AllState Hot Chocolate Louisville Virtual 15K Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Louisville 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!

Finish line swag after the AllState Hot Chocolate Louisville Virtual 15K

For the first time in forever, Louisville, Ky. served up perfect temperatures for a Hot Chocolate race. While this year was virtual, again, it didn’t make the experience any less fun. While some people are going through “virtual race burnout,” I am quite the opposite. I was a fan of virtual races before they became the norm. And one of the biggest pluses of signing up for the AllState Hot Chocolate Louisville Virtual 15K/5K race is…that since that it is part of Louisville’s very own Triple Crown of Running…you got three races for the price of one. As a bargain shopper…this was winning.

So, in the weeks leading up to the April 3 race day, I also ran the 5K Fitness Classic and the City Run 10K. Any virtual race that I participate in is normally treated like a training run…and these were no different. However, when the 15K rolled around yesterday morning, my coach decided to let me run the first 10K however I wanted to…but that last 5K he wanted me to push the pace a little bit and speed up. He’s been on a “run faster at the end” kick. I don’t know if I like that or not. HA!

A few weeks before the big day, I received my race packet in the mail. This contained my Triple Crown of Running t-shirt, hat and medal…along with the amazing swag that the AllState Hot Chocolate races provide. This year…a nice jacket (with a removable hood and LOTS of zippered pockets), a medal, a Nuun tablet, race bib, chocolate, and the ever-important double chocolate hot chocolate packets. If you have never had this hot chocolate, you’re missing out. The race fee is worth it just for those little packets of chocolatey goodness. Trust me. It’s my absolute favorite. And with a starting temperature of 28 degrees…the perfect weather for a hot chocolate finish line treat.

You can’t top this finish line swag!

My race morning went well. After spending some time with the foam roller and a pre-run warm up, I laced up my shoes, donned my hydration pack, and headed out the door with no route in mind. This worked out great to start with. Since I was just making it up as I went, I enjoyed the peaceful, cold morning weaving through the streets of my neighborhood. But, because I went into this without having mapped out a course, my fast finish 5K at the end of the 15K run…were on hills. Whoops. But, for having to navigate some steep climbs, I was pretty pleased with my overall performance for this virtual race.

Once I was done, back home, I popped a piece of chocolate and made myself a hot cup of that hot chocolate (and added some vegan marshmallows for good measure). This was a pretty big training week for me since getting back with my coach. I didn’t mind it. By breaking up the race, it really helped me have a fun and enjoyable time…even if I was in my own neck of the woods, and not downtown Louisville. Next year!

Never count a virtual race out. The AllState Hot Chocolate 15K/5K people really know how to give you an experience without it being the full experience. I can’t wait to be able to safely race with large groups of people again…and really test these legs for some speed and endurance. I’m very proud of the work I put in yesterday though to earn my hot chocolate medal…and the actual hot chocolate, of course.

Will run for chocolate. Always. Forever. Even virtually.

Thanks for another great year of virtually racing this series! I’ll be hitting those Louisville streets next year for sure!

Product Review: WhitePaws RunMitts

Disclaimer: I received a pair of WhitePaws RunMitts 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!

Bernie was right…it’s all about the mittens. And I love my WhitePaws RunMitts!


As a runner who doesn’t really love running in the cold weather, what I have found is that mittens work better for me than gloves when it comes to keeping my hands warm. As someone with Raynauds, keeping my hands warm in the colder temps can be a task and a half.

Enter…WhitePaws RunMitts!

WhitePaws RunMitts


WhitePaws RunMitts is a women owned/Black owned business and a great company to support. And, honestly, you don’t have to be a runner to use them. In fact, these mittens are probably even better if you do outdoorsy things in cold climates. Or, if you simply need to scrape off your car after a winter storm.

I received the wind and water resistant version of the WhitePaws RunMitts. These mittens are thumbless, which can be a bit offputting at first, but you sort of get the hang of it. And with all your fingers enclosed in the same covering, you definitely get the full warm hand experience. The tops of the mittens do fold over in case you need to cool down your hand, or need to use your fingers for any task.

