A long overdue Chicago marathon training update

Hello friends!

I’m really struggling. REALLY. STRUGGLING. And then I saw this e-mail… but only after I dug through my junk e-mail folder before emptying it.

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It’s like the Chicago marathon knew that seeing this e-mail would not be in my best interest, so it went right to junk. But I saw it and it’s already something I’ve been considering since late last week.

So yes, it’s true I’m considering NOT running the Chicago Marathon as my first marathon. I know this may come as a complete and total shock to you..especially if you follow me on Instagram. There you see that I update my training pretty frequently, but that is not the whole story, especially lately.

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I offically made the decision in April 2018 to change my path and pursue my dream to become a Registered Dietitian. At 26 years old, you could say I’ve never been one to do things conventionally 😉 But my former jobs will only make me a better RD in the long run. I’m two weeks into my classes and new job as a nutrition assistant. I’m loving it, but things have been tough. I don’t want to sound ungrateful-I’m so fortunate to have the ability to take out loans and go back to school, be healthy enough to run, chase my dreams, and rely on the support of others, especially my husband. I could not make this dream a reality otherwise.

But, there have been a lot of doubts.

I keep questioning myself: “Is it worth it to change my career after I already have a BA in a related field and MA in a different field? How do I balance sleep/ training/ work/ classes? What does it say about me if I chose sleep after a late night of studying versus an early run? Am I passionate enough? How can I utilize my time more effectively on my 2.5-3 hour commute? As a future RD, isn’t it ironic that I struggle to eat enough to fuel my training/life sometimes? How can I expect to run a marathon on 30 miles per week when I was doing better mileage  earlier this summer?”

Then, I feel like I turn these personal questions into EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES…

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(My longest run last year since college almost exactly a year ago that resulted in another injury)

I spent most of my college running career and the years after nursing injuries/not running. I got hurt again last year at this time when I was trying to finally make my return to running! I later realized the key for me to staying healthy is doing most of my runs at a very easy pace. It took me until this year to master that. I’ve spent years just wanting to get to this point of healthy, consistent running! And now I’m there (or was, except for last two weeks of training)…

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(throw back to 2011 college cross country)

In college, I had a demanding science major, a very part time job (I was allowed to do my homework during it :P), cross country practice (sometimes twice a day), and a few other extracurriculars.  So, now that I’m older, back in school, and healthy, it’s frustrating that I am struggling to balance my schedule. But I’m only on week 2, so it will get better! It doesn’t help sometimes that when I am talking to other people training for a marathon in person or on social media I see so many who juggle even more than me crushing their training. And the first thing I think after being inspired and excited for them is, how? What is their secret? I don’t mean for that to sound pessimistic. But it’s hard to not to play the comparison game. I know I’m not the only one.

But my husband reminded me that some of you may look at me here, on social media, etc. and think that I too am crushing it and have the perfect training/life balance. I assure you I don’t! I am a firm believer in less is more, but America teaches us to be busy, busy, busy. Who can work the longest? Who can eat the healthiest? Who can run the most miles? Who can do the most extracurriculars? Work the most jobs? etc. etc. It’s not realistic to do everything, all the time, and you never know the whole story until you ask someone. We are all just trying to figure it out.

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I pride myself on being honest in the hopes that others can relate. Last week I ran only 35 miles (instead of my goal of 40-45). I struggled with the timing of runs with my new classes, my 2.5-3 hour commute to school, and the heat/humidity/weather. This week I started working on top of my classes and that further complicated things. I’m still trying to get in the rhythm of a good schedule because this is all new to me. I’m only at 8 miles this week and may reach 25-30 miles depending on the next 24 hours. I’ve been demoralized about my paces during runs and I feeling worn down on more runs than energized. Also, I’m competitive and put a lot of pressure on myself to run a certain time. Yet, I know no one will judge me if I run a 3:15 marathon or a 4 hour one because it’s amazing to just finish one! Although, I cannot decide if I have enough training to still run Chicago, especially if this trend in my training continues…This is why I desperately wish I had a coach and/or team. 🙁

I thought it might help me decide to reflect on the majors lows and highs of my training so far. Lows first, then highs because I  am doing my best to remain positive!

