Monday, March 30, 2020

The World's Gone Virtually On Hold

This is my first post since this whole Global Pandemic thing reared it's ugly head. We've all been having to adjust to the "new normal" and learn how to navigate the world again. So it's kind of a weird time, right? 
My new office

First of all, I'd like to say that I acknowledge that I am very very lucky. My family is healthy and we have the luxury of being able to work from home. We were able to stock up on plenty of food (without hording) and heck even have a few spare rolls of toilet paper. We are not on an official "Lockdown" order here in SC, but we are acing like we are in the sense of sticking close to the house except for leaving to run solo. I expect that I will need to make a run to the grocery store by the end of the week, but I will be doing that alone and going in, grabbing what I need, and coming right out. As you can see, we are very fortunate. 

So with all that said, I feel like a total brat for complaining... but... OMG I LOST ALL MY SPRING RACES!! 😭😭😭

You may recall, I had signed up for an insane number of 9 Spring races over a 2 month period. Well, I got to do exactly 1 of them, the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, and all 8 others were cancelled. Also cancelled was my first Summer race on May 31. The announcements of these cancellations all came within a few days of each other and I admit, I took it a bit hard. There were some tears even. I totally understand the decisions, cancelling these types of events was totally the right call, I know the Race Directors did not want in any way to disappoint the runners and pretty much all of them have offered multiple options for cancelled entries. For more races, here's how they've been handled:
  1. Shamrock 4 Miler, Original Date - March 14, went to Virtual Option - run the race, post your time and get your packet and medal.
  2. Yuengling Shamrock 8K, Original Date - March 21, could choose either Virtual Option and get packet sent to you or defer to 2021. I chose to defer.
  3. Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon - Original Date - March 22, could choose either Virtual Option and get packet sent to you or defer to 2021. I chose to defer.
  4. Craft Beer 5 Miler, Original Date - March 28, could choose either Virtual Option and get packet sent to you or defer to 2021. I chose to defer.
  5. Come See Me Road Race 5K, April 18, looking to reschedule but no new date yet
  6. Kings Mountain 10K, April 25, choice of either Virtual Option or Race rescheduled on October 3rd. Right now, I am hoping to do the Oct. 3 race, but there may be a scheduling conflict that I am trying to work through.
  7. Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh 5K, Original Date - May 2, could choose either Virtual Option and get packet sent to you or refunded entry fee. I have chosen to race Virtually.
  8. Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Half Marathon- Original Date - May 3, could choose either Virtual Option and get packet sent to you or refunded entry fee. I have chosen to race Virtually.
My Virtual Shamrock 4 Miler Post run presentation of SWAG

So yeah, everyone is doing the best they can and offering all kinds of options to make everyone as happy as possible. And for now, for me at least, the only "race" I have on the horizon is the Virtual Steel Challenge - the Dicks Sporting Goods 5K and Half Marathon on May 2nd and 3rd. And while I hate that I do not get to race it in person in Pittsburgh, one of my favorite cities full of some of my favorite people, I'm excited to earn some pretty awesome bling including 2 shirts, 3 medals and a pair of awesome Knockaround sunglasses. And if that sounds good to you as a way to keep motivated during this time of uncertainty, the good news is that they are still accepting new Virtual entries. You can register here if you like.

Getting it done... Solo Style
So that's my plan. Gonna keep running and keep training, while making sure to practice smart social distancing. Been hooking up with my run crews virtually, but have been doing only solo runs for the last week and a half.

So what has kept you active and motivated during this super weird time? Let me know in the comments so I can cheer you on virtually. And I'll be sure to keep you up to date on how my Steel Challenge training is going.

received entry into the Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Half Marathon as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Going Loppy Over the 465 Challenge

received entry into the 465 Challenge as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 

This year I participated in a new Virtual Challenge designed to kick of the New Year right and get people moving, the 465 Challenge. Basically how it worked is you commit to run, walk, swim, bike, skip, crawl, whatever... for 53 miles between Jan. 1 and Feb. 29. And since it is a virtual challenge, you have the convenience of completing it anytime, anywhere! Why 53? It represents the 53 miles that make up the I-465 loop that circles Indianapolis, IN. 
The cool thing about this Virtual Race Challenge, was that it was kind of a like a Choose Your Own Adventure sort of Virtual. Don't want to run all the miles, walk some. Bike some. Ski some. Heck, swim some! As long as you are moving and can track the distance, it was all good. For me, it meant all of my miles were running miles, but for others, whatever they want. Mix and match, just get out there and get it done! I totally appreciated the uniqueness of the Challenge which opened it up to more than just runners. 

Additionally, there were some Mod Ups if you wanted to challenge yourself even more. There was special recognition for those who completed all 53 miles within a 24 hour period and recognition for those who completed multiple loops, aka Looper Club members. Since I focused all my miles as running miles, doing 53 in 24 hours wasn't something I really wanted to try, I focused on how many loops I could complete withing the 2 months. I was able to complete 6 Loops!! I finished out my 6th Loop (or 318 miles) the day before the Challenge ended. With a few more miles on the final day, I logged 323 running miles for the Challenge time frame. 