These mittens come in different colors and sizes to fit whatever your needs may be. Give them a try.


Go to https://runmitts.com/ to purchase them, and use code BIBRAVE5 to save $5. (Good until March 31st 2021) She sells other things as well, so purchase some other stuff while you are there too.

See what other BibRave Pro’s have to say about WhitePaws RunMitts:

Product Review: Buff® DryFlx+ Collection

Disclaimer: I received the BUFF DryFlx+ Collection products 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!

BUFF DryFlx+ Headband & Neckwarmer

Baby…it’s getting cold outside! And, as always, BUFF has your back (or your neck and head, as the case may be). You see, BUFF has always lead the way when it comes to face and head coverings (I own a lot of them!), but they recently introduced a new collection – the Buff® DryFlx+ Collection.

Of course, when the products first arrived to my door, I was still attempting to rest a couple of sprained ankles (that’s going in another post)…and the temperatures were rather pleasant outside. But we all know, the weather can turn on a dime…and that cold weather did, in fact move in. And while I haven’t been able to do much due to my ankles, I did get out for a couple of short runs to test out this gear.

This new collection was engineered to cover the warm + dry winter activity requirements. The neckwarmer, in particular, was knitted in one-piece and designed with technical “smart zones” that increase breathability and targeted warmth while still enhancing an active fit for comfort. The design is an articulated mask design…so it fits efficiently and comfortably over your neck and head.


I opted for the headband over the hat…just because I’m not much of a hat person, and usually rely on headbands first and hats only when the temperatures get to a certain degree. This isn’t a new thing, I’ve never liked wearing hats from the day I was born. I love that the fabric of both the neckwarmer and headband are light and breathable, meaning it doesn’t feel like you’re layering up intensively for any outdoor activity. These products kept me warm without causing me to overheat. And as a perpetual over-dresser…this is a win in my book!

Here’s what other BibRave Pros have to say about the BUFF DryFlx+ Collection:

Randy | Janell | Michelle | Jaimelee | Jessica

If you’re interested in BUFF® products, feel free to go to https://buffusa.com/bibrave: Sign up for BUFF® newsletter & get 15% OFF.

Be sure to follow Buff on FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Instagram for product updates and more.

Pedaling in Place (aka: I Bought A Peloton)

Yep. I bought a Peloton. I had every intention of getting a cheaper bike and just using the app…but I did the research and decided I wanted the actual bike. It had everything I wanted in a spin bike. And, let’s face it…I missed my spin classes.

I am, most definitely, a runner first and foremost. But this season of Covid-19 has brought about a lot of downtime for me. While I was certainly not over training or doing too much…some old niggles and injuries reared their ugly heads. This meant a trip to physical therapy…up to the point my insurance company refused to pay for anymore. UGH. But, I got back to the road and soon…my body was starting to feel itself again. I was starting to get stronger. My speed was coming back (when I opted to push it…which hasn’t been much since the start of the pandemic, to be honest). I wasn’t training for races…and I never all-out push a virtual race because there are no closed courses and things are just…different.

But then, one early morning when…I headed out for a run and my headlamp wasn’t charged. It had been the week prior (which I hadn’t had to use it much due to having time off work for a staycation (because Berlin was no longer happening). Not having to be in the office at a certain time meant that I could run in the daylight. I love doing that now. But the following week, I was back to my office and back to dark runs. When the headlamp wasn’t working I figured I’d be fine. I run these roads all the time. But less than 2 miles into my run, on a dark side road nearby…my foot hit a rock I didn’t see in the road, twisted, and down I went. I didn’t get too scraped up…but my ankle sure was sore. When I got home, my ankle was pretty shads of purple and swollen. Ice, compression, and time off…and a call to my orthopedic doctor. They put me in with their podiatrist…and sure enough…Grade 2 sprain in my left ankle. Good times.

It was that week that my roommate finally agreed to get the bike I had been asking for…every day…for over a year. That’s not a joke. Every. Day. With the pandemic still going, and the likelihood that we will be going back to the gym not looking promising…she couldn’t find a reason to not go ahead and get the Peloton. With winter coming…we’d need something to do in the cardio department if the roads and temperatures were not good for running. We are already doing strength training…but now we also have that option on the Peloton app as well.

