Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Maintenance Miles: Week 8 Review

I didn't hit my 25 mile goal last week.  I knew that the chances of hitting it were slim because I had a minor planned surgery (removal of a benign intraductal papilloma in my breast) on Friday morning and had to be off through the weekend.  Which meant I had 4 running days to work with.  Add on top of that the fact that it was the week leading up to Christmas, I feel lucky that I got some decent miles in on those four days.

I have 14 miles to run before the end of the year to hit my 100 miles/month goal and 20.37 miles to get to an even 1700 miles for the year.  I feel this is more than doable, although I foresee a lot of treadmill time in the week ahead as the temperature is -3 right now.  Good thing I got some new running mittens for Christmas!

Monday Dec 18
5 miles, 39:32 (7:54 avg pace)

Tuesday Dec 19
4.01 miles, 28:35 (7:08 avg pace)

Wednesday Dec 20
7.01 miles, 55:28 (7:55 avg pace)

Thursday Dec 21
4.2 miles, 32:19 (7:42 avg pace)
This was my last "beat the bus" run of 2017 - aka where I race home from work and try to get in as many miles as I can before my daughter's bus drops her off from school.

Friday Dec 22

Saturday Dec 23

Sunday Dec 24

Weekly Total: 20.22 miles

Monday, December 18, 2017

Maintenance Miles Week 7 Review

Another 25 mile week.  This week, I calculated how far I would have to run on Sunday just to hit the minimum.  I so did not feel like running but got on the dreadmill after the kids were in bed to log the amount necessary to hit the goal.  I am pretty sure I sleep-ran that entire 2.1 miles.

In contrast, I had a glorious long run on Saturday afternoon.  The weather was great, I ran comfortably while listening to a podcast.  Now that we have snow/slush/ice, the trails that I usually run on are not clear so I am doing a lot more road/neighborhood running which is not my favorite, but better than the treadmill.

Monday Dec 11

Tuesday Dec 12
4.55 miles, 35:16 (7:45 avg pace)

Wednesday Dec 13
4.0 miles, 35:20 (8:50 avg pace)

Thursday Dec 14

Friday Dec 15
6.5 miles, 52:59 (8:09 avg pace)

Saturday Dec 16
8.1 miles, 1:02:02 (7:39 avg pace)

Sunday Dec 17
2.1 miles, 18:38 (8:52 avg pace)

Weekly Total: 25.25 miles

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2018 Race Calendar So Far...

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to Grandma's Marathon 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!

My 2018 race calendar is amazing.  Period.  I am so so excited for the first half of next year.

This will be the third year in a row that I have participated in this event with lots of Oiselle women from WI and some neighboring states.  Teams of four women run a marathon - so we all run about a 10K - indoors.  This is always a fun time and fun to actually meet people in person!

Next: Oiselle's #PodiumProjectCHI 5/18/18 - 5/19/18
I'm running the Chicago Ragnar Relay with eleven other women as part of Oiselle's Podium Project!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  Details are still being worked out but I am very very excited about this. 

Saving the best for last....

Grandma's Marathon 6/16/18
Grandma's Marathon has been on my marathon bucket list so I'm excited to be able to run it in 2018 as a BibRave Pro*.  The race starts in Two Harbors, MN and ends in Duluth, MN.  Registration is currently open and you get an amazing full-zip fleece lined jacket if you register by 12/31/17.
I love races with a small-town feel and that was the most recurring comment when I asked about this race on our Oiselle Group Facebook page.  The course reportedly BEAUTIFUL.  I can't wait!

What races are you doing next year?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Maintenance Miles Week 6 Recap

I hit 25 miles by the skin of my teeth last week!

My toe is not broken.  I had it buddy taped for a few days and I still ran on it, as it was not causing me any pain.  It was purple for the whole week which looked pretty gross.  It feels totally fine now.

I was able to cross a lot of time consuming (non-running) activities off my list.  My daughter's play that she has been practicing for months occurred yesterday so no more practices/costume making!  I finally finished our holiday cards!  My holiday shopping is almost done, and all of the gifts were wrapped over the weekend.  All this to say is that time is finite - because I was doing a lot of these activities, I wasn't running as much.

We also got SNOW over the weekend!  Saturday I ran in the snow, which was fun.  Yesterday, I didn't run until after the kids were in bed, so I opted for the dreadmill.

I'm getting super bored with these maintenance miles and looking forward to actually following a plan with workouts.  I have to get planning when the return to that will be though!

Here is what I managed to squeak out last week:

Monday Dec 4
5.3 miles, 41:42 (7:52 avg pace)

Tuesday Dec 5
4 miles, 30:31 (7:37 avg pace)

Wednesday Dec 6

Thursday Dec 7

Friday Dec 8
6.2 miles, 49:03 (7:55)

Saturday Dec 9
6.2 miles, 48:00 (7:44)

Sunday Dec 10
3.42 miles, 30:00 (8:47)

Weekly Total: 25.12 miles

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Product Review: Luvo Healthy Meals

Product Review: Luvo Healthy Meals

Disclaimer:  I received 12 Luvo Healthy Meals 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.