Training lows:

The Rock ‘n Roll Chicago half marathon (week 8) where I ran much slower than I expected, but it was a tough day for all in the monsoon-like conditions:

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My first “true” long run of training cycle was 14 miles (week 10) where I learned that 12 ounces is not enough water, you need to wear sunscreen, and one gel is not enough:

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Last week’s long run (week 14) that was supposed to be 14-15 miles and I only completed 12. It was my worst run this training cycle and left me feeling defeated and questioning if I have what it takes:

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Training highs

The first tempo run in the training cycle (week 11) that felt good/strong. I did a 4 mile tempo in 6:51, 6:54, 6:40, and 6:49:

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My first ever 16 miler (week 11) with my husband while on vacation in Michigan, where I nailed my nutrition and first started feeling like the possibility of me running a marathon was not so crazy:

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My mile repeat workout during week 12 of training where I exceeded my expectations and ran a 6:24, 6:13,  6:11, and 6:22. I realized I am in better shape than I thought! Nowhere near where my mile repeats in college, but this is a new era of running for me, so I was proud of myself that day:

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My 18 miler (week 12) where I ran 12 miles with my old college teammates and 6 miles on my own. I nailed my nutrition on this run! The run made me realize I am tough and can run further than expected:

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My 20 miler during week 13 done all on my own. I nailed my nutrition on my run and ran it at an easy pace, but was able to pick up the pace a little at the end, despite it being 85 degrees out.  The run was actually pretty fun and it made me realize I am mentally and physically strong enough to run farther than I though!

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The Nike race last week (week 14) where I ran a decent 3.4 mile race (22:04) in the middle of my first week of school where all my other runs that week were subpar. It was fun! It reminded me that I miss racing, especially the shorter ones and training with a team. The positive energy at the race was contagious!

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If you stuck around to read this…thank you! 🙂 It was helpful for me to formulate how I have been feeling. I have until Sept. 18th to decide what to do. As of tonight, I do not know the best decision, but know that your support of my running, my new career path, and me means the world. Know that whatever I decide about Chicago, I am still rooting for all of you! Keep crushing your runs and workouts! At the end of the day we run for fun, so what’s the point if it’s not fun? I am taking the pressure off myself and thinking through this decision. I have a feeling that even if I don’t run Chicago I will find another race to do since I have increased my fitness a lot the last few months 😛

Have you ever deferred a major race (or any race)? Why did you make that decision? 

 

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More than an athletic wedding ring: Karma Ring review

Disclaimer: I received Women’s Duo Silicone Ring Pearl White Set by Karma Ring Co to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

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I got married over a year ago (Friday July 14, 2017 to be exact :P) and I remember when I went kayaking and hiking on my honeymoon in San Diego that I wish I had a ring to wear for active activities, so I would not ruin my wedding ring. I opted to go ringless on the honeymoon, but was really sad, especially since I was a newly-wed! Nowadays, there have been times that I have forgotten to wear my rings leaving the house and I guess that’s how you know you’ve been married for a while😂

(both photos are from Torrey Pines in San Diego during my honeymoon!)

Anyway, I really wish Karma Ring existed back then, but I’m grateful it exists now! Anytime I do an active activity I wear my Karma Ring instead of my wedding rings and it gives me peace of mind. Plus, they are super cute, comfortable, hypoallergenic/gentle on your skin (made of silicone), and durable. I do not even notice that I am wearing a ring when I am wearing my karma ring.

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Furthermore, I love that Karma Ring is more than just an athletic replacement for your wedding rings. Each of their rings have different meanings based on which hand and finger your wear the ring on. For example, in the photo above I am wearing the Lavender duo ring on my left ring finger to remind myself to focus on my creative and loving side throughout the day, not just during the workout. You can read more about the ring hand and finger symbolism here.  I cannot wait to rock my ring at all my upcoming races! 🙂 You do not need to be married or female to rock the Karma Ring Duo set! The mens’s Duo set is also awesome! You just need to be interested in athletic jewelry and want a creative piece to remind you of your goals, hopes, and dreams! If my experience has captivated your interest, you can order your own Duo Ring set and save 33% on your order using the code BIBRAVE33 at checkout!