Peloton had just put out the new Bike+, which meant they discounted the cost of the regular model. We also figured out that if we got it with the accessory pack that came with shoes, headphones, and weights…without the mat…and bought the mat separately…we’d save another $40. And, my friend had a referral code that got me another $100 off. (I now have a referral code so if you’ve been considering a Peloton…I got your back and will put it at the bottom of this blog). Because we opted for the older model, we also had the bike delivered within 11 days of ordering. No long wait at all. LOVE IT.


So, the bike delivered and we got it placed behind the couch (where it may or may not stay…we’re still playing around with it). My friend, Deana, who has been praising the Peloton bikes for awhile, texted me and wanted to do my first ride with me. She had a Prince ride picked out and I was here for that! So, I got home, got changed, and hopped on the bike for the first time. Clipping in was difficult at first, but I now have that figured out. I still struggle a little with clipping out, but I’ve managed to do it successfully twice. While we did the Prince ride (Warm-Up, Ride, Cool Down, & Stretch)…Deana was texting me with tips, and lots of information about different instructors and rides that she really enjoys. Immediately…I was hooked. I couldn’t run at the moment…but now…now I could at least ride.

I have done over 50 rides since October 13 when I got the bike (the warm up and cool down rides are counted in that…and I do one of those anytime I get on the bike). With so many different types of classes and instructors…you really don’t ever get bored. I even got talked into doing the October PeloFondo with some friends of mine…and so one day I rode 50 miles…only 5 days after getting the bike. If I haven’t been a regular at spin classes 2-3 times a week since 2014…this would probably seem excessive. But…I’ve been using indoor cycling as cross training for A LONG time now. Just this week, I went ahead and did my FTP Test so that I could work within specific power zones should I so choose. And I will retest in a couple of months to see if my fitness has improved any.

Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without my Peloton bike right now. I am going to be easing back into running, but I have no intentions of letting that bike sit. Nope. I am still going to use it…and the app. The app, by the way, has a huge selection of workouts that go beyond cycling. There is running, yoga, walking, boot camp, strength training, meditation, outdoor guided runs and walks (I have done a few of those), etc. I even have started doing 5-10 minute meditations before bed…which has really helped me settle in and get some restful, deep sleep.

Why did I wait so long to do this?! Peloton really is a lifestyle…and I’m so happy to be a member of the Peloton Family. While I have only had the bike almost three weeks, I already feel like I have gotten my money’s worth. I even have started to put together my favorite classes and instructors (but I’m still working through them). That will be for another blog.

So, my Peloton is named Flynn…that IS a TRON reference for all you 80s nerds out there (I am obviously one, HA!). And if you have been wanting to pull the trigger on an indoor bike…you might as well get the Cadillac of indoor bikes, right? No buyers remorse here…I’m one happy girl.

If you have been wanting to pull the trigger on getting a Peloton for yourself…please get yourself $100 off by using my code:

AllState Hot Chocolate Indy Virtual 15k Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis 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!

If there is anything I can say about doing the AllState Hot Chocolate Indy Virtual 15K this past weekend…it’s that it didn’t go as I had planned. Seems to be a theme for 2020, eh?

To be fair…this had nothing to do with the race itself. Mostly…with the date the race was on. And when I signed up for it…it wasn’t an issue at all.

But you know…this year has kept us guessing. While on a run just under 2 weeks before the race date, I fell on a dark morning run when my foot hit a rock I didn’t see…and I sprained my ankle. Grade 2 sprain. I was put in a brace and everything…but I was told I could start easing back some activity if the ankle felt okay.

It was a guessing game, but I did manage a few short, easy runs leading up to that Saturday morning when I would do the virtual race. 20 minutes. 30 minutes. 45 minutes. That was all I had time for. I didn’t fuss over or worry over pace…I just needed to see how the ankle was doing in the short time I had to build it up.

