Sunday, December 30, 2018

Last Product Review of 2018: Win Detergent

Product Review: Win Detergent

Disclaimer:  I received a bottle of Win detergent in exchange for this review.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to find and write race reviews!

Winter running in Wisconsin means a LOT.OF.LAUNDRY.  In summer, I'm washing a lot of sports bras, socks and shorts.  In winter, I have long sleeves, sports bras, tights, socks, jackets, vests, reflective tops, mittens, hats, gloves, buffs, the list goes on.  I also think winter clothes stink more, so I was happy to opt in to test Win detergent.

Win detergent comes in a scented as well as fragrance free variety.  I opted to test the fragrance free version because I have sensitive skin and I really don't like my running clothes to smell like soap or fabric softener when I run.

Win detergent is unique in that its ingredients work to trap oils from synthetic fabrics (i.e., those fabrics that much activewear is now made with) to get rid of the bacteria that makes your clothes smell.  The website has an informative, clear walk-through of specifics on how the detergent works if you are interested in more details.

I have used WIN for the last 6 weeks on all of my running clothes and love it.  I haven't had any skin reactions and my clothes do not smell like anything.  No floral, faux cotton smells and no stank either.  I also used it to wash my daughter's smelly winter coat (seriously, that thing was RIPE).  Smells perfectly clean to this day.

I usually let my clothes dry on the side of our bathtub post-run and do a big load of running clothes once a week.  I wash all of my clothes in cold water and hang them dry (thus all of the drying racks in my laundry room in the photo above).

I like that Win rinses clean, isn't super sudsy, has a fragrance free option, and you only need a little bit for a large load.  If you would like to try it, check out my Instagram contest to try to win a bottle ( @amyschlott ) by New Year's Eve at noon.  Otherwise, you can use code RAVE4WIN to get 20% off any WIN purchase (single, 2-pack, 4-pack).  This coupon code is good until 1/15/19 and one use per household.

Friday, December 28, 2018

TRE Swag Bag Contents Part 2: Accessories to the Run!

Disclaimer: I received a travel stipend and a swag bag of goodies from BrooksAltraVoorayHandfulCEP CompressionNuunAddadayArcanumVuoriIncrediwear, and Zwift to attend The Running Event for TRE Influencer Day in Austin, TX on November 29-30.

It's my last blog post about The Running Event (TRE).  Last but not least, I'm reviewing the products that I am calling "accessories to the run" that were in my swag bag.

1. Addaday Type C Roller

The Addaday massage roller was designed to provide medium intensity and access hard to reach places.  I have started rolling this along my quads and hamstrings in the morning before runs to wake them up a bit.  I like that I can get in my gluteus and hip muscles (my problem areas) with this tool, which is something I cannot do as easily with a traditional foam roller.  It is also easy to grab and roll while watching TV.

The Addaday booth at TRE was a little oasis.  All of the Addaday massage products were available to test and they announced their new product, Addaday Recovery Tea, sourced from Taiwan.  The tea has a mild, pleasant flavor.

2. Nuun Hydration

We were lucky to get a variety of Nuun products in our bag including
Nuun Vitamins, great for everyday hydration at any time;
Nuun Immunity, great for everyday hydration at any time and immunity-boosting;
Nuun Electrolytes, great for replacing electrolytes while exercising;
Nuun Energy Electrolytes, great for replacing electrolytes while exercising with the added benefit of caffeine;
and a Nuun-branded Specialized water bottle.

I don't know if you have ever had a Nuun water bottle, but they are my favorite for using on the run when I do my neighborhood loops.  I keep it on my mail box and grab on the run for hydration on-the-run.  I have used Nuun for years and they are among my favorite hydration products so I was happy to add to my stockpile for training for my next marathon.

I like to vary how I use Nuun.  I drink it cold and warm (like tea), still (adding plain tap water) and sparkling (combining it with both flavored and unflavored sparkling waters).  There are so many flavors that it is impossible to get bored with this product.  My favorites are anything citrus and grape.

The Nuun booth at TRE was fun and had a bunch of Nuun mixed up for us to try.  They also gave us a bunch of single serve tabs which are great for race day bags!

3. Arcanum Products

We were given three products at TRE made by Arcanum:  

This is an activated hemp product designed to deliver cannabinoids to your body more quickly and efficiently.  The woman at the Arcanum booth told us that she uses this product as a facial moisturizer to combat her eczema.  I have really dry skin, particularly in winter, so I gave it a whirl and love it!

This product uses activated hemp, arnica, menthol, chamomile, lavender and rosemary essential oils to provide cooling muscle relief.  I have used this on my sore hamstring to help me fall asleep on nights when it is bothering me.

The Quill delivers precise 2 mg doses of activated hemp using an innovative pen design. This product is easy to use.  The woman in the Arcanum booth said that this product can help with sleep so I have been using one dose on my forearm every night before bed to help me sleep as I sometimes struggle with not sleeping through the night.  I have slept really well in the past month with fewer sleepless nights!