Also, I am not a registered dietician or nutrition expert so feel free to add in/correct things if you are!

I'm not really into frozen entree meals but my curiosity was picqued when seeing positive review upon positive review of the Luvo meals from my fellow BibRavePros so I gave them a try.  I have been able to test 5 different meals to date so I thought I would provide an initial review given that my first few Instagram posts generated some questions and comments about the meals.

How/Where to Buy
You can purchase Luvo meals from their website and they get shipped to your doorstep in a dry-ice packed styrofoam cooler.  You really cannot get more convenient than that.  I came home from work one day and voila - 12 lunches were ready to go in my freezer.

Alternatively, there is a link on the website where to find the meals in store.  I liked the online option because I didn't have to worry about whether the exact meals I was interested in were available at stores in my area.

Nutritional Content
This is the area that I think sets Luvo apart from competitors.  The brand follows the "3-2-None" approach which reflects the right balance of protein, whole grain and veggies, not too much sodium or added sugar and no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.  Each Luvo meal that I have tried to date has been between 230-330 calories.  Several of their entrees are Vegetarian, Vegan, or Gluten Free.

One thing that has turned me off of frozen entree meals in the past is how much sodium they contain.  The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300 mg of sodium daily, with an ideal limit of 1500 mg daily.  If you divide that by 3 meals, that means you have about 500 mg (ideally) and no more than 766 mg of sodium per meal to work with.  The Luvo meals that I have tried to date have averaged 400 mg sodium. (I compared the sodium content to another well-known frozen entree brand and the Luvo meal had 1/3 of the total sodium of the other brand's meal!)

Here are the nutrition labels for my favorite two meals thus far:

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Mighty Masala & Greens

The brand partners with two organizations, Why Hunger and A Sense of Home.

Each entree is priced at $5.99 - $6.99.  (If you use the code BIBCHAT at checkout, you can save 10% off your online order.)

These meals all are easy to make in the microwave, which makes them super easy to pack for lunches during the work week. (Our office has a microwave.)  I typically take leftovers in my lunch for work however, there are usually 1-2 days a week where the leftovers don't stretch to my two kids AND myself and then I'm usually buying my lunch.  It has been more cost-effective (and easier) for me to grab one of these out of my freezer on those days.

One of my friends asked me how full these make me feel.  Lunch is my biggest meal of the day.  The amount of food that I eat is something my coworkers like to make fun of.  So, one of the Luvo meals by itself would not cut it for all of my lunch, but I very rarely only eat one thing for lunch.  I usually pack fruit, leftover roasted veggies, and/or cheese and crackers as supplements to my Luvo meal.

Ok, let's get down to "How do these taste?"  I have been keeping a grading chart at my desk.

Two of the five that I have tried have received an "A":
I will be buying these again!

The following two entrees received an A/B grade:

The last of the five that I tried, Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken, I didn't care for.

The meals that I have left to try are:
Chicken Chile Verde
Tandoori-Inspired Spiced Chicken
So Cal Kale & Beans
Hawaiian Un-fried Rice
Great Karma Coconut Curry

What do you usually eat for lunch?  Have you tried Luvo meals before?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Maintenance Miles Week 5 Recap

Another week, another 25 miles.  I'm grateful for the consistency these days.

I started this week strong and then took two rest days in a row mid-week.  I struggled with sleep last week and this was entirely self-imposed because I got sucked into reading a huge novel and stayed up way too late reading, and then sometimes had trouble sleeping because I was thinking about the book.

SO.  The good news is that I still hit 25 miles and I finished the book Sunday morning. 

The bad news is that I might have broken my toe this morning.  From dropping the heaviest, largest bar of soap I have ever seen on it.   I know.  This story is so embarrassing.

Let's just get to recapping the week, shall we?

Monday Nov 27
5 miles, 37:47 (7:33 avg pace)

Tuesday Nov 28
5 miles, 40:50 (8:09 avg pace)

Wednesday Nov 29

Thursday Nov 30

Friday Dec 1
4.15 miles, 30:53 (7:27)

Saturday Dec 2
It was 50 degrees and sunny so I broke out the shorts!  LOVE IT!
8.01 miles, 1:00:54 (7:37)

Sunday Dec 3
3.25 miles, 24:21 (7:29).  My 4 year old got a headlamp for his birthday so I tested it out on the run.  I really loved it!  I may be borrowing more of it in the future!

Weekly Total: 25.40 miles

Friday, December 1, 2017

November 2017 Mileage Count

Happy December!

My monthly mileage total for November ended up being 106.45 miles, JUST surpassing my October mileage so it wasn't the lowest month of the year.

Not only did I clear my 100 mile goal for the month, but November 2017 mileage was 26.2% higher than November 2016 mileage, and 34.2% higher than November 2015 mileage.

That brings my annual mileage to 1593.63! 

My goal for December remains at 100 miles.  I am upping the ante ever so slightly to hopefully get 106.37 miles so that my 2017 mileage will be an even 1700 miles.

How did your November go?

