Chicago Spring 10k 2019 review

Disclaimer: Iโ€™m reviewing the Chicago Spring 10k  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!

The old saying goes, better late than never, right? So, it may be nearly a month after the fact, but I am finally reviewing my experience at the Chicago Spring 10k on Sunday May 19th. It honestly feels like the race was just yesterday, but maybe it’s just me feeling like this summer is flying.

A LOT has changed for me running-wise since May 19th. At that point I was two weeks into a new training plan and consistent running. After healing from my injury sustained during/after the Chicago Marathon in October 2018 I slowly started running again in January 2019, but with my crazy busy student and work schedule, I just did not have the time to run more than 5-15 miles per week. I kept this type of training up until the end of April where I ran whenever I could fit in a run and even did a few untrained races. As a competitive person by nature, with big goals, I knew this is not how I wanted my training to go the rest of the year and promised to get more serious about it. I received an opportunity to get coached by Jared Ward through his Endure Strong team in April. My goal race is the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon on July 21, 2019 and I started a new training plan the last week of April/first week of May. There will be a future blog post on my experience with Endure Strong. I also started a one month run streak through Strava on May 1st, so at the time of this race I was 19 days into my run streak.

Let’s just say I was not in peak shape for this 10k race. With two weeks of consistent running under my belt and an unusually humid May day, I did not have any great expectations. I had talked to my friend Katherine before the race and we had a similar race plan, so we decided we would run the 10k together and then if either of us felt good, we would break away with no hard feelings. Neither of us felt particularly good during the race though, so this was a non-issue. Plus, we had an adventurous start to the race, where all of sudden Katherine disappeared from her spot next to me, because the crazy wind swept up her lucky visor. She was able to chase after it and a minute later returned to her spot running by my side. We hit mile 1 around 6:45, which was slightly faster than our plan of 6:50, but did not feel terrible.

But then the struggle-fest began…it was not getting any cooler and I was low-key getting annoyed that we had to keep weaving around the 3 hour half marathoners in our lane and then not veer into the other lane where the sub 1:20 half marathoners were rounding the final few miles. The half marathon started about 45 minutes before the 10k in the hopes of avoiding race overlap. I’d say my only complaint about this race is the over-lap still occurred, but it’s not a huge deal. Anyway, miles 2-4 were a struggle. At this point Katherine and I were no longer running together ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . And I just felt clunky and overheated, but that’s to be expected when it’s extremely humid and you’ve only been training consistently for two weeks. My splits were 6:46, 6:48, and 6:55. The picture below summarizes exactly how I was feeling.IMG_9818

Then just before mile 5, I saw my husband cheering and I caught the 1:30 half marathon pace group. This gave me a little energy, but I was still feeling like garbage. I told myself if I could stick with them I could ensure my remaining miles were under 7 minute pace. I knew this was a tall task because I was also starting to have some GI issues (sorry for the TMI). I told myself to focus on sub 7 minute miles and not pooping (again, sorry for the TMI, but aren’t we all runners here? ๐Ÿ˜› ). I was successful with my second goal (LOL), but not my first goal. Mile 5 was a 6:55 and mile 6 was a 7:05. I was able to kick it in around 6 minute pace for the final 0.2, but it did not feel great, especially with the GI discomfort. My overall time was 43:20, which is technically a 38 sec PR, but that’s not saying much when my first 10k last year was also run untrained.ย 