Do you wear jewelry when you workout? If you’re married do you wear your original wedding ring? If you answered yes to either of those questions you should consider getting a Karma Ring! 😉

Mercury Mile review

Disclaimer: I received 50% off the contents in my Mercury Mile box and a waived styling fee as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I have been eager to try Mercury Mile since I saw other runners receive boxes earlier in the year on Instagram. I was excited to finally try it myself! So, what is Mercury Mile? Mercury Mile is a service that creates a personalized box of running clothes and gear based on your answers to a running profile. It is NOT a subscription service, so you only receive one box, but if you want more boxes in the future you can do so with the same account. How Mercury Mile works: an actual person (stylist) reads your profile, looks at your social media accounts (if you want them to! :P) and picks out some items they think you will like based on your profile and social media! I love that I was given a little note detailing what was chosen and why the items were chosen from my stylist  Helen. It really gave the experience a personal touch! 🙂

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Shoutout to Helen, my amazing Mercury Mile stylist!

The profile asks about your likes/dislikes (as related to running), your ideal budget, favorite colors, ideal brands, types of activities you participate in, your size, etc. Then a box of all of the stylist’s chosen items is shipped directly to your door! Shopping you can do without leaving your home? That’s something I can get on board with! 😛 What’s even more rad is that you can return anything you do not like free of charge with the enclosed postage paid shipping envelope.

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I was hesitant to try Mercury Mile because I was concerned I could not afford it on my soon-to-be RD student budget, but it is surprisingly affordable! And no, not because I received a discount, but rather because you can tell the stylist your ideal budget and you can return anything you do not like! I ended up liking all of Helen’s selections, but one and it was SO EASY to return that item in the pre-paid envelope. The box opened my eyes to a brand I had never heard of and some old standbys, so it’s also a good way to learn about different fitness brands.

My favorite part about my Mercury Mile box besides reading the note, was using social media to help me chose which items to keep. I did polls on my Instagram stories where I asked all of you to help me chose. It was really fun and helped me make decisions in a fun way!

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Brooks tank top that I kept! My favorite item from the entire box! 🙂

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Craft sports bar that I kept!

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Adidas tank that I kept!

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Body Glove capris that I returned. They were a little big and I did not love the pattern.

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Asics running shorts that I kept!

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Asics spandex that I kept!

As you can see above, Helen my stylist was pretty spot on! I kept everything, but the Body Glove capris. They were a little big on me and not quite my style, but I kept everything else and where the items all the time! 🙂 So now I bet you want to try Mercury Mile, don’t you?! 😛 If you do, I have a discount for you! There is normally a $20 styling fee just to get the box and check out the stylist’s selections, but you can save $10 with the code “BibRave10”. The styling fee goes toward the price of an item in your box if you keep any of the items, so that’s really nice! It can be as fancy or as budget friendly as you want, just indicated your desired price range in your profile!

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Have any of you tried Mercury Mile before?! What did you think about it? I know I definitely want to gets my hands on another box-it’s so fun and a great deal! 🙂

Also, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about Mercury Mile:

Ali

Connie

Jenn

Jonathan

Vanessa

Happy feet between runs: OOFOS review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS orange OOlala sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

I just started training for my first marathon (Chicago in October), so my new OOFOS could not have come at a better time! We all know how important long runs, speed works, and easy days are to our training plans, but what about recovery? Post-run recovery is more than just eating a snack and doing some stretches after your run. What you do in between your runs matters more than you might have realized.

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One thing you may have not thought about: how the shoes you wear in between your runs set you up for recovery or pain during the next run. That is where OOFOS come in! You will never catch me in high heels (even for my wedding I wore flat/more comfortable shoes :P).

