Monday, November 9, 2020

Running with the Caped Crusader

 I received entry into the DC Batman Virtual Run as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 

So 2020 is still doing it's thing so you know what that means, Virtual Races are still the primary type of races being offered. That's ok, this girl loves her a good virtual race! I've done several now (you can read about them all over this blog), covering the gambit of the my Top 5 Benefits of Racing Virtually - which you can check out here: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-benefits-of-racing-virtually.html 

Now this next Virtual race I have coming up, this one I wanted to do purely for reason #2 - Earn Fun Bling. Seriously, you cannot get much cooler than Caped Crusader, and that is who this race is all about, Batman.




Just check out some of this awesomeness!

     🦇 Stylish Fitted
           Quarter Zip 


     🦇 Finisher’s Medal


     🦇 Tech Running Hat 


     🦇 Personalized Bib




Races have until December 1st to register and run their race, which is only a few weeks away, so don't delay if you want to join in. SWAG mails quickly, in fact, I have already received mine all waiting for me to run my 10K (there is also a 5K option). Since I am still making some slow, but steady progress from my knee surgery, I am waiting until the last minute to run my race, hoping to put in the fastest time possible. I was hoping to be able to break an hour, but that is looking a bit like a bridge too far yet, but I will certainly push my hardest. 

To register, visit: https://dcbatmanrun.com/virtual/. The shirts are long sleeve tech and are gender specific cut (you can choose which shirt option no matter the gender you register). There are also some fun add ons, a stainless steel water bottle or Batman neck gaiter, that you can purchase.

And lastly, a portion of each race registration will go to support St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. 


Monday, September 21, 2020

America Runs Virtual 5K SWAG Breakdown

I received entry into the America Runs Virtual 5K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 

On September 3rd, I ran the America Runs Virtual 5K. (You can read all about it here if you haven't yet: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2020/09/my-post-surgery-comeback-5k-america.html) The race dates were between July 27th and September 30th, and usually, when it comes to Virtual Races, I usually wait a bit closer to the end so I do not have to wait for the SWAG after I have already run (instant gratification, yo) but since I was specifically celebrating a milestone (12 weeks post surgery) I had a short wait to receive my goodies. 

Well, this weekend, everything came, and all I can say was it was worth the wait. Check out these awesome goodies! 

*Note, I shot an amazing video where I opened my package and showed off each piece, but of course, with my luck there was no audio on the video. So, since I am not sure how well you all are at reading lips, I decided to break down the goodies with images instead. 

Here is what I got:

Personalized Bib. It's a small thing, but thought it was really nice to have a Bib with my name on it and a specific number instead of a generic bib like many Virtual races do. Seemed more special.  


Super soft gender-specific shirt. Seriously, I wish you could feel this shirt. It is fitted and really nice. Not your run of the mill basic cotton-race tee.


Distressed Trucker Hat. Who doesn't love a cute hat? Especially this time of year when I am transitioning from visor to hats when running. 


Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle. I've had this for 3 days and I have used it all 3 days now. I love it! I am a sucker for a good water bottle. I especially love the tight seal in that I can throw it in my gym bag and not worry about any leakage since my gym in BYOB now (water fountains off limits). 


Product Samples. So one thing I miss with Virtual Races vs Live Races is the fun of going to the Expo and trying out sponsor samples. So it was awesome to get this Sacred CBD lotion and GU Stroopwafel. (Full disclosure, I have already consumed my Stroopwafel. In my defense it was Coconut).


And of course, the main event. THE BLING! The medal is simply beautiful. Solid, colorful and has a custom 2020 finisher ribbon. 

And an added extra fun thing you can log into your registration account and log your time to download a custom finisher's certificate. And while this was literally my SLOOOOOOWEST recorded 5K, I am proud of this race accomplishment and what it symbolized in terms of my recovery. 



