Review: Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve

Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve 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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Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve

It’s hard to change when something feels off on your body.  Do you run through it?  Do you take time off?  As some of you know, I had something flair up in my hip/leg/quad/hamstring back in January.  After a mile or so, it normally settled down and I could run confidently without feeling I was making something worse.  That is…until one day I knew something was defintely wrong, when I felt I was fighting for every step and I was limping later in the afternoon after a 10 mile run.

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Wore my Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve in the Publix Atlanta Half Marathon!

Talk about good timing for my Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve to arrive.  I had a few options to choose from to test out, but I already wear my compression socks and sleeves (so I didn’t want calf sleeves).  I don’t have knee issues, so I skipped the knee option.  And I had no reason to get anything for my arms (so that elbow sleeve wasn’t necessary).  That left the thigh sleeve.  And I had never seen a thigh sleeve option before.  And with my hamstrings and quads giving me some issues…it was the logical choice.

A few days later, it arrived and I couldn’t wait to test it out.

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Body Helix was founded by world-ranked tennis player, Fred Robinson, and physician, Thomas E. Parker, MD.  The compression wraps were developed based on both the science of movement and the research on injury management.  Each sleeve is made with a material that would stretch, rebound, and stay in place.  And, of course, that would be comfortable and effective to wear during exercise.

Body Helix’s tagline is “Move Through It.”  Well, thanks to the thigh compression sleeve they sent me…I was able to do just that.

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The package arrived and not only included my compression sleeve (which I got in a stunning plum color), but it also had a card with a note from the CEO and Chairman on one side…and WASHING INSTRUCTIONS on the other side.  FINALLY!  Compression that comes with instructions on how to wash it!  BONUS!  (For the record, it goes in the washing machine and dryer…how awesome is that?).  It also had a page of all their compression options included.

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And after getting cleared to run by my physical therapist, I went out for my first run in over three weeks after the leg pain wasn’t something that I felt would be okay for me to run through.  And guess what?  It felt great.  The sleeve easily slid up and over my leg, settling perfectly on my thigh.  It was a fantastic fit too.  Not too tight…but not going to slide down my leg either.  Which was my biggest concern going into this.  Nothing would suck more than heading out to run and having your compression just continue to slide down and making me have to stop and pull it back up.  It stayed put.  It stayed tight.  It gave me support and I was able to run, and not hobble or limp, through my runs.  And, it fits under your running shorts/tights without looking, feeling, or actually being bulky. Long runs, short runs, and even some speed work…my Body Helix Compression Sleeve worked like a charm.  It arrived at just the right time.  Now I don’t know what I would have done without it.  And going forward, I know I’ll be using it as I work on rehabbing this leg and getting back to being 100%.

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Can’t even see the Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve under my tights.

Want to try Body Helix yourself?  Use code “BH15BR” to save 15% on everything on http://bodyhelix.com/

Review: Handful Bra

Disclaimer: I received a Handful Y-Back Bra 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!

One thing any woman will tell you is that finding that perfect sports bra that is a perfect mix of style, fit, and work with whatever your activity and activity level is might be one of the most difficult things to do.  At least, for me it has been a challenge to find a sports bra that won’t leave me chafed around the middle.

And then…Handful came into my life.

The first thing that drew me to Handful was the support they give to Breast Cancer Warriors and Survivors.  My mom battled breast cancer last year and came out on the other side as a beautiful survivor.  Handful gives 12.5% of revenue from their Battle Cry Pink bras year round to YSC® (Young Survival Coalition) in recognition of the 1 in 8 women (12.5%) who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.  And, for any woman who loses a breast to cancer, Handful provides FREE pad sets that can be stacked and used as prosthetics in any of their pocketed bras.

And if that isn’t amazing enough…Handful prides itself on the Fashion, Function, Feel, Fun, and Fight in their products.  This is what they call their High Five and it is the foundation of their company and products.

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Handful Y-Back Bra (front view)

When my Handful Bra arrived in the mail on a Thursday and I couldn’t wait to open it up and check it out.  It would have to wait for the test runs that weekend, as Friday’s are always my rest day.

