Friday, May 18, 2018

Live More This Summer

Well the weather is heating up and the humidity is settling in and that can only mean one thing: SC, as usual, has decided to skip Spring and jump right into Summer! And I for one am actually not going to complain about it (much). This winter was a brutal one and it drug on and on and on and on. 

To celebrate, I've been prepping for some exciting Summer adventures, some of which that are a bit out of my comfort zone, but exciting all the same. Inspired by some new amazing Buff gear that I recently got, I've vowed to #LiveMoreNow and make the most of the warm days ahead. 



"Disclaimer: I received several Buff products to use and 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 kicked off my adventures with my year's most challenging Half Marathon, the Kings Mountain Half Marathon. Yup, that is exactly what it sounds like, a Half Marathon up a mountain. I will be making a post dedicated to this race soon. But spoiler alert: it was perhaps one of the toughest courses that I've ever had the pleasure to run. Loads of fun though. My Buff arm sleeves were perfect for the cooler morning coupled with the ease of taking them off when I warmed up without breaking my pace. So much more convenient than a full extra layer and they quickly and easily tied onto my fuel belt.

Another May adventure has been the challenge of my Run the Rock running group's yearly #MileADayMay running streak. Each May, we vow to run at least 1 mile per day. It's been crazy tough - I'm a girl who loves a good rest day, but so far, I've met the daily goal. Some days it's been crazy hot, and I've even had to run a few days in the rain (the upcoming forecast looks like it might end up being a few more) but the challenge has been a fun one that the whole group has been taking to heart. I've been seriously loving my Buff Pro Run Cap on the super hot days to keep me shaded, and even more so on the rainy ones to keep the rain off my face.  

So what else do I have in store for my upcoming adventures. Well my June is pretty jam packed! 

First, on June 2nd I will be doing my first ever Warrior Dash. This crazy decision was born from delusions of forcing myself to increase my upper body strength, an area where I am seriously lacking. 


Back in November, I joined Burn Boot Camp as a way to cross train. I learned pretty quickly while I could rock out a cardio day with no problems, and even leg days were not a huge challenge for me, I stunk on toast when it came to any kind of upper body workouts. So, when I receive my weekly protocol on Sunday's I plan my week to take advantage of the days that I most need, mostly upper body and core work. For example, here's this week's protocol. I went on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week hitting both arm days and the core day. 
Serious Training, No Really! 
Anyway, a group from Burn decided to do the Warrior Dash, and crazy me, drunk on the fact that I have any arm muscles for the first time in my life decided to join them. We've been doing some crazy training like hanging out at playgrounds, rock walls and staying after boot camps to attempt pull-ups. Despite, I still epicly failed at the monkey bars in our neighborhood playground this evening. It's been a fun training process, and I trust my girls to have my back.


One of the Hiking Trails at  Cookie Camp
The next weekend, June 9th I get to attend Cookie Camp. See, I'm a leader with my daughter's Girl Scout Troop and our Head Leader is crazy obsessed with Cookie Sales. Never before we joined this troop did I ever think it would be possible to sell 500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, but we did for the 2nd year in a row now. The 500+ Cookie Sales Reward is a day at Cookie Camp, where my daughter and I (and the other top sellers from our Council) get to go hiking, boating, do crafts, archery, eat S'mores and have an amazing day out in the woods. I can't wait. And my Buff Insect Shield Headwear is going to be amazing for this. Since it's supposed to rain pretty much non-stop for the next week, I am expecting a billion or more mosquitoes out there. Hmmm... maybe I had better get a second one for the little one. 

Next up on June 16th is a night-time trail race that I've been wanting to do forever, the Moonlight Bootlegger 5K. You run through the trails starting at 9 pm and finish the race at a big after-party in the woods complete with Moonshine. Several of my friends have done it before and it looks like a blast. Although I am a bit nervous about the trail aspect. See, I'm not the best at trails and I've never run one at night, but I guess it wouldn't be a challenge if it wasn't challenging, right?
Polaroids are still a thing?