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(I could not resist adding in some wedding photos from last summer!)

As someone who spends a significant part of the day on her feet, the shoes I wear between runs matter even more. I noticed that once I started a job that had me on my feet for long periods of time I had an increase in foot/arch pain. I almost always roll out my arches post run, but that was not giving me a lot of relief. It wasn’t until I realized the connection between my post-run shoes and foot pain that I found relief.  So, what gave me relief? You guessed it-OOFOS! I now wear them almost everywhere between my runs. I’ve worn them grocery shopping, after running or a race and even on a date 😉

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So, what are OOFOS? They are shoes made with a special material that absorbs 37% of the impact that normal footwear. That special material is made with OOfoam technology This technology leads to less stress on your joints, feet, hips, back and your overall body.  OOFOS are designed to cradle your arches and encourage your foot to move more naturally. They honestly feel like pillows for your feet! Other pros include: easy to wash (can go in the washing machine, but not dryer), long lasting, many color options, and 3% of all OOFOS sales go to Project Pink, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

I have two pairs of OOFOS: orange OOlala sandals and black Luxe Slides. I love them both equally! I switch off my pairs depending on my outfit because the benefits are the same for both. OOFOS have become a permanent member of my post-run and between run recovery routine along with stretching, compression, and massage. They will be key in helping me toe the line for Chicago healthy in October! I have happy feet between runs because of OOFOS 🙂

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Have you worn OOFOS before? What are you post-run and between run recovery essentials?

Also, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about OOFOS:

Ali

Andrea

Brad

Brenda

Christine

Dane

Deanne

Janelle

Jeremy

Meridith

Mike

Renee

 

Run for the Zoo 10k review

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Run for the Zoo as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

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I was lucky enough to run my first ever 10k at the Lincoln Park Zoo Run for the Zoo on Sunday June 3, 2018. Even though I ran cross country/track in college, I never made it through a track season due to injury and thus never got the chance to run a 10k race. The weather on race morning was absolutely perfect for a shorter race: sunny, no wind, and in the 70’s. 🙂 I was fortunate to be joined by my husband, my good friend Michael, Michael’s mom, and fellow BibRave Pro Ben.

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My training for this race was virtually non-existent. I ran the Illinois Half Marathon on April 28, 2018 and after the race I took a couple weeks off/very low mileage due to some knee/hip pain. Once I finally started running again, I did not do any speed work and only ran 9 times between the half marathon and this race, so I was very surprised with the outcome. I came in 2nd overall and 1st in my age group with a time of 43:58. So not bad!

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Although, next time I run a 10k, I want to do speed work and train hard because my ultimate 10k time goal is sub 40 minutes 😱

My husband had a speedy race for his first ever 10k: 35:03 (5:39/mile!!!) and came in 5th overall and 2nd on his age group.

 

Michael and his mom were also happy with their races! I did not get a chance to catch up with Ben after his race, but his recap is here and it sounds like a solid race, especially because he ran two tough races in the span of 24 hours!

Other race notes:

Expo/Packet pick up: The packet pick-up was held the Friday and Saturday before the race at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was easy to find and the volunteers were friendly. I picked up packets for myself, my husband, Michael, and his mom since I was off work the Friday before the race.

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Parking: It was a little tough to find parking at the Lincoln Park Zoo lot and it was a little expensive, but it was worth it to get a close parking spot. Michael and his mom found a parking garage about a mile from the zoo for cheaper. Free Street parking is hard to come by in the area, so you should either take public transit or be willing to shell out some cash for parking.

Waiting for the start: The start line was easy to find and had different sections of the corral depending on your projected finish time pace. I lined up a the appropriate spot, but I felt like a lot of other people did not. There were definitely people who started too fast and then faded, but I feel like this happens most races.

