Monday, January 29, 2018

Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta Race Week

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Gonna get my chocolate ON! 
It's race week, and not just any race week, but a Road Trip Race Week!! Me and one of my running besties, are hitting the road for Atlanta this weekend for the Hot Chocolate 15K. This will be my first BibRave sponsored race and my first time doing a Hot Chocolate 15K (and only my second 15K ever). So needless to say, I am pretty excited about the whole thing. Add on top of that the fact that I do not go out of town much, let alone without the little one in tow, ya'll I'm gonna be a mess. 

So how has training been going to prep? Pretty good actually. I've more or less hit all of my training mileage goals leading up and feel pretty strong. As I said, this will be my 2nd 15K with my first being 2 years ago, so I am hoping for a 15K PR. The last one I ran in 1:32 so I am shooting for a 1:30 time. The big concern right now is the weather, which I have been obsessively stalking. The first time I checked it, 10 days prior race day, the forecast actually said SNOW! I bout lost it. Snow in the South is no laughing matter peeps. We are not cut out for that stuff. Anyway, the temps have raised slightly and the S-word is no longer in the forecast, but at T-minus 6 days and counting, it is saying rain instead. Really hoping if it does rain, it is light. I keep telling myself if I did a race in 13 degrees recently, I can run in anything. Plus, if I really blow it, I have another Hot Chocolate 15K the next weekend in Charlotte to try again. Gonna try to be optimistic about it though. Think warm/dry thoughts!!

I wasn't sure what to run this weekend since I am actually in the middle of Half Marathon training for Tobacco Road in March also, and technically should have done an 11 miler this weekend, but since I do want to push for a time, I thought I should do some kind of minor tapering. Well, I split the difference and did a leisurely 9 miles of trails at Anne Springs Greenway with a friend. Super slow pace, but you know, the challenge of trails. It was really pretty and I swung by the Grist Mill which was pretty cool since I'd never been there before. I will for sure go back though. The rest of this week I am going to take it kind of easy - did 2 miles this morning and am planning three more runs this week, two for 3 miles and a 4 miler. 

Seriously, say hi if you see me!
So what's left to do. Saturday we will drive down to Atlanta and hit up the Expo. Hoping to meet up with a few of my Run the Rock/Burn Boot Camp girls while there too. I'm planning to wear my comfy cozy BibRave Hoodie, so if you see me (and it is BRIGHT ORANGE so I'll be hard to miss, be sure to say hi! I already added myself to the Start List on Athlinks. The race is bright an early Sunday morning and I pre-qualified for a Wave 1, Corral B start. 

All that is really left to do is to pack! I am the worst at deciding what to wear for a race, especially when the weather is questionable. For now, I am planning of course a BibRave and I am thinking I will wear a thermal under it. I am planning to use my new BibBoards (super stoked about not putting holes in my BibRave shirt) and I typically race in CW-X tights, but haven't decided if I will go full or 3/4 tights. Guess I need to wait a few more days for a more definite weather forecast. I am an over-planner and over-thinker. 

I guess that is it! What about you? When is your next race and how do you prep? Tell me in the comments. And please, think warm/dry thoughts for me. 

And there is still time to sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta if you want to join me. Need a bit more incentive... use code “BRHCATL18” for a super cool HC hat!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Athlinks - Something For Every Type of Racer

I'm writing this post as a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews!

Before I tell you a bit about Athlinks, the largest database of competitive endurance athletes in the world, and why I love using it, let me give you a little insight into what kind of racer I am. 

I'm All About that Place
When I decide that I am going to run a new race, do you know what the first thing I do is (after checking the date and price that is)? I scope out the competition. I go straight for the results page, sort by age groups and try to determine if there is any chance in heck of me placing. See, I am what I would consider a solid mid-pack runner, but sometimes, just sometimes I can pull off a placing depending on the size of the race. In 2017 I managed 4 placings, all 3rd place (one was 3rd Overall Masters, so there's that) but 3rd place is still placing! I also managed several 4th places, which let me tell you is just the freaking worst. I'd rather be ANY other place than 4th. But I digress... 

So what does this have to do with why I adore Athlinks? Well, Athlinks does all the leg work for me when doing race results research. When I sign up for a new race, I can simply log onto Athlinks, pull up that race and bam, prior year results are listed. Plus, you can easily filter the results right there in Athlinks in order to check out your particular age group. So much easier than having to go from race site to race site. It's all here in one place for you! 

Results for the 2017 Tobacco Road Marathon.
Drop down menus let you search specific distances and age groups easily

Not only that, I can follow my friends on Athlinks to keep track of how they are doing comparatively as well. For example, I have a friend who she and are both pretty competitive. We have a very friendly rivalry going on as we are similar paces and run a lot of the same races. Maybe, just maybe I suggested that she join Athlinks for the sole reason of setting her up as a rival to compare our records for races. And maybe, just maybe it's so I can brag about that time I beat her by 10 seconds. I mean, if I was the type of person who would do that sort of thing. 