Lastly, I will round out my June adventures with the Insane Inflatable on June 23rd. This is a super fun 5K where you run form bouncy obstacle to bouncy obstacle. It's a wonderful combination of fun and difficult (seriously, bouncing is tiring). But the best part about the Insane Inflatable is I am doing it again with my little one. We did this together in Nov and had a blast so we signed up again for the June leg. We've been going on training runs/walks to prepare for it and just been having the best time together. She's even come with me to a Mommy and Me Burn Boot Camp. Love spending time with my Mini-Me.

So, do you think that is enough to keep me busy? Whew, just typing all that out is making me a bit tired. But I'm excited too! Keep tuned to this blog as I will be updating you on all my adventures as they happen, starting with my recap of the Kings Mountain Half Marathon, which will post later this weekend. 

So what kind of adventures are you planning this summer? How do you plan to #LiveMoreNow ? Let me know in the comments.  As for me, I'm off to get some sleep. I'm going to need it! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Flipping Out Over FlipBelt Crops

Disclaimer: I received FlipBelt Crops 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've mentioned before a few times here that I prefer to run with music, and to do so requires me to carry my phone on me while I run. I've struggled over the years to find the best way to carry my phone and anything else that I needed with me like keys and gels, trying a variety of options from arm bands, belts, tiny "pockets" and even stuffing things in handheld bottles. 

Most frequently I would go with a belt as the least intrusive carrying device, but there were still a number of problems, but biggest being that no matter how much I adjusted it, but belt bounced around and would often lead to chafing. No one likes to take a shower after that! 

So when I found out that FlipBelt had introduced a pair of crops with built in pockets, I wanted in! I had heard amazing things about the roominess of FlipBelts before, but never run with one so I was excited to try them out. I'm happy to say that they exceeded my expectations! 

First let me give you a little info about the crops. Here are their features straight from the FlipBelt website - 

  • 76% Polyester 24% Spandex
  • Moisture wicking 
  • Anti microbial fabric
  • Rear zipper pocket
  • Internal key ring
  • Multiple front pocket openings
  • Large phone pockets
  • 3M reflective logo
  • Machine wash and dry

They are really comfortable to wear, some of the softest running tights I've worn. I am 5'6" and they rest right in the perfect place for a crop. I've run in them comfortably in temperatures ranging from mid-40s to low 70's pairing with everything from zip-ups, to short sleeves to tanks. Currently, they only come in black, which of course matches everything, but I hope they introduce some other colors in the future. 

But what about the pockets!?

So many useful pockets! 

These bad boys have pockets for DAYS! There's one huge pocket in the front that has access openings on either side of your hips. This pocket is great for storing all kinds of stuff that you need to get to fairly quickly while running like gels, beans, tissues, route maps, beer money (you know, for after your run) and so on. I can literally stick my arm in there! 

On the back of the crops there is also a larger zippered pocket. And when I say larger, I actually mean it. If you take in account my iPhone 7 plus the extra battery case, plus the pocket for my ID and debit card stuck to the back, I carry a pretty substantially sized phone with me. This pocket has no problem containing all of that. 

Lastly, inside the front pocket there is a clip for hooking your key on. This is a particular plus to me. See, last November right before a race I was doing my pre-run check of my stuff. I checked my belt one last time to make sure that my gels were in there and when I did, my key fell out, unbeknownst to me at the time. Luckily, I found out sooner rather than later, but enough time had past that I had moved to the starting area. When I figured it out, I sprinted back to where I was and me and two friends frantically searched the grass for my car key. Luckily, we were able to locate it, but I've been paranoid about losing my key every since then. Well not with my FlipBelt Crops. I can rummage through the pocket knowing that my key is safely clipped in. 

LUCKY CROPS FTW!!
So, in conclusion, I love these crops! I've worn them several times over the past month for pretty much every type of run imaginable, long, speed, even a race. Heck, I scored me a new 5K PR in them, so I am officially considering them my lucky pants! 

All I need now is for them to make a pair of shorts because the temps are going to be heating up here in SC soon!


Want to try them out for yourself? You can get your own pair of FlipBelt Crops at  https://flipbelt.com/running-pants-crops, and save 25% online with the discount code BIBRAVE.