Product Review: Boco Gear 360 Visor Part 2

Product Review: BibRave Boco Gear 360° Visor

Disclaimer:  I received a Boco Gear 360° Visor 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 have already raved about some of the features of this visor on a previous post.   Let us continue, shall we?

Here are some 360° views of the visor to better see the elastic band and wicking sweatband that I love so much. It is cool that all aspects of the visor (including the band that goes around your head) are able to be customized.  The black underside of the visor also works to reduce glare.  As someone who gets a headache pretty instantaneously without sun protection for my eyes, I love this feature!

I have saved my favorite feature of the Boco 360° Visor for last.  {Drumroll} 


For real.  My visor gets grimy with all the sweat and then, true confession time, sometimes for my post-work runs, I don't always remove my makeup before I run (gross, I know).  I love knowing I can just throw it in the wash and it will not get ruined.  

You can shop Boco Gear 360° Visors at this link.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Maintenance Miles Week 4 Review

Another week, another 25 miles PLUS 2.63!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and I was able to get in a lot of mid-day runs which I appreciate immensely.  Our weather has been mild lately too so it has been nice to take advantage of that.

I officially have surpassed my 2015 and 2016 November mileage totals, but am 3.57 miles away from my 100 mile/month goal.  I am hoping to check that off the list tonight!

Monday Nov 20

Tuesday Nov 21
4 miles, 7:36 pace
I left work late and the bus arrived as I was at 3.9 miles so I was the crazy lady running small circles at the end of our driveway until I got to 4.0.

Wednesday Nov 22
6.0 miles, 7:29 avg pace
This was my mid-day break from cooking Thanksgiving food and cleaning my house.

Thursday Nov 23
5 miles, 7:28 pace
Run all the miles, Eat all the Turkey.

Friday Nov 24
5.1 miles, 8:07 avg pace
My only morning run of the week and I could feel it.  I may have been half asleep for most of this.

Saturday Nov 25
6.51 miles, 7:31 avg pace

Sunday Nov 26
1 mile, 9:16 pace
I wasn't planning on running this day as I was using some time to do Christmas card envelope addressing (example of the time trade-offs one must do!) but then my 7 year old wanted to go for a run and I couldn't pass that opportunity up.

Weekly Total: 27.63 miles

Friday, November 24, 2017

Product Review: Boco Gear 360 Visor Part 1

Product Review: BibRave Boco Gear 360° Visor

Disclaimer:  I received a Boco Gear 360° Visor 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.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that for the better part of the summer and fall I have been wearing the same thing on my head:  My BibRave Boco Gear 360° Visor.  I LOVE THIS THING.  

My favorite features of this:

1. Comfort:  I've blogged before about my large head.  The elastic part around the back of the visor makes for a very comfortable experience.  Visors are pretty fun too because I can wear my hair in a bun or higher ponytail than I can with a hat.

2.  SUN BLOCKAGE:  The visor does a great job of blocking sun, so much so that I don't always need to wear sunnies with it.  However, when I do wear sunglasses, I like that the brim can accommodate all of my sunglasses, even those that are a bit wider.

3.  Wicking internal sweatband:  The underside of the visor has a terrycloth wicking sweatband that works so well.   One thing I cannot STAND while running is when salty sweat runs into my eye, causing my contacts to revolt.  I never have that issue when I wear this visor.

Finally, let's be honest.  It looks pretty badass while racing to a half-marathon PR:

You can shop Boco Gear 360° Visors at this link.  If you ever are in need of custom work, they do that too!  Honestly I would much rather get one of these visors as race swag than another t-shirt.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Maintenance Week 3 Review

Another week, another 25 miles.   Last week was a doozy.  I am generally intentionally very careful not to over-schedule our weeks but last week could not be helped.  My SIL and I went to a sparkling wine tasting class on Tuesday night, play practice + costume making for church Christmas play Wednesday night, book club Thursday night, a going away party Friday night, a play with my daughter Saturday night.  Oh daughter broke her arm at a birthday party Saturday afternoon. 

Wow.  Even typing that gave me a headache. 

Lucky for us a week like that is a total anomaly.  I was glad I still hit my 25 mile goal.  The weather is cold but I still haven't resorted to our treadmill.  I ended up squeezing in runs between other things so some lunch runs, some late afternoon runs, some mid-afternoon runs. 

I also haven't figured out my spring marathon yet even though I wanted to last week.  Ideally I would do a spring marathon in the April-June window that I would not have to travel far for.

Monday Nov 13
4.3 miles 7:39 avg pace

Tuesday Nov 14

Wednesday Nov 15
4.1 miles, 7:36 avg pace

Thursday Nov 16

Friday Nov 17
4.56 miles, 7:40 avg pace

Saturday Nov 18
6.5 miles, 7:25 avg pace

Sunday Nov 19
6.1 miles, 7:39 avg pace (solo)
0.2 miles, 11:45 avg pace (with my 3 year old)

Weekly Total: 25.76 miles

Monday, November 13, 2017

Maintenance Week 2 Review

Another week, another 25 miles.  Temperatures plummeted last week in Wisconsin.  One of the mornings I ran it was THIRTEEN-FEELS-LIKE-FOUR degrees.  I am wholly unprepared for the months of cold weather running ahead but one of these days I supposed I will feel used to it.