I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed with this race and time, but I need to give myself some grace. I had only been running consistently for 2 weeks going into the race and I had not done speed work. Now, nearly a month since this race, I can confidently say I would run a much faster 10k (maybe around 40 minutes), since my training is going well and I’ve been doing speed work! It’s good to have perspective of where you are at in your running journey. On May 19th, that was what I had to give. And in the near future I will definitely go after that 10k time. If you read Katherine’s review about this race, she had a similar experience.ย IMG_4652Overall, it was a well run race (minus the 10k/half marathon overlap) and it was fun. I loved that we all got a free plant for finishing (I still have mine, but it looks dead ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) and the post-race brunch was a nice touch (even though there were not many vegan options, but that’s what I expected). The best part was getting to hang out with Katherine and finally meeting Katherine’s athlete and my Instagram friend Maddie in real life after the race. We all took some silly pictures and just giggled about how hard and hot the race was. I was in awe of Maddie because she ran the half marathon and I could not imagine how that would have felt, after the struggle I felt during the shorter 10k race. But, we all did our races and are stronger athletes because of it! And this is still a must-run race, because most years the weather is nice and the city/lake views you get during the race are outstanding. I plan to run the 10k or half marathon again next year! I also plan to be better trained this time around ๐Ÿ˜‰ย Processed with VSCO with c1 presetHave you run the Chicago Spring Half Marathon or 10k before?! Did you run it this year too?ย 

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Cinco de Miler 2019 review

Disclaimer: Iโ€™m reviewing 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!

This is the first race I’ve done truly for fun and not for competition. And for this type A, competitive runner that was tough! But I have not had that much fun in a race in a long time, so I’m glad I did ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the reason I had fun is because I agreed to run the race stride for stride with one of my good friends, Ben! He had just run the Illinois Marathon the previous week and I have just started seriously training, so there was no reason to run a fast, competitive race for either of us. I also do not think I was capable of a fast, competitive race at this point anyway. ๐Ÿ˜›

We lined up in corral A and agreed to keep our 5 mile race pace around 8 minute miles. And that is exactly what we did! Although it was technically a negative split! Mile 1 was 8:00 minutes and by mile 5 we were at 7:27, but this is because we saw my husband and the inflatable piรฑata that signified the finish line. The course was flat and fast along the lakefront path, although there were some spots of flooding from the recent rain. The volunteers were nice and helpful, especially with the spot on the course around mile 4 where we had to veer off the lakefront path. Post-race we were offered beer (although not me because I forgot my ID). And there was a mechanical bull, but I was too afraid to try it. It looked really fun though! And the breakfast buffet had tacos galore. I was thinking about tacos when the photo above was taken (not really, but I am that happy when I am running or thinking about tacos ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

Overall, the Cinco de Miler was an awesome race! The race day weather could not be beat, either. The race course is flat, fast, and itโ€™s a rare distance, so it is an (almost) guaranteed PR (unless you didn’t race it like me). The post-race party was very festive, with the music and mechanical bull. And they had breakfast tacos, enough said! ๐Ÿ˜› They also have free race photos and who doesn’t love that?! It is a race that I plan to run again, but to actually race the next time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Did you run the Cinco de Miler this year or in previous years? What did you think?

Product review: AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones

Disclaimer: I received an AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones 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’m not going to lie, I was skeptical about the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. I thought they looked a little funny and I was confused about how headphones that do not sit inside your actual ears would produce quality sound.๐Ÿค”ย I have never been more thrilled to be proven wrong!ย ๐Ÿค—

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AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones delivered on every aspect and I was surprised by how much I ended up loving them after testing them on a few workouts and runs both inside and outside. I even ended up using them outside of running (I wore them in my classroom during my planning periods so I could listen to music, but still hear the door incase any of my students stopped by to see me)!

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Top 8 reasons why I loved the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones:

  • No wires (With previous headphones I would get caught in the wires and knock the headphones out of my ears as I ran)
  • Rechargeable battery with a really long battery life
  • Excellent sound quality (You can even feel the bass if you turn the music up loud enough :P)
  • Safe (As a petite and young looking female I don’t always feel comfortable running alone in the city with music, especially at night. These headphones allow me to listen to my music and to be aware of my surroundings)
  • Durable (I’ve dropped the headphones multiple times since I bought them #clutz and they have not brokenย ๐Ÿ˜‚)
  • Able to listen to music through layers of clothing (On cold runs I can wear a hat, put my AfterShokz OVER my hat, and still hear my music!)
  • A great conversation starter (Because they look unlike any other headphones on the market, I’ve had people ask me about them in person and over social media)
  • Easy to wear under hats (If any of you follow me on social media or know me in real life, you know that I have short hair. For this reason, I almost always wear a hat and the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones fit and stay on under my hats!)