Also, be sure to follow FlipBelt on their socials for fun promotions and product news:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Catching Up

See, I'm still alive... 
I've been suffering from a terrible case of the "I'll Get To It Laters", especially where this blog is concerned. Nothing in particular has been keeping me away, just life in general has been busy. Such is the case when you work full time, have a family with a very active little and run a bazillion (okay, so more like 20-25) miles a week plus cross train 2-3 days. So basically, if it's not pressing, it's been getting overlooked lately. Ugh. 

So, this is going to be a real quick update of what I've been doing and what I am looking forward to in the near future. And hopefully I can get back to a better schedule for not only my blog, but being more organized in general. 

Basically, chaos has been ruling the day, but I'm making some plans to reign it back in. Hopefully. We'll see...


What I've Been Up To

Since we've past the first quarter of the year, let's take a quick backwards glance to my 2018 goals and see where things stand. 

  • Run 1009 miles - me and a friend are splitting 2018 miles
    • I'm right on track. Have hit my first 3 monthly mileage goals with a little extra
  • Run 18 races
    • On track. I've run 6 races so far and registered for 5 more currently with several others I am eyeing
  • Place in 4 races
    • On track here as well. I've placed in 2 races so far this year (more on this in a bit)
  • 1200 Twitter followers
    • So far so good. I broke the 1,000 follower mark last month and am at 1,034 currently
  • 1000 Instagram followers 
    • This one is going a bit slower. I'm closing in on 700 so still attainable
  • Run 4 Half Marathons (Tobacco Rd., Kings Mtn, Run & Ride, Rock n Roll Savannah) with a new PR in at least 1
    • I've run Tobacco Road and got a new huge PR and have registered for Kings Mountain (next month) and Rock N Roll Savannah (Join me in Nov and register with discount code "RNRBRP2018" for $15 off the full/half marathon). Run & Ride will not be held this year (boo) so I need to find another Fall Half to replace. Considering the Charlotte 13.1 in September or maybe the Myrtle Beach Mini in October.
  • Do an Obstacle Race (Warrior Dash) 
    • Registered for Warrior Dash on June 2nd. Having our first training camp on Sat. 
  • Renew as BibRave Pro
    • This doesn't happen until Fall, but I've been trying to be a good little Pro 
  • Blog more - 4 per month at least 
    • Doing better than 2017, but missed my goal in March. 4 in Jan, 6 in Feb and just 3 in March. April is not progressing well either as this is my first post and it is half over, but I can still catch up
  • Keep a consistent training plan/journal (Using the Believe. Training Journal)
    • January I did great. Since then, not so well. Need to reset and start back up again

So I am basically on a pretty consistent track for meeting most of my 2018 goals. In addition, I have been consistently doing Burn Boot Camp with 2-3 camps per week, mainly focusing on the areas I need the most work (upper body and core). 

What else, what else... Oh yeah...  
I HAVE A NEW 5K PR!! AND I PLACED FIRST AG AT A RACE!!!

Last weekend I ran the Come See Me Road Race 5K, which was a redemption race for me of sorts. Last year, I sucked at that race. I had been sick the day before and had a pretty poor showing. Insult to injury, I placed 4th. I hate 4th place. And I placed 4th in 4 races last year. This was one of them. And for 2018 I vowed that I would right the wrong of 4th places (so far I am 2 for 2 of placing in previous 4th place, so yay). 

Anyway, I have been really working on my speed work to hit a placing for this race and not only did I place, I placed 1st and hit a new PR by 1 min 15 sec! BOOM! I swear I almost teared up when I looked at the results screen.This race was the first 5K I ever ran 4 years ago so coming in 1st was extra special to me. 

Things I Loving

In addition to making gains on some goals, I've also had an opportunity to try out a few new awesome products. I'll be writing more about these things in upcoming blogs, but wanted to mention a few things I've been loving lately. Shout outs to the following:

FlipBelt Crops* - These are my new go to running tights. Love them. They have a huge built in front pocket with a key clip, plus a large back pocket with a zipper in the back. I can still carry everything I need with no bouncy belt flopping around behind me. Get your own pair at www.flipbelt.com and use discount code to promote is *"BIBRAVE" for 25% off. I will be posting a more detailed review of these before the end of the month, but spoiler alert: I've really been liking them! 