I was not going to be able to run on Saturday and Sunday so my goal was to get to 25 miles with 5 days during the week.  Mission accomplished!

In other news, I'm hoping to figure out my spring marathon plans this week!

Monday Nov 6
4 miles 7:55 avg pace

Tuesday Nov 7
5.25 miles, 8:25 avg pace

Wednesday Nov 8
6.01 miles, 7:58 avg pace

Thursday Nov 9
4 miles, 7:48 avg pace

Friday Nov 10
6.2 miles, 7:53 avg pace

Saturday Nov 11

Sunday Nov 12

Weekly Total: 25.46 miles

Monday, November 6, 2017

Maintenance Mode Week 1 Review

Alright alright alright!

I ran 6 days last week, the first week of my two-planned base building maintenance months.  My goal is to get to 100 miles in each of November and December which means I need to be around 25 miles/week.  Week 1 - CHECK! 

And then after watching clips of Shalane Flanagan winning NY Marathon yesterday, I wanted to immediately start marathon training.

"F*@% Yes!"

But, patience. 

Here is my week in review.  I had the luxury of traveling (again) for a long weekend with some grad school girlfriends so I had some people to run with at the end of the week.  It was so fun!  Friday and Saturday we woke up, had lots of coffee and chatting on the porch and then would go for a mid-day run.  Sunday morning, we had early flights but we still got in a few early miles.

Monday Oct 30
4.6 miles 7:52 avg pace

Tuesday Oct 31
3.1 miles, 7:40 avg pace

Wednesday Nov 1

Thursday Nov 2
5.45 miles, 8:05 avg pace

Friday Nov 3
4.21 miles, 8:09 avg pace

Saturday Nov 4
5.05 miles, 8:27 avg pace

Sunday Nov 5
2.87 miles, 9:40 avg pace

Weekly Total: 25.28 miles

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October 2017 Mileage Update has been over two weeks since I last posted and not a lot has happened running-wise.  I have gone for five runs in that span of time.  My only post-race goal for October was to hit the 100 mile/month 2018 goal I have for myself and that is it.

My husband and I took our two kids on an amazing 9 day vacation to California.  I was excited to not to have to run like I have had to on vacations past; meaning, I am not currently training for any races so not adhering to any set plan.  I still brought a few running outfits and running shoes along though but I only ran one day and that is because I planned a meet-up with a fellow IG friend.  I wanted to run more on vacation, while at the same time not wanting to run more.  We did PLENTY of walking and other physical activities, way more than I do on a typical day, so it I wasn't craving movement beyond what we did.  Looking back, I feel like I should have taken advantage of the amazing scenery and went on more runs.  Hindsight tends to be 20/20 though.

I did cross the 100 mile mark in October, but not by much. 

105.65 miles was the official count.

To date that is the lowest month of 2017 and I am super okay with that because 1:28:35 half marathon.  (Yes.  Still riding high on that...starting to crest into the sadness that it is over.)

105.65 miles is slightly less than the October mileage accrued in 2016 (because my fall half marathon last year occurred in November); but it is higher than my 2015 mileage.  Overall, I am still continuing to widen the gap between my 2016 and 2017 annual mileage so that is fun.

Which brings us to today.  November 1.

I have no more races scheduled for 2017.  My only goals for the next two months are to hit the 100 mile mark in both months, which I feel will give me a fine base to begin spring marathon training in Jan/Feb.  (Spring marathon TBD.  I am still working on figuring that out.)   Finding motivation for the next two months will be a challenge, if history has shown me anything.  I always struggle this time of year because of so many other things going on and quite honestly, 2017 has been a rockstar year for me.  I could log 0 miles for the next two months and be SA-TIS-FIED.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Race Report: Macklemore, Phlegm, Wind and a new PR

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Milwaukee Marathon 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!

Prep for this race was not what I wanted, and this was entirely my fault for saving too much of it for the night before.  I got the kids to bed and THEN started to think about all the stuff for the race.  I knew what my outfit was going to be, so I got that all squared away.  I made my Gen Ucan and Nuun bottles for the next morning, and pre-set the coffee maker.  I downloaded Macklemore onto my iPod for the car because I was obsessed with the Glorious song, which after yesterday, I am even more obsessed with.

And then I started freaking out about parking because I fell down the rabbit hole of social media.

I had planned on getting up at 5 and moved it back to 4:30AM after that.  The race start was 6:30.

I had wanted to go back through my running journal and do some of the mental exercises like I did for my marathon but I was tired.

I wanted to hydrate a lot more on Saturday but I didn't.

My legs felt tired Saturday night which also put me into a bit of a panic.  I realized that I didn't really ever sit down on Saturday because I was busy with the kids.  I foam rolled and used the R8 roller and did legs up the wall to Jasyoga's race day meditation.  They still didn't feel great.

