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:

Maria

Bradford

Melissa

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

BIRDMACHINE CHICAGO!!!!!

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