Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Dopey Challenge edition

Since I’m less than 4 weeks away from the Dopey Challenge, I figured I should update everyone on my training or lack thereof. Heh. I’m screwed. Maybe.

During the last two weeks, I’ve bumped up my training a bit. It is nowhere as high in mileage or intensity, but it’s been better. Let’s recap the past two weeks, shall we?

November 26th – December 2nd

Since starting the Runner’s World Run Streak, I’ve been a bit more consistent with running. Also, the fear of not finishing the Dopey Challenge was getting bigger and bigger and I ultimately got my butt out of the house to run. I did a 5 miler on Monday, 3 milers Tuesday through Friday, a 15 miler on Saturday, and a 1 miler on Sunday giving me a grand total of 33 miles. The 15 miler was the longest run I’ve done since Chicago, which is a bit worrisome. I probably could have shot for 16 miles, but I fell at mile 14 and my left leg cramped up so badly that I had to stop to stretch for a few minutes before beginning to hobble my way back to my car. I was sore as hell on Sunday and only managed a 1 miler to keep the streak alive.

December 3rd – December 10th

I decided this past week that I was going to try and run longer miles and to motivate myself to do that, I ran with more running groups. I did my usual Monday night run with Movin’ Shoes, but only managed 5 miles because I got there late. On Tuesday, I decided to try an interval run with Movin’ Shoes, which ended up being a great 5 mile work out.

10 min warm up followed by a 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, min interval with 2 min rest in between. Intervals suck, but after finishing them, I felt great that I pushed myself to get after it.

On Wednesday, I found a new running shoe store to run with – Fleet Feet San Diego. They had a nice 3.5 to 6 mile route for runners so I chose the 3.5 mile route. My friend’s knees weren’t feeling that great so we opted for the 3.5 miler. Thursday and Friday were a wash – 1 milers to keep the streak alive and nothing more. Saturday consisted of a 10 miler and on Sunday, the pain came.

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Movin’ Shoes was having their 40th anniversary and celebrated by holding a Mt. Soledad 10k challenge. If you aren’t familiar with this challenge, it’s a 5k run up a hill (800 ft in elevation) to Mt. Soledad and a 5k run back down it. I’m not sure whether it was the 10 miler from the day before or the crazy amount of unhealthy chips I had eaten the days before, but my body was just not having it. My calves cramped up and I ended up having to walk a portion of the trek up. The run back down the hill was fine, but my ego was hurt from struggling so hard up the hill. Despite my struggle yesterday, I still managed to log in about 32 miles for the week. 🙂

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I will be attempting another 31+ mile week and possibly another 15 or 16 mile long run, but we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

So do you think I’m screwed? Undertrained? Eek! Any tips on surviving back to back races? 

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Posted in Running, Thoughts

October and November Endings

November has gone and now it’s December. Wow. And since I didn’t write an October re-cap, this post will combine both of them.

Highlights in October 

Running my second marathon in the Windy City

Followed by my 18th half marathon at Rock N Roll Los Angeles two weeks later

My first author paper on chromatin assembly was published into the Journal of Biological Chemistry

Lowlights in October

My three year long distance relationship ended

October started off as a really strong month for me. My paper was published. I ran my second marathon, PRed by 25 minutes, and decided that I would really try and get into this whole marathoning business. Then, still suffering from the post-marathon blues, my SO broke up with me and my world kind of just stopped. Things were still happening around me and I tried to take part, but it was hard. Ever pretend that things are okay, but it actually isn’t? Yep. That was me.

Highlights in November

I bought a weighted blanket

Discovered NPR podcasts: Hidden Brain, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and How I Built This

Ran my 19th half marathon and crossed it off my bucket list

Discovered AirBnB experiences

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Begun to kick the post-marathon blues

Lowlights in November

Seasonal sadness

November was slightly better. I didn’t have as many highs in November, but I also didn’t suffer from incredible lows either. I bought myself a weighted blanket. (They are awesome and I highly recommend them). Ran my 19th half marathon. Listened to podcasts and learned really interesting things. Met a cool Harris hawk through AirBnB experiences, and resumed running (just in time for the Dopey Challenge).