I am sure you have seen all of those cute Vooray bags all over social media.  Their booth was no different - all the cute styles and patterns.  The BibRave Pros were going crazy.  We were given a Vooray Ace Backpack in black - this was the "bag" of our swag bag.  This is the perfect size backpack for me.  I use it to go to swim lessons with my kids, take a change of clothes for the office and for library books.  I like its sleek, no frills design.  The backpacks are affordable as well - $39.99.

While at TRE, the Vooray representatives told us about a new product they will be releasing shortly - a bike commuter bag which is similar to their cinch backpack but with a really cool shoe pouch.  Watch for it!  They also gave us a bonus fanny pack while we were at their booth!   It is a nice size that accommodates my phone so I can take it along on runs, hikes, bike rides.

So that is it!  The Running Event was one of my favorite running-related experiences in 2018.  I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend AND for all of the stuff I got!  The only bad thing about the swag bag was that my family didn't feel the need to get me anymore running stuff for Christmas, ha ha ha.

Have you had any experience with Addaday, Nuun, Arcanum or Vooray?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Zwift: Making Treadmill Runs Fun!

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift footpod in my swag bag of goodies from The Running Event for TRE Influencer Day in Austin, TX on November 29-30.  This opportunity was available to me through the BibRave Pro Ambassador program.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to find and write race reviews!

I have been logging base miles the whole month of December but yesterday was Day 1 of training for Illinois Marathon.  It was a nice 32 degrees outside at 5:15 AM, but because it gets warm during the day, it gets wet and that wet turns slippery overnight.  Thankfully, I was able to finish my planned 6 miles outside, but as with any winter training, I foresee a lot of treadmill running in my future.

At The Running Event, I was introduced to Zwift.  Zwift started in the cycling world, using technology to create virtual races between you on your trainer at home and others around the world.  They have used this same technology to enter the world of running.

The basics:
1. You buy a footpod (save 15% with code BIBRAVE15) and attach it to the top laces of one of your shoes:

2. You download the Zwift and Zwift Companion apps to your phone or tablet and set up a Zwift account.

3. You get on the treadmill and calibrate the Zwift footpod through the app using their easy step-by-step instructions.

4.  You run on the treadmill which syncs to the app and shows a group like setting.  Here is a screen shot of my phone while I was running on the 'mill during a BibRave Pro group run:

Fun, right?

The app also gives you motivational quotes to keep going throughout the run, like "This should be tough but should feel good" in the screenshot above.  I did one of the custom Zwift tempo runs which made my 24:28 run go by really quickly.  My avatar ran under different arches and when she ran under an arch, the app directed me to pick up or slow down the pace.

Because you download the app to your phone or tablet, you can use this on any treadmill after re-calibrating it to the treadmill you are on.

You can sync Zwift to Strava too!
Have you tried Zwift for running or cycling before?

Follow Zwift on Instagram and Twitter at @gozwiftrun.

Friday, December 21, 2018

TRE Swag Bag Contents Part 1: The GEAR!

Disclaimer: I received a travel stipend and a swag bag of goodies from BrooksAltraVoorayHandfulCEP CompressionNuunAddadayArcanumVuoriIncrediwear, and Zwift to attend The Running Event for TRE Influencer Day in Austin, TX on November 29-30.

I promised I would provide more detail about our swag bag from The Running Event (TRE) and the day has arrived for part 1 of my review:  The GEAR!

Is there any runner that doesn't like getting new gear?  I didn't think so.  I am excited to share the new items that I added to my running clothes drawer (ok, drawerS):

1.  Handful Y-Back Bra and Squeeze Play Leggings
I hadn't ever tried anything by the Handful company before being provided a Y-Back Bra and a pair of Squeeze Play leggings at TRE.  Let me just say that they both so COMFORTABLE!  One of the other BibRave Pros mentioned that once she discovered Handful Bras, she never went back to wearing regular bras and I can see why.  While we were at TRE, we saw several different bra styles including the Bound and Determined Bra (pictured below) which I want to buy to use as a swim top next summer.

The Y-Back Bra that we were given was rated in Runner's World as a top running bra.  I have liked it more for yoga and strength work. The ladies at TRE said that the bras generally go with your top size - so if you generally wear Medium shirts, get a medium bra.  I have a medium and it fits well.  The Squeeze Play leggings are my jam.  I wore them ALL DAY at TRE and my legs felt great.  They are pretty compressive so they felt secure the entire day.  I felt that they were true to size (I wear a medium).  I like how smooth they make everything below the waist look and feel!

The Handful booth was among all BibRave Pros favorite booths because of the joy and passion they had when talking about their products.  I also appreciate the variety of women featured on their website!  Lots of body diversity!!

