Wednesday, February 28, 2018

That's A Wrap on BibRave Safety Month

Disclaimer: Last year I received a pair of Aftershokz wired sports titanium headphones as part of a BibRave Pro campaign.  You can read my product review here. I am providing an extra review of Aftershokz as part of BibRave's Safety Month!

It's the last day of February!  While I have yet to run today, I know that my February 2018 mileage will be less than my February 2017 mileage.  And yes, this is because my marathon training started later this year but also, 2018 has been challenging for me in terms of getting out to run.  I lost all of the habits that I used to train for my marathon and half-marathon last year (ahem...getting out of bed super early to run) and I shut my early morning alarm off to stay in bed more times than I actually have gotten out of bed to do said morning run. 

Now that I am officially on a marathon training plan, it has helped some, but at the start of February, I also made a decision to run with my Aftershokz and my iPod Nano every run.  (Yes - I said iPod NANO.  And the original generation 1 Nano at that!). 

I am forever behind on the podcasts that I want to listen to so I thought this would be a good way to continue through my podcast list and feel like I am running with friends.  Side note:  Does anyone else feel like the people on podcasts are your BFFs when you listen?? ha ha ha  Maybe that's just me.

One reason I never ran with headphones in the morning is that it is typically dark out and I easily get spooked.  It is a time when I would rather be on alert.  The nice thing about Aftershokz is that they work via bone conduction - they rest on your jawbone rather than go in your ear, allowing you to hear your surroundings.

One morning I listened to the whole Ryan Adams Prisoner album under the moonlight.  It was MAGICAL.

I knew from previous experience that I could very clearly hear cars and traffic, but I was curious what else I would be able to hear so one long run, I kept track of all of the things I heard in addition to my podcast:

1) Cars
2) Squirrels
3) Birds chirping
4) Another runner saying, "Hi!"
5) Dog
6) A blue heron's wings as it took off in flight (GORGEOUS)
7) Water rushing in the river

Not a bad list!  I have appreciated the ability to have "friends" with me on a run, while also being aware of what is going on around me.

This is particularly important because there has been a cougar in our area! WHAT THE WHAT?! Yeah, I definitely want to be able to be aware of a large predatory CAT while I am running.

I had more treadmill runs that I would prefer in the last month and the Aftershokz headphones have been nice because my kids are old enough to occupy themselves so I can get a shorter treadmill run in and I can hear them while I am running.  Sometimes this also means I hear fights...which, let's be honest.  I don't always WANT to hear that, ha ha ha.

Combining podcasts with my runs has definitely helped me in getting back to it, and I haven't felt less safe in doing so because of Aftershokz technology. 

Do you listen to podcasts?  Which are your favorite?  I rotate between My Favorite Murder (only in daylight), Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette, and C Tolle Run.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training Week 2

I had a great week of running.  I wrote in my training journal "RUN SIX DAYS".  That was my goal - to only take one day off and I did it!

I was not able to do any morning runs this week because we got so many days of rain, which combined with below freezing temps overnight made for icy mornings.  This meant a lot of RACING home from work and trying to squeeze the run in before the bus came.

I also had a birthday this week.  The big 3-7.  No age group change for me.

Sunday, February 18
Plan Says:  Off.

What I did:  Ran!  It has been a while since I ran on a Sunday, but it felt good.
5.15 miles, 39:49 (7:44 avg pace)

Monday, February 19
Plan Says: 3 miles easy

What I did: Off

Tuesday, February 20
Plan Says: Off

What I did:  4.25 miles on the treadmill after work.  Unfortunately it was pouring rain so treadmill it was.  36:31 (8:35 avg pace)

Wednesday, February 21
Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did: Another run after work.  I left a little early from work so I could get a few more minutes on my legs.
4.65 miles, 34:56 (7:31 avg pace)

Thursday, February 22
Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did:  Another run after work.
5.0 miles, 38:45 (7:44 avg pace)

Friday, February 23
Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did:  You guessed it - post-work run.
4 miles, 31:00 (7:44 avg pace)