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It’s still a challenge, but I’m still trying and I think that’s all I can ask of myself right now. 🙂

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Burst Cherry Tomato Linguine with Shrimp from Run Fast. Eat Slow.

How was your November? Tell me something happy that happened to you. 🙂 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Running out in the Sun – BOCO 360 visor edition

Disclaimer: I received a free BOCO 360° Visor® 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!

If you run during the day, you need three things – a hat/visor, sunglasses, and SUNSCREEN! When I first started out as a runner, I was terrible about those things. I would just go out sans sunscreen (I know I know I’m basically asking for skin cancer) and just run for an hour. Now, I know better. Also, I’m getting a little older and turning the big 3-O next year and have to actually start taking better care of my skin. Boo.

Prior to the BOCO visor, I had been wearing an old visor from my Triple Crown Challenge days (2015) and it had been kind of falling apart. It was fraying at the top and every wash to get rid of the sweat and smell would just make it more worn down. The visor was study, but maybe a bit too sturdy. It’d look deformed after some time. Maybe it wasn’t machine washable? Oops.

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Enter the BOCO 360° Visor. This visor is awesome. It’s super soft so it won’t rub against your forehead. It has a lightweight wicking material at the sweatband that prevents sweat from come pouring down my face. This is such a plus for me. Mid-race, my eyes usually burn from all the sweat. IT’S NOT PRETTY. And honestly, everything about this visor is really soft. I love the material and even though it’s soft, after several washes, it still retains it’s shape. Seriously. It’s amazing. I’ve worn it on a LOT of my outside day runs and it saves my eyes from squinting since it shades my face from the sun. It’s also made of really breathable material so it shouldn’t cause anyone to break out in the forehead region. 🙂 Unfortunately, there’s not much more that I can say about a visor except that it’s really useful and super soft. LOL. I know. I said that already, but it really is. 😛 They also make custom trucker hats and visors too! Ah, now I want another one -_-.

So I guess I’ll just leave you with photos of me wearing it. 🙂

 

If you have any questions about how awesome this visor is, let me know! 🙂 If you don’t trust me, trust the other BibRavePros. We all had 3 months to wear this visor and the reviews are positive.

Amy – Meridith – Jeannine – Lindsey – Angie – Vanessa – Jessica – Frank – Fallon – Gina – Dane – Shannon

So what do you wear to keep the sun out of your eyes? A hat? Visor? Sunglasses?

Posted in Running, Thoughts

RunStreaks, Ornament Exchanges, and Scavenger Hunts oh my!

I haven’t been in the best of moods to blog, but I thought I’d let you know about three things that I’ve been participating in especially since they’re a bit time sensitive if you want to participate along with me. 🙂

Run Streaks – Runner’s World, once again, has challenged all of us to do a run streak. It officially started on Thanksgiving Day and requires everyone to run at least one mile a day until New Year day. This run streak is a great idea to keep yourself motivated to run and stay in shape. I actually participated in this last year and ended up continuing my run streak for 120 days. 🙂 Since my motivation to run has been all over the place lately so I thought I’d try and give this another shot to keep me going through the holidays.

Ornament Exchanges – The #WeRunSocial group that consists of social media crazed runners is hosting its 2nd annual ornament exchange! I did this last year and had such a great time going shopping for an ornament that I would send a total stranger. I hadn’t met any of the runners participating in person, but I thought it was a neat way to interact with other runners from across the U.S. I was super excited to receive my ornament and the girl who gave me an ornament was super sweet and we ended up eventually meeting up at the Chicago marathon this past October.