On the morning of the race, I also decided to attack the race in a different way, because I knew the ankle was healing. So…I broke it up into three 5Ks. The first 5K I did early that morning. It went well…and I really just focused on my stride and made sure that I wasn’t compensating or pushing too much. I met up with my roommate for the 2nd 5K that morning. She was doing a virtual 5K for another event so we knocked out those miles together. And, finally, I rounded out the race with my final 5K…which I decided to do on a bit more challenging course…which would end at the top of a hill…and be about a mile walk back to my apartment for the cool down.

Honestly, it went better than it should have. I made sure I put my health and safety first. And I really think breaking it up into the three separate 5Ks that day was the smartest and healthiest way for me to approach the 15K distance. And, I never pass up a chance to run with someone, no matter their pace. And I think my roomie appreciated me for most of the run (although I get chatty and don’t stop talking…but she should know that about me already!). I played her a finish line song as we ran to the finish of that portion of the race.

The AllState Hot Chocolate 15K/5K races are SO much fun. I have run it in person (in Columbus, OH) before. And I have now run it virtually twice. I love that the race provides celebratory chocolate pieces and…of course…the coveted finish line hot chocolate.

It was almost 70 degrees the morning I ran…so that hot chocolate is being saved for another morning, but I sure did pose with that amazing jacket and donned my medal…and eat a piece of chocolate to celebrate.

The AllState Hot Chocolate 15K Indianapolis race may have been virtual…but it was virtually a lot of fun. All of these races are virtual this year…so why not sign up and have your own little hot chocolate party?

Running the Virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Indianapolis

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis 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 absolutely love running up in Indianapolis. I have raced many times there and always am eager to return. After all, it’s around 2 hours away from where I live, which makes it a convenient spot to race.

This year, as we all know, racing looks a little different. And the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K series has gone virtual. This means that while it wouldn’t have been a hassle to get up to Indianapolis for an in-person race…this year we can all do this from wherever we are. So, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of the virtual race this year…I was excited to do it!

The Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K races are wonderful. I ran my first one back in November 2012 and had such a good time (even though I was FREEZING!). It makes that hot chocolate at the finish line all the more welcome, right? This race hasn’t changed much over the years…but the swag has become higher quality. Back when I ran it…there was no finisher’s medal. Now…there is definitely a medal. And this year…it flips open to reveal a hidden piece of chocolate inside. The jacket the year…has a removable hood and is SUPER cozy. And…even though it’s virtual, I still got chocolate and hot chocolate packets to enjoy post-virtual race.

And we all love running for chocolate, right?

Last week, I sprained my ankle on an early morning run…and with the 10/10 date for this virtual race rapidly approaching…I am definitely looking at different options for me as far as how I approach getting to my own virtual finish line. But one thing is for sure…I’ll be out there and I’ll be enjoying some chocolate afterwards.

Make sure you get registered and take part in a fun race series!! How sweet it is!

Want to hear more from other BibRave Pro’s doing this virtual race? Check out these blogs by Stephanie and Lisha!


Global Running Day 24 Hour Virtual Relay

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Global Running Day 24 Hour Virtual Relay 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!

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Hey everyone!!  What a crazy year 2020 has been, right?  With most of the races we were supposed to be running this spring postponing or cancelling straight out, it seems the art and sport of virtual racing has really taken off.  It’s definitely not been your average racing season for sure.

With all that being said, my daily life has been erratic and different from the norm.  I work from home most of the time, which means that all the days…weeks…months…as time has gone one…has pretty much lost all meaning to me.  But, I have made sure that I have at least maintained my fitness by continuing to get outside and run…even if no races are on my calendar.

In case you’re like me and you’ve lost all sense and track of time, June is coming.  And the first Wednesday, June 3, 2020, is Global Running Day!  Global Running Day is a celebration of the sport of running, as well as striving to live a healthy and active lifestyle.  While I know a lot of people are over the whole virtual racing thing…I am VERY excited to be participating in this virtual relay.

I am on the NYC team and am scheduled to run from 9:00-9:30 am.  This particular relay is time based, rather than mileage based.  Everyone who is participating is encourged to get out there and do what they can in their given time frame.  When you finish your allotted half hour, you virtually “pass the baton” to your next teammate via text, e-mail, or a call.