Race course: The course was relatively flat and fast. It started on the road in front of the Lincoln Park Zoo, then moved to the Lake Front Running Path, and then you finished with a loop inside the Zoo. There were lots of beautiful views to take in on the 10k course! The only parts of the course I did not like was the start of the race/end of the race were run on the uneven road and the slippery board walk in the last half mile. I felt nervous that I was going to slip, but I luckily did not. It is not the race’s fault either- it had rained the night before. Overall, they did a great job of marking the course and ensuring our safety.

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Post race/after party: As soon as I finished the race inside the Zoo, I was greeted with all kinds of beverages and treats. My favorite was the post-race popsicle! There were various vendors out and about, so you could get a lot of free treats. Kind bars, beer, water, Gatorade, and Bobo’s Oat Bars to name a few. You could take a walk through the Zoo to say hello to the animals, take pictures in any of the ionic locations in the zoo, or dance to the post-race music.

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Swag: Every finisher got a cool dri-fit shirt. The top male and female 5k and 10k winners each won free flight tickets, so that was cool. As mentioned above, there were treats galore. There were also free race photos and they definitely captured some great moments during the race. 😛

Athlinks: Since this was my first ever 10k I get to consider the race a PR 🙂 So, of course I claimed my shiny new PR on Athlinks. I’ll be sharing a post about what Athlinks is later this month. You can see my claimed results here! Athlinks is an awesome way to track all results for your races. I also use it to figure out what goals I should shoot for my next race by adding myself to the start list. I definitely suggest creating an account and claiming your results too. Share your Athlinks profile link in the comments below and I’ll follow you! 🙂

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Overall, it was fun race! It’s flat and fast which is perfect for obtaining a 5k or 10k PR. I’d run it again next year!

Did you run the Run for the Zoo this year? If not, you really should register for next year! I’m already thinking about it 😉

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P.S. Check out my review on Bibrave. It is a great place to go when you are looking for races to run because you can read about the experiences that other runners had at that race in the past! 🙂

Athlinks: the online race results social platform

Disclaimer: I am reviewing Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Just when I think that the social media around running can’t get any better: Hello, Strava, Bibrave, Garmin…it does! The latest and greatest in running social media is the relatively new (to me) website called Athlinks!

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So, what is Athlinks? It is an online platform that let’s you claim your race results, compare yourself to others, and add yourself to the start list of most races. All you need to sign up is a Facebook account or you can use your e-mail address. Once you sign up you do have to use your name, location, and birthday, though.

The reason for needing all this information is simple: it will be easy to determine if it is you or not when claiming your race results. Plus, if the results you claim are determined to be yours, then they will be added to your profile! Your profile will show your personal records, stats, location, and rank. For this reason, you can use Athlinks to scope out your competition and follow them similar to Twitter. If you love data like me you will find it all very interesting! 😉

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The only thing I do not like about my profile is that my 5k PR is wrong. A lot of my college race times are not on Athlinks, but generally Athlinks will have most, if not all of your race times, so I am probably in the minority with this issue. That 5k time is from a Turkey Trot I did during during Thanksgiving break my freshmen year of college. It is a decent time, but my actual PR is faster! I have not done many road races, post college, due to years of injury, so I guess that means I need to run (and PR) another road 5k to replace that time 😉 I’m not competitive or anything…😂

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(I only have 15 races on my profile and only 3 in the last year- but if I can manage to stay healthy for a reasonable stretch of time I plan to add many, many more! I love competing!) 

How to claim: When I got married last year I went from having an uncommon name to a very common one. Thankfully, Athlinks lets you claim race results under more than one name, which I was grateful for because a majority of my race results were under my maiden name! It was a little tricky to find race results under my married name initially, but if you use the advanced search mode (pictured below) it is pretty easy! Once you search your name, you can apply additional filters by birth date and location.

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(None of those results above are mine, but I find it fascinating that my name has so many unclaimed results. I’m waiting for the day I run the same race as someone else who has my name. I’m sure it will happen soon :P)

Rivals: Once you start following other people, you will notice that if you have at least one race in common with them they will be added to your “rival” list. My current rival list is small and I’m looking for more, so please add me if you have run any of the same races that I have!