2. Vuori Shorts
Vuori was a new-to-me brand that I had not heard of before TRE.  Their booth and clothes definitely have the cool factor going on.  They gifted the ladies the Omni performance short in Moss.  I wore these for the group run we BibRave Pros did the morning before TRE and they definitely were comfortable.  In fact several of the ladies sported their Vuori moss shorts on that run (see below).  My shorts didn't scuff, tear or even show any damage from my scooter fall later that morning!  Durability? CHECK!

All of the Vuori clothes were high quality and the fabrics used to make them were GORGEOUS.  I headed to their website to buy some Christmas gifts for family members.  Ooh la la!  Check out the write-up Forbes had on this company.

3.  Brooks LSD Jacket and Adrenaline 19 Shoes
I have been wearing my Brooks LSD jacket like it's going out of style lately (as you would know if you follow my Instagram). 

From the moment I pulled it out of my swag bag I had heart eyes for this.  It is super lightweight, all-over reflective, and FITS MY LONG ARMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ok, so now you know why I love it so much! I have been wearing this jacket in 20 degree weather and staying warm.  I know it will be a nice layer to have in spring too - as it has a strap to fold it up into a hand-held square if you need it to.

We also were given a pair of Adrenaline 19 shoes.  I have ran a few times in these (trying to save them for official marathon training) and like their responsiveness.  The shoes feature their new "guide rails support system" to keep extraneous foot movement in check.
The Adrenaline is one of Brooks' best selling shoes.  I think it also looks pretty cool on (see me cheesin' below):

The Incrediwear folks were INCREDIBLY generous.  I liked that we received a personalized note in our swag bag with our gear.  First up, the Performance Capri, which on me (5'10") is still a 3/4 pant and I love them!  I was able to get out on a mild day here wearing them and I liked that they stayed put on my run.  I also am easily able to do my physical therapy stretching in them.  The proprietary fabric blend aims to reduce muscle fatigue while you wear them.  

We also were given the active socks, which are very plush and are nice if you like a well-cushioned sock, and the sport thin socks, which are barely there and nice if you prefer not to feel your sock.  I have not had any issues with either of these socks which I have used for both walking and running.  I am excited to wear the knee high variety of the sport socks thin as an added layer of warmth this winter as I train for the Illinois Marathon.

All Incrediwear products are made to increase circulation in order to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, optimize performance and accelerate recovery using semiconductor elements in the fabric.  You can read more about the technology here.  What stands out to me about these products is that they do not use compression to provide the same benefits that one would get from compression.  So if you aren't a big fan of that tight feeling that compression wear provides, Incrediwear may be an alternative for you.

It was excited to get a pair of Altras since they were a shoe that I was curious about.  Among the runners I follow on Instagram, it seems that once you go Altra, you never go back.  The Escalante is one of the company's best-selling shoe models.  It is a zero drop shoe, which I do not have a lot of experience with, and also features Fit4Her technology in the women's shoe which customizes the fit to a woman's foot.  These shoes are my winter treadmill running shoes as I think this will be a good amount of running to help my body transition to a zero drop shoe.  The aspect that I notice most about these shoes is the wide toe box.  I have old-lady bunions and no parts of my foot rub while wearing these. Once I build up some mileage in them, I may have to wear them exclusively for a while and see if my bunion callouses disappear! I bet they would!  

The Escalantes are made out of a really thin fabric so that adds to the barely-there feeling.  These are not clunky shoes!  I am excited to get some mileage out of them and see what I prefer them for - my guess is that they will be a good tempo run shoe.

As I mentioned in my overall blog post about TRE, the people at the Altra booth, including co-founder Brian Beckstead, could not have been nicer to us.  It was fun to see all of the 2019 shoe models that are yet to come!!  Be prepared to have some heart eyes for all of the goodies they are unveiling soon! If the shoes are good enough for Kara Goucher....

Last but not least on this extensive gear list is CEP Compression.  I am a fan of CEP Compression as I already had some of their calf sleeves and tall compression socks before adding the two pairs we were given to my drawer.  At TRE, we were gifted the merino trail tall sock and the compression recovery sock.  We were lucky enough in Wisconsin to have some mild weather this past week so I wore the merino trail sock with SHORTS on my run.  As with my previous experiences with CEP compression, the trail socks were awesome.  They stayed put and the merino wool was a nice touch for cooler months.   I am loving the trend of having running gear made out of merino wool! 

CEP has one of the best FAQ pages I have seen on a website.  CEP uses compression to improve circulation.  I am a fan of compression, particularly in winter months.  I routinely used CEP compression socks to train for my spring marathon last winter.  I felt like they added a layer of warmth but also helped assist in helping my legs feel not as tired.  I am just happy to have another pair to work into my rotation!  

I haven't tried the recovery specific socks before but heading into 2019, focusing on recovery is one of my goals and the recovery socks will be a good tool to have in my collection. 