Turns out I am that kind of person... 

And while being able to easily stalk results is my favorite feature of Athlinks, it is by just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cool things the site offers. 

Maybe you the kind of racer who likes to keep track of their PRs? Athlinks tracks your Personal Records for each distance for you. 

Stay tuned... Many of these numbers will be changing this year!

Maybe you're are a more social racer who likes to know who will be at your upcoming races or where your friends will be racing. You can join and view the Start Lists for all of your upcoming races. Athlinks will even suggest people who you may know to follow based on your location and race history. 

The Start List for my next race - Hot Chocolate Atlanta. Planning to be there? Add yourself.

You can access Althinks both online on your computer or via app available both on iOS or Android. All of the features mentioned here are available on both formats. Not only does Athlinks track and post results for running, but also a variety of other endurance sports such as, triathlon, swimming, cycling, mountain biking and more. Like I said, truly something for ever type of racer.

So what kind of racer are you? What feature of Athlinks do you find most intriguing?

And make sure to follow me here -

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Race Reviews - Blast from the Past

I've been pretty terrible about posting my race reviews this winter and plan on spending the week catching up. So far I have posted on BibRave 2 of the 5 that I have yet to get to and hope to have the remainder done soon. Feel free to swing over there to see recaps of November's Insane Inflatable 5K, December's Reindeer Romp 5K, (which are already posted) and December's Santa Run 8K (which will be posted by tomorrow). I will also be posting reviews there of the Baxter Trail Club New Years Day Gnome Run 5K and Joe Davis Run for Recovery 10K, but will go into a bit more detail on these two races, both from this month, below.

Let me preface this with that there is going to be a fair amount of whining about cold weather in these reviews. Yes, I know it is winter, yes, I know winter is supposed to be cold, but ya'll, I live in SC and it is not usually THIS cold here, especially this early and for this long. We typically get one really really cold snap in February and everything else is fairly mild. I've done Christmas Eve and New Years runs in shorts before. One year I even went searching for a a Christmas themed tank for a Christmas Eve run. But this winter, HOLY FROZEN SNOWBALLS it's been cold!!!
I actually don't look like I'm dying here

For the Baxter Trail Club New Years Day Gnome Run 5K, which starts at 11 am, the temperature at the start was a balmy 25 degrees. And since this race was on trails which means in the woods which means trees which means no shade, it never really warmed up over the course of the run. I could have been worse, I had a few friends that were tackling the 18K distance (no thank you), so I couldn't complain too hard. I had on fleece lined tights, a thermal shirt, a lined coat, head band, hat, knee high socks and fleece gloves. While all this gear kept me pretty warm during, I do wish I had a 2nd pair of sock on. We were able to wait inside the Baxter Village Community Center prior to the race which was nice and outside there were several warming lamps and fire pits set up. The race was on trails which were pretty technical in some places, up hills, across roads, gravel areas and wooden bridges. I've run more on these trails over the past year, so I almost know where I am going. Almost. 

Goal Accomplished!!
I came into the race with a specific goal in mind. I was going to place. I had come in 4th the last 2 years in a row, and darn it, this year I was going to place! Well, if you read my previous post, you know I DID!! Despite the fact that I took a wrong turn up a hill at one point (oops) I still managed to get a 3rd placing. Although I checked the times and I only missed 2nd by 6 seconds!!!!! so that wrong turn dearly cost me as it added on about 30 seconds to my time. I know who it was that just beat me and yes, she totally passed me when I went the wrong way. I thought she might be in my age group so I tried my darnest to catch back up to her, but alas, I couldn't quite do it. At least I have a goal for next year. 

After the race we were treated to yummy food from Legal Remedy Brewing (traditional NYD  fair, BBQ, greens, pinto beans and corn bread) and my friend Nick had his coffee stand our giving out free coffee which was sorely needed. Legal Remedy and The Grapevine were also giving out beer and wine respectively. Immediately after the race I changed into drier clothes knowing the cold would hit me as soon as I stopped moving and settled in to eat and wait for the awards. My 3rd placing scored me an adorable race pint glass and I even won a door prize bottle of wine. Love this race  and will sure do it again, I just hope that it is above freezing next year.

Could I be wearing any more clothes?
Just 6 days later I had my next race, the Joe Davis Run for Recover 10K. And guess what... IT WAS EVEN COLDER! It was 13 degrees at the start of the race. 13!! That is the coldest I've ever run in, let alone raced in. But hey, never quit, right? So I showed up promptly 30 min before race time and sought out my friends to have a pre-race session of what the heck is wrong with us that we are here in this weather. Last year my Joe Davis goal was to qualify for the Fleet Feet Sports Racing Team (which I did). This year my goal was to not freeze to death. All thoughts of PRing this were gone as I could barely move in the amount of clothing I was wearing. My outfit consisted of a pair of tights under a pair of wool leggings, a thick pair of socks under knee high compression socks, a thermal under a lined jacket with a vest on top, fleece headband with a fleece beanie covering, knit gloves with fleece gloves over them and a neck gaiter to cover my face. All in all, it was about 5 lbs of clothing I think. 