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(Of course my husband is kicking my 🍑! Fun fact: his one loss is a Turkey Trot in 2012 that we ran together with some family and friends where we all crossed the finish line at the same time. I guess they opted to give me the place ahead of him just to be nice in the official results. 😛 )

Adding yourself to the start list: Another fun feature (and way to scope out the competition) is to add yourself to the start list of upcoming races. You can also indicate a goal time and change your goal time at any time. As a competitive person, I naturally like this feature 😉 The races you add to your start list will also be added to your profile.

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(My next three races with goal times subject to change. I have a faster, scarier time in mind for my first marathon, but I’m not sure I will update that anytime soon. 🙈 We will see what happens as I start training!)

Do you have an Athlinks account? If so, please request me or comment below with the link to your Athlinks profile. I’ll follow you back and if we have any races in common we can be rivals 😉 If you do not have an account, what are you waiting for?! Make one! 😛

Knockaround Polarized Premiums Sunglasses Review: A Deal You Can’t Beat

Disclaimer: I received two pairs of Knockaround Polarized Premiums sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. I received the black sunset Premiums and the white monochrome Premiums. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I want to start my review by saying running with sunglasses is not optional for me (unless it’a really cloudy or I want to be in pain). I had a corneal abrasion in 2013 (super fun with contacts let me tell ya 🙄) and since then my eyes have been very sensitive to sunlight. Even before the corneal abrasion, I noticed my eyes feel better the rest of the day if I wear sunglasses when I run. Plus, it’s just a good practice to protect your eyes when you run. 😛

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My only issue is that I tend to misplace my sunglasses (usually they are found months later in a random bag, drawer, or the car glovebox). This means I do not like to spend a lot on sunglasses, because there is a chance I’m going to loose them. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I get way too attached to my sunglasses, though, so it’s always sad when I do. 🙁  Another thing that is important to me is quality- I need sunglasses that actually protect my eyes from the sun and stay put on my tiny face. So basically I need high quality sunglasses, that are also reasonably priced. I’m not high maintenance or anything… 😛

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My demands seemed impossible to meet until I met the Knockaround Polarized Premiums sunglasses!😱 Here’s why:

-Knockarounds are super easy on the wallet: only $15 for non-polarized and $20 for polarized. So, if you end of losing a pair it is not the end of the world…but still sad nonetheless. 🙁

-They are designed for use (and can take a beating). I’ve dropped my sunglasses on the ground, the Lakeshore Path, sweated all over them, stashed them in random bags, etc. and they have come out unscathed.

-The polarized lenses really protect my eyes! As mentioned previously, I wear contacts and I had a corneal abrasion a few years ago, so this is especially important to me.

-They fit my tiny face. They are still a little big, but that’s what happens when your noggin is the size of a child’s.  😂 Yet, they stay on when I run. So I consider them a win! It’s nearly impossible for me to find perfect fitting lenses anyway (in sunglasses and eyeglasses), so good enough works for me. If you have a larger head there are still pairs that will fit you!

-Last, but not least they come in fun colors/styles! You can even design your own! 🙂

Bonus: They were super fun to wear to a SNL trivia night that I attended. Can anyone guess who my husband and I were?!

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So what do you say? Have I convinced you to get your own pair? You can receive 20% off of a SINGLE order by using the code BIBRAVEKNOCKS at checkout. Please let me know if you try them out below! 🙂 Also, tonight only, head over to the BibRave Twitter at 8 pm central to participate in #BibChat and try your hand at winning 2 pairs of Knockarounds! I hope to chat with all of you there!

