plan goal mileage with having Ragnar in the mix.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


I'm interrupting marathon training to participate in an exciting endeavor:  BIRDMACHINE CHICAGO!

Many months ago, Oiselle announced their intent to sponsor six Ragnar Relay teams in 2018 and I have had the good fortune to be selected for the Chicago team.  I am headed to Chicago shortly via Amtrak and our team start is 3 PM tomorrow. 

You can meet our team on this blog introduction

I am really excited about the opportunity.  Per the race calculator, I will be running Friday at 9:15 PM, Saturday morning at 3:38 AM and Saturday at 12:15 PM for a total of 15.3 miles.  I'll tell you all about it next week - including how tired I am :)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Grandma's Marathon : Week 13 Training Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

Last week was stressful, but I still managed to get every workout in.  My strength workout felt extra hard, and despite having two recovery days in before doing my tempo, I could not get to tempo pace to save my life.  I am blaming that on my shitty sleep.

I rebounded nicely with my second "long" run of the plan.  I also felt good that despite my very noticeably tired legs, I was able to execute the long run nicely.

Keep showing up, folks!

Sunday, May 6
Plan Says:  Easy 7 miles

What I did:  7.05 miles, 55:10 (7:49 avg pace)

Monday, May 7
Plan Says: 3 x 2 mile, with 800 meter recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  I was up early on Monday morning to get this workout done.  It honestly felt so hard.  I chalked it up to being tired from walking around Madison (in addition to getting my runs in) the previous weekend.

1.0 mile warm up, 8:50

1.  2 miles, 13:34 (6:45 avg pace) / recovery: 0.50 miles,  4:31 (9:03 avg pace)
2.  2 miles, 13:10 (6:34 avg pace) / recovery: 0.56 miles,  4:51 (8:43 avg pace)
3.  2 miles, 13:24 (6:42 avg pace) /

1.51 mile cool down, 12:57 (8:33 avg pace)

Tuesday, May 8
Plan Says: Off

What I did: Off

Wednesday, May 9
Plan Says: 9 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  Off
We are in the midst of a lot of change at work - new boss, packing up our office for a move across town to a new office and it is stressing me out.  When I am stressed, insomnia sets in.  I spent 4 early morning hours tossing and turning, reading, and trying to sleep.  I fell asleep minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off in order to get this tempo run in and I don't remember shutting it off.  Unfortunately, the next available time I was going to be able to get this in was after kids were in bed and it ended up being a late bedtime because of the spring first grade music concert and then I had to make lunch for teachers for teacher appreciation week.

What you should glean from this slightly spastic paragraph is that I had one chance to get a run in on Wednesday and I blew it.

Thursday, May 10
Plan Says: easy 6 miles

What I did: Ok, so Thursday morning's alarm went off EARLY so i could get the tempo run in.  I woke up with a splitting headache and stumbled out of bed.  I did not think to pop some Advil or Tylenol for my headache because I was getting dressed while half asleep.  I started chugging the Gen UCan I had prepared the night before, grabbed my two bottles of Nuun that I also prepped the night before and got outside.  I was greeted with a wash of humidity.

I trudged through the mile warm up in 9:11 and then started to pick it up.  It was a struggle and my mindset was not strong to hold on.  Honestly everything was annoying the heck out of me.  My first mile came in at 7:23 and I tried to rally for the second mile and really gave up around the 1.5 mile mark.  My focus was no longer on pace but just trying to get as many miles in before I had to get ready for work and a staff meeting.  I ended up with 8 more miles, at an average pace of 7:38.

I headed back out after my kids were in bed to get the actual Thursday workout in.  6.1 miles, 50:47 (8:19 avg).

Thursday total: 15.24 miles

Friday, May 11
Plan Says: easy 6 miles

What I did:  I was two miles behind for the week given that my tempo workout total should have been 11 miles, so I tacked on the two miles to this run, which ended in a downpour.

8.5 miles, 1:07:14 (7:54 avg)

Saturday, May 12
Plan says: long 16 miles

What I did:  My husband wanted to take the kids shopping for Mother's Day presents so I was able to run in early afternoon.  The temperature and conditions were almost perfect for a run.  My legs were noticeably tired so I did some warm-up work with my CTM band before heading out.  This totally saved me and after a while, I felt like I was in a great groove.  I also headed out on the Bugline Trail which was vibrantly green and beautiful.

My second (of three) 16-miler was great.  Phew.