Sooooo I’m participating again this year. If you want to participate and are in the U.S., you can sign up here. The deadline is December 1st so do it soon! There is a $10 limit on the ornament (without shipping) so it won’t break the bank and I bet you that you’ll meet someone really awesome. 🙂

RunChatHunt – If you like scavenger hunts and running, this is the game for you. On Twitter, @RunChat hosts their biannual #RunChatHunt. For the holiday season, they’ve put up a list of items that you need to take a picture of while on your run. Then you post those pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #RunChatHunt. This counts as an entry for prizes that are drawn later on in January. You have until January 1st to enter and it’ll be a way to keep you motivated to run. For more information, click on the link above. 🙂

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So that’s a wrap for my updates. 🙂 Have you participated in any of these things? My favorite thing would probably have to be the ornament exchange. I like receiving little surprise gifts. 🙂 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Statistic Saturday – Garmin Forerunner 935 edition

Disclaimer: I received a Garmin Forerunner 935 Multisport GPS Watch from Garmin 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. 

When I was in high school, I would wear a watch from Baby G 24/7. I don’t know what it was about the watch, but I just never took it off. Maybe it was the stop watch functionality and the fact that I used it to time my miles with it when I was trying to get an A on the mile in physical education. LOL. Anyway, fast forward 14 years and I now have a fancy Garmin to play with and like 14 years ago, I rarely take this baby off.

I won’t go into the specs because you can read more about it here so I’ll just highlight some of the features that I thought were super nifty. Also, I apologize if I come off super ecstatic about some of these features, but really guys and gals, this is my first real sports watch and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. (I do have an Apple watch, but I think this one is much more versatile.)

I, as a runner, care about the statistics of running. I want to know that I’m improving in time, distance, and some of the time, I want to know whether I can push myself more or if I should back off. The Garmin 935 Forerunner helps you with that.

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My first run outside with my new Garmin

VO2 max – I’m not an expert when it comes to VO2 max, but from my understanding of it, it is an indicator of athletic performance and the higher your level of fitness is, the higher the VO2 max. In more technical terms, Garmin defines it as the “maximum volume of oxygen (in milliliters) you can consume per minute per kilogram of body weight at your maximum performance.” On your watch, your VO2 max is indicated by a number and a color gauge. Mine has been around 45 for the past month and I’m hoping to increase it over time. I gotta get Boston qualifier ready sometime if I ever hope to run Boston, right? 🙂 Give me 5 years give or take 10.

Training Status – Aside from the distance you’ve run outside or on a treadmill, it also tells you your training status. According to their website, the status is “based on changes to your training load and VO2 max. over an extended time period.” Your status will say one of eight things from “Detraining,” which means that your fitness is decreasing due to a long period of inactivity, to “Overreaching,” which indicates that you’re training too much and that it’s counter intuitive to your fitness. Each of these statuses will come with a recommendation as to what you should do. For “Overreaching,” it’ll tell you to rest for a certain amount of hours or train easy for those said hours. These days, I’ve been hovering between “Recovery” and “Overtraining.” I should probably work on that.

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Tracking my cadence

Metronome – This was a recent feature that I found to be kind of nifty. You can choose how many beats per minute based on the cadence you want to maintain. On your run, the watch will vibrate or send out a tone based on what you chose. I chose the vibrate option and thought it was interesting that I felt a vibration almost every second for 3 miles. LOL Maybe, I’ll choose the sound option next time. 🙂

Heart Rate Monitor – This is pretty self explanatory. When you wear it, the watch will measure your heart rate and you view it for the last four hours. I always like racing with the watch and seeing that I probably should have died during the race since my heart rate is so high. LOL. I mean, 183 is probably normal, right?

