Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

The Post-Marathon Recovery

Since I posted about my the days leading up to the marathon, I thought it’d be fitting to also post about my recovery following the marathon.

Immediately after the marathon, my body was in complete shock. My legs hurt and I never wanted to run a marathon ever again. LOL. Despite those feelings, I knew that I had to keep moving after crossing the finish line or else my legs would stiffen up so I pushed on. I got to gear check and within seconds, I changed out of my running shoes and into my OOFOS sandals.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS 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! All opinions are my own. 

These sandals are AMAZING for post-marathon recovery! AHHHHH-MAZING! I don’t rave about things all too often, but I can’t stop raving about how great these are for recovery. Just the other day, I was walking around and some woman stopped to talk to me about how great they are for her feet. LOL. True story.

The traditional running shoe is designed to be responsive. They’re supposed to take the energy you force down and propel you forward. The OOfoam that these OOFOS sandals are made out of do the opposite. They absorb (they say 37%) more of the impact and this ultimately reduces the stress on your feet and body helping you recover faster.

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Damn right my feet earned this. 🙂

After I ran my first marathon last year, walking around hurt A LOT. I didn’t change out of my running shoes and ended up hobbling around because my joints hurt so much. This time around, I made sure to bring my OOFOS sandals with me to gear check and after putting them on, my legs felt an immediate relief. Honestly, I was skeptical when I first wore them pre-marathon. I didn’t think it’d make that much of a difference. I was so wrong. The OOFOS sandals have made my recovery a lot smoother. I was able to walk up and down stairs a lot easier (which was great because the Chicago public transportation system requires you to walk up and down a lot of stairs) and later that night, I was able to walk around downtown and meet up with more people to celebrate. I would say that by that night, I was walking at about an 80%, which I thought was amazing.

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So how have these sandals helped me in terms of running? My first run after the marathon, which was also a 5k race (LOL) took place 5 days later. That race? It took place on a hill. Yep. My time wasn’t amazing, but it was still pretty impressive to me especially since I had practically torn all of my leg muscles 5 days prior. Since the 5k, I’ve run 6 more times and each run is getting easier. Thank goodness too because I have a Rock N Roll LA next weekend. I know. I’m crazy, but it’s okay, I got this.

I feel like I’m a broken record, but I cannot emphasize how great these are. I’m not at a 100% with running yet (I’m maybe at 80%), but I feel like these really helped me move around more normally. Check out my Instagram. I have proof. I was bouncing up and down without pain and it was the greatest thing ever. I like them so much I’m going to end up buying a pair for my mom. 🙂 Luckily, they have a variety of OOFOs shoes because my mom is picky about what she wears.

If you do end up buying a pair online this month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, OOFOS is donating $10 for every pair of Project Pink shoes sold to breast cancer research. 🙂

If you have any questions regarding the shoes, please feel free to ask me or any of the Bibrave Pros below. I tested the women’s OOAHH Sport Project Pink Sandal, whereas the others may have tested the other types of shoes.

Christi – Kim – MeridethJenna – Gisgie – Vanessa – Paula – Aubrene – Kolbe – Heather -Amanda – Bradford – AngieLaura –  Emily – Jennifer – Stephanie – Melissa – Mark

 

 

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Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Chicago Marathon Race Report

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I didn’t exactly make the smartest eating choices the night before the race. LOL. Oops! You live and you learn though. 🙂 And I learned to not eat really fatty foods the day before a marathon. FYI: This is A REALLY LONG POST. 🙂 You have been warned.

I woke up the morning of the marathon feeling fine. I slept a good 7 hours and despite walking around the expo a lot the previous day, my legs felt really strong. All the rest I did the week of actually paid off! Getting to the marathon start line was SO MUCH EASIER than getting to New York’s. I hopped onto the Green line and took it all the way down to Millennium Park where the start was. I barely had to do any walking and within about 45 minutes, I was near the gate entrances. Security was very tight due to recent events and I very much appreciated it. Runners had to walk in a single file line through the gates while being screened by security wands. Despite the initial bottleneck, I was through the gates in 10 minutes and made my way to gear check and the corrals.

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Do you see it? So awesome!
As I was waited for the race to start, my stomach started to feel kind of funny. I thought about going to the porta-potties, but since they had already closed the corrals for my wave, I made the decision to just hold it and hope it’d go away. I didn’t want to go use the porta-potties and then have to start at the end of my wave. Also, never have I ever had to use the porta-potty before or during the race. Spoiler alert: I can no longer say that. LOL.