Were we lucky or what?! I have been having fun trying out all of this gear on my base building runs of December.  I will be posting about all of the accessories that were part of our swag bags in an upcoming post.  

What on this list would you want MOST?

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2018

My 2019 Spring Marathon Is...

Disclaimer:  I am running the 2019 Illinois Marathon as a BibRave Pro which means my race entry fee was covered for me.  Don't forget to review races on!

Last week, I did a thing.  I registered for the 2019 Illinois Marathon!

This race was at the top of my "potential spring marathons" for several months given that it is billed as "flat and fast".  The opportunity came through to run it for BibRave and I took it.  Last year, nine women went sub-3 in this race and four were olympic trials qualifiers (all B-standard, meaning sub 2:45 but not sub 2:37).  The marathon will be held on Saturday April 27 at 7 AM in Champaign-Urbana, IL.  this is about a 4-4 1/2 hour drive from our house.

I am again doing the Advanced Hanson's Marathon Method plan for training.  My day 1 of training will be December 26.  My rib likely will not be healed by then, so I may have to modify the first few weeks of training. 

Last week, I logged 30.62 miles, all done at an easy-pace.  Well, I thought it was easy-paced but my heart rate data would tell you otherwise.  My goal for the next 16 days, is keep doing the easy-paced miles.  Running with a fractured rib doesn't feel great, but it isn't too awful either.  It's sort of like having a constant side ache.  My longest run last week was 7.1 miles.  The cold bothered me more than my rib did that day.

I will be doing more short races in the build up for Illinois.  My plan is a 5K in January, a 10K in February and a half near the end of March.  I am looking forward to this after not having too many races in 2018.  I ran a 10K PR and a half-marathon PR in the midst of training/racing last year and it would be fun to be able to update those numbers legitimately. 

Another thing that I will be doing more of this training cycle, and trying to begin the habits now, is regular strength training and continual work on the mental side.  I know that most of the reason Madison went down the tubes was mental and I didn't put any work in the mental side of running during that training cycle because I thought I had already conquered that instead of thinking of my brain as another muscle to continue exercising.  #rookiemistakes

What race are you targeting for spring 2019?

Using the code 'bibraveillinois2019' will get you $10 off registration for the Illinois Marathon!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Running Event Influencer Day with BibRave!!!

Disclaimer: I received a travel stipend and a swag bag of goodies from Brooks, Altra, Vooray, Handful, CEP Compression, Nuun, Addaday, Arcanum, Vuori, Incrediwear, and Zwift to attend The Running Event for TRE Influencer Day in Austin, TX on November 29-30.

If you follow me on social media, you likely saw an influx of orange from my accounts at the end of last week because I was one of twenty BibRave Pros selected to attend the first TRE Influencer Day at The Running Event in Austin, TX!  The Running Event is "the premier conference and trade show for running retailers".  I didn't really know what I was getting into before I left.  It was CRA-ZY.

I was a little nervous heading into TRE because I am NOT good at networking.  But my theme of 2018 was to pursue the uncomfortable, and applying to attend this was in line with that theme.  Like everything else that I did outside of my comfort zone this year, I was not disappointed!

Thursday November 29
I had a 4:30 alarm to make it to my flight out of Milwaukee.  I am completely out of routine of waking up early so I didn't sleep at all the night before since I was nervous I would miss the alarm.  I made it out of bed, donned my BibRave orange and got to the airport.  As you can see in the photo below, taken during my layover in Kansas City, I was SLEEEEPY.
I made it to Austin, TX around 11 AM.  Lucky for me, my three roommates for the night were arriving around the same time.  I met up with Erica first and then as we watched for orange on the escalator, assembled quite the group of BibRave Pros.  We made a plan to go out for lunch. 

TRE Roomies in the Uber!
Lunch time for the Pros!
I had only met one of the BibRave Pros in person before this event so it was fun to meet a bunch of new people that you "know" from social media.  After lunch, we got to our hotel and unpacked.  We had a little time before we had to be at the convention center hotel so we decided to try out the motorized scooters we saw all over downtown Austin.

I had to send my kids a pic of how cool their mom was, ha ha ha.

We got to the Hilton shortly before 5:30 PM for our first event: The Zwift Run!  Zwift held a reception for us where they demonstrated their foot pod technology.  If you are a cyclist, you may have used this technology before.  They had two amazing Woodway treadmills set up in front of a big screen where four pre-selected Bib-Rave Pros ran and showed us all how it worked.  It made me excited to go back home and try out my Zwift pod (you can see it on my shoe in the scooter picture above) on my treadmill.  The Zwift team were on hand to answer any questions.  They also gave us beer and cheese so I was pumped about that.

During this reception we also got the mother of all swag bags!

I mean, we were warned that our swag bags would be epic, but I don't think any of us were expecting this level of craziness!!  In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about everything we got in more detail!  Thank you thank you THANK YOU to the brands that provided us with stuff:  Brooks, Addaday, Vooray, Altra, Handful, Arcanum, Nuun, CEP Compression, Zwift, Vuori, and Incrediwear.