Saturday, February 24
Plan says: easy 4 miles

What I did:  8 miles, 1:01:51 (7:44 avg pace)
It felt good to get back to a bit longer run on Saturday.  My daughter is taking a life-skills/stage acting class on Saturday mornings, right in the middle of the morning.  My kids also had big plans for breakfast in bed to celebrate my birthday so that meant no early morning run for me.  Thankfully, the class is an hour long so my husband dropped my daughter and me off at the arts center and I ran while she was in class and the boys did the grocery shopping.  I got a long-ish run in AND I didn't have to grocery shop.  I don't know how I managed that win-win situation, but there it is. :)

Weekly Total
Plan says: 16 miles
What I did: 31.07 miles baby!  YES.  This is the first 30+ mile week I have had since October.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Grandma's Marathon Training Week 1

First week of marathon training - DONE!

I again am tackling the Hansons Marathon Method Beginner plan.

Going into marathon training, I am a little nervous about how it will go.  The good news is that I have done this exact plan before and that gives me confidence.  However, I am launching a big project at work this week, which has the exact timeline of this training cycle.  I'm a little concerned of being overwhelmed, but one day at a time, right?

The first 5 weeks of the beginner plan are basically ramping up mileage by doing all easy runs and so week 1 is really small mileage, because it technically doesn't start until halfway through the week (thus the amount of "off days" in the beginning).  My plan is to keep up with the 25ish miles/week that I have been doing until the plan catches up with me.  I fell a little short of the 25 mile mark this week.

I have 5 weeks until I have to worry about pacing so keeping my easy runs in the 8 - 8:30 range, which is on the fast end of my easy pace range per the HMM calculator (8:22-9:30).  However, based on my experience last time I used this plan, I didn't really get to that range until after I started track and tempo work (and was tired as all get out). 

I'm not sure about my goal pace right now, but here are some current thoughts.  My current PR is 3:11:09 (7:17 pace).  My 2018 goal is to run a sub3 marathon, a DREAM BIG goal for sure, but there it is.  A 2:59:59 marathon is 6:52 pace.  I think it is lofty but within reach to try to run 7:00 pace this spring so I am going to start there to set my training paces and see how it goes.  (This would give me a 3:03:30 marathon).   

Plan Says:  Off.

What I did:  Off. 

Plan Says: Off

What I did: Off

Plan Says: Off

What I did:  3.25 miles after work.  25:56 (7:59 avg pace)

Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did: 5.25 miles, 44:14 (8:25 avg pace) 
Morning run!!!!!!!!!!!

Plan Says: Off

What I did:  5.4 miles, 45:14 (8:23 avg pace)
Another morning run!!!!!!!!!

Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did:  4.25 miles, 33:26 (7:52 avg pace)
Unfortunately I was in the emergency department with my 3 year old for most of the night and thus did not get ANY sleep.  (He burned his hand on our stove earlier in the evening.) I was able to get in a run after work, before the bus.

Plan says: easy 4 miles

What I did:  4 miles, 35:08 (8:47 avg pace)
Typically I have been trying to do a middle distance (7-9 miles) on Saturdays.  Poor planning on my part resulted in getting in half that distance on a treadmill.

Weekly Total
Plan says: 10 miles
What I did: 22.15 miles

Friday, February 16, 2018

Product Review: Under Armour HOVR Sonic Running Shoes

Product Review: Under Armour HOVR Sonic running shoes

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Under Armour HOVR Sonic shoes to test as part of the BibRave Pro ambassador program. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!


Under Armour makes running shoes? 


I had no idea!

These beauties showed up on my doorstep in December:

The UA HOVR technology was designed to have a "zero gravity feel" and this was definitely my favorite part about the shoes.  They are very responsive.  The toe box is roomy too, which I am becoming more and more of a fan of when I am looking for running shoes.  (Hello old lady bunions.)

The other amazing part about the shoes is that they track data for you through the Map My Run app.  You download the app (if you do not already use it), and have your shoes nearby and the app syncs to a sensor in the right heel.  Voila.  I do not regularly run with my phone so I can go for a run, come back and click "sync shoes" in the app and my workout data is available.  What does that look like?

When you click on the workout in the app, you get the following summary:
You can then continue scrolling for data on your splits:

And then click on "show more data" for pace, stride length and cadence in line graph form:

Pretty cool, huh?!