Under Armor HOVR Sonic shoes* - I cannot say enough good things about these shoes! I love them. I swear these are like secret weapon shoes. I have PRed the last 3 races that I have worn them!! Basically, what I've been doing is running the majority of my training runs in a heavier pair of shoes, and then busting out these bad boys for my long runs and on race day. They are so light I feel like I am flying when wearing them. Plus, their zero gravity design somehow leaves me feeling like I could practically run forever in them. I'm racking up the miles on my first pair and am getting another very soon. 

Avon's Anew Skinvincible Lotion - I'm terrible about using sunscreen while running and asked a friend who is an Avon rep for a good solution and she turned me on to this lotion with broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen in it. It's super light, has no smell and doesn't sweat off. I used it on my face for my last race and despite the fact my shoulders got super sunburnt, my face had no issue. And, she told me last night, it's on special this month, so yay! You can hit up my friend's Avon here - http://www.youravon.com/dwood7441 

Knockaround Sunglasses - As a BibRave Pro, I often get to try out some really cool products for free. Unfortunately I wasn't chosen to test out these awesome sunglasses, but they were so cute and so inexpensive, I decided to take advantage of their partnership with BibRave and use their discount code to buy my own pair. So far I'm loving them! Haven't had a chance to run in them yet, but they seem like they are going to stay in place with no issue. Get your own at http://www.knockaround.com and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS for 20% off (1 use/person).


What I'm Looking Forward To

So what's on the horizon? Well, on May 5th, I have my next Half Marathon, Kings Mountain Half. It's a pretty low key event and honestly, my goal is pretty much just to beat last year's time. I mean, the race has the word MOUNTAIN in the name, so this is not a PR race. I placed 3rd AG last year, so it would be nice to at least do that again this year, but really, this is a race I just hope to do okay at. The course has changed from last year, so who knows what the elevation profile will be like this year. Last year, there was a huge sucky hill at mile 11.5. Hoping that bad boy won't  be on this year's route. 
BibRave and Buff, What an Amazing Combo! 

Also, I'll be working on a campaign with BibRave and Buff in May and June where I get to try out a few amazing Buff products and take them on some exciting adventures. I've been like a kid in a candy store picking out my items and will finalize my order this week. Can't wait to show you what I'm getting and what amazing activities I have in store. Here's a hint, Warrior Dash Training is about to get pretty intense! Excited and a bit scared all at the same time! #livemorenow

So that is about it for right now. I promise I will be better at checking in here. Maybe in May I will do some kind of blog challenge to make it more of a habit. Habit setting is definitely something I need to get better at. 

What about you? What have you been up to? Life getting in your way too? Let me know and we can commiserate together. 

(“Disclaimer: I received my FlipBelt Crops and HOVR Sonic shoes 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!”)

Friday, March 23, 2018

KT Tape Review: Finding the Support For You

“Disclaimer: I received KT Tape 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!”



Recently I was afforded the amazing opportunity to test out several different products from KT Tape. Now, I have been previously diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee which is a fancy way to say it hurts to use my knee for long periods of time, so suffice to say I am no stranger to KT Tape. I have been using their Cotton Tape with what is referred to as the full knee support tape style for a while now with great success.

With some new products to play with, I began my quest to find the perfect KT Tape product and taping combination best for me.

First stop was the KT Tape website, which has tons of amazing information and tips. My favorite part, the How To Apply section. So many videos on so many different tape styles! There were 5 that focused on knees! I had been using the Full Support tape for awhile, so I decided to try something new. I decided to try the Inner Knee tape because that is where my pain primary is. So I busted out new roll of KT Tape Pro and taped up. The video instructions were super easy to follow.


Pro - Inner Knee

For my trial of this new Inner Knee tape job, I wore it for Leg Day for my Burn Boot Camp class and then for 2 run of 4 miles each for a total of 4 days of wear. The Pro lasted great and I probably could have worn it for a few more days no problem, but I decided that they Inner Knee style wasn't quite working for me. It did give me some support and I was way better than wearing nothing, but I felt there was a better option for me.