Additionally, there are teams from all over the country that you can join, so it doesn’t even, necessarily, have to be in the state or area you live in.  I’m in Southern Indiana, but I’m on the NYC team…so that doesn’t matter.  AND…if you want to start your own team, you are able to do that too.  That’s the magic of the virtual race, for sure!

Those who register for the early morning time slots are being given a $5 discount on their entry.  If you love getting your run in early (I used to be one of these 3:00 am people), there are definitely spots open for you!!

Added bonus, just for participating, you will receive this t-shirt and medal at the end of June and entered into a few raffles from Garmin, Maurten, Goodr, and Trigger Point.

And what do you get for participating in this Global 24 Hour Relay? Well, beside the obvious pride that comes along with it, you’ll receive this shirt and medal at the end of June and be entered into a few raffles from Garmin, Maurten, Goodr, and Trigger Point.

So, if you’re feeling burnt out on virtual races, maybe a virtual relay is just what you need to reignite that spark.

Want to be a part of it?  You should totally sign up!  Be a part of this year’s #Global24Relay!

 

Product Review: Extreme Fit Compression Socks

Disclaimer: I received a selection of Extreme Fit compression socks 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!

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There is nothing that I love more than a good compression sock or sleeve.  I have been running in compression since 2012, when I began seriously training for my first marathon.  And I have tried out a LOT of brands.

I put in a request for the Unicorn Collection Compression Set, but it turns out they were out of that one, at the time, in my size.  What happened, however, was that I was sent a bag full of different varieties (re: EVERY COLOR) of their Ultra V-Striped Compression Socks and their Run + Reflective Varieties as well.  In addition…they included a face mask as well, which was a nice (and in these times, necessary) addition.

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I was blown away.  While these definitely were a bit more subdued for my colorful and bright running outfits, I was excited to give them all a try. And…don’t put it past me to mix and match.  I love a good mashup when all is said and done.  And trust me…I legit tested out every sock they sent me.

The Extreme Fit Compression Socks are a nice fit, meaning I actually could tell there was some level of helpful compression happening.  I haven’t been running long distances lately, but on my 3-6 mile jaunts, they have definitely kept my legs feeling fresh…even as the rest of me wilted in the summer heat.

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But that’s what compression socks are supposed to do.  And with all the feet and leg issues that some runners deal with, these are designed to fight fatigue with circulation support, help with recovery after exercise, give extra support to the ankles (these do hug that area really well), have heel arch support for the rest of the foot, give relief from pain due to plantar fasciitis and foot injuries, keep feet dry, help reduce injury to the feet…so all the benefits that compression socks should bring to the table.

I especially loved receiving and wearing the Run + Reflective Compression Socks as they add a bit of safety should you, like me, find yourself often running before the sun rises (or maybe after the sun goes down…you do you!).  Pairing them with my reflective shorts and my NoxGear vest made me feel seen, even while out in the dark.

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I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed every run in these, but I encourage you to go and check them out for yourself.

Check out the Extreme Fit website for many varieties of socks, and save 20 percent with code BRP20 when you spend $50 or more.

You better believe I’m going to get my hands on those Unicorn Socks…

Check out what other BibRave Pro’s are saying about Extreme Fit Compression Socks:

Chick-Fil-A 5K Fitness Classic – Louisville, KY (March 7, 2020)

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Coming into the finish line of the Chick-Fil-A 5K Fitness Classic

Race: Chick-Fil-A 5K Fitness Classic

Place: Louisville, KY

Date: March 7, 2020

Time: 39:51

Well, during all this quarantine time, I have finally gotten around to writing about the final race that I ran before everything shut down.  It was the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, which had been saved from extinction and re-branded with a new company overseeing it.  The City Run 10K and the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K would both be moved to virtual races during the pandemic.

Covid-19 really messed up this year’s race plans.

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Melissa and Me – ready to run this thing!