16 miles, 2:03:30 (7:43 avg pace)
Mile splits: 7:51 / 7:39 / 7:55 / 7:48 / 7:47 / 7:47 / 7:39 / 7:42 / 7:59 / 7:48 / 7:25 / 7:41 / 7:30 / 7:51 / 7:43 / 7:24

Weekly Total
Plan says: 56 miles
What I did: 56.37 miles - which is my new weekly mileage record!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Product Review: Aftershokz Trekz Air Wireless Headphones

Product Review: Trekz Air wireless headphones by Aftershokz

I decided it was high time to try out some wireless headphones; or, my phone decided for me since it does not have a traditional headphone jack.  I was already sold on the Aftershokz brand after testing out their wired headphones last year (which I still use regularly with my iPod nano).  However, dealing with cords in certain situations has been less than ideal. 

Hello Lover.

Er, the Trekz Air wireless headphones in Midnight blue.

I received the headphones on a particularly nasty weekend (hello April snow) and was excited to give them a test run on my treadmill.

They were very easy to set up.  I plugged them into my computer via the USB to charge and then connected them via Bluetooth technology to my iPhone.  I'm not the most technologically savvy person (just ask my coworkers) but I found this very easy to do.  There is a little button near the ear piece that turns the headphones on and off and then I just opened my podcast app on my iPhone and went.  My arm swing was not affected by the cord, I didn't accidentally yank on any cords and pull them out of the iPod BECAUSE NO CORD EXISTS!!!

It's like magic.

I also really liked how light these were.  The Trekz Air was designed to be 20% lighter than its predecessor which was immediately obvious.  There was no bounce while running.  I could easily wear them with a hat and sunglasses and not be uncomfortable.

The headphones work via bone conduction which is also a little like magic in my book.  The ear piece does not go in your ear, rather it rests on your jawbone allowing you to hear whatever is playing AND your surroundings.  This provides a unique safety feature while running - I can listen to my podcasts on easy and long days and still if a car is coming or those damn squirrels that like to play in the leaves on early mornings :)

The Trekz Air really allowed me to have more use of headphones in non-running areas of my life, which is where I found them to be fantastic.  I don't regularly run with my phone, nor do I regularly listen to anything while running.  I usually save headphone runs for easy days so that on hard days, my focus is completely on my run.  In addition to running, I also tested out the headphones during some household chores.  Our laundry room is on our second floor on the back of our house and often I will listen to a podcast (usually My Favorite Murder) while folding all of the laundry I put off folding for weeks.  In other words, I will be parked there for a while.  Using the wireless headphones has made this job more enjoyable because I don't have to carry anything with me - my phone is on the counter, and I don't have a cord getting in the way of my folding.  More importantly, I can hear when someone enters the room, which means that my husband is no longer scaring the SH** out of me.  Score!

The other household task that I have taken to using my Trekz Air is while I am dinner prepping before my daughter gets home on the bus.  I have to be outside to meet the bus, so I will prep dinner in the short amount of time that I have between getting home from work and having her bus arrive.  I can listen to a shorter podcast (I really like Work Play Love by Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas) and hear through our open windows the bus pull-up.

Speaking of work, I also take my Trekz Air to the office.  They come with a very handy, and small, carrying case that I throw in my bag.  No more having coworkers try to talk to me or come up behind me and scare me because they don't know I have headphones on!

While I have loved the Aftershokz products for over a year, the Trekz Air wireless really have allowed me to whittle down my podcast list doing a variety of things, not limited to running.

If you have been wanting to try a pair for yourself, you can use this link to get $30 off a pair of Trekz Air and a free trucker hat.  Let me know what color you pick out!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 12 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

Another week down.  Generally it was an ok week.  My strength workout was a bit of a bust, but I got through 3/4 of it.    I had a great tempo run and a beautiful long run and I am pleased with both.

I ended April with 193.75 miles.  Woohoo!  Strava tells me this is 25 hours and 3 minutes of my month spent running.  I haven't ever looked at my Strava stats before and it is kind of fun. 

I didn't manage to get up very early on any days except Friday and Saturday.  Work and kids required some switcheroos which is always challenging but the important thing is that the work got done.

Sunday, April 29
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did:  5.1 miles, 40:40 (7:58 avg pace)

Monday, April 30
Plan Says: 4 x 1.5 mile, with 800 meter recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  I had to do this at night because I slept in, and was not able to get out of work early to get this done.  I started before my kids had soccer and the plan was to end at soccer practice.  It was the first hot day of the year (77 degrees), I was not well hydrated and just felt awful.  I cut it short both because I was not feeling great and because I ran out of time.  I also ran the first two way too fast - my goal pace for these strength workouts is 6:42. 

1.0 mile warm up, 7:55.2

1.  1.50 mile, 9:24.4 (6:16 avg pace) / recovery: 0.50 miles,  4:12.0 (8:27 avg pace)
2.  1.50 mile, 9:25.4 (6:17 avg pace) / recovery: 0.50 miles,  4:13.6 (8:28 avg pace)
3.  1.50 mile, 9:49.3 (6:32 avg pace) /

1.55 mile cool down, 13:09 (8:28 avg pace)

Tuesday, May 1
Plan Says: Off

What I did: Off

Wednesday, May 2
Plan Says: 9 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  Again, I slept in and had a happy hour send-off for my boss after work so I knew better than to attempt a tempo run so I switched up the Thursday and Wednesday runs.