Obviously it is winter here so I was running through snow and wet with these, which never impacted the sensor.

I took the shoes out for several easy runs in the 3-5 mile range to get a feel for them and liked them.  I also tried them on a long-ish run (7.5 miles) and a fartlek run.  I like them best in speed work situations so I went all out and wore them for my indoor marathon relay race.  I was very happy with how they felt during this race, as you may have read in my recap.

Another fun aspect of testing out these shoes was "talking shop" with people: 

  • I noticed that Mario Fraioli (check out his awesome weekly newsletter, The Morning Shakeout) had a pair of HOVRs on his Instagram Story so I sent him a message about how I liked the shoes and he responded positively as well. 
  • My brother-in-law, who is not a runner, brought them up to me because he heard about "these shoes that had some awesome technology in them" on the radio.  He was excited to see them in person.
  • Several birds asked me about them at the Marathon Relay, noting how they had heard about them and that they were at a very reasonable price point ($110 for the app-connected version, $100 for the non-connected version).
  • Fast Company did an article on the shoe here as did Engadget.

I am excited to continue using these shoes for my track workouts during marathon training!

Here are a few reviews from the other BibRave Pros who are testing out the UA HOVR Sonic shoes:

Have you ever tried Under Armour running shoes? What did you think?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Last Week Before Marathon Training Officially Begins!

Disclaimer: I received a WHITE pair of Under Armour HOVR shoes that I mention in my Race Recap below to test as part of the BibRave Pro ambassador program. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Last week was CRAZY in that it snowed every day and we now have tons of the white stuff to deal with.  3 of the 4 non-race runs that I did last week were in unplowed snow with yaktraks.  Snow running is QUITE a workout!

Also, I had my first race of 2018 on Saturday - the Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay!

I continued work on my WorkIn28 challenge - finishing off week 1 and moving onto week 2.  It has been more challenging for me to fit it in during week 2 (because Olympics), but I am still trying to make it work.

So here is last week's mileage recap with my race recap:

Sunday February 4
0 miles
SLEDDING!  This was a workout.  The sledding hill near our home is called "killer hill" for a reason.

Monday, February 5
0 miles
This is just me being lazy.

Tuesday, February 6
4.01 miles, 33:30 (8:22 avg pace)
First of the snowy runs!

Wednesday, February 7
4 miles, 33:29 (8:22 avg pace)
Kind of funny that both Tuesday's run and this run were one second apart.  I hit up the treadmill after my kids were in bed for this one - so, lots of button pushing.

Thursday, February 8
3.11 miles, 25:50 (8:19 avg pace)
Another night run! SO SO Sloppy with the snow/slush factor.

Friday, February 9
5 miles, 41:51 (8:22 avg pace)
My kids had a snow day from school which was ridiculous all things considered.  They ended up going to my MIL's house and I worked from home, which meant I could take advantage and run in the middle of the day.  It was so sunny and pretty out but this run was CHALLENGING because I decided to try to run around the pond on an ungroomed trail.

Saturday, February 10
8.39 miles, 58:00 (6:55 avg pace)
Indoor Marathon Relay time!

This was my third year participating in this with the Oiselle teams.  This year, Oiselle women from MN and IL came to WI to join us so it was extra large and in charge.   I had zero expectations for this race because as you know if you've been reading for the last four months, I have done nothing but generally easy runs.  I decided that I was going to enjoy myself, and run by feel.  I did not wear a watch even.  (Partially this is because my Garmin doesn't work well indoors and last year when I wore a regular Timex, I forgot to start/stop it half the time.)

The strategy for this is always the same - each of 4 relay runners runs a total of 12 "800s".  This is in quotation marks because each segment is actually two laps around the track, which is 886 meters total.  In the previous times I have participated in this event, I have always been runner #1.  This year, I was runner #3.

It is challenging to do because you aren't running long enough to take advantage of any warm up - you run your two laps and then stand on the sidelines and watch your teammates run a total of 6 laps and then you are up again.  There is NO space to continue jogging and you have to pay attention so that you can move the lap counter from ankle to ankle.  It is CRAZY.  And fun.

