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 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: 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 -

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 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:

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:

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 -

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 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:

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