5.2 miles, 40:44 (7:50 avg pace)

Thursday, May 3
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: I left work a little early to get my tempo run in before the bus.

1 mile warm up, 7:54.6
9 miles tempo, 1:00:35 (6:44 avg) Mile splits: 6:44, 6:43, 6:54, 6:41, 6:46, 6:47, 6:38, 6:47, 6:33
1 mile cool down, 8:08.2

I felt great during this.  Part of it was excitement due to wearing the Nike Vaporfly 4% shoes that I spent my birthday money on, and part of it was the beautiful weather.

Friday, May 4
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did:  First early morning run of the week! 8 miles, 1:07:07 (8:23 avg pace)

Saturday, May 5
Plan says: long 10 miles

What I did: We took our kids to Madison, WI for a long weekend so I planned on getting up early while they were sleeping to get this run in.  It was a perfect morning weather wise and I enjoyed running along Lake Monona. 

10 miles, 1:18:13 (7:48 avg pace)

Weekly Total
Plan says: 49 miles
What I did: 47.4 miles

Friday, May 4, 2018

Product Review: Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Vest

Product Review:  Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Vest

Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Vest to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I don't use a lot of packs, etc for long runs.  However, I am getting sick of having to plan out my fluid situation for long runs so I opted to try the Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Vest and have been VERY pleased.  I have used this vest for runs in the 8-16 mile distance.

My favorite part about this hydration vest is the custom body fit due to their trademarked CinchFit design and lateral stabilization system.  The combination of where the straps are placed with the flexible fabric means that there is no bounce when I run, even when I have two full 12-oz fluid bottles.

I was also concerned about chafing from this vest.  The first runs that I was using it with required jackets and long sleeves but this morning, I took it out for a run with a tank top and no issues.  HIGH FIVES!

The vest has two pockets on either shoulder which are roomy enough to hold gels, my housekey and my ipod Nano.  They are easy to unzip mid-run and grab a gel.  There is also a large pocket on the back, right behind my neck.  This pocket fits my phone, if I run with it, and also hats/gloves mid-run when I get hot.

The vest comes in two sizes.  Size 1 fits chest circumference 24-40" while Size 2 fits those with a chest circumference of 36-50".  I had no problems with the fit of this vest on my chest.  I will say that it does look a little awkward having the bottles located right under my breasts, but it functionally doesn't pose a problem.  Just a little thing I noticed when looking at selfies while wearing the vest!  The bottles have been very easy to grab mid-run and replace after drinking some.  No need to stop while running to hydrate!

You can purchase the Amphipod PureRun Minimalist vest here.

If you are interested in some other reviews of this vest check out my fellow BibRave Pros:

You can also check out the social media profiles of Amphipod here:

Twitter:  @amphipod
Instagram: @amphipodrunning

Monday, April 30, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 11 Recap (Keep Showing Up)

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

I have an Oiselle coffee mug that says "There is no secret.  Keep going."

Desi Linden now famously has said, "Keep showing up."

This is what I have wrote in my training journal the last several weeks.  Keeping my focus broad has really helped my anxiety with certain workouts (ahem, I'm looking at you tempo runs).

The other thing I will say is that early morning runs are really where it is at, when I can make them happen.  With the exception of last Sunday's run, every single workout was done EARLY in the morning - alarms set between 4:30-5 AM, even Saturday.  Yes, this sucks at that initial alarm, but I have found that I am in a much better mood if I can just get the inertia to get out of bed, get dressed and get out the door.  I am writing this here for myself so I can commit this to memory because of course last week was textbook, but this week (as in yesterday and today) I have already fallen off the early morning train.

Goal A:  Keep showing up in the early morning
Goal B: Keep showing up period

This week might end up being a Goal B week.  :)

I am now finished with 11 of the 18 weeks in the Hanson's Beginner Marathon Plan.  I am tired.  (Duh.  That, or should I say "cumulative fatigue" is the whole point of the plan).  Something I have noticed with this cycle is that my most difficult day, mentally and physically, is Sunday, which is different from last Spring.   My legs feel like lead on Sundays and I am so mentally worn out that it takes a lot more effort to get things going on this day.   Recognizing this is helpful.  I would have a tendency to say "Oh, I'm really tired...is that my body telling me to take it easy?!" {cue: anxiety} but now that I have a discernible pattern, I know that "Yes, I am tired - it's a Sunday.  Get out there."