Want to earn your own amazing SWAG? You you have until the end of September to do register. Register here - https://americaruns.com/


Thursday, September 17, 2020

My Post Surgery Comeback 5K - America Runs Virtual 5K

 I received entry into the America Runs Virtual 5K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 


On June 11th, I had a lot of knee surgery. If you're a frequent reader of my blog, then you've heard me go on about it for the last 3 months since. If you are new, or somehow missed seeing me post about what exactly they did, you can catch up here: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2020/07/current-status-broken-but-not-beaten.html

Long story short: I've been a pretty unhappy camper about the whole thing. I went 11 full weeks without running pretty much a single step. The first 4 weeks I couldn't even walk. 

But all the while during the waiting, I held tight to the original number that the surgeon had given me. 12 weeks. I would have to go 12 weeks without running. I knew when I was finally able to get back on the road, I wanted to celebrate with a race. But yeah, ummm... 2020 yo. No races.



Enter the America Runs Virtual 5K. The race dates were between August 1st and September 30th, the perfect time frame as my 12th week surgery anniversary was September 3rd. The SWAG was crazy sweet, consisting of a Finisher Medal, Ultra-soft T-Shirt, Distressed Trucker Hat, and Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle. And also, the America Runs Virtual 5K partnered up with the Gannett Foundation to donate to local COVID-19 recovery funds with a goal raising $1 Million in donations. The Gannett Foundation will disperse 100% of all money raised and donated to COVID-19 recovery state funds. It sounded perfect across the board, so I decided to make it my official Comeback Race!

I had spoken to my PT and the surgeon both on when to expect to get to run again. Nearish the end of August, both were pretty much saying the same thing, at my PT session the first week of Sept, I would give running a go. It was cutting it close, but I figured as long as I was officially cleared to run, I could struggle through a 5K. 

Lo and behold, on August 25th, I was surprised when my PT told me to get on the treadmill to see how a running attempt felt. Turns out, not great. But after adjusting a bit and going outside where I am much less awkward, I was given the green light to go ahead and start easing back into running. This gave me another week to work my way up to a 5K by the official 12-week post-surgery date. And boy did I need it. (Check out my previous blog post about staring running again here: https://runnerdgirl.blogspot.com/2020/09/itll-come-back.html).

Feeling super meh about my first attempts to run


So after a few test runs where frankly, I sucked and couldn't keep a solid pace nor distance, all I really wanted to do was to run the 5K without stopping. Whatever the pace I hit, would be what it was, but I was determined to not stop. 

September 3rd came and I was ready as I was going to be. I laid out all of my gear the night before like a proper race and psyched myself up mentally. 

These are a few of my favorite things... 


I set out for my 5K, determined. Yes, I was slow, but I was steady. I had a familiar route around my immediate neighborhood that was mostly flat. And you know what, I did it. I ran my complete 5K with no stopping. And a bit more importantly, I ran it with no pain. I mean at least in my knee. Which I kept reminding myself was a pretty big accomplishment for being 12 weeks out of pretty major knee surgery. I'm glad that I was able to celebrate this milestone with an awesome race. When my packet with my bling and SWAG arrive, I will forever have a memento of the time I ran a 5K 12 weeks post-surgery. And the race experience itself was great for a Virtual, they sent lots of messages and kept runners excited about the event throughout. 


And while I have already done my race, if you are interested in running the America Runs Virtual 5K also to take advantage of the awesome SWAG, to donate to local Covid 19 charities and/or to celebrate your own running milestone, you have until the end of September to do so. Register here - https://americaruns.com/

And stay tuned. I cannot wait to show you my SWAG. I got a notification yesterday that it is on it's way to me! 




Wednesday, September 16, 2020

"It'll Come Back"

So I've been doing that thing where I haven't posted much on the blog lately because, well, I don't like talking about things that I frankly don't like. And I don't like recovery much at all. But I figured that it could be therapeutic to give an update so here goes...