Finally, don’t just take my word, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about Knockarounds below:

Amanda (not me, a different one! :P)

Bradley

Corey

Jeannine

Karin

Kevin

Ralph

Stephanie

Tedrick

 

Illinois half marathon review

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Illinois half marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I had the fortune of running the Illinois half marathon on April 28th. I say fortune because with my injury history there is no guarantee that I will toe the line for the races I sign up for. :/ Luckily, I made it to this race in one piece..although I was unlucky enough to pick up a cold a few days prior to the race. 🙁

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I credit making it to the starting line to my amazing coach Heather! She helped me get up my mileage after a stressful job ended, I solidified my new career path, I started two part time jobs, and I missed many runs due to illness the week of the Shamrock Shuffle. 25-30 miles per week is not ideal for half marathon training, but that is MUCH better than my mileage was while I was teaching. Heather made sure all my miles counted and provided me a good base for my further out races (like my 1st marathon in October 😉 ). Despite having a cold, I am happy to say I crossed the line in 1:34:06, good for a 6 minute PR. The highlight of the race weekend, though, was my husband’s massive 26 minute PR in the marathon. He finished in 2:42:57 good enough for a 2019 BQ!

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Other race notes:

Expo/Packet pick up: My husband and I encountered wicked Friday late afternoon Chicago traffic and an hour into the trip knew we were not going to make the expo in time. Thank goodness for our friend Mikey (who ran the 10k race) and saved the day! He picked up the packets for us and then delivered them to us at dinner at Biaggi’s.

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Parking: Parking was free and easy to find. We were able to leave our hotel, drive, and park in less than 20 minutes. Definitely a huge pro to have a low stress parking situation!

Waiting for the start: It was a little chilly so I wore a “throw” shirt, but everything was easily marked with signs. I made my way seamlessly to coral A. I actually run into fellow BibRave Pro Zenaida on my way to the start line, so that was pretty cool! We chatted, wished each other luck, and took a picture.

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Once I was in corral A I ran into another fellow Bibrave Pro, Kim and I met fellow instagram runner Katherine in real life. It was nice to run into some familiar faces!

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Last start line note: there seemed to be enough porta potties and the lines moved quickly. I didn’t use one, but that’s always a pro in my book!

Race course: The course was flat and fast! Perfect course for a PR. It went though campus, nearby neighborhoods, and a park. There were tons of spectators throughout the course, which was a nice morale boost. There were ample aid stations. I only took in water, because I don’t fuel for half marathons, but they also had Gatorade and GUs. I also remember one aid station that offered sliced oranges. I’m not sure how to eat while running (hence one of the many reasons I’m not ready for an ultra. lol), but it was a nice gesture.

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The energy toward the finish was unreal! The last mile of the race you made your way toward to finish in the stadium and it was so cool! I was in awe of how beautiful the campus was and excited to be close to the finish. 😛 I can imagine that people who attend/attended University of Illinois for college felt emotional at the finish! I know if I ever return to my alma mater to run the race that finishes on our track that I will get emotional.  The stadium finish was hands down my favorite part of the race! 🙂

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Post race/after party: At the finish, in the stadium, I was wrapped in a heat sheet, offered water, offered a sports drink, and offered a stretch from the Athletico station. There were also ample opportunities for photos, which I took as I waited anxiously for my husband to finish the marathon. I took some photos with Mikey after his 10k, Kim, Katherine, and alone while I waited. I also got stretched out at the Athletico station which felt awesome on my tight hips and IT band.

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Once my husband finished in an astonishing 2:42:57, we took a few more photos with and without the PR bell. The PR bell had received a lot of love at this point and was broken…we took photos anyway, but that is why we are laughing 😛

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After the photos we made our way to the post race party to check out the beers and snacks. My husband got a beer and there were a lot of snack options! None of us were hungry at that point yet or we would have eaten something. Mikey and I cooled down and then we all headed back to the hotel so we could all shower before check out and the long drive home.

Swag: Every finisher got a sweet medal (regardless of race) and free finisher photos. For running the half I got a dri-fit long sleeve shirt and my husband got a quarter zip for running the full. Our hotel was super cute and made us little good luck goodie bags as well, but I forgot to snap a picture 🙁

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Athlinks: At the Illinois Half Marathon race, I was able to run a new half marathon PR, even with a cold! 🙂 So of course I claimed my shiny new PR on Athlinks. I’ll be sharing a post about what Athlinks is later this month. You can see my claimed results here! Athlinks is an awesome way to track all results for your races. I also use it to figure out what goals I should shoot for my next race by adding myself to the start list. I definitely suggest creating an account and claiming your results too. Share your Athlinks profile link in the comments below and I’ll follow you! 🙂

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Overall, it was fun and well organized race! It’s flat and fast which is perfect for obtaining a PR or BQ. I definitely want to return!