The other difficult thing is that the relay is in the afternoon and they have an indoor half marathon race in the morning.  There is maybe 20 minutes of clear track in between those two events so you don't get a ton of time to warm up either.

While I opted out of wearing a watch, I did wear my Under Armour HOVR Sonic shoes (see disclaimer above) to try to capture mileage and splits that I could analyze afterwards.  I ran as many warm up laps with my teammates that I could until they literally kicked us off the track.  My shoes tell me that this was 2.15 miles at 8:20 pace.

Then it was go time.  I felt good running my first few laps and I had no idea how fast I was running.  It felt like I was running fast, and I estimated that I was in the 6:30/mile pace range.  One of my teammates thought I was running faster than that so she had her husband, our official lap counter, time my 5th (or was it 6th?!) segment and he had me at 5:50 pace.  What the what?!  Admittedly, I ended up neck and neck with another woman during that segment and she was definitely making me work for my laps, but I was still pleasantly surprised.

Obligatory race photos where I look like a dinosaur:

Hello pain face!

Our team finished 5th women's and we nailed the sub 3 total time: 2:54:27.26 (6:40 avg).
My shoes show me at the following avg paces for my 12 segments:
5:45, 5:52, 5:54, 7:42, 5:57, 5:59, 9:24, 5:53, 6:15, 6:10, 6:07, 6:06

Obviously there are two outliers there - looking at the data charts for the 7:42 lap, it looks like my pace tanked at 2:00 in for some reason and it was a little longer than the others.  This makes me think that I kept moving immediately after my ankle tracker was removed for a bit, which brought my pace down.

For the 9:24 split, again it was a little longer than the others, making me think it counted some of my post-segment walking into the split.

What other fun stuff can I tell you from the data from my shoes....

Max Pace, Avg Cadence, Avg Stride Length for each segment:
1 - 5:30, 196, 114.8
2 - 5:40, 194, 113.2
3 - 5:41, 194, 110.0
4 - 5:41, 186, 106.0
5 - 5:41, 194, 111.9
6 - 5:47, 194, 108.8
7 - 5:53, 184, 103.3
8 - 5:41, 194, 109.5
9 - 6:01, 190, 108.9
10 - 5:53, 190, 107.2
11 - 5:55, 190, 108.3
12 - 5:48, 190, 110.7

Pretty cool data, right!? I will be posting my official review of these shoes later this week but I couldn't resist sharing this early.

I also am pleasantly surprised that I still have some speed!  I mean, after just running 25ish miles/week for 4 months at a comfortable pace.  This makes me excited to build up some actual endurance/speed fitness in the coming weeks.  All in all, this event was a great way to end my base mileage phase.

W1D1 Marathon Training was yesterday (Sunday, Feb 11).

Weekly Total: 24.5 miles

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Product Review: Detach Coconut+ Water

Product Review:  Detach Coconut+ Water

Disclaimer: I received 6 12-oz bottles of Detach to review 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!

I am always making it a goal to "hydrate more" and am interested in hydration products, so I signed up to try the Detach Coconut+ water.  The "Ellie Ade" (named after the creator's wife) is coconut water based product with a lemon-lime flavor.  It is more on the tart profile for me, which I love because many hydration products formulated for athletes taste way too sweet.  Here is a description of the ingredients from their website:

I was already using plain coconut water in smoothies.  I am not a fan of plain coconut water to drink by itself so to me, the lemon-lime flavor is the key to this drink, which I DO enjoy on its own.  

I have tried Detach in a number of scenarios:

1.  Replacing plain coconut water in morning smoothie.
My favorite smoothie lately is Detach + greens (spinach, kale) + frozen pineapple + plain yogurt + 1 ripe banana.  I originally got this idea from a fellow BibRave Pro, who has a more formal recipe on her blog.

My 7 year old has been joining me in breakfast smoothies lately which is a win for me as she is not a big breakfast eater.

2.  Pre-run hydration
I first tried this before meeting my Oiselle teammates at the Pettit for a Marathon Relay practice.  I was pleased that I had no stomach upset even while running faster paced laps.  The fact that it is pre-mixed in 12-oz bottles makes it easy to grab and go.