After the Zwift Reception, we headed to get BBQ.  YAAAAAAASSSSS.  Give me all the brisket.

After the BBQ, we headed to the Brooks Party.  Several other people who arrived early to the party with us told us that this party always gets crazy.  It was really quiet at first so we grabbed a beer and chatted.  And then Des Linden showed up.  FOR REAL.  At first I was hesitant to grab a photo with her, but I asked her agent if she was annoyed by this and he said to go ahead and get in there and so I did.  I felt like a GIANT next to her.  In this pic, I am crouching down and am still a head taller than her!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! 
Side note: Aren't the Brooks jackets we got super cool?  They are reflective!

Prior to getting to the party, my roommates and I thought we would stay about an hour.  But then the band started and we were dancing and so we left around 11.  I WAS SO SO TIRED.  I crashed in my bed.

Friday November 30
Our alarms went off at 5:30 for another jam-packed day.  We had to get back to the convention center hotel for a BibRave Pro group run.  Our hotel was located about 0.8 miles from the convention center.  Once we arrived to the convention center, we were told that Ram Racing, the group that puts on those Hot Chocolate runs, had arranged for a photographer to take photos of our group run.  Larry was so fun and scooted around Austin popping up to take photos of us.  It was a little challenging to keep our big group together but Larry got some great shots!

After the group run, we somehow had to get back to our hotel, showered, and back to the convention center in less than an hour.  My roommate and I took motorized scooters and mid-scooter ride I discovered that my "go" button was broken.  I should have gotten off the scooter, but I didn't want to be late to our tour, and we were SO close to the hotel.  Unfortunately, I ended up flying off the scooter and landing on my side.  ARGH.  I had some minor road rash and I know now that I ended up fracturing my rib from that fall.  Anyways, we ended up ditching the scooters and running to the hotel, quickly showering and I ran back to the convention center. I made it there just as they were opening the doors for our tour.

From 8:30-11:30, we visited the booths of the brands that provided us swag.  This was really fun because we were able to hear about the motivation behind starting the company, see future products that were slated to be released to the public next year, and ask questions.  Every single brand was super engaging and nice to us.  Incrediwear even had Olympian Manteo Mitchell at their booth!
TIRED eyes for me!
The rep at Brooks also fell off his scooter the night before so we had to take a pic showcasing our injuries.
All in all the vibe during our tour was exciting, and loads of fun.  It was fun to be able to interact with the different products.

After our tours were done, we were free to roam the exhibit hall until it closed at 1 PM.  AND YOU KNOW I was there until the doors closed.  I scored a lot more free stuff, mostly food items, and had fun learning about some new-to-me products.

I think it would be SO FUN to be able to go to the full conference and hear the speakers, etc.

A group of us grabbed some lunch after the expo and then it was time to head back to pack our bags.
Packing the bags.  The struggle is real.  I ended up leaving the old pair of running shoes that I came to Austin wearing.  My suitcase and backpack were CRAMMED full of stuff.  We took an Uber back to the airport and the TSA guy told me to take any food items out of my suitcase.  I started laughing and said, "Half of my suitcase is food items."  I had to go through some extra screening with all of my swag.  The TSA guys had some fun stories of people coming through earlier in the day with a lot of the same stuff I had.  But I didn't have to throw any of the stuff away!  THANK YOU GOD!

I boarded my flight to Houston at 6 PM.  After a short layover in Houston, I was en route to Milwaukee and home in my bed by midnight.  WOWSA.  I may still be trying to catch up on sleep from this trip, but it was so worth it.  Thank you to BibRave, The Running Event, and all of our amazing swag sponsors.  I had a blast!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

November Update

Wow, it's December already.  How many times have you heard that line this week?!

I ended November with 111 miles, which I was pleased with, and a fractured rib, which I was not pleased with.  First the mileage: After my marathon, I took 10 days off running.  I started running easy paced miles the day before Thanksgiving with the goal of logging about 20 miles/week for the rest of the month.  I came up short as both weeks landed around 17 miles/week.  My legs felt good.  I felt way better after this marathon than I did after Grandma's.  I took two weeks completely off after Grandma's and felt like junk for a few more weeks after that.  After Madison, my left hamstring was feeling a little tight still so I took advantage of a discounted offer for physical therapy in my Madison Marathon race bag and made an appointment in December.

I discussed 2019 plans with my friend Eric and had a draft race plan for next year all ready to go, which included a spring marathon.  I was excited to get going with training again!

So the rib.  I was one of twenty people selected by BibRave to attend The Running Event Influencer Day in Austin, TX at the end of November (more on that to come in future posts).  While in Austin, I used motorized scooters to get around.  After an early morning group run last Friday, I hopped on a Bird scooter and realized that the go button was broken while riding.  Instead of being smart and just getting off, I kept riding since I was super close to my hotel (and running late).  Unfortunately, I had to make the decision to hit a guy or take a curb because I couldn't get the scooter to stop and I went flying off.  I landed on my left side, which was sore for the remainder of the day.