If you read my blog on the 2020 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon, you know that I was working my way back from another hip issue (it’s always my hips).  I had physical therapy the day before, but was cleared to run this however I wanted to…but carefully.  I knew my friend, Melissa, was signed up to run with one (no husband or baby in tow)…so I asked if she wanted someone to run with that morning.  I would go at her pace…and hopefully help to motivate her all the way to the finish line.  I love when I get to run with my friends, and maybe even help them reach their goals.

Cathy and I woke up early that morning to eat breakfast and dress warmly (it was C-O-L-D) for the run.  I, once again, decided to deck out in my BibRave gear (this time the 1/4 zip top…because again…COLD) and found some fun leggings to wear that morning that were also warm.  I have a few with lining in it…so…I went with one of those.

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Not quite the MRTT photo we were hoping to get…but we were out of time!

We headed out and went to pick up Melissa to drive into Louisville, find a parking spot, and get to the start line.  We managed to do all of that without too much hassle.  I was wearing my MRTT/SRTT jacket before the race and a member of the group came up and said she’d just walk with us as she was a part of the group too and was trying to get to where the picture was being taken.  We told her we would probably not get to the photo op in time…so instead we just took a photo together.  She went to go find her friends and Melissa and I got called over by our friends, Chris and Christy.  YAY!

Christy asked how fast I intended to run this course, and I told her that I was racing with Melissa that morning.  We hopped into a corral…shed our extra clothing…listened to the national anthem…and waited to be sent off.  And when we were…I fell right in step with Melissa.

She was on a mission that first mile.  We blazed up East Market, but the bitter air really hit us when we rounded the corner onto S Brook Street.  It was here my neighbor, friend, and sometimes training buddy, Kristi Roach, saw me in the crowd and said HI.  I had a short conversation with her and turned around to find Melissa behind me, having a hard time breathing as the sudden rush of cold air to her lungs kicked off some asthma.  YIKES! We eased it back to see if she could get her lungs to respond and get acclimated.  We still managed a decent first mile…even with the slow down to wave and thank Course Marshal Stephanie heading into the first mile marker.11347_6798361_enm1027247684ram

We hit it, and we took a short walk break to let her catch her breath and get those lungs expanding.  It wasn’t a long walk, and when she was ready, we picked it back up and started in on our second mile.  I could already tell the walk break did her good, because she was looking so much stronger and better afterwards.  I let her know that, and apparently a homeless man on the side of the road told her I was lying.  Dude!  Whatever!!  Honestly, she pushed back and came back and was doing awesome.  I spotted the water stop just ahead of Mile 2 and asked if she wanted water.  She nodded and I ran up ahead to snag a cup for each of us and passed it off to her.  We took a short water stop walk, and when we were done, we were back on.

We hit the second mile and now we were into the home stretch.  One more mile to go.  This was a new course for this race, so I had no idea where we were going…I was just following everyone else.  As we always do, we took our final walk break at the mile marker just to attempt to get lungs working in Louisville’s polluted city air.  When Melissa was ready…we were back on.

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Melissa and I heading toward that finish line!

Unfortunately, it was here that a course marshal said, “That’s it…walk it in.”  Melissa said, “Nope…just on a walk break!”  And the course marshal said, “OH…I’m an interval runner too.”  MEH!  How about not making any comments on whether people are running or walking, and simply just encouraging them to get to that finish line.

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Melissa, Melissa, and ME!

We made the turn onto the final stretch.  Here I heard music behind me and turned to see Melissa Joyce!! So I went and said “HI” and told her she looked great.  I rejoined my running best friend, Melissa, and we hit that final stretch hard.  We hit Mile 3 and she glanced at her watch and got a little upset that she didn’t hit a goal she had set, but she put it behind her and we took it into the finish line together.  I think she beat me by a second.

We made our way through the finisher’s area, getting our medal and our free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, which we gave to Cathy for breakfast.  They were out of coffee, so we didn’t get that for ourselves…but we tried.

I did get to meet up with Stephanie and another BibRave Pro who was visiting (and not racing) and got to chat for a little while.  But it was still cold, and Melissa needed to get home to her family…so we eventually made our way back to the car, which we parked at Slugger Field.  We took some photos together before calling it a day and taking her home.