3.  During-run hydration
I emptied a bottle into my hydration pack for a long run recently and I really loved this as a during-run hydration option.  The slightly tart flavor was easy to drink and not sweet and did not upset my stomach.  
4.  Post-run Hydration
It is easy to grab a bottle of this from the fridge after a run and veg out.  I think it is thirst-quenching and I like that my body is getting electrolytes.

I quickly went through the six bottles I was provided and re-upped my stash by purchasing on Amazon.  (Obviously, i also purchased a new book while I as on their :))

Right now there is a 20% Amazon coupon for Detach and with subscribe and save, a case of 12 bottles was $26.21.  You can also visit their website to sign up for their community to get a coupon code discount emailed to you.

Monday, February 5, 2018

February Kick Off! Last Week's Mileage Recap

It's February!  I love February because it is my birthday month and my sister has been posting all sorts of birthday month memes on my Facebook page, making me laugh. 

February can be a rough month in WI because one can just be so.sick.of.winter.  And true to form, we are looking to having a whole week of single digit high temps ahead.

So, it's good to have something positive to look forward to this month. 

Nothing special about last week.  My kids are in a few more extracurricular activities than usual which has made it a little more challenging for me to get a run in.  I also wasn't doing a good job tracking and fell 0.3 miles short of 25 miles for the week.  ANNOYING.  I struggled with motivation last week big time, and I don't have discipline in my running routine right now to fall back on as this article suggests.

I started a new challenge on February 1: The Jasyoga WorkIn28 challenge which is outlined in the Work In book.  I have managed to actually do every day so far and am liking it because it gives me a starting place to actually DO meditation work instead of reading every book there is about it, saying, "I should do this" and, then, never actually DO it.  I have been struggling with mood/anxiety in the last several weeks and hoping this will help with it.

Sunday January 28
0 miles
I'm going to have to start getting my act together for Sunday.  I am enjoying them being days off and starting Feb 11, that is no longer going to be the case!

Monday, January 29
4.55 miles, 32:54 (7:14 avg pace)
I had a rough day at work.  My boss, who is amazing and all things fabulous, told us she was leaving our organization.  Cue all of the tears.  So I ran this much faster than usual.  As I've indicated before, I am a highly emotional runner!  This day was a good example.

Tuesday, January 30
4.01 miles, 30:40 (7:39 avg pace)
Beat the bus! 

Wednesday, January 31
3.39 miles, 26:49 (7:55 avg pace)
I ran this at night to participate in the REI and Ragnar No Buts Run.  As I posted before, I wanted it to be a full 10K but I bailed.

Thursday, February 1
5.3 miles, 42:16 (7:59 avg pace)
I got up early! This was a magical run. 

Friday, February 2
0 miles
I didn't get up early and had to rush home from work to meet my dad who was taking my son overnight and so couldn't rely on the #beatthebus miles. 

Saturday, February 3
7.45 miles, 56:23 (7:34 avg pace)
My daughter started a theater class on Saturday mornings which is awesome.  However, I didn't do a good job with time planning to get a long run in and literally had to run in from this, change into different clothes to get her to the class.  Going to have to start getting a jump on the morning run a bit earlier in the weeks ahead!

Weekly Total: 24.7 miles

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January 2018 Mileage Recap

Happy February!

I finished up my January mileage last night, by the light of the moon.  My original goal for yesterday was to run a 10K to put me 0.1 miles over January 2017.

I set my phone alarm for 5 AM and apparently, never turned on a ringer.  So, when I woke up to my husband's alarm at 6 AM, I was annoyed.  The next opportunity for me to get a run in was after my kids were in bed and, herein lies the danger of the night run, I was exhausted.  3.39 miles would have to do.

January 2018 total: 114.5, a 2.3% decrease from last year.

Overall I am fine with January.  It is the 4th straight "just over 100 miles/month" month that I have had, and while that isn't anything amazing, it is more consistency than I started spring marathon training with last year.  And, given that I was sick for two weeks, and not up to speed for a full 25 days, I am pleased.

My official Grandma's Marathon training start date is February 11!