I got through the weekend, including a short treadmill run on Saturday night, but by Sunday night I was in a lot of pain and feeling nauseous.  I also really had had no appetite all weekend.  My SIL, a nurse-practitioner, thought I should get it checked out so I called my primary care doctor Monday morning.  They didn't have any available appointments and sent me to the ED for imaging.  I was concerned that there was something wrong with my spleen. My spleen is fine - but my 10th rib is not.  "Nondisplaced fracture of the left lateral 10th rib."  Fun times.

The good news is that my pain is manageable.  I have ran both days since getting the diagnosis.  I will have to take it easy on runs for the next few weeks, but am hoping to make a quick recovery and jump back into marathon training!  Let me know if you have any experience running with an injured rib!  I have heard that KT tape helps so going to try that too!

My goals for December are to continue with the Fellow Flowers Holiday Challenge, which calls for 30 minutes of activity every day from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.  So far so good on that one.  I also am trying to do the TW Training and Wellness December Strength Training for Runners videos.  I did the first one focused on glutes yesterday and got my ass handed to me, pun intended.  I know that I have weak areas in my body and hoping to start 2019 on a strong note and incorporate strength training into my routine.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Madison Marathon Race Report

Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for social media promotion and writing a review of the race.  The application to be a BibRave Pro is open for two more days (until 11/14/18) at this link!  Please also visit to read and write race reviews!

All I have to say about my Madison Marathon experience can be summed up in this sentence:

"It was going so well...until it wasn't."

But don't worry.  I like being verbose so I will give you the long story too.  And anyways - I find that most marathons can be summed up with that sentence and it's up to you to navigate the parts where it isn't going well and that is where I failed yesterday.

Des Linden's Post NYC Marathon Tweet Resonates!
I woke up Saturday and my hamstring still hurt from the day before.  GRRRR.  I made the decision to skip the shake out run.  How cold it was outside played a small role in this decision.  We packed up the kids and drove to Madison.  Our first stop was the marathon expo, which was held in the Monona Terrace.  It was a small, easy to navigate expo which I was grateful for.  My kids made some signs for me, I picked up my packet and Leah's packet (another Wisconsin Oiselle Volee), we found my name on the wall, and signed the banner that the race had for veterans and then grabbed some lunch.  After lunch we went to the Madison Children's Museum which is nice because I could sit.  We spent some time at the hotel pool and took the hotel shuttle to dinner.  We got back to the hotel room and I used some KT Tape to tape my inner thigh before bed.  I made my overnight picky oats and put them in our fridge and set out the pile of clothes.  I had not yet made any decisions about what I was going to wear.  I was struggling with how cold it was going to be (in the low 20s to start).

I really struggle with bringing my kids to races.  I love having them along the course and at the finish, but they really drive me bonkers the night before.  We got a king bed with a pull out couch in our hotel room and my daughter spent the entire night whining about sleeping with her brother.  
"Stop touching me!"  
"Stop breathing on me!".  

At 2:30 in the morning I HAD HAD IT.  I yelled at her and made her sleep with my husband in the bed which meant that I had the good fortune of sleeping on a lumpy pull out couch.  Apologies to our hotel room neighbors if my yelling woke you up.  It's a good thing that pre-race sleep doesn't really matter anyways, but I think my inability to move past FUMING was not ideal mentally.

I woke up at 5 and started eating my picky oats in the dark.  After they were gone, I chugged 24 oz of Gatorade Endurance followed by 20 oz of Gen UCan.  It was so dark in our hotel room and the bathroom was just a toilet and shower so I couldn't even use the bathroom to get dressed while my family slept.  This was not an ideal set up.  In addition, I should have taken a lot more time the night before to just make some decisions.  I left way too many decisions for race day morning and used up more mental energy before I even left my hotel room.  I put on my tall compression socks, redid one of my KT tape strips, and initially put on a tank and arm sleeves.  I panicked about that and switched my bib over to a long sleeve shirt.  Then added a bunch of layers on top.  Now shoes.  I was not sure how my VaporFlys would be in cold.  That, added to the fact that I didn't really love them at the end of my spring marathon.  I ended up bringing two pairs of shoes in my gear check bag.  I wanted to braid my hair but just.could.not.   As a result I put my hair in two pony tails and one of the elastics was at the end of its life.  

I ended up leaving the hotel room feeling very scattered.  I was trying to finish getting dressed in the hall when I heard "Is that Amy?" two doors down.  It was Chelsea, one of my Icebreaker Marathon Relay teammates!  It was fun to see her.  She was running the half.  Then my son opened the hotel room door.  ARGH!  GO TO BED! PLEASE! 