Have I convinced you to get your own pair yet?! Use the codeย โ€œTRUCKERโ€ to receiveย a bonus trucker hat with purchase of the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones at http://bibrave.aftershokz.com. See for yourself what the hype is about! Let me know in the comments below if you have a pair of AfterShokz and what your favorite song to listen to on them is! ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, don’t just take my word, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about AfterShokz Trekz Air:

Sara

Alastair

Renee

Jenna

Vanessa

Jessica

Kevin

Maria

Michael

Juan

Nicole

Product Review: BibBoards

Disclaimer: I received BibBoards 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 wish I had known about Bibboards a few years ago when I was a collegiate runner. Nothing made my soul sadder than poking my lucky jersey with safety pins week in and week out (except for a bad race, but those were rarer occurrences thankfully :P) ! By the end of the season, my jersey would start to fray and the micro sized pin holes would morph into a noticeable larger hole or a noticeable collection of smaller pin holes. Furthermore, during windy races my race bib would get caught in the wind and just generally annoy me by flapping around. There was even a race that my bib become partially unpinnedย ๐Ÿ™ƒย And let me tell ya, in those swift and competitive college races, the last thing I wanted to worry about my losing my race bib or being poked by an errant safety pin…

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(Throwback to my college running days and the annoyingly large bibs. This was from the NCAA regional meet in 2012)

Unfortunately for me, Bibboards were not around when I was in college. Bibboards started as an idea in 2009 and came to the market less than two years ago in 2016! Read more about their storyย here. If they had been around then, I would have started using them sooner! As soon as I got my package in mid January, I knew they were a genius product and one that I would continue to use for months and years to come!

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Less than a week after I received my BibBoards, I had an opputunity to try them out and see if they lived up to the hype. I ran theย F^ 3 Lake Half Marathon and 5kย race on January 20th and used my brand new BibBoards. I received 8 BibBoards total: 4 with their original BibBoards logo and 4 with a red wine glass that said “will run for wine” (so much truth to that second set of BibBoardsย ๐Ÿ˜‚).

I opted to race with two of each BibBoard just to mix things up. ๐Ÿ™‚ I pinned the BibBoards my race bib the night before and was surprised by how strong they were! It definitely took some elbow grease to unsnap them and I needed my husband to help me the first time around. I think the strength of the BibBoard is a huge pro- I knew I would not have to worry about my race bib becoming unattached from my shirt during the race the next morning.

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(Flat Amanda the night before the F^3 Lake 5k race)

The morning of the race, I met up with some of my fellow BibRave Pros and they were intrigued by the BibBoards. I showed them how I attached my race bib and that the BibBoards did not leave any holes in my favorite RunJanji technical long sleeve top! Now, the final test that the BibBoards would have to pass was the race test. Would they annoy me during my 5k race or would I not even notice them?

 

(me during/after the race without a care in the world- about my race bib at least!)

I am happy to report I did not notice my BibBoards or my race bib at all during the race! They securely held my race bib to my shirt and allowed me to focus all my energy on racing!

This is exactly the type of product I love-one that makes running and racing easier. Furthermore, they are super cute, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let’s be honest, half the reason we race is for the post-race treats: whether it is food or alcohol. ๐Ÿ˜› So, why not express your love of post race treats on your BibBoards? Furthermore, I even credit the BibBoards to helping me win the 5k- I was able to focus on catching the people ahead of me and not on worrying whether or not my race bib would stay attached to my shirt.

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Like what you see and want your own set ofย BibBoards?!ย The code #BibChat will save you 20% on your order. You can purchase one of their adorable pre-made designs (such as the “will run for wine”) or make your own custom set. The custom sets are perfect for putting your running club logo on, putting a favorite running quote on, or advertising a favorite race/product. Honestly the sky is the limit for what you can customize!ย  I just ordered my own custom BibRave Pro BibBoards this morning, so I can support my favorite running group at all my upcoming races!