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At the start
As I crossed the start line, I felt the excitement and nervousness that I felt in New York, but I also felt a lot of pressure. I had never trained so hard for a race before and anything other than my goal time would be considered a failure for me. So off I went. It was difficult to keep my pace slow because the energy around me was contagious. Almost immediately, we went underneath a tunnel, and I experienced what I will quite honestly describe as “Uh WTF” moment. Guys who apparently didn’t want to use the porta-potties either were finding corners in the tunnel to pee. LOL. So weird. Anyway, I had to get out of that tunnel asap so I sped up a little bit. Haha.

For the first few miles, we ran around the Chicago loop in downtown. Chicago is truly a beautiful city. The architecture is amazing to look at and the skyscrapers around us kept us nice and cool.

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Hello skyscrapers!
Then at mile 3, my stomach started feeling funny and since my biggest fear is probably accidentally pooping myself during a race, I darted to the nearest porta-potty. The lines were long and I lost a few minutes at each stop that I made along the race. Sadly, I made three during the first half of the race. After each stop, I increasingly became frustrated with myself. I knew I had lost precious time, but I wasn’t sure how much because for reasons unknown, my tracking app was anywhere from 0.5 miles to 1.5 miles off during the entire race and it was really difficult to gauge my progress. I was also really worried about my fuel plan because my stomach was so uneasy. I didn’t want to take the gels and make my stomach feel worse, but I also didn’t want to hit the wall at mile 20. I had to play everything by ear and luckily, my stomach eased up at the halfway point and I was able to continue on with the race.

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Spectators on the bridge cheering on runners
To make up for the lost time, I sped up quite a bit after each stop, which made the race less enjoyable for me. I was so set on reaching 26.2 miles that half of the race was a blur for me. Since I felt better after the halfway point, I started to pick up my pace.  Unfortunately for me and the other runners, the 2nd half of the race was not well shaded and it was also getting hot. The race at this point was still a blur for me, but I think it was because crowd support for this race was neverending. There were always people cheering for you, little kids wanting to high five you, and more “Touch here for power-up” signs than I could count. I know. I tried. For the last 6 miles, I ran through as many sprinklers as I could. I grabbed wet sponges that volunteers were handing out to cool my body and I kept drinking water.

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So happy to get a sponge!
At mile 22, my legs started to experience fatigue. By that point, I had a feeling I wouldn’t have hit my first goal, but I knew that at the pace I was going, I’d still beat my person record so I pushed on. At 25.5 miles, I was DYING. Everyone that says that Chicago is flat as a pancake is WRONG. They’re 99.8% right, but that last 0.2% is during the last half mile of the marathon. WHYYYYY????? was my exact reaction. I turned the corner and was just devastated that there was this hill at the end. In retrospect, this hill isn’t that bad, but at the end of a marathon, it might as well have been life or death. LOL.

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Hooray! I did it!
As soon as I crossed that finish line, a FLOOD of emotions came over me and I just burst  into tears. I had just finished my second full marathon, a race I had trained so hard for, and no one was physically there to celebrate it with me. It was really hard for me and to help me get through it, I spent the next few minutes posting to social media and thanking all of my friends who sent me texts during the race to keep me going. I was so distraught after the race and my body was in shock. I remember calling my boyfriend and telling him that I’m not sure I’ll ever run a marathon ever again, only to remember that I was signed up for the Dopey Challenge in January. Not to worry though, I’ve changed my mind since then and am still planning on doing Dopey. LOL.

If you’re still with me and have read this to the end, here’s how I did:

Chip time: 4 hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds (I beat my previous record by 25 minutes and 19 seconds!!!)

So there you have it – my Chicago marathon experience. Hooray! Would I do it again? Sure, but not any time soon. I have a whole lot of other races I want to check off my bucket list first. ☺️

 

 

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Days Leading up to the Chicago Marathon

Well, it’s been 10 days since I ran my second full marathon in Chicago and I think most of the feelings have been processed. 🙂 This race was less than ideal for me, but I think I did the best I could given the circumstances I’ll later describe in my next post, but for now, here are the details of the days leading up to the race:

I was pretty jittery during the days leading up to the race. My knee still didn’t feel 100%, but I also didn’t want to be too stiff during the race so I logged in about 10 miles the week of the race. I flew into Chicago Friday evening after a 2.5 hour delay on the plane. Boo Spirit! A 6.5 hour flight is not conducive to running. Luckily, my friend picked me up and so I got to sleep sooner than anticipated. After about 8 hours of sleep, I got up and dropped by Cloud Gate to meet up with some #werunsocial runners (I even met Kristin, who gave me an ornament from the ornament exchange last December) and then headed to the expo to explore.