Cotton Tape - 
Modified Full Support
Next, after consulting the videos and a friend of mine that is a PT, I decided to go back to the Full Knee Support but with a slight tweak. I added a half strip on the outside of my knee in a "C" shape to kind of pull the knee cap from left to right. For this, I went back to my tried and true Cotton Tape (tbh, that decision was mostly based on how cute the pink Cotton Tape was.)

For this trial, it was long run day, 10 miles. I LOVED THIS TAPING! I ended up wearing it for 3 more days for an Athletic Conditioning class and another 3 mile run. This was it, this was the perfect taping for me!!

Gentle Tape
I then decided to try out the Gentle Tape, because, frankly I can be a wuss when it comes to removing KT Tape. The Gentle Tape is also cotton and has less aggressive adhesive for easier removal. So I taped up with my modified Full Support style and hit the gym. The tape held for my workout just fine, but started peeling off when I was changing, so I don't think it is my best option as I like to wear my tape for multiple days. Maybe if worn in a less sweaty place (my legs get pretty drenched tbh) or a place that didn't move quite as much (seriously, you knees do nothing but move when running) it would have worked better. I love that KT has this option even if it didn't work best for me. I'm sure it is someone else out there's favorite product.

WINNER!
So, I decided to try out what I considered the best of both worlds for my trials. I did my Modified Full Support taping with the KT Pro and DING DING DING, we have a winner!! I wore this taping for a Half Marathon last weekend and I'm not saying that it was 100% the reason that I hit a 5 min PR, but it certainly helped! I wore this taping for the race, then for wandering around a museum, then a for a rest day and for 2 more days of Burn Boot Camp and short runs. All in all, I wore this tape for 5 days and it kept me supported and happy throughout. This is the combo that will be my go to for now on for sure!

KT Tape also offers a Pro Extreme version with extra strength adhesive which I haven't tried yet, but I plan to use this summer when the SC humidity kicks it up a notch out there. How awesome is it that they literally have an option for everyone?

Two other quick things that I wanted to mention that I really love about KT Tape. First is that the strips come pre-cut for convenience. I've used other brands that do not do this and I can never quite figure out the right length and end up wasting a ton. KT Tape being pre-cut takes out the guess work! Also, I love that the KT Tape Pro products all come in sturdy storage cases. LOVE THESE! Makes it so easy to store and carry with you!



Want to try out KT Tape for yourself? Visit them online at www.kttape.com and use the promo code BIBRAVE30 for a 30% discount.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Weekend Adventure: The Road to Tobacco Road

received entry into the Tobacco Road Half Marathon as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 
So, if you read my last post, you'll remember that I was worried about feeling well enough to do well at the Tobacco Road Half. Well, the good news is that I was probably 95% back up to full strength. I still had persistent stuffiness (sorry all the runners that had to see me shooting snot rockets, I don't think I hit anyone), but overall, I was feeling pretty decent, so yay for that!

This was my first time running the Tobacco Road Half Marathon and I really enjoyed it. Race Management sent out ample emails to communicate leading up to the event and the race website was one of the most comprehensive I've ever seen complete with training plans, event maps including the runners village and inspirational stores from some of the people registered. I felt well informed coming into the race. This was a destination race for me, so I decided to pack up the family and make it a fun weekend excursion.

We drove in from about 2.5 hours away so that meant finding a hotel. Decided on the host hotel for the Expo for the ease, an Embassy Suites, which is a bit fancier than I usually stay, but since I brought the family with me, figured it would be easier. Not only was it easy, since packet pick up was on site, it was SO worth it as the hotel totally catered to the runners offering a discounted rate, evening reception, super early (4 am) breakfast and automatic late (1 pm) check out for runners. It was about a 20 min drive to the race. Would HIGHLY recommend any travelling runners to stay there!!