I would love to see what custom BibBoards you come up with in the comments below. Let me know if you try them out! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Lissaย 

Jeannine

Vanessa

Stephanie

Karen

Logan

Andrea

 

I’m an Ambassador?! Take 2!

I know it’s super late…but I have an exciting announcement!!!

Just when I thought the end of 2017 couldn’t get any better, I received the news that I got another ambassadorship! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I’m just as surprised as you are! I guess more than my family members and the friends that I beg to read this blog are interested in Black Bean Queen. ๐Ÿ˜‚  I’m thrilled! ๐Ÿ™‚  So…drumroll please! In addition to my ambassadorship with Bibrave, I am going to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador!

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If you don’t already know: sweat pink is a community of thousands of fun, fitness minded people that was started by two awesome, fitness loving women: Jamie King and Alyse Mason Brill.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป They founded Fit Approach seven years ago and it has since formed several different communities for people, brands, and companies that love fitness and fun, including Sweat Pink!

As a sweat pink ambassador, I cannot wait to connect with and learn from awesome fitness fanatics, fellow runners, influencers, bloggers, and brands! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a feeling 2018 is going to be an awesome year here at Black Bean Queen and I am thrilled to have you all along for the ride! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Tasty Tuesday #7: Tempeh and Black Bean Taco Bowls

Good morning! I hope all of you are having a wonderful morning and a great week. ๐Ÿ™‚ Itโ€™s hot here in the windy city, so I got my run in early this morning. I am so happy I did, even though I have the day off work, because holy cow itโ€™s getting humid! I had another good run this morning of 3 miles at 7:35 pace.  ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a ways to go before getting to where I was before my injury, but I am starting to feel more like my old self. I still have to build up my mileage slowly and continue my PT exercises, but at least my run pace is starting to come down as I get back into shape!

Now, for the real reason I am hereโ€ฆTasty Tuesday! This weekโ€™s Tasty Tuesday is a taco recipe because I am a little too excited about Taco Tuesday! I know, I know I already shared a taco recipe with all of you last weekโ€ฆ.BUT tacos are so tasty and this recipe is different! I love both recipes, but these tacos are a little more filling than the black bean and quinoa ones from last week. Plus, I absolutely love meals in a bowl and anything that is made with black beans, if you guys could not tell. ๐Ÿ˜› These tempeh and black bean taco bowls are tasty, filling, full of protein, healthy, and last, but not least they are vegan. Bonus points for how quick they are to make! So do yourself a favor and make tacos tonight! I do have to confess that I made these last nightโ€ฆI could not wait for taco Tuesday! haha. I really want to make them again tonight because they are so deliciousโ€ฆ. Without further ado here is the recipe! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tempeh and Black Bean Taco Bowls

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Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 packet taco seasoning (I used mild, but if you like things spicy I’d use medium or hot) 

1 cup rice of your choice (I used Jasmine rice)

1 package of tempeh (I used Lightlife original)

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

1 cup of frozen peppers

canola oil (as needed)

Optional: red pepper flakes, salsa, pico de gallo, tortilla chips

1. Prepare the rice according to the directions on the package.

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2. Mix the packet of taco seasoning with water, according to the package directions. Set aside.

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3. Cut the tempeh into bite sized pieces.

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4. Let the tempeh marinate in the taco seasoning mixture for 5-10 minutes.

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5. Sautรฉ the tempeh in canola oil and spoon some of the taco seasoning mixture into the frying pan for added flavor. Fry until the tempeh starts to brown ( ~ 10 minutes).

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6.  In the meantime, sautรฉ the peppers in canola oil. Add the drained and rinsed black beans once the peppers are almost fully cooked (~10 minutes.). Optional: for more flavor add some of the taco seasoning mixture to the pepper and black beans too.