I was cleared to start running again by my PT officially on August 25th. This was earlier than I expected and was pleasantly surprised. When I arrived to my session that afternoon, I started with my regular warm up (8 minutes on the stationary bike and calf stretches) and was told I was going to do a few strength exercises and if they went well, we'd try running. My first thought was OMG OMG OMG! (my second was I should have worn a better bra 🤣). After a few successful rounds of Straight Leg Lifts and Squats, I was told to get on the treadmill. While no treadmill fan, I was all in.

My PT started it up and had his finger on the Speed Up arrow and told me to say stop if I needed it. I think we all know I did not say stop. I was going to do this if it killed me. It felt bad, but not in a pain bad kind a way, in a I have forgotten how to run kind of way. I was awkward, I was stomping, I was basically a disaster. So much so, another PT came over for the following conversation:

Other PT: You don't run on a treadmill do you?

Me: (huff puff): No, I hate treadmills

My PT: You're bad at it

Other PT: Really bad at it. 

Me: Gee thanks, guys. Way to encourage me (huff puff)

Other PT: Seriously, you're super awkward at this. You're stomping. And you're too close. And you need to lengthen your stride. And bend your left knee more. But straighten your right leg more. And do you know, just do everything different. 

My PT: Yeah, maybe just stop. We can go outside instead. Do you wanna try outside?

Me: Yes! YES!!!! Just stop describing me, okay?

*Disclaimer, I really like the PTs. Super nice guys, but yeah, they're pretty causal and honest about everything. They also talk about ice cream EVERY.SINGLE.SESSION without fail.

I'd like to say that outside went better, which, I guess it did, but still, trying to run for the first time felt off. I left like I had totally forgotten how to run. It felt wrong. I was super discouraged. After running around in circles and making adjustments (bend more, bend less...) I had completed about a half a mile and was pretty disheartened. But I was running again. And my PT said to me - It'll come back. 

I was told to not run again that day, but go out and keep trying as I felt comfortable. No limits, just stop if it bothers you and keep trying. And it'll come back.

So the next day, after work, I went out for a run. It was AWFUL. It still felt wrong. I was SLOOOOOOOOW. I ran out of steam almost immediately. I had no endurance. I was not acclimatized to the 90+degrees out. I was frustrated at my inability to do something that used to come so easy to me. I felt defeated. 

Right after my first run. I'm smiling, but I don't mean it

When asked by my friends and family how it went, I told them and their reply was pretty much the same across the board - It'll come back. 

I took a day off. I went out again on Friday. It sucked again. It'll come back I was told again. 



On Saturday, I went to the track to test out running a mile. I only had to concentrate on forward, no terrain, no hills, no traffic, just forward. It still felt so awkward, but a little bit better. I managed to log a 11:13 pace mile. And it almost killed me to do it. To put that into perspective, the previous mile at that track was 7:32 pace. And that was about a month before my surgery when my knee was in pretty rough shape. I think my best mile on that track was just a bit under 7. It'll come back. 

I kept going out. Not being stupid or anything, not pushing too hard, but doing what I could to increase my miles and my endurance. I had high hopes that all the walking I had done would have made a difference, and maybe it did, but it didn't feel like it. 

I ran a Virtual 5K on Thursday, Sept. 3rd. My goal was to run it without stopping, which, thankfully I did. But my pace, my pace was crazy slow. My average pace was 12:40 per mile. The week before my surgery,  had run a Virtual 5K at an average 8:26 per mile pace. Yikes. 

And all along, everyone I know has asked me over and over again - How is the running going. Frustrating, I usually say. It'll come back is almost always the reply. I've grown to hate that reply. 



But you know what I've figured out in the last 3 weeks of struggling and pushing and being frustrated. No, no it won't come back.
 Not in the simple sense at least. I'll bring it back, kicking and screaming. I will start over pretty much from scratch and drag myself back. See the problem isn't that I am just learning how to run with a new, reformed knee. With the 4 weeks of immobility and 6 weeks of brace/crutches, I virtually lost every bit of muscle in my left quad. My leg feels hollow. The muscle cannot support my weight at times. That's not something that just comes back. It's something I have to build back. And it's frustrating. And it hurts. And I hate it. But I'll do it. Because this is important to me. And I want it very badly. 