I then went down to the hotel lobby to finish my UCan and wait for a fellow BibRave Pro, Barb, who was running the half and staying at the same hotel.  I ended up finishing my UCan and using the bathroom twice which was nice to use a real bathroom, versus a porta potty.  Barb came down and we set off for the start line, which was about 4 blocks from our hotel.  Really, our hotel (Hyatt Place downtown) was a great location for the race!

We got up to the capitol around 6:15 and it was a ghost town.  Barb and I could not believe that the race was going to start in 45 minutes based on how few people were there.  I expected there to be a lot more people milling about.  There was plenty of time to use the porta potties, check my stuff, give Leah her packet, take a BibRave Pro photo and get in the corrals.  It was really cold but I felt ok about it because I had a lot of throwaway layers on.   I decided to run in the VaporFlys.  
Fun to meet up with Barb and Angie before the race! Can you tell we were FREEZING?!

With about five minutes to spare, I started removing my throwaway layers and in doing so, my hair kept falling out of the elastic.  Someone said, "Ooh. You're brave running in shorts." I replied, "I'm either brave or stupid."  Holly, who I follow on Instagram, said Hi!  That is always fun.   My final race day outfit was:  VaporFly shoes, Oiselle Compression socks, Oiselle Distance Shorts, Oiselle Crop bra, BibRave tank, BibRave long sleeve, BibRave Buff worn as an ear warmer, throwaway gloves with hand warmers inside.  I felt like I had to pee but thought it was nerves since I had already peed 4 times that morning.

The start gun went off.

Miles 1-5
My plan was to go out in 6:52 ish pace.  I also started at the front with all the fast guys so my first mile ended up being fast.  The course went right past our hotel so I saw my husband and kids right away.  My husband called out, "Have fun!" and I replied, "I'm gonna try!".  

Really the first five miles were rough.  I was so cold.  My fingers and toes were numb.  My feet felt too small for my shoes and it felt like there were golf balls on the bottom of my heels.  I was running by myself because every time I ran next to a guy, they pulled ahead a bit.  (This drives me bonkers.  Guys, it's ok if a woman runs next to you!) I knew there were two women ahead of me, but there were no women around me during this section.  I was very aware of place throughout the whole race which really messed with me in the later miles.  We had some hills during this, but nothing crazy.  But mentally I was not there.  I was already being negative at this point.  "What if today was my first DNF?" came into my mind more than once.

I took water from the aid stations and legit it was freezing.  As in, a thin layer of ice began to form and ice shards were stabbing me in my face.  Normally I don't care if I spill water on myself, but when it's in the 20s, it is not the best!

My first mile was fast, but miles 2-5 were right where I wanted them to be pace-wise.  I didn't feel like I was exerting myself, but I didn't feel smooth.

Mile 1: 6:39
Mile 2: 6:52
Mile 3: 6:53
Mile 4: 6:52
Mile 5: 6:48

At the five mile mark, I went to take one of my gels out of my hand held pouch and because my fingers were so numb, I dropped it.  SHIT.  I had to back track a bit to pick it up but I easily got it down and used some of my Gatorade Endurance in my handheld to wash it down, followed by a cup of water at the 5 mile aid station.

Miles 6-10
One of my favorite pieces of advice to dole out about running a marathon is to take advantage of the times during the race when you feel good, and work through the bad parts.  Both come and go throughout the race.  Miles 6-10 were a good part for me.  A woman came up from behind me and we ran part of this section together.  I eventually pulled ahead of her and didn't see her again for the rest of the race.  I felt good during this section, despite having to run to the top of Observatory Hill. 

The first section of the course had more hills than I was anticipating, but I felt like I was generally able to maintain my pace throughout the miles.  It was difficult to ascend them, but I kept telling myself that I would feel good after cresting the top.

Mile 6: 6:42
Mile 7: 6:53
Mile 8: 6:43
Mile 9: 6:35
Mile 10: 6:47

I took another gel at mile 10, and this time I didn't drop it.

Miles 11-15
I was looking forward to seeing a pack of Oiselle women during this section, including one dressed in a banana suit.  This did not disappoint.  I saw that banana from a while away.  This section too had more inclines than I was anticipating.  Wowsa.  I was sick of running up and down hills.  But I was feeling good.  The feeling like I needed to pee never left me though and during this section my growing bladder was increasingly uncomfortable.  I flew through the half in a PR time! My half marathon PR is 1:28:35.  My half split from yesterday was 1:28:34.  I started thinking, "Hey! I really could do this! I could PR this race!"  