So I took a shower and went to bed.

I was glad that I had a week of good sleep because Saturday night's sleep was not great.  My son woke up a bunch so when I fell back asleep it was that light, dream-filled sleep.  I had set two alarms for 4:30 because I was nervous about not hearing one, which translated to this horrible dream where I woke up at 6:10 and had to have my husband drive me to the start.

BUT.  I did wake up at my first alarm at 4:30.

I was tired.  And groggy.  And did not feel like running a race.


Like if I had had to do a workout that morning, I would have shut the alarm off, rolled over and went back to sleep.

But I had a race.  A GOAL RACE.  Suck it up buttercup.

I put my clothes on, my contacts in, brushed my teeth and started to french braid my hair.

I went downstairs and was grateful that I had at least set everything out on the table before I went to bed. I loaded my GUs in the back pocket of my shorts, packed a few plastic bags because it was raining, poured my coffee and grabbed a banana.  The wind was howling and it was pouring so I wrote my family a note:  "If the weather is still terrible please don't worry about coming to the race!" Then I went out to the car.  I hooked my iPod up and started listening to FloRida, which is usually my pump up song.

Then, only then was I like, "Let's do this."

As I was driving to the race, drinking my coffee and eating my banana, I started get super emotional, which has become a theme on races where I do well.  I took this as a very good sign.

Listened to Macklemore's Glorious a few times.  More tears to my eyes.  (Seriously.  You do not want to drive to races with me.)

After all my freaking out about the parking situation, I found a (free) street spot right near the start.  It was maybe 5:10 AM.  Race start was 6:30.  It was drizzly out so I stayed in my car for a bit and then I grabbed my umbrella and started walking over to the start area.  I had brought along a Picky Bar and an RX Bar for breakfast but I did not feel hungry at all.  

It was very dark out and they had some lighting available at the start and tons of porta potties.  I took advantage of the fact that NO ONE was there yet and used the porta potty.  I was checking my phone about meeting up with some of the Oiselle WI people and sat down on the curb.   I chugged my Gen U Can and started sipping on my Nuun.

I asked several people about the start line because it seemed odd that they finish tables were being set up in the start area.  I knew from the map and course description that the start and finish were at the same point but were they really going to have all of us line up with water tables, banana tables, etc?!  Yes.  Yes they were.  

I went to the bathroom again. 

Then I met up with Amanda, a Oiselle WI team member, who had planned on running the half but got sick and was there to support her husband who ran his first marathon!  We met up with our Oiselle WI leader, Sheila, and took a picture.  

I changed my shoes and socks and gear checked my stuff.  I left a long sleeve on as a throwaway with my crop top underneath and my shorts.  After some indecision, I decided to wear my Boco Gear BibRave visor because I do love it.  I also wrapped my BibRave Buff around my wrist to use as a snot rag if I had to because I was still dealing with snot and phlegm.  This is the first time I have tried doing this and it worked VERY well.

Anyways, back to the start.  I felt like I needed to use the bathroom again so Sheila and I got into the long line and used the bathroom again.  

It was 6:25 AM when I got out of the porta potty.

Thus, I started to snake my way through the starting area to try to get closer to the front but the narrow fencing and all of those finish chute tables were not making it easy.  I resigned myself to just starting in the back.  I was behind the 2:30 half marathon pacer group.

I never heard a starting gun or anything but I did see runners ahead of me starting to run.  It seemed to take forever and then finally I was at the start line and hit start on my watch.

I knew I would want to gun it around all of these people but I kept my wits about me and tried to run easy.  Luckily after the start line the streets widened so it was not difficult to stay to the edge and pass.  That is basically all I did for the first mile.  My first mile beeped in at 6:45.  I was pleased with this because it felt easy.

I passed the first water spot and grabbed a cup because I did feel thirsty.  Shortly past the first stop there was a brass band which also made me smile.

Then we made our way from streets to the paved trail through Veteran's Park.  I passed a man with a visual impairment who had a guide and the guide was providing these very rich descriptions of the scene for him.  They were beautiful.  It helped put the day in perspective for me.  How lucky we were to be running along beautiful Lake Michigan!

My watch beeped in again and I was a little fast.  6:40 for mile 2. I was hot in my LS so I took it off and carried it because it seemed weird to throw it in the middle of a park.  6:45 for mile 3.  I hocked the first of many lugies.  (I was cursing phlegm the whole race.)

At this point we were back onto the street and I knew I was going to see some Oiselle WI women around mile 4.  I was still carrying my shirt so I said "Can you guys take my shirt?!"  I was really excited to see them and their cowbells.

Mile 4 was 6:31.  

The big hill in the course was coming up.  There was a woman on the side who was providing this awesome narrative for me about crushing the hill.  "Girl you are showing that hill who is BOSS."  I mean I can't even begin to thank her for getting me up that thing because this was when the dark thoughts were coming in.

Mile 5 was 6:45.

At the top of the hill I saw my sister and her dogs.  She was confused because I had arrived there later than I told her I would be there because I hadn't anticipated starting in the way back.  I didn't feel great there so I barely talked to her but she ran on the sidewalk with her dogs for a bit and then said SEE YA!