Of course I am not saying this is what everyone should think about themselves. Know thy own self. Something I am still trying to learn about myself is locating my comfort boundary.  I think in the past, I have always erred on the side of comfort when it came to training and didn't really push past that much.  I understand that pushing too far is asking for injury, but I think what I am learning this cycle is that I can push myself more than I have in the past and still be ok in terms of injury.  And, with each passing week, I am more and more confident and excited about what my body and mind can do in this running space.

That's enough self-analyzing for one day.  Here is last week's recap!

Sunday, April 22
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did:  5.4 miles, 43:02 (7:58 avg pace)
Oooh my legs were tired at the start of this.  The first and second miles were a little creaky but then it all came together.  It was a beautiful day.  My daughter was at a birthday party and my husband took my son to the park where I ended my run and we went for ice cream.  YUM!

Monday, April 23
Plan Says: 6 x 1 mile, with 400 meter recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  The strength workouts begin!  My alarm went off around 5 AM and I was not excited.  My son was up 3 times the night before and I was laying in bed just wanting to go back to sleep so badly.  Then I remembered that my husband had a late work meeting so it was now or never.  I peeled myself out of bed and got dressed.

I was grateful for the mile warmup because I needed it.  My goal pace for strength workouts is my goal marathon pace minus 10 seconds so 6:40.  These miles were not easy but they definitely weren't as difficult as they should have felt, especially since I did them too fast.  This workout was a good confidence builder!

1.00 mile warm up, 8:53

1.  1.01 mile, 6:34 / recovery: 0.28 miles,  2:38.7 (9:35 avg pace)
2.  1.01 mile, 6:35 / recovery: 0.27 miles,  2:31.8 (9:29 avg pace)
3.  1.01 mile, 6:28 / recovery: 0.27 miles,  2:27.9  (9:07 avg pace)
4.  1.01 mile, 6:25 / recovery: 0.27 miles, 2:23.0 (9:00 avg pace)
5.  1.01 mile, 6:25 / recovery: 0.26 miles, 2:22.3 (9:06 avg pace)
6.  1.01 mile, 6:14 (!)

1.25 mile cool down, 10:40 (8:27 avg pace)

A fun fact - When I finished this workout and came into the house and checked my phone, I found out that my nephew was born!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 24
Plan Says: Off

What I did: Off

Wednesday, April 25
Plan Says: 8 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did: 8 mile tempo.  Alarm went off in the 4s.  GROAN

1 mile warm up, 8:21.3
8 miles tempo, 54:02 (6:45 avg) Mile splits: 6:59, 6:45, 6:56, 6:32, 6:47, 6:47, 6:43, 6:33
1.1 mile cool down, 9:08.5 (8:17 avg pace)

This is the last 8 mile tempo.  All three of my 8 mile tempos were fairly consistent: 54:11, 54:14, 54:02.  Next week these get bumped up to 9 mile tempos.

Thursday, April 26
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: 6 miles, 50:22 (8:23 avg pace).

Friday, April 27
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did:  8 miles, 1:05:12 (8:08 avg pace)

Saturday, April 28
Plan says: long 16 miles

What I did: Another early morning.  We had a busy day planned so I was setting my alarm for 5 AM even on a Saturday.  Not ideal, but you do what you have to do to get the run in.

I wore a new pair of shoes on this run.  I bought a pair of Saucony Kinvara's at my local running store's clearance shoe event over the winter to swap out when the time came.  My Hoka's are over the 400 mile mark so I started transitioning the Kinvara's in.  I felt tired in the early miles of this run but eventually I got into the rhythm.

This is the first of three 16 mile runs that I will do in the remaining weeks.  If you are familiar with Hanson's you know that one does not run longer than 16 miles on their plan.  One down, two to go.

16 miles, 2:07:28 (7:58 avg pace)
Mile splits:  8:33 / 8:26 / 8:18 / 8:06 / 8:05 / 8:10 / 8:19 / 8:02 / 7:55 / 7:45 / 7:45 / 7:37 / 7:44 / 7:37 / 7:37 / 7:27

Weekly Total
Plan says: 54 miles
What I did: 55.21 miles

**Fun Fact:  This mileage is higher than any weekly mileage I have EVER done!  I think I am justified in being tired. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Product Review Update: CTM Band

Product Review Update: CTM Band

Disclaimer: I received a CTM Band to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

You may have already watched my YouTube Video from my earlier blog post on the CTM Band.  I wanted to provide an update after several weeks of using the band.

One month later, I am still really pleased with the band.  I primarily am using it on my calves, paired with the JasYoga Calf Reset exercises as indicated in my initial post.

I have also used it on my hamstrings a few times when they felt tired or tight.  When my back was sore, I actually laid on top of the band, aligned with the sore muscles of my back.  (Side note - my husband has actually used it in this way as well).  This is totally an "off-label" use of the band, but it still really was helpful!