The Expo was a bit small but well organized. You checked in, got your bib number, went the area marked by your number, went to another area for your parking pass, went to another for your shirt and one more to pick up your Feetures Socks (race sponsor). I didn't mind the moving around cause I like to browse Expos, but if you were in a hurry that could be annoying. All your info was on your bib, so once you got that, it was quick and easy to get your other items. There was a store area with anything you may have forgotten from apparel to shoes to nutrition, massages, food vendors, other races and area clubs. I picked up a cute singlet and took the obligatory picture with the race themed wall (and a few goofy ones with the family) and was off. I will say that the race shirts were WAY on the small side. As in I usually wear a M and I got a L and it was super snug. You could exchange shirts, but only at the race site and it wasn't worth it to me to bring it with me. It should work as long as it doesn't shrink in the wash.

After the Expo, the family and I checked into the hotel and decided to find some low-key fun in the area. I'm not terribly familiar with the Cary/Raleigh area being there only once before, so we asked at the hotel desk what would be something fun for us to do with an 8 year old. We were sent off to a place called Frankies Fun Park. It was one of those amusement centers with arcade, mini golf, go carts, rides, laser tag and so on. So, heads up, this place was NUTS for a Saturday afternoon. We chose a few activities, including mini golf and spent about 2 hours having fun before grabbing a to-go dinner and heading back to the hotel for the evening. I had me a super early wake up call after all.


Again, not being local, I decided to opt for the optional parking pass. Best $12 I ever spent! It gave me access to one of the 900 spots close to the finish line so I didn't have to take the shuttle in. My biggest (well, only) complaint about race was they told us that even with a parking pass they could not guarantee our spot if we were not there by 5:30 am! Umm, I got the pass so I could sleep in. Well, it turns out you did, because I guess the shuttles buses only ran until 5:15 am! I understand wanting everyone on time, but making it so that everyone is there an hour and a half early, especially when its fairly cold out is a bit much. I hit the potties, but since not much was going on and there were no heaters (there were tents) I went back to the car and hung out in there for over an hour. Around 6:30, I hit the potties again (plenty on site) and then made my way to the start. It was low 40s and I had borrowed a light hoodie from a Kim and thankfully so as the sun never fully came out, but not terrible for a race day.

Let's get this party started!

The start line was well organized and the Half and the Full started at the same time at 7 am. There was ample paces, about every 10 min interval, and since I was aiming for a 2:10 finish, I found the 2:10 pacer and started a bit in front of them. Prior to the start, the National Anthem was sung and we were off.

Like my awesome mid-run trail photo, lol
The Half and the Full followed the same route for the first 2.5 miles. This covered leaving the Ball Park and through the neighborhood leading to the American Tobacco Trail. Once we go to the trail, the Full turned right to follow the North Trail and the Half left for the South Trail. Both legs were a down and back with the Full doing the North down and back and then continuing onto the South down and back. There were a few pockets of crowds leading to the trail, but once you got onto the trail, space became limited and basically it was the other runners and the trees to keep you company. The miles were marked clearly and regularly and there were several aid stations with Water and Gatorade, so many that I skipped 1 or 2 and didn't have any issues even without carrying. A few stations were also giving out Gu packs. There was minimal elevation and for someone like me used to running hills, it felt super flat. The woods were pretty, but with bit of a grey day, the scenery pretty much all looked the same so it was a bit of a long 8 miles on the trail without much excitement. 

On the trail, you basically ran 5.25 miles, turned around and ran back the same 5.25 miles to the trail entrance. It has rained a bit overnight which was nice as the trail was what I would call hard packed gravel/dirt mainly and that little rain was enough to pack the trail a bit without making it muddy. I could see where dust might be an issue on a drier trail. The trail was also a bit on the narrow side which started to become an issue later in the race when you had runners going both directions, plus the faster Marathoners coming into play. I was off the trail before the bulk of the marathon runners made it over to the half side, but I can imagine you would have a bit of weaving in and out of slower Half runners on both sides of you. Once back off the trail, it was back the same 2.5 miles to the Ball Field for the Finish Line. It was a bit hillier on the road, but again, nothing terrible, especially some of the races I do in the Charlotte area.