So right now, I'm super frustrated. I'm angry at not being able to do the things I used to and feel like I should be able to. I'm mad at my body for now doing what I want it to. And I no longer love running like I used to. But, it'll come back. 

Because this is tough, but I'm tougher. 



Thursday, September 10, 2020

Masking Up with Body Helix

 Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask 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

So hey, this year has been a bit crazy right? There are so many things that have changed over the last few months due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. There are so many new terms added into our vocabulary these days: Zooming, Social Distancing, Blursday, Self-Isolating and of course, one of my least favorite, "New Normal".

Your New Normal can include any number of things that have become a part of your daily life since the pandemic has swept through that you never did before but now are considered "Normal". Maybe it is working from home, or virtual schooling. Maybe instead of your weekly dinner out, your New Normal is curb-side pick up. Another big one, is the wearing of a face covering while in public spaces.

Whether it is the desire to help protect other around you through voluntarily wearing a face covering, or maybe you live in an area where face coverings are mandatory in public, either way, face coverings seem like they are here to stay. I've tried a few, disposable, cloth, vented and so on. Of these, so far, my favorite in terms of comfort, protection and style is the Body Helix Ultra-Light Reusable and Washable Face Mask. It's also easy to care for and can be put right into the washing machine along with your regular laundry.



Quick Facts About the Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask*:

  • Optional nasal bridge wire strip controls air leakage and glasses fog
  • Flexible, closed-cell fabric prevents transmission of water, viruses, and germs
  • Disposable filters reduce risk of transmission while maintaining breathability 
  • Large over-the-ear strap design reduces ear discomfort during long-term wear
  • Ultra-light, 0.5 mm ultra-thin fabric ideal for hot temperatures
  • Unique non-slip fabric fits snugly to help reduce need for adjustments and minimizes contact between hands and face
    *from the BodyHelix website

For a Face Mask, this one is pretty darn comfortable. I've worn it all kinds of different places, both active and non-active, and never had any issues with breathing comfortably. Being able to choose a sizing based on measurements ensures that the mask fits snugly and the nose bridge helped keep the mask from fogging up my glasses and sunglasses. I also never had any issues with discomfort on my ears due to the wide straps and the material.

And when I say I wore it all kinds of places, I'm not kidding. 

These are the Top 10 Places that I have worn my Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask

10. On a Run



 9. To pick up Brunch after a Workout



8. To the Grocery Store


 

7. My local Coffee Shop


 

6. To Work


 

5. My local Brewery 


 

4. To Physical Therapy

 


3. To Burn Boot Camp (Gym)


 

2. To Run Club


 

1. On my Favorite Trail (Riverwalk) 



And right now you can order a Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask with a 15% off with discount code BR15 on orders if $40 on the Body Helix website: https://bodyhelix.com/product/ultra-light-face-mask/

Don't take just my word for it. Check out a few other of my fellow BibRave Pros' reviews:












Monday, August 3, 2020

America Runs 5K, and I Plan to Run Too

I received entry into the America Runs Virtual 5K as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out BibRave.com to read and write race reviews. 

It's official! I have a Comeback Goal Race on the books. I am officially registered for the Inaugural America Runs Virtual 5K! My plan (as of right now) is to run my race on September 3rd, exactly 12 weeks after my knee surgery. Squeee!

This is going to be a really cool virtual race that you are gonna want to join me for.

Runners have from between now and September 30th to run their 5K. After you run it, log your results to add your name on the Leaderboard and download a personalized Finisher’s Certificate. You can also upload any photos and add overlays to download as a keepsake. 