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7. Once everything is fully cooked, serve! Spoon the rice into bowls, add the tempeh, black bean/ pepper mixture, and any desired toppings (salsa,red pepper flakes, pico de gallo, etc). Mix it all together! If bowls arenโ€™t your thing, serve in a warm tortilla! YUM!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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I hope all of you have a great day and more importantly, a happy Taco Tuesday (am I the only one who thinks of the Lego movie?)!

Todayโ€™s question: Any fun plans this week or weekend? Iโ€™m going to Lollapalooza this weekend and I cannot wait! ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Good afternoon and happy Sunday friends! I hope all of you had lovely weeks filled with fun, time in the sunshine, and some exercise.  I know I did!  Exercise-wise this week was a bit of roller coaster. It started out rough with a crappy four mile run, then a good run, then an okay run, then a wonderful bike ride, and finally best run Iโ€™ve had post injury. I think I am being too hard on myself with my runs. I was injured for 5 months, have only been allowed to run/walk or run for a month, and I just finished Physical Therapy a week ago, so of course I am going to be slow and feel out of shape. Sometimes, during a run, I forgot those things and wonder why 7:50 min/mile feels so hard, why my form feels off, and why four miles feels so far. I need to remember that patience and going slow (in terms of pace, miles per week, and number of runs per week) is important to prevent an injury relapse or a different injury.

Getting back into shape is going to take time and preventing an IT band injury relapse is going to  take dedication to my post- physical therapy strength exercises and to a slow return to running. I am up for this challenge! I need to remember that I am LUCKY to be running now. In March I would have given ANYTHING to be where I am today. I may not get back into shape, run my usual pace, find my running rhythm, or be able to race for a while. But I know I will eventually. I always do. Running is not always about the destination, sometimes itโ€™s about the journey. I need to embrace my own  journey of getting back into shape and to be proud of how far Iโ€™ve come. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be back to my old, running self in no time if I am patient and grateful.

Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Monday July 20th: Rest day.

Tuesday July 21st: Warm up: clams, band walks (side steps and forward), and 5 minutes walking. 4 mile run at 8:04 min/ mile. It was a hot day and my legs felt heavy and I felt lethargic. Not a good run. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Cool down: walking, stretches with the stretch out strap, foam rolling, and 3X30 sec planks (front, right side, and left side).

Wednesday July 22nd: Warm up: same as Tuesday. 3 mile run at 8:14 min/mile. Felt pretty good on this evening run after work, even though it was slow. :/ Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and 2X 1 min front planks.

Thursday July 23rd: Rest day.

Friday July 24th: Warm up: The usual PT exercises plus walking. 3 mile run at 7:56 min/mile. Even though it was very hot and humid on this run I felt pretty good! Cool down: Walking, stretches, and foam rolling.

Saturday July 25th: 16 mile bike ride. I paced my boyfriend on the bike and carried water for him on his long run.  This was hands down my favorite workout of the week! It was a beautiful day and got to see some parts of the Lakeshore Trail I had not seen before. I of snapped a few pictures of my lovely views (see below). I am inspired by my boyfriendโ€™s dedication as he trains for the Chicago Marathon this fall. He is also fast, but probably doesnโ€™t want me to brag here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am one proud girlfriend and am glad we both love to run and stay active together! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sunday July 26th (today): Warm up: the usual. 3 mile run at 7:37 min/mile. I am finally running a bit faster and feeling closer to my old self. ๐Ÿ™‚ This was a good run and it felt effortless! Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and planks (3×1 min. front planks and 3x 30 sec. right and left side planks)

Totals: 13 miles running + 16 miles biking

I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday! I am looking forward to some time to relax and read before the work week starts again tomorrow.

What books are you currently reading this summer and recommend? I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and I highly recommend it! I loved it because it was unpredictable! Today, I  just started Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and hope itโ€™s as interesting as Dark Places. I can tell it will be a quick read though, so Iโ€™d love some recommendations!