PR = Ring the Bell!
At the finish an announcer called everyone's number and there was lots of cheering. There was a PR bell right before the medals which I got to ring! I was swinging for 2:10 (my previous PR was 2:12) and I hit 2:07:11! The medals were really cool, pretty big with a train on them. See, flat and fast course! Past the finish area was the Runners Village where there was lots of food/drink options. You had your standard fruit, but also Papa Johns was giving out pizza slices. There was free water bottles, Gatorade, juices and coffee (YAASS) and a Beer Garden with several beer options that were unlimited for runners. There was also a pretty good band playing on stage at the end of the Beer Garden. I grabbed a quick beer, chatted with a few friends and made a quick easy exit to head back to the hotel in time for breakfast still being served.

After refilling with yummy breakfast foods, I took a quick shower. Thank goodness that Feetures was a race sponsor because I forgot to pack a pair of socks for the day, but thanks to getting a free pair with my race packet, I was set! We checked out of the hotel and headed into downtown Raleigh for some more family adventures. Decided on the Museum of Natural Science, which I didn't even realize was free until we go there, and spent a fun few hours exploring the exhibits there. It was time to take the almost 3 hour trip home, but everyone had a great time and I am really glad my family came with me on this trip.

Such dorks

Snake love

Overall, it was a GREAT race and a super fun weekend! Had a blast and will hopefully do it again next year.

Official Results! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Race Week: The Road to Tobacco Road

This weekend will be my first Half Marathon of the year, the Tobacco Road Half. And, if you are interested in running it as well, let me go ahead and give you the link and info right off the bat because you are not going to want to even wait long enough to finish this blog, seriously, REGISTER NOW as last I heard, there were only 25 spots left open.

Register at http://www.tobaccoroadmarathon.com/participate/fees-registration and use code “bibrave1” to save $20 on race registration!


There, now that's taken care of, let me tell you a bit about my goals for the Tobacco Road Half. If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said my goal was to run a new Half PR. I've never run Tobacco Road before and hear that it is a wonderfully flat course with parts of it on soft surfaces and is great for hitting PRs. I've been training really steady for it and was in a great place for this race. First glance at the weather 10 days out was looking like perfect conditions. Everything was coming up ME! 

I'm coming for you awesome medal!


Then Saturday morning I woke up unable to breathe out of my nose and with the worst sore throat. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I ended up taking the weekend off from training to rest, skipping my last long run (9 miles) and figuring that since it was a taper week anyway, I could still pull this off.


PR Bell, I could still ring you!
And that is where I am now. Hoping to purge myself of this blasted cold quick enough to have a good showing. Either way, I am still looking forward to a great race. I am still holding on to the possibility of being able to ring the PR bell at the finish, but both my health and the weather forecast since are not being quite as promising as previous to this weekend. 


Either way, I am trying to look on the bright side and planning to have a fantastic race. So far everything I have seen about Tobacco Road looks amazing. First of all, when you sign up for the race, you have access to a training plan that is posted on their website. This was super helpful in planning out my long run schedule. Also, they have been steadily sending out communications both about the status of the race and some really amazing stories about some of the athletes who will be at the races and some of the challenges they are overcoming to run Tobacco Road. Check some of these stories out here: http://www.tobaccoroadmarathon.com/news-press 

I almost don't look like I'm dying


I did head out for a short 3 mile run last night where I pulled things way back as far as speed and I did hit Burn Boot Camp this morning. I'm trying to convince myself that I am not really sick. Luckily, it is mainly just a head cold which, while annoying, isn't terrible. The trick is getting enough sleep with a plugged nose waking me all night long, but as the week progresses, hopefully that will improve. The other concern is that the weather has take a bit of a turn to the worse with the temperature dropping a degree or 2 every time I check it, but luckily it looks like no rain, so there's that. Trust me, I am so OVER racing in the rain. 


I will be travelling a bit for Tobacco Road which is always fun, even more so this time since I am bringing the family along. Cary, NC is about a 3 hour drive for, so packing up the family early Sat morning and going to try to hit something fun in the Raleigh area for the afternoon. I am staying at the host hotel so it will be quick and easy to attend the expo on Saturday and sprung the extra $10 for the parking pass for the race so I have a bit more wiggle room and a bit less stress on race day. 