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Kristin!

 

The Expo: If I could rank the top three expos that I’ve been to, I would say that the Chicago Marathon Expo would be at the very top with the New York Marathon Expo and the Rock N Roll Expos following it.

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Taking the Windy City by storm!

There were so many things to see and do at the expo. Runner’s World, Aftershokz, Oofos (which I’ll talk about in a later post), Run Disney, SportHooks, and about a billion more vendors were there.

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I love their headphones so of course I had to drop by to say hi!

I walked around and grabbed as many free Chicago marathon memorabilia as I could. I may have walked around for a little too long, but hey, they gave out cow bells to cheer on runners. Of course, I had to grab one! LOL. I even saw Hal Higdon and Bart Yasso at the Runner’s World booth and got a little starstruck. The expo was a place where you can meet the who’s who in the running world. They had speakers come out and it was just a great location for people to meet up. While I was there, I also ran into the BibRave team and other runners I’ve interacted with on Twitter.  Running into people that I’ve interacted with for over 6 months on social media was probably one of the highlights of my trip. I finally got to put names (or in some cases social media handles) to faces. LOL

Pre-marathon meals: After a few hours of walking around the expo, I headed out to grab lunch at the Purple Pig. I had eaten here before and since I was a party of one, I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. I was right. What I didn’t anticipate was how the Roasted Bone Marrow With Herb Salad and Sicilian Sea Salt would affect my stomach the next day. LOL. Oops. I mean, honestly, who wouldn’t want to eat some fatty goodness the day before a race?

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Look at how happy I am with my Bone Marrow LOL

I later grabbed a few slices of deep dish pizza at Giordano’s with a friend (an action I also regretted the next day) and called it a night. Stay tuned for my next post on marathon day! 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

An Overdue September Review

Apologies for not posting my usual Marathon Mondays post. I promise that it’s coming. 🙂 It’s just been a very busy few weeks and I’m still adjusting to the changes in my life.

September was a very exciting month for me. It kind of kickstarted a new chapter in my life, one in which I wasn’t a graduate student! Hooray! LOL

Graduate School

If you’re just now joining in on my adventures, I finished graduate school in August and officially left academia at the beginning of September. 🙂

Vacation

I then spent the next 10 days on vacation or funemployment if you will. I went to Austin and Boston and ate to my heart’s content. I hung out with friends and just had fun doing whatever I wanted without having to worry about work or school. 🙂 It was great. I’ll try and write posts about my travels sometime this year. I’m a little backlogged. Still haven’t written about my Europe trip, which I took over a year ago. LOL. Oops.

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Eating Shakshuka in Boston
Work

I returned from my travels just in time to start my new job. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that I’m enjoying the transition. I didn’t tell very many people this, but I was a bit worried about entering the “real” world and having a “real job.” It sounds silly, but I didn’t think I’d survive “out there”. I’d been in academia for so long that I didn’t think I’d adjust well. I’ve never adjusted to change well and I was scared. Fortunately, I was able to convince myself that change can be good sometimes and to just give it a chance. Now I’m at my new work place and I’m really enjoying the change. Working a standard 8 hour day has its perks. 🙂

Running

It also has its drawbacks. Since my schedule is not as flexible anymore, I have found it a bit more difficult to find time to run. I do really miss those 2 hour incubations where I can just run around campus for a few hours and be back in time for my experiment to finish. Honestly, I don’t know how some people do it. Parents and people who work 40+ hours a week, how do you do it? LOL

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In Austin wandering around
In September, I logged 205 miles. 🙂 I didn’t have any races, but I swear I was running the half marathon distance or more almost every weekend. It was intense. I probably won’t be hitting anywhere close to 200 miles in October (Thank god). LOL. I think I’m done with 200 mile months for the year. ^_^

So that was my September. How was yours? Did you have any life changing events? Take a vacation?

 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

#SkinsOrNothing Compression Shorts Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins’ Compression A400 shorts 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! All opinions are my own. 

There has been a debate about whether compression wear works and for some, it does. Luckily I fall into that category. 🙂

For those of you unfamiliar with it, compression wear is designed to boost a person’s natural performance by providing more oxygen to their active muscles. The most common type of compression wear is probably socks. People who spend hours on their feet (like nurses) will often wear medical compression socks to prevent blood from pooling in the lower leg. This reduces the swelling in their legs and some even say it prevents varicose veins. Athletes will wear compression gear to improve their athletic performance and recovery. Compression socks, arm sleeves, calf sleeves, shorts, tops…if you can wear it, there’s probably compression gear for it.