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Handful Y-Back Bra (back view)

First impressions:

  • SOFT! The bra fabric is SUPER soft.  I couldn’t wait to try it on because it just felt so amazing so I knew it was going to feel good wearing it.
  • COLOR! I got my Handful Y-Back Bra in the color Eclipse.  It’s the stunning dark blue.  But here’s the thing, fun and fashion are two of the High Fives that the company swears by…and every single style of their bras come in stunning colors and/or designs.
  • POCKETS & PADS! Handful Bras are all equipped with removable pads (to give you more or less of what you need where/when/if you need it). Those little sleeves you slide the pads in and out of also double as stash pockets for a key, card, chapstick, fuel, or whatever!  HOW AMAZING!

So, I had to wait a day before trying out the bra, but that entire weekend I was going to put it to the test.  I had a 10 mile run on Saturday, and a 16 mile run on Sunday.  This would be a good way to put this bra to the test.

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My findings:

  • COMFORT! This bra, as I mentioned before is SOFT!! It’s so comfortable to wear.  I wore it with the provided pads on Saturday, and without on Sunday.  Made no difference.  I felt very supported and never felt like the fabric was rubbing me raw anywhere or that I was bubbling out of it in the back or the front.  It’s also quick-drying with a soft, moisture wicking COOLMAX lining.  Comfortable doesn’t even begin to describe it. I could live in this bra.
  • NO CHAFING! The biggest issue I have with MOST of the sports bras that I have purchased is that they chafe me right around the middle where that band hits just below the breasts.  That didn’t happen at all with this bra.  I have worn it on numerous runs, both short and long.  I have worn it to physical therapy.  I have even worn it to work because…it’s JUST that comfortable.  And nothing rubbed me wrong.  Not a single mark was left on my body.  Not around the middle.  Not under the arms.  Not down the back.  Not on the shoulders.  It was a perfect fit.  AND…if you aren’t sure how to pick your size, the Handful site has  a chart, but for the most part, your T-shirt size is your Handful Bra size.  They aren’t wrong.  It fit me perfectly!
  • FLATTERING! The Handful Y-Back Bra comes with what they call the “Anti-Uniboob Design.  Seriously, the little ruching at the front a simple touch that makes a world of difference and simply…defines your shape.  It also keeps things tight if you lean forward, where most sports bras will gap.  What’s not to love about that?

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There is no doubt that Handful has become my favorite bra in my lineup.  In fact, I’m tossing my old ones and ordering a variety of these so that I exclusively wear them.  That’s how impressed I am with it.  And, of course, in honor of my mom…I’ll definitely be getting quite a few in  Battle Cry Pink!

See what other BibRave Pro’s are saying about the Handful Bra!

Stephanie / Vanessa / Mai / Danielle / Montana / Kim / Lissa

Are you ready to give Handful a try? Click here and check out their lineup of bras, as well as shirts and leggings. You can use discount code “BIBRAVE20” for 20% of your entire purchase.

BibRave Discounts!!

Hey everyone!!  Here is a list of this year’s discounts on races and swag, brought to you by BibRave!  I am a new BibRave Pro this year…and am LOVING it.  BibRave is a running community that connects runners with the best races and allows you the opportunity to research races you are considering signing up for, as well as leave feedback for the races you have completed.  If you haven’t checked it out yet…head over there.

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The list below is all of the current active BibRave partner race discount codes. Use the codes below to receive discounts on registration for our partner races. Visit https://www.bibrave.com/ for more information and contact info@bibrave.com with any questions!

January 2020

1/1/2020 – 465 Virtual Challenge

Use code “BIBRAVE” for 10% off

1/11/2020 – Times-Union Half Marathon & 5K- Jacksonville, FL

Use code “RUN15” for 15% off

1/11/2020 – Irvine Half Marathon & 5K- Irvine, CA

Use code “BRIRVINE” for 10% off

1/12/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

Use code “BRHCSANFRAN19” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

1/18-1/19/2020 – Marathon Bahamas (Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend) – Bahamas

Use code “MBSPECIAL” for 10% off!

1/19/20 – Key West Half Marathon & 5K – Key West, FL

Use code “BIBRAVE20” for 20% off half marathon.