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My heart rate during the Rock N Roll Las Vegas

I also wear the watch at night so that it can monitor my sleep activity. It’s not extremely accurate because if you’re in bed reading a book, the watch will think that you’re sleeping and it’ll add that time to your sleeping time. A way around this is to just to edit your sleep time on the Garmin Connect app. On the app, you can see when you experience deep sleep, light sleep, and when you’re awake. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it gives you a good idea how you’re sleeping. 🙂

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Indoor and Outdoor Training – I run both indoors and outdoors. I’ve found that with treadmill training, the watch is more or less accurate. It’s typically 0.1 miles off from the treadmill, but it could also be that the treadmill isn’t calibrated correctly. For outdoor running, it is usually on point.

The Forerunner 935 is a multisport GPS watch meaning that it can track A LOT of different activities (Run, swim, bike, hike, mountain bike, ski, snowboard, etc) so if you’re a triathlete, this is the watch for you. Unfortunately, I only used this for running so I can only comment on that, but other BibRave Pros have tested out this function and can better review that aspect.

If you have questions about the watch, please feel free to ask me or click on the reviews below for more information.

Gina – Lindsey – Jenna – Heather – Samantha – Mark – Meridith – Emily – Brenda – CaseyAngie – Ryan – VanessaLisaFrank

So do you have a go to sports watch that you use or do you prefer to run without technology? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Snack time – Health Warrior Bars

Disclaimer: I received  Health Warrior bars 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.

With the holiday season among us, it is tempting to just let yourself go and eat all the comfort food in sight. I know. It happens to me every. single. year. I indulge myself on Thanksgiving and then again at holiday parties and before you know it January 1st rolls around and “Eat healthier” is on most people’s New Year’s Resolution list. LOL. Every damn year.

Enter the Health Warrior Bars. These bars are nutritionally dense consisting mostly of Chia seeds and are a nice alternative to unhealthy snacking. They come in several different flavors – Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Almond, Mango, Coconut, Dark Chocolate, and Banana Nut – to name just a few.

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I got the pleasure of trying out their Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Almond and was pleasantly surprised by how they tasted. Do note that when I say that they consist mostly of Chia seeds, that is exactly what I mean. My mom would be proud. She’s been trying to get me to incorporate Chia seeds into my diet for a year now and I’ve finally found a good way of doing that. LOL. Out of the two, the Vanilla Almond was my favorite. The flavor was sweeter to me without being overbearing and it actually reminded me of sweetened soymilk, which I’m a huge fan of. The Chocolate Peanut Butter one was also nice, but I felt like I tasted the flavor more at the end, which was a little disappointing. I’ve been eating these as a pick me up when I’m at work and I’m craving some unhealthy potato chips….yum. They’ve saved me plenty of times from the vending machine at my workplace. LOL.

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Coffee and Health Warrior Bars – Perfect combo

These bars are 100 calories each with only 4 to 5 grams of sugar each. So they won’t give you a huge sugar high and you won’t come crashing down. They’re also high in fiber! Hooray! If these bars aren’t your cup of tea, they have two other types of bars. There’s one made of pumpkin seeds and a protein bar. 🙂

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Pre-race bars

HealthWarrior prides themselves on packing a ton of superfoods into each of their bars. As I mentioned previously, the basis of their bars consists of Chia, which has a ton of omega-3s (more than salmon). Chia has more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax. Holy crap. To learn more about the superfoods they add into their bars, head on over to their website.

ALSOOOOO, when you purchase bars from their website, they’re including a free coloring book that highlights the highs and lows of running in a humorous twist. So if you want to take a break and let your inner child run loose, this is the coloring book for you. Just use this link right here if you want to get that coloring book with your bars.

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Letting my inner child out

To read more about what other BibRave Pros had to say about these bars, click below.

Casey – Stephanie – Paula – Brenda – Matt – Amy – Jessica – Janelle – Lindsey – Emily – Samantha – Angie – Nicole

So how do you curb your comfort food cravings and what’s your favorite nutrition bar? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Viva Las Vegas – Race Report

And just like that, my last scheduled race for the year is done. Rock N Roll Vegas was my 19th half marathon and it was a fun one. I met up with a few BibRave Pros and some of the #WeRunSocial crew and even bought myself a set of heels on a whim. Without further ado, my Rock N Roll Vegas Half Marathon race report.