"CTM" stands for compression, tension and movement which are three critical components of myofascial release, as backed by research studies.  Myofascial release is the goal of many many tools out there (think foam rollers, etc) and the CTM band is the only tool that allows you to achieve all three of the critical components.  It was designed by a practicing sports chiropractor, Dr. Kyle Bowling.   In my experience, the CTM band definitely provides more relief, in a shorter amount of time, than other tools that are designed to offer myofascial release that I have purchased.

One of my favorite aspects of the band is the website, which has short, very helpful instructional videos showing you how to use the band for targeted areas of the body.  Here is an example:

Additionally, Dr. Bowling is available for questions via email.  I really appreciate good customer service, and supporting the launch of independent products so this was a fun BibRave Pro campaign to be a part of.

My use of the band was preventive in nature, meaning I currently do not have any injuries or problem spots.  My calves definitely have appreciated the extra attention they have gotten with the band and I haven't had as much tightness, soreness or weird middle-of-the-night calf cramps since using it.

Here are some reviews by other BibRave Pros and the body parts they used the CTM Band on:

Lindsey - shins, calves, hamstrings
Mary Jo - hamstrings
Jessica R - hamstrings, quads, calves, IT attachment near the knee
Danielle F - foot, calves
Amanda W - quads, IT band

The CTM Band is $40 but you can use code CTMBIBRAVE for 20% off!  Let me know what you think!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 10 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

Last week was kind of a shit show in many ways.  I was happy to end the week only 1.81 miles short of the weekly mileage!

First off, the weather.  I mentioned that my long run done at the end of Week 9 was done in a sleet storm.  We woke up Sunday morning to a TON of snow.  And then got more snow on Wednesday.  This messed with early runs because while I don't mind running in snow, I do mind running on ice...as in, I don't do it.   By Friday afternoon, I was running in shorts so it was short-lived.  But still.  No one in the state was pleased about dealing with a lot of snow in mid-April!

Then work.  We have so much going on at work as in leadership changes, re-orgs and big projects.  It has definitely been mentally taxing.

Then kids.  My son was having some minor illness in the beginning of the week which of course impacts sleep. 

SO...it should come as no surprise that I did a lot of switching around of workouts this week, and I took an extra rest day which meant a double workout on Friday. I have such a difficult time not catastrophizing (is that a word?!) a bad day.  Instead of taking a big picture look and not letting an off day go, I immediately think, "I am so tired today OMG I am never going to be able to finish the marathon."  I just kept trying to show up and do the work. 

Sunday, April 15
Plan Says:  Easy 7 miles

What I did: 5 miles, 49:11 (9:50 avg pace)
Yeah.  Obviously the long run the day before took it out of me.  Another argument for NOT running the long run faster than prescribed.  After Saturday's long run, I watched a movie with the fam and did some snacking but did NOT eat or drink enough, which was obvious come Sunday.  Even though I was tired, I got on the treadmill Sunday afternoon and made it a mile...and quit.  I was fortunate to grab a cat nap on the couch and then returned to the treadmill on Sunday night after kids were in bed to go another 4.  Painfully slow.  I cut the cord early and went to bed.

Monday, April 16
Plan Says: 5 x 1200 m, with 400 meter recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  Slept.  I was in a daze most of Monday.  I was seriously worried about falling asleep with the kids before my husband got home.  Add to it that my son was sick.  I decided to take the rest day and go to bed early.

Tuesday, April 17
Plan Says: Off

What I did:  Monday's missed speed workout.  For some reason, my early morning alarm did not go off so I got even more sleep than planned (97 out of 100 sleep score!).  I felt much better.  I hit the road after kids were in bed.

1200m = 0.75 mile on the roads.  Goal for these was 4:35

1.03 mile warm up, 8:17.0 (8:01 avg pace)

1.   4:23.0 (5:50 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  2:04.4 (8:19 avg pace)
2.   4:13.3 (5:37 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  2:20.4 (9:20 avg pace)
3.   4:18.8 (5:43 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  2:21.3  (9:28 avg pace)
4.   4:19.1 (5:43 avg pace) /

1.51 mile cool down, 13:03 (8:40 avg pace)

So that was a little too fast.  I had to work for those 1200s but I just kept picturing those Boston marathon runners in the downpour.

And with that, I am DONE with the speed workouts on this plan!!  That seems crazy.  Next week, speed workouts are replaced with strength workouts until race week.  Strength workouts are longer intervals (mile, 1.5 mile, 2 mile and 3 mile repeats) done at marathon pace minus 10 seconds so 6:40 pace for me.

Wednesday, April 18
Plan Says: 8 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  I knew better than to attempt an 8 mile tempo workout less than 12 hours after I did a speed workout so I flipped Wednesday and Thursday around.  Early morning workout felt decent - the first few miles were a challenge but that was to be expected.  I wanted to do a bit more than the 5 prescribed miles, since I cut 2 miles off of Sunday's workout.