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Bib Rave Pros

This was a fun and flat course, so I know a lot of people got PRs.  Hopefully, racing will restart at some point and maybe next year, both Melissa and I can hit our own PRs.  We’ll just need the weather and our bodies to cooperate a little more.  But, I couldn’t have imagined running this race any differently, even if it ended up being my last in-person event before the shutdown.  Being with my friend and seeing her from start to finish was the perfect way to do this race.  Sometimes, we run for ourselves.  Sometimes we run for others.  Sometimes we run with others.  I was proud and happy to have been able to run with one with Melissa.

So, my official results of the Chick-Fil-A 5K Fitness Classic are that I finished in I finished in 39:51. I was 2868/3846 finishers overall. I was the 1458/2196 female finishers. And I was 238/338 in my age division. I can’t wait to take on this flat and fast course again next year.

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Me and Melissa after the 5K Fitness Classic

2020 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon – Atlanta, GA (March 1, 2020)

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Me in front of the Olympic Rings in Centennial Olympic Park after the 2020 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon – Atlanta, GA

Race: 2020 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon

Place: Atlanta, Georgia

Date: March 1, 2020

Time: 1:50:02

Back in 2014…I ran the Publix GEORGIA Marathon.  I had been coming back from an injury (no shock there)…but I finished it strong and felt good.  In 2019, it was re-branded as the Atlanta Marathon/Half Marathon/5K (which makes sense as it is held in Atlanta).  Also, it got a new course.  So, it was going to look different from the time I ran the full thing, right?

But…I think they somehow made it hillier.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Please note…it’s been almost 3 months since I ran this…because as we all know…life got pretty crazy shortly after this…so I might not have much to say in regards to the course or the race, other than it was cold AF, hilly AF, and my hip still hurt like a mother.

But we were doing this thing.

Woke up early.  Cathy had to get up with the alarm this time as she had signed up for the 5K.  Hey, if there is bling involved and she can guarantee that she’ll be at the finish line to see me finish…those 5K races that run with the longer runs are her sort of thing.  She was pretty certain we’d be finishing close together given that the 5K started about an hour after the marathon and half went off, so it would be close.  I also told her, though, not to fret anything since I definitely wasn’t 100%.

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When you cut your garbage bag wrong…

So, we got dressed, fueled, and she cut up some garbage bags for us to huddle in to attempt to keep warm on the walk over to the start line.  Except she cut her bag wrong so the holes were not in the right spot.  Meaning, she cut a hole in her stomach area…so she looked more like a Care Bear and had a definite draft.  We couldn’t do anything about it, and as I am definitely more cold natured than her…I got the properly cut trash bag and she got the one that she hadn’t unfolded properly before taking scissors to it.  Please note…she learned a valuable lesson.

We headed out of the hotel room and took the elevator down to the lobby.  And we struck out toward Centennial Park, where the race would start and finish.  Temperatures were in the low 30s.  It was windy (although NOTHING near what it was the day before when the Olympic Marathon Trials ran).  And I was noshing on a banana as we made our way to the start area.  Because of how cold it was, we sort of just gave ourselves enough time to get down there with only a little bit of time to spare, but enough that we weren’t stressed out and making a mad dash through the streets to get to the start corrals.

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Pacer Meb Keflezighi

Had my leg/hip felt 100%…I had given some thought to hanging with the 1:40 pace group, which was being paced by Meb Keflezighi.  That would have been a dream.  But since I had to go to physical therapy and back off my training runs…it wasn’t completely out of the question, but it was a definite pipe dream.  I lined up further back, keeping my trash bag on for as long as I could prior to the start.

Here was the really cool thing about the USA Olympic Marathon Trials happening the day before – MOST of the Olympic Team came down to watch the start of the race – despite it being early and cold.  The only one who didn’t put in an appearance was Galen Rupp (not surprised – I acknowledge his skill as a marathoner, but I just don’t like him).  The rest of them came down.  AND…Alaphine Tuliamuk (the women’s first place finisher), stayed down there for the ENTIRETY of the start line from the marathon/half start to the last 5K runner to cross.  And she was not only speaking to the runners, but taking selfies and the like with them.  Because she’s amazing.