February 2020

2/1/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Houston – Houston, TX

Use code “BRHCHOUSTON20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

2/2/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Atlanta – Atlanta, GA

Use code “BRHCATL20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

2/2/2020 – San Jose 408K Race to the Row – San Jose, CA

Use cod “BIBRAVE2020” for 10% off

2/2/2020 – Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon – San Francisco, CA

Use code “KPSFBIBRAVE” for $5 off the 5k, 10k and half marathon

2/8/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Dallas – Dallas, TX

Use code “BRHCDALLAS20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

2/8/2020 – Hilton Head Marathon, Half, 8K – Hilton Head, SC

Use code “HH15” for 15% off

2/9/2020 – Life Time Miami Marathon & Half Marathon – Miami, FL

Use code “BIBRAVEMIAMI” for $5 off!

2/15/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Nashville – Nashville, TN

Use code “BRHCNASH20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

2/16/2020 – Honda Miles Per Hour Run – Chicago, IL

Use code “RAVEMPH” for $5 off individual or team entry

2/22/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Charlotte – Charlotte, NC

Use code “BRHCCHARLOTTE20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

March 2020

3/1/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Seattle – Seattle, WA

Use code “BRHCSEATTLE20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

3/1/2020 – 305 Half Marathon & 5K – Miami Beach, FL

Use code “BIBRAVE305” for $5 off half only

3/1/2020 – Napa Valley Marathon & Half Marathon – Napa, CA

Use code “BIBRAVE10” for $10 off the full or half marathon distances

3/14/2020 – San Jose Shamrock Run – San Jose, CA

Use code “BIBRAVE2020” for 10% off

3/22/2020 – Oakland Running Festival – Oakland, CA

Use code “OAKLANDRAVE20” for 10% off

3/22/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate San Diego – San Diego, CA

Use code “BRHCSANDIEGO20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

3/22/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Tempe, AZ

Use code “BRWWTEMPE” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

April 2020

4/4/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Louisville – Louisville, KY

Use code “BRHCLOUIS20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

4/4/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA

Use code “BRHCPHILLY20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

4/4/2020 – Publix Savannah Women’s Half & 5K – Savannah, GA

Use code “BIBRAVE” for 15% off

4/4/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Houston, TX

Use code “BRWWHOUSTON” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

4/4/2020 – Carmel Marathon – Carmel, IN

Use code “BIBRAVE5” for $5 off

4/4/2020 – Salisbury Marathon – Salisbury, MD

Use code “BIBRAVE2020” for 10% off

4/5/2020 – Statesman Cap 10K – Austin, TX

Use code “BIBRAVE2020CAP10K” for $5 off registration

4/5/2020 – Hapalua Half – Waikiki Beach, HI

Use code “BIBHAPA10” for 10% off registration

4/5/2020 – Silicon Valley Half Marathon – San Jose, CA

Use code “BIBRAVE2020” for 10% off

4/11/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN

Use code “BRHCMINN20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

4/11/2020 – Milwaukee Marathon – Milwaukee, WI

Use code “RUN15” for 15% off

4/11/2020 – IPA 10K – Sebastopol, CA

Use code “BRBEERRUN20” for 10% off

4/11/2020 – Milwaukee Marathon – Milwaukee, WI

Use code “RUN15” is good for 15% off

4/18/2020 – Allstate Hot Chocolate Detroit – Detroit, MI

Use code “BRHCDETROIT20” for Free Hot Chocolate running hat

4/18/2020 – Blue Ridge Marathon – Roanoke, VA

Use code “BRMRAVE” to save 20% off distance of your choice!