6.3 miles, 53:17 (8:27 avg pace)

Thursday, April 19
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: Nothing.  I had to get to work early for a day of meetings and silly me thought that I would be ok doing a tempo workout at night.  Well, I wore heeled boots on a day where I would be presenting (i.e., standing) for 9 hours.  My feet were so sore by the time I got home.  I was just not in the mood to run. So I didn't.

Friday, April 20
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did:   My Friday work calendar was pretty laid back so I took full advantage. 

I got up at 5 to do an early easy-paced run.  5.6 miles, 47:00 (8:24 avg pace). 

I left work early to get the tempo run in.  It wasn't pretty, but it is done.

1 mile warm up, 7:57.8
8 miles tempo, 54:14 (6:47 avg) Mile splits: 6:54, 6:50, 6:47, 6:39, 6:45, 6:47, 6:58, 6:34
1 mile cool down, 9:01.8

Total miles: 15.6

Saturday, April 21
Plan says: long 10 miles

What I did:  I was a little concerned that my crazy Friday would impact my Saturday run, especially since I needed to get the Saturday run in during the morning as we had plans for the afternoon.  I did think it would be good training for Ragnar (which I have coming up in less than a month) to have all of these workouts so close together.

I felt really good for my long run.  It was nice outside and I listened to a podcast and just cruised along. 

11 miles, 1:26:08 (7:50 avg pace)
Mile splits:  7:57 / 7:59 / 8:01 / 7:48 / 7:57 / 7:46 / 7:45 / 7:37 / 7:38 / 7:49 / 7:47

Weekly Total
Plan says: 46 miles
What I did:  44.19 miles

Monday, April 16, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 9 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  


I am now halfway through my training plan.  I have logged 301.06 miles to date.  Last year, I logged 285.06 miles in the first nine weeks with the exact same plan.  While I missed one long run (10 miles) to date, I did put in a few more weekly miles in the early weeks.

Last week was all about just putting my head down and getting it done.  We can do hard things!!

Sunday, April 8
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did:  6 miles, 49:20 (8:13 avg pace)
I mistakenly thought I had 6 on the docket so that is why I went the extra mile.  This was not a great run as I was having a lot of back and side pain/discomfort.  I did a lot of side stretching in the therapy pool after this run and also did the JasYoga Side body reset which helped some.

Monday, April 9
Plan Says: 5 x 1 km, with 400 meter recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did: The workout.  I was a little nervous about this after all of the back/side issues I had over the weekend.  To top that, it was lightly snowing when I got outside at 5:15 AM.  Luckily the road was not slippery.

After a slow start, this actually felt pretty decent.  I was again on the road (1 km = 0.62 miles) and the first loop was not ideal for a recovery loop and so I modified the route for the 2nd - 5th repeats which meant that I had a little bit longer of a recovery (0.3 miles instead of 0.25).  My goal time for these 1 km repeats was 3:48.

1.06 mile warm up, 9:03.8 (8:35 avg pace)

1.   3:54.4 (6:18 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  (10:05 avg pace)
2.   3:40.0 (5:53 avg pace) / recovery: 0.31 miles,  (8:16 avg pace)
3.   3:39.6 (5:54 avg pace) / recovery: 0.30 miles,  (8:37 avg pace)
4.   3:41.7 (5:56 avg pace) / recovery: 0.30 miles,  (8:29 avg pace)
5.   3:41.0 (5:54 avg pace)

2.0 mile cool down, 16:42 (8:20 avg pace)

Tuesday, April 10
Plan Says: Off

What I did:  Off.  I had my annual biometric screening for work this morning so that meant a 12 hour fast.  I was not about to run on a 12 hour fast.  Fasting also makes me feel sort of nauseous for the entire day afterwards.

Wednesday, April 11
Plan Says: 8 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did:  I have not had great sleep lately and Tuesday night was exceptionally bad so I turned off my early alarm.  This meant I was going to be running after kids were in bed and by the time that point in the day came, I was not up for an 8 mi tempo so I flipped some workouts around.  My right side still was hurting.

5 miles, 40:57 (8:11 avg pace)

Thursday, April 12
Plan Says: easy 6 miles

What I did: Up and at 'em for the tempo run.  It was a great morning, temperature wise.  I ended up overdressing with a long sleeve, jacket and capris. I stripped off the jacket after my warm up mile and spent a lot of the 8 mile tempo wishing I was in short sleeves.  I was definitely nervous about this run.  The jump from a 5 mile tempo to 8 mile tempo in one week is one of the toughest points of the plan, in my opinion.