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Alaphine Tuliamuk taking selfies at the start line

After the National Anthem was sung, I did shed the garbage bag, wearing my BibRave t-shirt (with arm warmers because…it was cold, duh) for the first time at an event.  This one wasn’t a BibRave event…but I’m doing my part to represent.  I gave my hip a little bit of a warmup with some dynamic moves in the tight confines of the corral…and then…we were off.

I waived to Cathy as I ran by, my hip doing okay for this part.  Even being sent up a hill almost immediately.  That was good, because that wouldn’t last long.  And while the hip would eventually succumb to all the uphills and the cold…any movement I could manage without it bothering me…I was grateful for.

Also, on an interesting note…the FAQs for this race said that hydration packs were not allowed.  I saw a lot of people running with them, but I opted to obey the rules and ran with my hydration belt instead.  I hadn’t done that in a LONG time during a race, but as I had to use it for a bit of training while waiting on new bladders for my vest to come in the mail, I wasn’t completely out of practice yet.

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You know I had to be in all the colors…this was at the start line!

This race weaves through Atlanta completely now…whereas before, when it was the Georgia Marathon/Half Marathon, it went out to Decatur and would come back into Atlanta.  Not anymore.  Now it’s completely inside the city.  With this new course, I think I was glad it wasn’t this way when I ran it in 2014…because I think the hills are worse.  With the leg/hip issue happening, I legit had no power on any of the uphills.  You better believe I lived for those downhills though.

At one point, as the sun was coming out, I went to tuck my pink knit gloves into the back of my hydration belt…but I lost them.  It made me sad, as those were the best gloves (and pink still represents my mom – a breast cancer survivor).  But, they are throw-away gloves for a reason, I guess.  At another point, I spotted someone I know from Instagram, running just up ahead.  I wished I had the go-power to get up to her and run with her or at least say “HI.”  But…meh…not happening.  She finished up three minutes ahead of me…because she’s awesome.  So…HI KRISTIN STOKES!

I will say, I think the hill around Mile 12 was the one that did me in.  I felt like I was crawling up it.  My hip was done with the entire experience, so I basically crawled it in to the finish.  No finish line sprint.  Nothing.  Just a jog.

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Cathy and I at the Olympic Rings at Centennial Park in Atlanta, GA

But, Cathy had managed to finish her 5K just ahead of Meb…which meant she had about 10 minutes before I came in.  She found a spot to watch the finish line…and when I crossed I was so happy to be done.  Maybe not Kauai Marathon happy…but it might have been close.

I walked through and got my medal and some snacks before meeting up with Cathy.  We went to go take some pictures with the Olympic rings before heading back to the hotel to clean up, shower, pack, and head down to snag lunch at Walburgers before hopping on the MARTA to head to the airport for our flight home.  Walburgers had a bit of delay on opening due to a problem with with the water or electricity or something.  We hung out with some ladies and made friends with them.  When they did open, we were taken upstairs and seated, and then just after we placed our order, our friends Tammy and Dean showed up and joined us.  YAY!  It was nice to sit and catch up with them (Tammy had also done the 5K and Dean did the half ).  Also, Walburgers is great with the gluten-free options.  I had my first ever Impossible Burger on the gluten free bun…with gluten free Sweet Potato Tots.  It was…awesome.

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Lunch at Walburgers!

Eventually we did have to head out to the airport.  We hugged Tammy and Dean (this was when that was still allowed, which now seems weird) and made our way to the MARTA to head home.

So, my official results of the 2020 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon are that I finished in I finished in 1:50:02. Not bad on a gimpy leg, right?  I know for a fact that I would have been able to deliver better had my training and my hip been 100%.  But you do what you can when you can , right?  I was 1346/5809 finishers overall. I was the 531/3189 female finishers. And I was 99/486 in my age division.  Considering an unusual night before the race happened…with a late dinner…and lots of time standing the day before, topped with hip/leg issues…I’ll take the hell out of this result.  Couldn’t be prouder of myself for sticking it out and getting to that finish line.

Just goes to show you…if you set your mind to something…you can do hard things.

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