Mile 6 was 6:48.

We then ran through the east side.  There were a few people out cheering which was fun.  I particularly remember a dad with his toddler-aged daughter who he was coaching to say "Go Runners!" So cute.

Mile 7 was 6:36.

We turned onto Brady street which is a good part of the course.  I remembered this part from last year and that really helped get me going.  We turned to go onto the pedestrian when I saw Amanda waiting for her husband! That was fun and a spectator I wasn't anticipating seeing.  At that point I was running with another woman.  We had to turn on this hairpin turn at the bottom of a hill and I passed her.  Given the fact that I started so far back, it was impossible to know where I was place-wise.  My focus was not at all on place - I was all about the time.

Mile 8 was 6:42.

We ran through downtown and on Old World Third.  I don't really remember these miles very well.  I know I was hurting and telling myself just keep going.

Mile 9 was 6:48.  
Mile 10 was 6:43.

And then we turned onto WI Ave.  We were dealing with windy spots all throughout the course but none compared to Wisconsin Avenue.  I was tired and almost crying because I felt like I was getting nowhere running into that wind.  Add onto that I was having a hard time getting rid of a ton of phlegm.  I am fairly certain that the guy in blue who I was running next to/behind thought I was vomiting.  I just tried staying behind him to block some of the wind.  I was very grateful to the racer in the wheelchair and the woman biking with him because she was a CHEERLEADER.  I was counting down to 16th street where I knew we would turn and get a break from the wind.  

Mile 11 was 7:01.  THE WIND SUCKED.

Then we were on 16th street and I was just trying to stay with the guy in blue.  I was bringing to mind all of those strength workouts - 3 x 2 miles in particular. 

Mile 12 was 6:31.

Ok.  At this point, I knew I was going to be close to 1:28 because of the time elapsed on my watch.  This was enough to keep me going, although I was checking my watch every 0.2 miles.  I was so tired.  I kept telling myself that I was not really tired - it was only my brain.  

Mile 13 was 6:36.

As I was rounding the corner to the finish, I heard "GO MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!".  I recognized that voice and began scanning the crowd when I saw my family!  They made it!!!  I gave my son a high five, turned the corner and joined all the 10K runners and tried to propel myself through the finish line.  I stopped my watch.

My watch read 1:28:37 for 13.25 miles. (6:41 pace)

The finish clock said 1:31:XX.  

I got my medal and worked my way through the finish chute.  

I was really cold as the temperature had plummeted during the race.  I saw my family and they were cold and wanting to bail.   They took my post-race snacks and then said they were going to get donuts and meet me at home.

Then I saw another Oiselle person, Rachel, and talked to her for a bit so that was fun.

Then I saw two people I worked with who ran the 10K!  More sweaty hugs.

I still was freezing and finally got to gear check to get my clothes.  

I got in the beer line and ended up being right behind Jonathan, another BibRave Pro who did the trail race that I ran earlier this summer.

I wanted confirmation of my PR so I stopped at the results tent.  "The half-marathon results will not be available until early afternoon."

WHAT?  I specifically remember there being printouts at the race last year with a variety of stats.  These were available immediately at the finish.  I was SO annoyed at this.

I started to work my way through the mud pit that was the finish area to my car when SURPRISE. They had that area blocked off.  I had to work my way back through the finish area around to the other side of the LONG finish chute and make my way through another giant mud field to get to my car.  So much for my amazing parking spot!  

I was freezing by the time I got to my car and caked with mud.  

So, I blasted the heat and Macklemore all the way home.  

"I feel glorious, glorious!"

Then began the process of clicking refresh on the "half marathon results" link on my phone for the next 4 hours.

Finally, in the Costco parking lot, I had my answer:

HOLY SHIT! I got second place (out of 723), an official time of 1:28:35 (6:46 pace) and a NEW HALF MARATHON PR!

Other stats:

I was 17th overall (combined genders) and first in my age group.

5 mile: 33:52 (6:46 pace)
10 mile: 1:08:53 (6:53 pace)
Last 5K: 19:43 (6:21 pace.  Also, 19:43?!  That is only 10 seconds slower than the only 5K I ran this year.) 

Here is my Strava chart of paces and elevation:

Overall, I am very pleased with this race.  Besides being a PR, I overcame some mental challenges.  However, as with every race, I am left with the fact that mental hurdles are something I still need work on.  I mean, I was definitely tired at the end but not all out spent.  My legs didn't even really hurt after I stopped running.  This is somewhat frustrating to me because in the moment of the race, I definitely felt physically spent. 


And I entered my pace into a pace calculator for a marathon.  Yep.  Foreshadowing some 2018 goals here:

"The world is up for grabs.  I feel glorious glorious."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training Week 18: THE TAPER + Race Goals

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Milwaukee Marathon 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!"

Another Mother Runner just sent me an e-newsletter with "tips for the taper" or something to that nature, and I was happy to see that I have been following most of them for this taper.  My number one priority for the week was to get sleep.  I am happy to report that my sleep so far this week has been all "green circles" (best rating in the Sense sleep system) and that my average amount of sleep was over 8 hours.