All in all, I felt more relaxed during this tempo compared to last week.  I still had a lot of stops to cough up phlegm and many, many snot rockets.  I mean, how much phlegm/snot can a body produce?! A LOT.  My side pain was definitely present, but not too bothersome.

1 mile warm up, 8:30.4
8 miles tempo, 54:11 (6:46 avg) Mile splits: 6:56, 6:43, 6:53, 6:48, 6:32, 6:46, 6:46, 6:43
1.25 mile cool down, 10:16 (8:12 avg)

I was SPENT after this.  It is days like this where I want to be able to take a mid-day nap.

Friday, April 13
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: easy 5.5 miles in the morning.  46:27 (8:16 avg pace)

Saturday, April 14
Plan says: long 15 miles

What I did:  I ended up DNS for Run from the Taxman.  I didn't feel it was worth the risk of injury on a slippery muddy trail.  I DID log 15 miles in the sleet and snow though.  I decided to do my neighborhood loops, even though I was doing this early afternoon, so that I could bail and go in on the treadmill if it got ridiculous.  Loops also ensured that I was not heading into the wind for too long of a period.  The wind itself was not super strong, but the fact that it would drive the freezing rain into my face was painful!

I felt really good for this run, and ran too fast.  My husband helped me KT tape my side which definitely helped with the discomfort I have been having.  It was only the last two miles where I felt very fatigued.

15 miles, 1:53:33 (7:34 avg pace)

Mile splits: 7:13 / 7:36 / 7:35 / 7:27 / 7:29 / 7:39 / 7:33 / 7:43 / 7:35 / 7:31 / 7:35 / 7:44 / 7:42 / 7:31 / 7:38

Weekly Total
Plan says: 47 miles
What I did: 49.11 miles

Friday, April 13, 2018

Character Building Weather

Today kicks off a weekend of wild weather in the forecast. 

"Character building weather" as proclaimed by a tweet I just saw.

It was supposed to be raining this morning, so although I set out all of my outdoor running gear last night (as I always do), I told myself as I climbed into my bed that I was likely going to be on the treadmill.

So much gratitude to the universe and Mother Nature for the fact that when I woke up at 5 AM this morning, it was not raining.  A quick check of the weather app indicated that it would not rain for several hours.

I headed outside and logged my 5.5 miles.



I inadvertently signed up for a trail half marathon taking place tomorrow morning.  I say inadvertently because I signed up for the race thinking that it would be nice to be able to do 13.1 of the 15 miles I have on my plan for tomorrow with other people.  (The WI Oiselle Milwaukee group monthly meet up is this race.)  It was only after I took a closer look at the race info website that I realized it was a trail race.  I was ok with this as my intention for the day was to use the "race" as a workout and not race.

Then the emails started coming re: the course and the weather forecast.  They had to modify the course because it was so muddy and parts of the intended route were unusable.

Last night we received another email indicating it was not looking good for the event.  More rain had produced more mud and tomorrow it is supposed to be freezing rain ALL. DAY.

This morning they downgraded the route from a half-marathon to a 20K.

All this to say I'm heavily leaning towards tomorrow being my first "DNS" ever.  Even if it means riding the treadmill for *GULP* 15 miles.

And yet...

A tiny part of me is hoping the forecast delays itself, repeating this morning's good fortune.


I've sort of had it with the "character building weather".  This week has really challenged me in getting workouts done.  I'm tired.  I am still ill (although marginally improving every day).  Work has been busy.  Can we just get a nice sunny day to sweat in?!

Keep on keepin' on folks.  I'm saying that for me as much as you.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Wisconsin Race Highlight: Eau Claire Marathon!

Disclaimer:  I am promoting the Eau Claire Marathon through the BibRavePro ambassador program.  Learn more about BibRavePro and use Bibrave.com for race reviews!

I love Wisconsin and am always looking for races in my home state.  I have made more of a concerted effort to be more in the know of Wisconsin Races and will be featuring a few in the coming months.

First up:  The Eau Claire Marathon
Date:  May 6, 2018
Other Race Distance Opportunities:  5K, Half-Marathon, Marathon-Relay, Kids Run

Where in the world is Eau Claire, WI?  It is in the western part of the state, about 90 miles east of Minneapolis, MN and 245 miles NW of Milwaukee.  Western Wisconsin is known for it's beautiful landscapes.  If you are a music buff, you may have heard of Eau Claire as it is home to the Eaux Claires music festival (started by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame).  (This article has more about the history of the city and the music festival.)

The Eau Claire Marathon turns 10 this year! As one would expect, the medals are highlighting this milestone anniversary!

The course starts and ends in the same location (BONUS!) and also features a nice loop throughout the city, including a lot of running by water!  It is awesome to see the course capitalizes on the city's scenery!