I left for Vegas with a few friends on Saturday morning and drove 4 and a half hours to Sin City.  We easily picked up our bibs at the Health and Fitness Expo and bonus – we didn’t even have to pay for parking! That’s always a win in my book. There were again a lot of things to see and a lot of photo opportunities. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably saw some of them. One of the noteworthy things I saw and forgot to take a picture of was a wall where everyone could sign in neon sharpies. They later moved that wall to the course and so we ran by it and it lit up with everyone’s messages.  Anyway, my friends dropped me off at my hotel after the expo and I met up with fellow BibRave Pro Fallon, who graciously agreed to let me crash with her for the weekend. I want to tell you that we painted the town red, but we didn’t. Fallon was running the 5k that night and all I wanted to do was just stay in my hotel room and not be saddened by all people outside gambling and going clubbing.

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View of New York New York from the hotel

Sunday was better. It was the day of the race and I had scheduled to meet up with several other BibRave Pros (Christine, Fallon, Jeannine, Allison, and Justin) for brunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet.

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Fellow BibRave Pros

That’s a smart choice, right? To eat at a buffet the morning of a race? LOL It was tough, but I controlled myself. I only limited myself to one sausage, 4-5 slices of bacon, an omelet with all the fixings, some smoked salmon, grits, hash browns, and orange juice. Nothing too heavy. LOL. Don’t worry. I made sure not to eat anything the rest of the day so I was done digesting by the time race time came.

I met up with some other social media fiends at the #WeRunSocial meetup.

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The WeRunSocial crew

We chatted, got a #werunsocial multi-use headwear thing  (the gray thing I’m wearing), took a ton of photos, and went on our merry way to our corrals when they opened. We were squished during the corrals. There was no doubt about it. A lot of us, me included, had to wait on the sides until they released the corrals to be able to get into our corral. Every wave release had a nice mini fire show at the start line, which pumped up the crowds.

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Start line

Race: This race has always been on my bucket list. Racing through the Las Vegas strip at night always seemed like an interesting concept and it was. We started off by the T-mobile arena and headed 2 miles south towards the airport before making a u-turn back towards the heart of Las Vegas. We passed by the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which tons of people took selfies in front of, and they had lined parts of the race with the wall we had signed at the expo.

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Famous Las Vegas sign

Since the messages were in neon, they lit up the course with our messages. That was very cool. Once we returned to the starting area, we ran an additional 5 miles north of the strip.We passed by all the big casinos and I was pretty much blinded by lights when I looked up. Towards the north end of the strip, we passed by the older casinos and even passed by the famous Pawn Shop seen on Pawn Stars. At mile 9, we made a u turn back towards the finish line and passed by Downtown Las Vegas, which from the outside looks like a huge carnival with a ton of lights. There were a good amount of fans cheering us along the route, but because Vegas is so busy, I barely noticed the people. Because I hadn’t been running regularly, my legs suffered. My feet started hurting at mile 3, but because I wanted to finish so badly, I didn’t care. I pushed on and after that second u-turn, I tried my best to not burn out.

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My unofficial finish time was 2:00:18. I knew I was close to 2 hours and I desperately tried to sprint at the end, but because it was a night race and it just got colder later in the race, my body wasn’t adjusting well to the temperature difference and I just missed the 2 hour mark.

All in all, it was a great experience and a unique one at that. I’m glad that my friends as well as you all pushed me to run the race. It had been on my bucket list for a few years and now I can finally cross it off my list.

It feels bittersweet knowing this was my last race of the year. Maybe I’ll sign up for a last minute holiday race to beat the holiday blues. Who knows?

So how about you? Any more races for the year or are you done until 2018?