My goal for running was follow the plan and no run under 8:00 avg.  I did ok with this.  My throat has been feeling better with each passing day.  I'm still snot rockets and loogies, but hopefully that won't be too much of an issue.

Here is my taper week in review:

Monday, October 9
Plan says: 5 miles

What I do:  Given that sleep was a priority for me this week, I had no qualms about shutting off my 5 AM alarm and getting this done after work before the bus arrived.  It was one of those taper runs where you feel so tired and your mind starts going, "How am I going to run 13 miles at a much faster pace than this in less than week?"  Luckily for me, I have at least one of these types of runs with every taper so I know better.

5 miles, 38:51 (7:46 avg pace)

Tuesday, October 10
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  Another day where I shut off the early morning alarm and then drove home from work in pouring rain.  Sometimes I will gut it out and get the run in, other times, I will take the break. I was really tired all day on Tuesday so I made the switch to make Tuesday my rest day.

0 miles.

Wednesday, October 11
Plan says: Rest

What I do:   Actually get out of bed with the 5 AM alarm.  I went to bed early on Tuesday night because I was so tired so it wasn't too difficult to get out of bed.  It was lightly raining but as I mentioned last week, if I don't run on Wednesday morning, I won't get the opportunity for the rest of the day.

5.07 miles, 41:07 (8:07 avg pace)

Thursday, October 12
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do:  My son woke up at 3:30.  So I tossed and turned for almost an hour and a half and fell back asleep right before my 5 AM alarm so I don't even remember shutting it off.   I ended up going for a run after the kids were in bed, which is something I have not done in a LOOOOOONG time.  It was actually really fun and I had to reign the pace in because I kept thinking that it was go time!  Getting excited!!!!

6.2 miles, 49:17 (7:57 avg)

Friday, October 13
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do: 5 miles in the rain (again).

5 miles, 38:05 (7:37 avg pace)

Saturday, October 14
Plan says: 3 miles easy

What I do:  3 miles, in the rain (again).

3 miles, 23:43 (7:53 average)

Plan Miles: 24
Total Weekly Miles: 24.27

I have logged 614.47 miles in the past 18 weeks. That is almost double what I ran last year in the 18 weeks leading up to my last half marathon, where I set a PR.  A PR that I am hoping to break on Sunday!  Though I am running the same event as last year, the race went through a makeover and new management since last year and while the course is largely the same, it is slightly different.  

The weather looks to be ok.  The temps look great - high 40s/low 50s.  The one thing we all will have to contend with is wind and probably more rain, but the course doesn't go in any one direction for too long so there will be breaks.

So goals.  If I am feeling good:

A goal: Ideally, I want to run in 1:28 land.

B goal:   PR.  I need to run faster than 1:29:22 to do this. 

C goal:  Break 1:30

I realize these goals leave the space wide open for disappointment because they are SO close together time-wise AND they are all times.  Ideally I would have a process goal in there...but I don't.

I plan on running the first one to three miles in the 6:50 zone to test it out and go from there.  I ran the first seven in the 6:50-7:00 range last year, kicked it into around 6:30s for the next 4 and then tried to hold on until the end.   I want to test out pace in the first few miles on the conservative side but don't want to get stuck there.

I plan on using Gen UCan before the race and then fueling with Gu on mile 5 and 10.  I used no Gu last year, but this is mostly mental for me as I did every 5 miles in my spring marathon and really liked that plan.

I am really tired while writing this. I was with my kids all day and we did a lot, which was dumb of me but I had them by myself so I wanted to wear them out so they would go to bed good and sleep through the night!  I am off to foam roll and hydrate!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Training: Week 17 Recap! One more week!!!!

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Milwaukee Marathon 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!"

''Twas the last true week of my 18 week training plan and I was pleased.  I had to squeeze in two long runs since I missed last weekend's which lead to cutting out a tempo run.  I had another strong strength workout though with mile repeats so I still got some quick running in.

I had a decent week of sleep, score-wise, however, I am typing this with another sore throat.  Midway through the week I thought I had finally kicked my allergy/cold thing and then on Saturday my throat was on fire and it remains.  ARGH.  I have definitely pumped up the fluids and am hopeful that with a week of taper ahead, I will be fine by race day.

By this time next week, I hope to be writing up my race recap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 2
Plan says: Rest

What I do: Run 12 miles.  I really wanted to get in my missed long run from last weekend so I was up at 4:30 am to do so.  This felt good - I didn't push the pace and it was rather monotonous since I was doing 1 mile loops in the dark.  That is what builds the mental muscle though, right?

12.01 miles, 1:37:59 (8:10 avg pace)

Tuesday, October 3
Plan says: 1.5 mile warm up, 4 x 1.5 miles at 10K pace (0.5 mile jog in-between), 1.5 miles cool down

What I do:  I slept in.  My crappy week of sleep last week was catching up with me.  I was able to get in a run after work/before bus.