As I previously mentioned, I received a pair of Skins’ A400 compression shorts to try out. And before I get into some of my thoughts on them, here’s a little bit more information about them from their website.

“The SKINS’ gradient compression has been engineered to provide the correct level of surface pressure to specific parts of the body. This enhances circulation and gets more vital oxygen to your active muscles – boosting your power, speed and stamina.”

Their “memory MX fabric contains a unique high stretch elastomeric yarn – which returns to its original shape no matter how much stress you put it under.” This means that regardless of whether it’s your first time or 50th time wearing them, you’ll get the same level of muscle support and controlled compression.

At low temperatures, “the unique polymer binds moisture in its structure keeping you feeling warm and dry. As your temperature increases it changes its surface properties, releasing the stored moisture to the surface where it evaporates and cools your skin.”

So for the past 4 or so weeks, I’ve been wearing these shorts on my short and long runs. SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!?!?………………..

I like them. 🙂

Fabric – There are so many things I like about the fabric. They’re really smooth, like baby smooth. If it wasn’t weird to feel my thighs all the time while wearing them, I probably would. LOL. There’s nothing bulky about these shorts. Even the seams are really flat. That’s so nice because sometimes, even the slightest bump on a pair of shorts will cause terrible chafing. I know. I’ve experienced it first hand. With these shorts, I never had a problem with chafing. Hooray!

Fit – Since these are compression shorts, it’s probably a good idea that they fit just right. When I first put these on, I felt like they were TOO tight, but after one run, they were just perfect. Due to their Elastane blend, the fabric is able to stretch according to your movements and return to its normal state when you’re not wearing them. I’ve worn these A TON OF TIMES and it doesn’t seem like they’re losing their compression.

Their website states that their shorts have a wider waistband for comfort and are lower rise allowing them to sit comfortably on hips. That was definitely not the case for me. The fit was right, but I had to pull the shorts up to maybe my belly button. That was perfect for me though. By doing so, the shorts smoothed out my muffin top. LOL.

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Note: If you order your own, try to stick to the sizing chart. If you choose too loose of a fit, you’re defeating the purpose of compression wear.

Recovery – I can’t say too much about their effect on my recovery because I haven’t had a chance to run anything super long (17+ miles). I did run a 16 miler in these and they felt fantastic to run with. My quads and hamstrings didn’t feel sore afterwards, but my calves did. Boo. LOL. Note that my calves are prone to soreness. I blame not foam rolling enough.

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Anyway, you can read my fellow BibRavePros’ reviews on the Skins’ compression wear. I tried out their shorts, but there were other options and you can read about their reviews below. If you have other questions, you can always ask me and/or join BibRave on Twitter on Tuesday, Oct 10th at 6 pm PT for #bibchat. Our sponsor Skins will be giving away a free pair of compression tights and if you participate in our chat, you’re eligible to win. 🙂

Lindsey – Jessica – Fallon – HaleyConnie – Cassie Lee – Ryan – Emily – Aubrene – Mark    Jennifer – NicoleGina – Michael – John – Casey – Amy – MatthewLisa

If you want to buy your own, you can use the code “BIBRAVE20” on your order through the end of October. This is only valid on full price items. 

 

 

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Week 16 of Chicago Marathon Training

I have one more week to go until I run my second full marathon and guess what? I’m still FREAKING OUT.

This entry will be a little different from my previous marathon Monday entries in that it will focus on how my overall training season with Hanson’s Marathon Method went, my plans for this week, and my goals for the Chicago marathon.

Weekly Mileage – I logged 36.7 miles this week and although this is a 7.3 mile decrease from last week, I think it was the best decision for my body since the fatigue has been overwhelming lately.

Overall Training – “The hardest part of running a marathon is training for the marathon.” Yup. Absolutely. Although, I might end up disagreeing with this quote when I’m running mile 22 of the marathon. LOL. In this last training cycle, I have:

  • Averaged 6 – 8 hours of running a week
  • Run at least one 10 to 12 miler almost every week
  • Been out the door before 7 am on Saturdays for my long run (I miss sleeping in. HA)
  • Done crazy intervals (Honestly, how is a 3 x 2 mile run an interval? LOL)
  • Had several difficult runs (BOOOOOO!)
  • Run over 200 miles in a month

I tried sticking to Hanson’s plan as closely as I could, but there were multiple weeks where I couldn’t hit the target mileage. There were weeks where my pacing was god awful and there were days where I wish I hadn’t chosen this program. But I’m a week away from running the marathon and despite not feeling super confident about the race, I wouldn’t trade any of the running experiences I’ve had with this program for anything. I knew this plan was going to be tough. I knew that I could fail horribly, but I tried it anyway and I’m so glad I did. I accomplished so many things that I didn’t really think were possible and this has really taught me that you have to aim high to reach your goals.