Mile 11: 6:54
Mile 12: 6:42
Mile 13: 6:40
Mile 14: 6:50
Mile 15: 6:47

Miles 16-20
I saw my family at mile 15 which was super fun.  My daughter tried to run up one of the hills with me.  I was sick of carrying my handheld at this point so I tossed it to my husband. My bladder was screaming at this point.  I have never peed myself during a race and I was considering it but also felt like it might freeze to my legs and ten miles was a long way to run with cold pee on myself.  I made the decision to duck into a porta potty at the mile 16 water stop.  The porta potty was covered in poop so I had to hover to pee.  You want pain?  Try hovering after running 16 miles!  I made the right call because my bladder was FULL.  It took a while to empty.  When I came out of the porta potty, I saw a woman up ahead of me, and knew I was now in 4th place.  I took a third gel at this point.  My KT tape was coming unglued and flapping and bugging me.

And this is where it started to fall apart because instead of just running my race, I got caught up in what place I was in and ran extra hard to get up to the woman ahead of me.  It is not a good strategy to try to start racing at mile 16 of a marathon.  The terrain was more of the same.  MORE HILLS.

Mile 16: 6:52
Mile 17: 7:35 
Mile 18: 6:43
Mile 19: 6:48
Mile 20: 6:55
High fiving my daughter on the course.  3rd and 4th place women at this point

Miles 21-24
At this point I was trading back and forth with the other woman and ended up ahead of her at some point.  At this point, I could feel a blister forming on my second toe on my right foot.  There is a large hill around mile 22/23 that I legit stopped when I was 3/4 up it.  My legs hurt so much, particularly my left leg which was starting to feel numb.  I tried to rally after a bad mile 22.

Mile 21: 6:59
Mile 22: 7:27
Mile 23: 6:39
Mile 24: 7:01

Mile 24-Finish
I stopped running at the mile 24 water station because I was beginning to feel woozy and didn't think I could coordinate taking a gel while running, but knew I needed one.  I took my 4th gel with a cup of water and saw the woman behind me run through the water station.  I again was in 4th place.  I saw the Oiselle group again and started crying.  I just kept telling myself to keep running.  Don't stop.  I could see the woman ahead of me but could not make my legs go faster.  At some point in this part, I knew I was also not going to get a sub 3.  And of course, we were not done with hills.  I heard my family at the finish and just tried to keep moving.  I had no kick.  

Mile 25: 7:44 (OUCH)
Mile 26: 7:12
Finish: 3:01:58, 4th female of 410, 1st age group (of 61), 29th overall (of 1,072).

I got my medal and went over to see my family and just grabbed the side rail and started crying.  Someone gave me a bear hug and initially I thought it was my mom but it turned out to be one of my best friend's Brooke.  Then Nora came over to say hi and it took me a few seconds to recognize her.  So I was a little out of it at the finish, but nothing like the finish of my spring marathon where I had to be held up through the finish chute.

Elevation Profile:

During my text postmortem with my coach and his wife (another one of my besties), he said, "You objectively ran better than your last marathon.  Temperature, hills, bathroom break.  I consider this a huge PR.  I also think you are tired.  The training block was tough and you haven't totally adapted to that volume." 

I'm not sure I totally agree with this, but I definitely do not feel as wiped as I did after my spring marathon.  I really think the chase post-bathroom break was what did me in.  I remember the whole race and I never felt really out of it like I did for the last 3 miles of my spring race.

My takeaways from this race:
1. Make a race plan that includes all details for race morning before race morning
2. Go to the bathroom one last time before entering the corrals, even if you don't feel like you have to go
3. RUN YOUR RACE.  Don't get caught up in others' race.  Look at how close 2,3,4 were.  Had I not expelled all that extra energy at mile 16, I may have been able to catch them! (Both of them are in the 18-24 age group - so fast!!)

4. I love having cheerleaders!  So many people cheering for me out there and I loved it all!!  My three youngest cheerleaders were happy to take a post-race pic with me:
I LOVE the race shirts!!
5.  My race nutrition went pretty well.  I never had a crash nor did I have any nausea/GI issues.  
Pre Race: Apple & Cinnamon Picky Oats make with milk overnight + 2 scoops of chocolate Gen UCan in 20 oz of water + 24 oz Gatorade Endurance
During Race:  3 GU Roctane in Vanilla Orange, 1 Gatorade Endurance gel in Mango, Water cups throughout

6. This might be unpopular, but I am not a fan of the Vapor Flys. They were driving me more than crazy during yesterday's race. Hindsight is 20/20 but I do wish I had selected my Pegasus to wear.

7. I don't know why I opted for yucky throw away gloves.  I never took them off my hands and would have preferred one of the pairs of nice running gloves that I owned over those $1 magic mini gloves.  

I will leave you with this.  I ran the Mad City Marathon in 2002.  It was my first marathon and I ran it in 4:08:36.  The Mad City Marathon became the Madison Marathon a few years ago.  While the course is not exactly the same, I was able to knock an hour and 7 minutes off my finish time while aging 16 years.  Marathon results take time and while patience is not always my strong suit, I still think my best marathon is out there. Keeping the dream alive folks!

You can read my review on BibRave here and I claimed my result in Athlinks here!