4/23-25/2020 – Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon – Champaign, IL

Use code “2020BIBRAVEILLINOIS” for $10 off any event other than youth run

4/25/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Dallas, TX

Use code “BRWWDALLAS” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

4/26/2020 – Delaware Marathon – Wilmington, DE

Use code “DELAWARERAVE20” for 10% off

4/26/2020 – New Jersey Marathon – Oceanport, NJ

Use code “20NJMBibRave” for $5 off registration

4/26/2020 – Ravenswood 5K – Chicago, IL 

Use code “RAVENSBR20” for a FREE trucker hat

May 2020

5/2/2020 – Cinco de Miler – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRCINCO20” for a FREE trucker hat

5/3/2020 – The Providence Marathon Presented by The Providence Journal  – Providence, RI

Use code “RUN15” for 15% off

5/3/2020 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon – Pittsburgh, PA

Use code “BIBRAVE10PGH” for $10 off the full, half, or relay

5/3/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Nashville, TN

Use code “BRWWNASH” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

5/16/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Atlanta, GA

Use code “BRWWATL” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

5/16/2020 – Harper’s Ferry Half Marathon – Harper’s Ferry, WV

Use code  “BIBRAVE5” good for $5 off

5/23/2020 – Soldier Field 10 Miler – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRSOLDIER20” for a FREE trucker hat

5/24/2020 – Vermont City Marathon – Burlington, VT

Use code “BIBRAVE2010” for $10 off

June 2020

6/7/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – San Francisco, CA

Use code “BRWWSF” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

6/7/2020 – North Shore Half Classic – Highland Park, IL

Use code “BRNSHALF20” for a FREE Chicago trucker hat

6/7/2020 – Run for the Zoo – Chicago, IL

Use code BIBRAVE for 10% off

6/13/2020 – The Governor’s Cup – Helena, MT

Use code “GCBIB20” good for 10% off

6/13-14/2020 – Big Foot Triathlon, Trail 10K & 5K – Lake Geneva, WI

Use code  “BRBF20” for a FREE trucker hat

6/21/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRWWCHI” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

6/26-28/2020 – Missoula Marathon – Missoula, MT

Use code “BibRave2020” for $5 off half/full entry

6/27/2020 – DC Wonder Woman Race Series 5k/10K – Minneapolis, MN

Use code “BRWWMIN” for FREE Wonder Woman hat

July 2020

7/12/2020 – Across the Bay 12K and 415K – San Francisco, CA

Use code “BIBRAVE2020” for 10% off

August 2020

8/22/2020 – Madison Mini-Marathon Half Marathon & 5K – Madison, WI

Use code “BIBRAVE10” for 10% off half & 5K

8/29-30/2020 – Santa Rosa Marathon – Santa Rosa, CA

Use code “SAVE10” for 10% off

September 2020

9/12/2020 – Run Mag Mile 10K & 5K – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRRMM20” for a FREE Chicago trucker hat

October 2020

10/3/2020 – Freedom’s Run – Shepherdstown, WV

Use code  “BIBRAVE5” good for $5 off

10/4/2020 – Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon & 5K – Hampton Beach, NH

Use code “SAVE10” for 10% off registration

10/4/2020 – Bucktown 5K – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRBT20” for a FREE Chicago trucker hat

10/16-18/2020 – Detroit Free Press/TCF Marathon – Detroit, MI

Use code “BIBRAVEDET20” for 10% off

10/17/2020 – Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam – Louisville, KY

Use code “BOURBONRAVE2020” for 10% off

10/18/2020 – The East Bay 510K – Oakland, CA

Use code “BIBRAVE2020” for 10% off

10/24/2020 – Pumpkins in the Park 5K – Chicago, IL

Use code “BRPP20” for a FREE Chicago trucker hat

November 2020

11/8/2020 – Honor Run Half Marathon – Florence, KY

Use code “HRBIBRAVE15” good for $15 off any event

11/26/2020 – North Shore Turkey Trot – Highland Park, IL

Use code  “BRNSTT20” for a FREE Chicago trucker hat

Exciting Stuff Part 2

78546341_10100632067285991_5968535194473332736_nAgain, this will come as no surprise to you if you already follow me on Facebook and Instagram.  But, I feel the need to put it down in the blog.  This year, I hope to settle in and blog about more things.  Getting back into the writing groove when I posted about my training plan leading up to my BQ attempt (which I got) at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

And one thing that is going to help with that definitely has everything to do with this announcement.

I was selected to be a BibRave Pro.

What’s BibRave?