And let me tell you about the swag. I have found over the years that EnMotive races have some of the best gear there is (hello, Hot Chocolate and DC Wonder Woman Run Series). I am oohing and ahhing over this amazing swag package. 
  • Finisher Medal
  • Ultra-soft T-Shirt
  • Distressed Trucker Hat
  • Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
  • Products and Coupons from some of your favorite running brands and future events
Swag packages will begin shipping on August 17th.

Another really cool thing is that the folks at the America Runs Virtual 5K have partnered up with the Gannett Foundation to donate to local COVID-19 recovery funds with a goal raising $1 Million in donations. The Gannett Foundation will disperse 100% of all money raised and donated to COVID-19 recovery state funds. So not only will your registration fee go towards some pretty great swag, but also a portion will be going to make a pretty big difference in the fight against COVID-19. When your register, you choose your state so your money stays local.

The race has already started, so you can go ahead an register and run your 5K right away. Register here - https://americaruns.com/

As for me, I will still have to wait a bit longer, until I get the go ahead to start running again. I am just over halfway through my anticipated 12 week recovery period, so in just a few short weeks, I will (hopefully) be posting my time and seeing my name up on the leaderboard. I cannot wait! 



Monday, July 27, 2020

Hydrating on the Go with SiS

Disclaimer: I received a Science in Sport GO Hydro Tablets sample pack 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!
Summer in SC is seriously hot and sweaty!

For runners, or any athletes for that matter, making sure that you are properly hydrated is one of the cardinal rules of proper performance. The harder you work, the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more water and electrolytes you lose, particularly sodium. Losing too much and it can lead to dehydration which can cause all kinds of bad things to happen internally - reduced performance, increase in body temp, higher heart rate, dizziness, and so on. Dehydration can happen anytime of the year, but it typically is an even greater concern in the summer months with higher temperatures and humidity make us even sweatier. So as you can see, it is super important to stay hydrated and replenish  electrolytes. 

So yeah, I know all this. And as someone who lives in SC, or approximately 10 feet from the Sun in the summer, I know I should be using some kind of electrolyte supplement before, during and/or after outdoor activity. But just cause we know something is good for us, doesn't mean we want to do it, otherwise I'd eat spinach for every meal. See I've never been able to find a supplement that I really liked and therefore didn't have to force myself to take.

Ever the optimist, when I was given the opportunity to try Sport in Science Go Hydro tablets, I thought, maybe this will be the one that will get me excited about hydrating on the regular. I had used SiS gels in the past and been extremely pleased with their performance and taste, so I was hopeful. 

I received 4 tubes of 3 different SiS Go Hydro tabs, 2 Pineapple and Mango, 1 Lemon, and 1 Cola. I gotta admit, when I first saw the tube of Cola, I thought to myself, meh, I probably won't like this. But as a girl who never said no to caffeine, I'm willing to try anything once. (Full disclosure - I drink black coffee simply for the caffeine, caffeine is life). But you know what, Cola was amazing. It tastes just like those gummy cola candies from Haribo. The other two flavors I received are pretty great too. The Lemon is light and refreshing and the Pineapple and Mango is yummy and sweet. I like that one particular after evening exercise as it is kind of like a dessert treat. 

As for the performance, I have no complaints. I am currently unable to run due to my knee surgery but I have been going on more and more walks, many of which in the hottest part of the day and have been quite thankful to refuel lost electrolytes post-walk. I definitely feel perked up a bit after drinking it. Long story short I definitely recommend SiS Go Hydro tabs. They are great for hydrating before, during and after any strenuous activity and they taste really great. 

They are affordable too, just $11 per pack of 20 tablets. And for a limited time, you can try them with the BibRave discount code: BIBRAVE 20 for 20% off your Go Hydro Tablet order on SiS website here: https://www.scienceinsport.com/us/shop-sis/go-range/go-hydro-tablets. There are several other flavors other than the 3 I received as well including Pink Grapefruit and Berry. 
Mmmmm... Cola