One thing that I think looks cool about this race is that you run over ELEVEN of Eau Claire's bridges including the Dewey St Bridge and the Phoenix Park Bridge pictured below:

Lots of scenic selfie opportunities :)

The course is certified AND a Boston qualifier.  Last year, 52 people BQed on this course!

The event also has lots of cute "merch" available to purchase on this website.  The race website is very well done and it is easy to find lodging resources as well as FAQs.

100 % of the reviews on BibRave recommend this 5-star race.  While I am not running the Eau Claire marathon this year, I am definitely adding it to my marathon list!

If you want to register for any of the races, 'BibRaveRun' gets you 10% off any of the distances.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training: Week 8 Recap

Disclaimer:  I am running Grandma's Marathon in June as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!  

Last week was a little bit of a shit show right off the bat with Easter.  I thought I was all good with making up Sunday's run on Tuesday last week but that was the least of it.

I was done with prednisone on Monday and as the week progressed, I was feeling worse.  I was coughing up green stuff, and my right side and back were increasingly painful with cough, which was constant. I had a fever on Thursday and by Friday at lunch, I was done.  I took PPL for the afternoon, went home and had a glorious hours-long nap.  I went back to the doctor late Friday afternoon and was given some Augmentin to hopefully clear up whatever was growing in my lungs.

Friday night, I was helping my son get his pajamas on when there was a weird crunch sound and I was on my back in pain.  I woke up Saturday and my back was still out of whack so I skipped my run.   I ran yesterday with a lot of discomfort.

Today my back feels better, but my side rib cage is still pretty sore.  My boss (a MD) is thinking that my intercostal muscles along my right side are strained from all of the coughing.  FUN!

Add to all of the above, we had crazy weather last week, which included SNOW and temperatures in the teens!  Ah...the Wisconsin spring :)

Sunday, April 1
Plan Says:  Easy 6 miles

What I did:  0 miles
In all the Easter excitement, my kids were up all night, which meant my husband and I were up all night and then up early to hunt for baskets which meant no early morning run for me.  I knew that if I didn't get it in early, chances were slim that I would get it in at all due to the holiday happenings so I took the rest day and planned to do the easy 6 on my usual rest day (Tuesday).

Monday, April 2
Plan Says: 6 x 800, with 400 meter recovery in between and 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did: The workout.  My kids were on spring break which meant that they were at my in-laws and thus coming home later than usual.  I took the opportunity to do this in the daylight vs. dark morning hours.  My legs were feeling good due to the unplanned rest day the day before!

My goal time for 800m (0.50 miles) is 3:05, but I wanted to try to do them faster.

1.35 mile warm up, 10:13 (7:33 avg pace)

1.   2:54.9 (5:51 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  (8:08 avg pace)
2.   2:53.7 (5:48 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  (8:27 avg pace)
3.   2:54.7 (5:50 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  (8:28 avg pace)
4.   2:53.0 (5:46 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  (8:39 avg pace)
5.   2:53.9 (5:47 avg pace) / recovery: 0.25 miles,  (8:51 avg pace)
6.   2:57.8 (5:56 avg pace)

1.75 mile cool down, 14:22 (8:13 avg pace)

Tuesday, April 3
Plan Says: Off

What I did:  6.2 miles, 51:37 (8:19 avg pace)

Wednesday, April 4
Plan Says: 5 mile tempo, 1 mile warm up and cool down

What I did: TEMPO! While I would prefer to get this done in the morning, we had some crazy weather all night Tuesday night which led to icy conditions in the morning.  Thankfully, I could easily push this to the afternoon since my kids were not going to be home until 5 PM.

This run on paper looks good but it sucked.  I was dealing with cough/phlegm/snot the entire time where I would have to periodically stop to hack up a lung.  It seems like my cough gets worse as the day goes on as I don't really have these issues if I do morning runs.  Additionally, I could not find my pace for this and ended up going too fast.  Ah well.  They can't all be winners and this really was the first "bad" workout of the cycle so far.  I'm sure it won't be the last either.

1.02 mile warm up, 7:57.8
5 mile tempo, 32:48 (6:33 avg pace)  Mile splits:  6:36, 6:31, 6:40, 6:24, 6:36
1.01 mile cool down, 8:24.8

Thursday, April 5
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did:  5.3 miles.  43:19 (8:11 avg pace)
I felt totally fine for this.  No cough, no snot, no phlegm.

Friday, April 6
Plan Says: easy 6 miles

What I did:  6.2 miles, 50:59 (8:13 avg pace)
This run was so difficult.  I felt like crap and more than once thought that I should just stop but I kept going to get the workout done.

Saturday, April 7
Plan says: long 10 miles

What I did:  0.  See above story with my back.  

Weekly Total
Plan says: 41 miles
What I did: 32.08  Such a bummer that I missed the long run, because I was on track for a 42 mile week!