The course for the race starts in Walter Elisha park in downtown Fort Mill, an area that is surprisingly hill. The race has both a 5K and a 10K where the 10K is simply the 5K route run twice. There is a fair amount of weaving in and out of the park before you hit a concrete trail though the woods and then weave around the surrounding neighborhood before coming back to the park. There is a lot of uphill climb in the last mile with one really big hill close to the end, but I train in Fort Mill primarily, so I'm no stranger to the terrain. And with the course being a loop, I had actually warmed up a bit and after the first lap, tossed my vest and fleece gloves in a bush to recover after. This course is actually my 10K PR, but like I said, not this year. And truth be told, I was only 2 minutes slower even with the cold and layers. I felt a lot better than I expected while running it and even got talked into tacking on 2 more miles with a friend after. I mean it HAD warmed up to 18 degrees by then. Why not?

So what's next? I have a few weeks off before I my next 2 back to back races Feb. 4th and Feb. 10th - both of which are Hot Chocolate 15Ks. I can't wait to run these and get me a sweet finisher's mug at the finish line. Want to join me? You can register at and also get a free Hot Chocolate Hat for Atlanta use code - BRHCATL18 and for Charlotte use code BIBRAVEHCCHAR18. I received entry in the Atlanta race as a BibRave Pro. I'm pretty excited as me and my girl Barking Mad About Running are road tripping it!

After that, it is Half Marathon time - March 18th at the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon. This will be my first year running this race and I'm pretty excited. You can join me by registering at and using the discount code BIBRAVE1 to save $20 off your registration. I received an entry to this race as a BibRave Pro.

So what is next up on your race calendar? Tell me in the comments. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Year End Wrap Up (a few days late)

My mother is fond of telling me that I was born early and have been making up for it ever since by being later for everything else. It used to bother me. I used to insist that I had lots of great excuses for being late. I would change and somehow magically be one of those people who have their stuff together and are able to make it not only on time for things, but *gasp* early for stuff. 

But since I turned 40, I think I've come to accept that someone who is late (not really really late, but if I'm supposed to be there at 6:30, plan on me being there at 6:30:59). 

With that said, here's a quick 2017 year end review - a few days late...

2017 was an OK running year for me. I had a few setbacks, but lots of successes as well. I wasn't as consistent as I should have been and definitely have more work to do going forward. Let's break it down.

2017 Setbacks

17 Races Achieved in 2017 - Didn't even plan that! 
  • Lower mileage year - in 2016 I ran 1100+ miles. 2017 I only hit 836
  • Only 2 half marathons - I had been increasing by 1 each year, should have run 4 in 2017, but only ran 2
  • 3 4th place finishes - 4th is really the worst place, esp 2 of those I was convinced I'd hit at least 3rd
  • Missed a week of training in Feb due to the flu. Then I ran a race not fully recovered and went straight back to bed for another few days
  • Missed over a week of training in Oct due to wisdom tooth removal. Also still have nerve damage issues in my face that are SLOWLY (very slowly) improving
  • Missed a week of training in Nov due to Disney trip and cold. I planned to run some in Disney, but when I got a cold on the trip, there was just no way I had the energy for full days in the parks and early wake ups for running.

2017 Successes
  • Qualified for Fleet Feet Sports Racing Team
  • New 10K PR
  • New Half PR
  • Chosen as BibRave Pro
  • Chosen as Run & Ride Series Ambassador
  • 3 medal placings - 1 half and 2 5K
  • Launched Twitter (786) Instagram (600) and Blog
  • Ran 17 races
  • Ran 836 miles
  • Joined Burn Boot Camp to incorporate more cross training into my plan.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself. So what is on deck for 2018? Here are my goals main goals for this year -

2018 Goals* 
  • Run 1009 miles - me and a friend are splitting 2018 miles
  • Run 18 races
  • Place in 4 races
  • 1200 Twitter followers
  • 1000 Instagram followers
  • Run 4 Half Marathons (Tobacco Rd., Kings Mtn, Run & Ride, Rock n Roll Savannah) with a new PR in at least 1
  • Do an Obstacle Race (Warrior Dash) 
  • Renew as BibRave Pro
  • Blog more - 4 per month at least 
  • Keep a consistent training plan/journal (Using the Believe. Training Jou 
That should keep me busy! 

What about you? Let me know some of your goals in the comments below. And Happy New Year! 2018 is going to be a great one! 

*Please note that being on time isn't a 2018 Goal. I know who I am.