5 miles, 40:16 (8:03 avg pace)

Wednesday, October 4
Plan says: 6 miles easy

What I do: Spent 2:45a-3:30a in my son's twin bed so yeah.  Alarm was shut off.  Unfortunately Wednesdays are a DAY from now until Christmas because I am taking a class and my daughter has play practice so there is no making up a workout if I don't get my butt out of bed in the AM.

0 miles.

Thursday, October 5
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  The time has come to get the mile repeats DONE.  4:45 AM alarm here we go.

The air was so cool - 45 degrees at 5 AM - felt great.  Goal pace for mile repeats was 6:34.

1.5 miles warm up, 12:32 (8:21 avg pace)

1 mile, 6:19.1 / 0.25 mile 2:21.7 (9:24 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:25.6 / 0.25 mile 2:19.4 (9:22 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:16.6 / 0.25 mile 2:15.8 (9:01 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:20.1 / 0.25 mile 2:22.5 (9:33 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:22.1 / 0.25 mile 2:24.8 (9:40 avg pace)
1 mile, 6:21.6

1.55 mile cool down, 13:25 (8:39 avg pace)

The first mile felt hard, as it always does.  I was surprised to see how fast it was and told myself to slow it down to be more in line with goal pace.  I slowed a bit for the 2nd and then the 3rd happened.  The last 0.25 miles of these first three miles felt hard but otherwise I was feeling good physically.  Mentally, I wanted to quit after the 3rd.  I took my long sleeve off to change it up and told myself I could quit after 5 since the first time I did this workout this cycle, I only did 5.  I got through 4 and 5 and then told myself that I could do the 6th.  The 6th was hard, and I felt like I was not getting great leg turnover so when the mile beeped I was very pleasantly surprised at the time.  I know these were too fast, but mentally I needed this workout so badly.

These were not as fast as my mile repeats that I did in August but they were more consistent and all done on my hilly neighborhood mile loop.

Friday, October 6
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  I was definitely tired for this run.

5.1 miles, 41:53 (8:13 avg pace)

Saturday, October 7
Plan says: 8 miles easy

What I do:  I did this in the afternoon since my kids were going to my mom's for the night, I spent the morning with them.  Consequently it was windy and rainy during the run, which actually felt quite good.  My throat was very sore during this though.

8.21 miles, 1:01:47 (7:32 avg pace)

Sunday, October 8
Plan says: 5 miles easy

What I do:  We went to see Rent on Saturday night so we were out late...BUT we didn't have the kids so I slept in until 8:17 AM!!!!!!!!!!!  That is the latest I have slept in in months...maybe years.  I did my run in the hot afternoon which was beautiful because of the gorgeous trees.  The only drawback is that my throat is still killing me and I still have so many snot rockets.  ARGH.

5.05 miles, 40:12 (7:58 avg pace).

Plan Miles: 42
Total Weekly Miles: 45.70!  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Product Review: Skins A400 Women's Compression 3/4 Tight

Product Review:  Skins Compression A400 Women's Compression 3/4 Tights

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of the Skins Compression A400 3/4 Tights 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.

AHH!  I love these tights so much.  The end.

Ok, just kidding.

Skins has two handy tools to help you with sizing, both use your height and weight.  First there is the chart:

The other tool is the Size Calculator where you enter your exact height (in centimeters or inches) and your exact weight (in kilograms or pounds) and they tell you what size to order.  

My height and weight landed me in the size "small" camp using either tool.  I was impressed with the fit!

My three favorite features of these tights are:

I have been wearing these tights on runs for the last six weeks and I always love how smooth they look and feel.  NOTHING is jiggling around when you have them on, they don't move at all while running, and they are so so soft and buttery.  And on that note, they don't feel super tight while wearing them either. 

Call me a mom but the high rise pant is my sweet spot, particularly for running.  I cannot stand the feeling of things falling down.  These come up to just under my belly button which offers lumbar and core support.  I feel like my posture is amazing while running in these.  I also don't experience "crotch sag" in these either!

I am 5'10" and I liked how these do not land right at the knee.  Here we go with the mom talk again, but every since my pregnancies, I have a tender vein cluster in my inner left knee and some "capri" length tights (or high socks, for that matter) irritate this area.  I have no problems with these tights.

Other features include ADAPTIVE technology fabric which adjusts to temperatures.  We have had quite the temperature adjustments over the last six weeks.  First it was cool.  Then it was almost 100 degrees.  Now it is cool again.  I like how I could wear these and not feel super overheated at any point.

The dynamic gradient compression is designed to optimize your muscles for activity.  For this reason, I really enjoy wearing mine on recovery days for a little extra help on my recovery miles.

IF I COULD CHANGE ONE TINY THING about these it would be adding a small key pocket somewhere on them.  They have zero pockets.

Now for the fun part!  You can get 20% off your order of any Skins Compression gear using the code BIBRAVE20.  This code is good until the end of October 2017.

You can also join #BibChat on Tuesday October 10 at 8 PM on Twitter.  Follow @BibRave and @skins_usa for more details.