So that's where we are. T-minus 5 days to race day and slowly overcoming a head cold while obsessively watching the weather. But, I'm still going to enjoy it!! 

Do you have any tips for getting rid of a head cold quickly? Maybe you have an awesome rain dance just to make sure that this one is a dry race for me? Share in the comments below! 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wrapping Up Running Safety Month

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air and a multicolor assortment pack of Brilliant Reflective Strips 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!


Over on Twitter, Facebook and the BibRave.com site, the BibRave team has been celebrating BibRave Safety Month during the month of February. This is because winter running can present a whole slew of challenges unique to the season for outdoor runners like me. 

More than likely, especially if you have a day job, your runs will be in the dark due to reduced hours daylight. Another big challenge, and one I struggle with the most, is finding the motivation to get out the door when the weather is less than perfect. Cold is not my friend. Throw in rain or heaven forbid, snow and just NOPE, not a happy girl. There's a reason I live in the South. 

So how do I say motivated and safe in the winter? I get by with a little help from my friends. AfterShokz and Brilliant Reflective to be specific. Each provide me with necessary tools to help me to Be Prepared, Be Aware, Be Seen and Be Open.

Be Prepared

For me, being prepared is both a motivational tool and a safety aspect. The less barriers to me getting out the door, the better. So being prepared mean having your clothes picked out in advance, having your gear all together including any water bottles filled and nutrition stored, making sure your clothes/gear are reflective for dark runs, and having your Aftershokz charged and ready to go. Trust me, I can be super creative with coming up excuses when I don't really want to go out. Having everything ready ahead of time and knowing that what I have ready is safe takes away most of my arguments against myself. 
Having everything laid out beforehand can help motivate you out the door


Be Aware

Being aware of what is going on around you is just basic common sense. As runners we can encounter a number of potentially dangerous situations including distracted drivers (and bikers) loose animals, other people who might want to do us harm and even nature itself in the form of falling tree limbs or loose running surfaces. When you are out there, it is important to have all of your senses fully engaged to keep yourself safe. On a recent run, on a fairly deserted stretch of road, I came up on another runner who was blasting music with her ears fully covered and I scared the absolute heck out of her when I passed her. She had no idea I was there until I was running past her and she jumped about a foot in the air and let out a little yelp. I felt terrible, but there is no way I should have been able to come up on her like that without her noticing if she had been playing it safe and paying attention to her surroundings. That's why I love my Aftershokz. I can hear my music and I can hear my surroundings thanks to bone conduction technology. 
See, they don't cover you ears!


Be Seen

If you are going to be running in the dark you absolutely must have reflective gear to help you be seen. Period. End of story. Even if you tell yourself, I only run on sidewalks, you eventually have to cross a road here or there. My preference for reflective gear is Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips because I am able to add them to my existing clothes/gear instead of having to purchase specialty reflective clothing, which can be expensive, or wearing vests or belts that can add bulk to already bulky winter running outfits. Simply iron on or stick on to your items and you are good to go knowing that you can be seen. 
Now my Hot Chocolate half zip can be seen on dark runs


Be Open

Being open during a run refers to being receptive to all the information that is available to you out there. I stands to reason, if your ears are covered by headphones or blocked by ear buds, you can't hear what is happening around you, even if your music is down low. The importance of being open really hit me this weekend. I was running though a neighborhood when all the sudden I heard a click clacking behind me. It wasn't that loud of a noise, but thanks to wearing my Aftershokz instead of ear buds like I used to, I was able to hear it. I turned and a large dog was running full speed up behind me. I was able to turn and shout NO! before it reached me stopping it in its tracks and giving me the time to get away. Even if it were just running up to me to be friendly (which it probably was, but you never know) it could have knocked me over in its enthusiasm or startled me enough that I fell over on my own upon seeing it come up suddenly. By having my ears and my senses open, I was able to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. 
Perfect for those dark winter runs

What about you? How do you stay safe and motivated during the dark and chilly winter months? 

For more information about Aftershokz Trekz Air, visit my previous blog post here: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2017/11/be-open-with-trekz-air.html

For more  informationa bout Brilliant Reflective Strips, visit my previous blog post here:

And be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you don't already!