Did you run the Illinois half marathon (or a different race distance) this year? If not you really should register for next year! I’m already thinking about it 😉

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P.S. check out my Illinois half review on Bibrave. It is a great place to go when you are looking for races to run because you can read about the experiences that other runners had at that race in the past! 🙂

 

Why I’m not running the Cinco de Miler tomorrow

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Cinco de Miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As someone who lives for running, the running community, and racing it saddens me to write the following words: I am not running Cinco de Miler tomorrow 🙁 I am sad because as I discussed in my  “top 5 reasons to run” post, it is a really cool race with a fun atmosphere, sweet swag, and an awesome post-race party.  I’m having some serious FOMO right now 🙁

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So why am I sitting on the sidelines?!

Well…I ran a half marathon last weekend and my body still has not recovered on multiple accounts :/ I ran with a cold and it has lingered a bit, but that certainly is not stopping me from running tomorrow 😛 For those of you that know me IRL I tend to be a bit stubborn… The real reason is that my right IT band and both hips are very tight and generally unhappy. Welp!😭 My coach Heather and I decided that with my extensive injury history I need to take a little time off of running to recover from the half, cross train, and work on strengthening the ‘ol hips, glutes, and core. Plus some yoga…you all know how much I love yoga 🙄 I know that being able to touch my toes, having looser muscles, and a stronger body/core will make me a better runner in the long run. Regardless, this was not an easy decision and I am sad.😔

Cinco de Miler is such a cool race! This just means I will have to run it next year 😉 I am looking forward to rooting for all of you running tomorrow and will be following the race. I can’t wait to see all of you crush it! And please, drink a few post-race beers with your sweet bottle opener medal for me!🍻

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Are you running the Cinco de Miler tomorrow or have you run it before? If you are, make sure to write a race review on Bibrave. It is a great place to go when you are looking for races to run because you can read about the experiences that other runners had at that race in the past! 🙂 

 

Product Review: CTM Band

Disclaimer: I received the CTM Band to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I am not exaggerating when I say that the CTM band has been a life saver and welcome addition to both my and my husband’s training/recovery tool box. 🙂

 

No other tool that I have at home has brought me as much relief from tightness and soreness (especially with my quads and IT band) as the CTM band. And trust me, as a former collegiate runner with a storied injury history I have tried many, many tools. The stick, the trigger point foam roller, a regular foam roller, a tennis ball, you name it…I’ve likely tried it. The CTM band is the closest at home tool to providing me the relief I would get when I’d go to a Physical Therapist and get the Graston Technique done. The upside of the CTM band: less painful, less expensive, and similar results (sweet, sweet relief, looser tissue, improved range of motion). Check out their website to learn how to use the CTM Band for different injuries, sore spots, and areas of your body.

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And I’m not the only one in my household that loves the CTM band! During this marathon training cycle my husband was experiencing the worst quad soreness he has ever had and after two days of suggesting he tried my CTM band he finally caved (he’s running the Illinois Marathon). It was life changing for him! The next day his soreness was a lot better and felt like he had better range of motion during his run. Now he regularly uses the CTM band before and after running. I often have to fight him to use it first if we run at the same time! 😛 I’m even packing the CTM band for our race next weekend (marathon for him and half marathon for me). I think he just needs his own 😉

I also think you should try out the CTM band! Especially because I have a sweet deal for you: the code “CTMBIBRAVE” gets you 20% off your order! So try it out and let me know what you think! 🙂

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Finally, don’t just take my word, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about the CTM Band:

Christine

Connie

Danielle

Janelle

Jessica

Karen

Lindsey

Mary Jo

Michael

Mike