Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year In Review: My Year of Spectacular Failure

2019 was the year I was going to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon in my dreams. My OTQ dreams did not come true (not even close) in 2019, but I can't really complain about a year which brought me PRs in the 5K (18:38), half-marathon (1:25:37) and marathon (2:55:36) can I? 2019 was a spectacular failure.

I ran 2,316 miles in 2019, which is the most miles I have ever ran in a single year and a 17.5% increase over last year's mileage total.

Here are some thoughts on the year:
  • I switched to a more personalized marathon training plan after four marathon cycles using Hanson's Marathon Method.  [I am still a big fan and advocate of HMM as it led me to increasing both the consistency and mileage of my training cycles which showed in my marathon finish times.] This was a good move and reinvigorated the joy of running for me.
  • Speaking of joy, I do better with someone else telling me what to run. I came to the realization this year that while it sounds like always following a plan would take the joy out of running, for me personally, I get much more joy from running if I don't have to think about what to do. I have a lot of decision fatigue when I am left to my own devices, likely because I have so.many.decisions to make in all non-running areas of my life being the owner of a small business, I am responsible for all work-related decisions. Being a parent means that I am responsible for a lot of decisions about my kids. It all adds up. Having someone just tell me what to run completely removes the stress of deciding what to do in that area of my life and for that I am extremely grateful.
  • I am still on the lookout for the most magical running shoe. I continued having different shoes for different purposes in 2019, a tactic that has served me well. I usually use my shoes with high amounts of miles on them (i.e., approaching retirement) for low mileage easy days. I have a pair of shoes specifically for speed/tempo workouts, another pair specifically for long runs (usually more cushioned), and a shoe with about half of it's lifetime spent for middle distance easy paced days.  I will rotate these 4 pairs of shoes in this manner every week. (Yes I have a spreadsheet that tracks the mileage for each pair of shoe in current rotation.) I used to get close to 400 miles on each shoe, but I've noticed this year that once a shoe crosses into the 300 mile space, it's usually not long before I retire it from running.

Here are shoes I ran in in 2019:
1. Adidas Adizero Boston's were my shoe of choice for Chicago Marathon and I loved them.Will definitely be re-buying those for a speed/tempo/race shoe. They don't have quite the amount of cushioning that I prefer for regular middle-to-long distance training runs.

2. Saucony Triumph (meh). I wore these for middle mile recovery runs, and easy long runs. They felt too squishy for me to love, but they got the job done.

3. 2 pairs of Nike Pegasus (good). I ran the Illinois Marathon in these and used them for speed/tempo work. Overall I like this shoe but trying to not buy Nike until they clean up some of their policies.

4. Newton Motion (decent) I ran my 5K PR in these. Wish I could get the shoe without the nubs on the forefoot, which I realize is their whole schtick. I love how lightweight these are.

5. Adidas Solar Boost (meh). These were the equivalent to the Triumph for me.  A little sloppy of a fit but got me through a lot of easy miles.

6. Nike Zoom Fly SP (thumbs down). Bought on clearance in the early part of the year to use as a tempo/speed shoe and I just hate them. They are really stiff and my legs always feel more sore when I wore them. Stopped using them after 42 miles.

7. Hoka Clifton (good).  I have had two pairs of Cliftons in my life and they are the only shoe to get over 400 miles for me. I love the extra cushioning in them for regular middle-to-long distance training runs. The only reason that I didn't re-buy them in 2019 was that I had several pairs of shoes to use from BibRave Pro campaigns.

8. Under Armour HOVR (decent, especially for the price.)  I am on my 3rd pair of these, which disclaimer, I got all pairs for free through BibRave Pro, but I would buy these. I just wish I would get more miles out of them. 285 was it.

9. Brooks Adrenaline (meh). I did get close to 400 miles on these but I never loved them - they always felt a bit too stiff for me. I am interested in trying the Brooks Ghost in 2020.

  • The biggest obstacle I have to work on in the marathon is overcoming fear of the pain cave. Over time, I have come to the realization that the marathon is going to hurt, regardless of your fitness level. I used to think that I just have to get in better shape and it won't hurt. One thing that following professional runners on social media has showed me is that that is just not the case. I know that I have to get over my fear of pain to really be able to take my marathon finish time down. I have never successfully entered the pain cave, preferring to just dip my toe in and for sure as hell stay where I can see the cave opening so as not to venture in and get lost in darkness. So that is my goal for 2020 - start going into the cave.
  • I am already into my next marathon training cycle, gearing up for Boston 2020. It's a little audacious to think that I can PR on that course, but in my old age I'm getting more daring and I'm going for it.  With that, I encourage you to read this article and join me in another year of failing spectacularly.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Product Review: Turtle Gloves

Product Review: Lightweight Turtle Gloves

Disclaimer:  Turtle Gloves sent me a pair of their Lightweight Turtle-Flip Convertible Mittens in exchange for this review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program of  Search and submit your own race reviews at

Mitten season is upon us here in Wisconsin (yes, I am Team Mitten (vs. glove) through and through).  November started off mild, got very cold, and now is back to mild again. I have been lucky to product test a new product from Turtle Gloves throughout the month: the lightweight turtle-flip convertible mittens.

The mittens are designed to be comfortable in a range of temperatures that are typical of "spring or fall" during low or high activity.

I liked the ability to change the mitten mid-run. Most of my running last month was in 20-30 degree temperature range. I am often cold when I start running so I would start with a full mitten:
While running, if my hands got warm, I would flip the top over, and roll it down a bit to give my fingers some ventilation:

The mittens were very versatile and warmer than I thought they would be given how lightweight the material is.  I have washed them several times (as they also functioned as tissues a few times) and they look good as new. I probably will continue to use them throughout the winter because they kept my hands plenty warm.

If you are interested in trying them, please visit their website and use code TURTLEGLOVESBR for 15% off.