BibRave is a running community that was built to connect runners with the best races.  You can research races you are considering putting on your race schedule…as well as leave feedback on races that you have completed.  It is also a way for races and brands that are geared toward runners to connect with runners through their large ambassador network (which I am now a part of) as well as through #BibChat – which is a Twitter chat that happens once a month (starting in the new year).

I have applied for the opportunity to join this amazing family of people who honestly promote products and races, as well as just be an awesome member of the running community…FOUR times.  I finally got it.  And I couldn’t be more excited.

I’m learning all the basics right now, but stay tuned because I know there is some exciting stuff coming up this year!

CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon – Indianapolis, IN (November 9, 2019)

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Me crossing the finish line of the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon – Indianapolis, IN

Race: CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Place: Indianapolis, IN

Date: November 9, 2019

Time: 3:35:13

“Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision
Always had high, high hopes
Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling
I was gonna be that one in a million
Always had high, high hopes”
~ Panic at the Disco

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

BOSTON QUALIFIED!

But I am getting ahead of myself at the moment.  Because like any and every story…you have to start at the beginning.  And the beginning, for me, started on Friday.

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Day Before The Race Breakfast!

Friday was a complete rest day for me.  Normally I do shake-out runs and the like, but I had a continuous training cycle through taper, and had done my usual (albeit much lower mileage) runs on Sunday-Thursday, with 2 of these including some sort of speed workout.  So, I slept in, per usual.  I took a shower.  I didn’t go to work…so I had time to stretch, finish packing, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at home.  For the record, it was Trader Joes Gluten Free Pumpkin Bagels and Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese.  I had my first melt down.  I ran a couple of errands with my roommate.  Made a quick lunch.  Had another meltdown.  She called in my sushi order at Dragon King’s Daughter (if you’ve been following my weekly training logs, you know about my “magic sushi”…so you better believe an order was traveling in a cooler up to Indianapolis with me), loaded the car, took out the garbage, went to pick up sushi order…and hit the road.

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Day Before The Race Lunch – Dr. Praegers Gluten Free & Vegan Chik’n Nuggets with Farmwise Foods Veggie Rings

The drive up to Indianapolis was easy and uneventful.  Just the way we like it.  My coach, Daniel, called me on the drive and we talked.  He always knows what to say to calm me down.  He asked me how I felt…I told him I was nervous.  He asked what I was nervous about.  And I told him…the weather.  To date, this was shaping up to be the coldest marathon I will have run.  Beating out Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN…and Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2018 in Orlando, FL (which held the record…yes, Florida was colder than Minnesota).  The weather was showing a 28° start, with a nice wind chill making it feel more like 21°.  Good times.  We discussed how my training had done, despite not really having weather like what I would be running in for the marathon.  I told him this would change my wardrobe and we went over what I could/should wear and ways to keep my core temperature up before the race.  I told him I already had cried twice that day…and he asked what type of crying it was…and I told him it was the “I want this so bad” type of cry.  He told me how to channel that and my unease about the weather into mentally having a successful race.  Honestly, I found the BEST coach.  We hung up…and as we neared Indy…the local station we had found started playing every hype song it could throw at me.  I cried…again.

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Expo Time!

We made it to the hotel, staying once again at the Omni Severin Hotel in downtown, and only a short walk to the start and finish lines.  We got checked in.  I put the sushi in the fridge, along with my overnight oats I made at home to have race morning (just as I did before EVERY long run this cycle).  Then we went to the expo.  I got my packet for the marathon.  Cathy got hers for the 5K.  And I picked up my friend, Melissa’s, packet for her so she didn’t have to drive 4-5 hours round trip with her baby to do it.  Then, we went exploring.  I ended up buying a singlet for this race, and my roommate bought me a finisher’s jacket (she’s the best) and a Bondi Band.  She also got herself a new racing hat, featuring this race (the first one she ever trained for last year).  Then, we made our way around the expo, checking out the different booths and races that were represented there.  Once done with that, we took photos with our bibs, found my name on the giant poster, and headed back to the hotel.

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Cathy and Me at the Expo with our bib numbers!