So what did you get when you completed the challenge? Well, there were two registration options, Basic and Premium. If you know anything about me, you know I love me some good swag, so I went for the Premium. Here's what each included:

  • 465 Challenger Super Soft Finisher Shirt
  • 465 Race Car Slider Finisher Medal*
  • Super Cool Bumper Sticker
  • Training Program
  • Motivational Emails
  • Virtual Bib
  • Certificate of Completion


  • Super Cool Bumper Sticker
  • Training Program
  • Motivational Emails
  • Virtual Bib
  • Certificate of Completion
I got my items pretty much immediately at the completion of the Challenge. I actually would have received my swag the last day of the Challenge, Feb. 29, but that was totally on my Post Office (my USPS alerts said it was coming on the 29th, but I guess the PO just didn't actually feel like delivering for some reason). Anyway, it was awesome to get it so quick, unlike some other Virtual Races I've done where you wait and wait. And the items were SUPER COOL. Like it says super soft finisher shirt, and they were not kidding. So comfy! And the medal is really cool. It has a tiny little car on it that moves around the medal on the tiny road. Check out my Insta here for a Boomerang of it in action:

And while I love a good Virtual Challenge (see here for the reasons why:, I fully admit that not everyone does. There is a certain support and camaraderie aspect that Virtual Racing lacks. Well, that was not the case for this challenge as there was a private Facebook Group for Challengers to join that was super interactive and supportive. By the end of the Challenge, there were 361 members of the group all offering support and cheers. Seriously, each time I posted anything I would get so many cheers and comments, it was really awesome. I met some really great people and now that the Challenge is over, the group is still going strong. I've met some awesome people there that I look forward to remaining in touch with. 

Overall, it was a fun, unique Challenge and I would totally do it again. It is a great way to be stay motivated to move while be flexible enough to do your own thing. Couple with awesome swag and a supportive crew, and I cannot recommend this Challenge enough. I'm so glad that I got to be a part of it's inaugural year and look forward to participating next year.

If you are intersted, be sure to follow the 465 Challenge on socials for updates:

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Moving Through It with Some Support from Body Helix

 “Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Knee Compression Sleeve to review 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!”

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may remember that I have what I refer to as a dodgy knee. The technical term for what my issues is actually, Osteoarthritis, which I was diagnosed with about 15 years ago, so I am no stranger to various methods of both knee support combined with varying degrees of pushing though the pain and denial. But mostly, I try to be a good girl (hi Mom) and take care of my dodgy knee so I can keep running. So yeah, finding a good knee support is something that has always been important to me to keep me moving through it. 

It became especially important to me in the last few months because I was training a lot on trail for an Ultra and the extra wear and tear of elevation changes and uneven surfaces have been havoc on my knee. I'm not gonna lie, I've struggled a bit, even with using my usual Kinesiology Sports Tape (which has actually started to really irritate my skin lately - has anyone else had this problem?.

Anyway, with a really aggressive race season coming up (seriously, I have WAY too many races on my Spring Calendar 9 races of varying distances in the next 2 months) I was getting a bit worried about how I would hold up. Enter Body Helix Full Knee Compression Sleeve to the rescue! 

First off, I have to mention just how fast my order arrived. I received an email from Body Helix confirming my order. The same day I got another saying it had shipped. I received it 2 days later, which was awesome, just in time for my weekend long trail run. It actually came on a Friday, so I decided to take it right out for a run to make sure that it would feel good before committing to wearing it for a 15 mile run. And how did it work for me?

What about you? Can you tell which leg
has the Knee Compression Sleeve on it?
Let me know in the comments.
Pretty darn awesome to tell the truth. First off, it's super easy to slide on. It stretches a lot, but once in position compresses and stays in place. There's a handy sizing chart on their website to make sure you order the correct fit. It's also super thin, which I was concerned about when I first ordered the sleeve. See, it's winter right now and my running wardrobe consists mainly of tights currently and I wondered how bulky this would be under tights. Not at all! In fact, you wouldn't even know I was wearing them. I actually posted a pic of my legs on Twitter asking people to guess which knee had the sleeve on it and it was pretty impossible to tell. 

The first thing I noticed when running with it was that it seemed to generate a sort of heat. Like not in a distracting way, but in a, hey that feels nice kind of way. It provided awesome support, wasn't awkward when bending my knee and I felt pretty great throughout the run. 

Anticipating no issues, I was enthused about taking it out on the trails the next day. And it worked out great! Snug, supportive and a much better option than tape. Plus, a serious added benefit over tape is that the sleeve is reusable. In fact, it is machine washable and dry which is a HUGE plus for me. 

I've been using it regularly for about a month now, including my trail training and a super HILLY road race last week, and have been really impressed with how it works for me. And my run bestie, Kim, recently clued me into using it for things other than running, which, duh, hadn't occurred to me for some reason, so I have started using it on heavy cardio and lower body strength days at Burn Boot Camp as well. 

Body Helix makes a wide variety of compression products so if you have an injury, recurring pain or a joint disease like osteoarthritis like me, no matter what part of your body, odds are they have something that will help you. Check out their wide product range here: And for a bit of added incentive, you can use this discount code to save 15% off your order: BH15BR. Plus, not that it is important really, but let's be honest, it low key is - they come in all kinds of cute colors. I just love my pretty teal sleeve! Super cute and super functional. 

Some of my other BibRave crew have tried out other compression products as well and you can read their reviews here:

Two of the smiling BibRave Pros are rocking Body Helix Knee Sleeves, Kim in the middle and me on the right