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Taper Week – Taper, taper, taper! This week will be dedicated to resting as much as I can. That means sleeping early, eating right, doing much shorter runs (think 3 milers), and having more rest days. My legs have also been taking a really long time to loosen up during my runs so I’m thinking that some foam rolling and lots of stretching will be in the agenda for this week as well. 🙂

Revised Goals – I can’t remember if I already mentioned this, but my original goal of a sub 4 hour marathon is no longer on the table. With my more recent runs, I realized that this was too ambitious of a goal. I have since revised my goals to the following:

Goal A – Run a sub 4:15 marathon (Pace: 9:40 min/mile)

Goal B – Run a sub 4:30 marathon (Pace: 10:20 min/mile)

Goal C – FINISH THE MARATHON

Goal A is still pretty ambitious since my one and only marathon time was an 11 min/mile. However, that marathon was the NYC marathon, which has hills. The Chicago marathon does not. Hooray! Also, my training for NYC was mediocre. I skipped a lot of runs and made a lot of excuses and averaged maybe 25-30 miles a week. I also had no finishing time in mind. This time, I ran my butt off during training averaging 40-50 miles a week and I have a specific time in mind. If for any reason, I can’t reach my first goal, there are back up goals and ultimately, I just want to finish another marathon.

6 days and counting guys and gals! If anyone wants to track me, my bib # is 36530. I’ll be starting a little after 8 am CT (That’s 6 am PT for my friends in CA ^_^). Wish me luck!!!

 

 

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Mondays – Week 15 of Chicago Marathon Training

There’s only 2 weeks left until I run my second full marathon and at this point in training, I just want to get it done and over with. LOL. I’m super impatient. Can you tell? Here’s how training went for this week.

Scheduled Mileage – Actual Mileage

Monday (5 miles) 5.1 miles

I started my new job on Monday and was very fortunate to finish early and get in the easy miles with my run group at Movin’ Shoes.

Tuesday (4 x 1.5 miles with 1 mile WU and CD)8.9 miles with intervals of some sort

Since I’m shorter on time with my new job, I decided to try and use my lunch hour as my run/lunch (runch) hour. I haphazardly created a route on Strava around my workplace that would give me 4.5 miles and ran out the door when lunch time came. What I didn’t realize was that the route I created was fairly hilly. Because 4.5 miles would have taken me a little less than 45 minutes and I only had 15 minutes to change, eat, and stop sweating before my meeting with my manager, I booked it up the hills. Never will I do that again. LOL. I checked out the gym and ran another 4.4 miles after work.

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Wednesday (Rest)Rest

Thursday (10 mile tempo run with 1 mile WU and CD)5 mile tempo with 1.5 mile WU and CD 

Remember about a month ago, I had difficultly breathing on my runs. Yeah, it’s happening again. I’ve been plagued by what I think is severe allergies to something in the air. I thought the allergies would be better indoors and on a treadmill, but it wasn’t. I had to keep stopping because my throat was clogging up and I couldn’t breathe well. I had to keep blowing my nose and spitting out stuff. To say it sucked is an understatement.

Friday (5 miles)5 miles

TGIF! Ran an easy 5 miles on the treadmill after work. Allergies were still in effect unfortunately.

Saturday (8 miles)  – 11.7 mile long run 

Since Thursday,’s fiasco of a run, I had been trying to keep my allergies at bay by taking medication for it. By Saturday, they were a little more manageable and I was able to knock out 11ish miles.

Sunday (10 mile long run)5.1 miles 

I was debating with myself the entire week whether I could do another 50 mile week, but by Wednesday, I settled for 44 or 45 miles. My shins and knees were acting up on Sunday so I decided to opt for 44 miles.

Total mileage (50 miles)44 miles

Thoughts of the week: I don’t like missing mileage, but with my current situation, I think that I did the right thing by opting for lower mileage. I think I forgot to mention it last week, but my knee freaked out after a run and I couldn’t extend my leg without my knee feeling like it was going to pop. I had to extend my leg extremely slowly and even then, my knee felt locked. My knee was better this week, but I could feel that it’s still not 100% so I don’t want to risk putting more stress on it. The rest of training will most likely consist of easy runs with mileage in the high 30s or low 40s. Hopefully, that will be enough recovery and I’ll be able to finish strong in the marathon.

Question for you: Do you have any advice for tapering? Or even for the week before the marathon? I’m all ears!