We settled in for the rest of the day, because I wanted to stay off my feet as much as possible.  We watched a couple episodes of Mindhunter.  Cathy went and got herself dinner from the hotel…which was offering  a nice pasta dinner with a side salad and breadsticks (although she got hers to go and they didn’t pack the breadsticks…but she said there was plenty of pasta).  We ate.  I stretched and foam rolled.  We watched Top Chef (still in Boston…again…good sign!).  Then, we called it a night.  Lights out.

 

I didn’t sleep well.  I kept waking up…needing some water…or just nerves at times.  I turned off my first alarm before it went off because I was already awake.  The second alarm went off at 6:00 am.  Both my roommate and I got up with that one.  It was officially the start of race morning.  She had coffee and juice delivered to the room for her to have with her breakfast (she does this every morning, so this is part of her routine).

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Found my name!

I had about 3 meltdowns just getting ready.  I wish I were kidding.  After talking to my coach on the drive up, I decided to officially nix the shorts.  While the temperature would be climbing in the over three hours I would be out there…I didn’t want to start cold.  So, for the first time in the history of my marathon running…I ran in pants.  Capris.  Of course they were bright and wild colors.  HA!  Because I gotta be me!  I decided to go with a short sleeve shirt (BRIGHT PINK), compression sleeves, my Newtons (I also brought my Adidas Boston Boosts), arm warmers, a buff, a Bondi-Band, gloves (with hand warmers), and a throw-away hat.  I wore everything pink I could…to represent my mom (as has been my theme this entire year I have raced).  I started to put together my hydration pack, pouring room-temperature Nuun into the bladder (I knew it would be cold just being out there…so why make it super cold by starting that way?), packing my Maurten Gel 100s (three with caffeine, three without), shaking up my Maurten 320 Drink Mix (which some of it went into a little bottle in my pack to take at Mile 8), and then I tucked some very important tokens into a pocket to carry with me.  My amazing friend, Kelly Lorch, gifted me with some plates that were to go on my shoelaces.  I had my shoes on…and tied…so I said I would carry them with me.  She is amazing and has been SO supportive of me reaching my goals.  There was no way these weren’t coming along on the journey in some way.

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Magic Sushi from Dragon King’s Daughter: GF Green Acres & GF Spicy Tofu Rolls

Cathy pinned my bib on…then I pinned her up.  I layered on my throwaway clothes and then we both wrapped ourselves in old Mylar from previous races and trash bags.  Then, we headed out to meet up with Melissa at the MRTT/SRTT photo meet-up spot in the Westin (which also gave us a warm place to wait for the start AND bathrooms if needed).  I walked in and was immediately flagged down my Kelly.  Melissa came over and gave me a hug too…and I started to have another cry.  But, thankfully, group pictures were happening so I had to go and attempt to look “homeless chic” in my “how to stay warm on a cold-ass race morning” attire.  The photos were taken and Melissa had me join her as she waited for her husband, Paul, to park the car and bring the bundled up baby inside.  They arrived and she brought out the MOST AMAZING sign ever.  It said, “My auntie Karen chases unicorns and runs BQs.”  She said she and the baby worked very hard on it the night before.  I cried…again.

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Packing up the hydration pack on race morning!

 

No sooner had I dried those tears, Cathy said we had about 15 minutes until the start of the race…so we needed to mosey outside.  BOOOO.  I shed all my throwaway stuff and handed it off to Paul, who was finish line support and baby watching this morning.  He was very kind to let me do that so they can live to be tossed another day. I got re-wrapped up in the trash bag and Mylar…and we headed out into the cold.  We stopped just before the start line, where I needed to make my way down to my wave corral, and I got final hugs.  Cathy let me know (for the 2 millionth time this training cycle) that I had this.  Paul wished me luck and told me I had this in the bag.  And Melissa, because we are the same person, took my head in her hands, made me look right into her eyes, and gave me a pep talk to end all pep talks.  We hugged it out…and I went to go get into place.

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Kelly Lorch gifted me these shoe tags, which I carried with me the entire race!

At first, I thought I was about to have a Glass City Marathon replay…because as I got to my corral…I could see the 3:40 pacer and the 3:30 pacer.  No 3:35.  I was about to cry again, when I spotted a guy standing in an Official Pacer orange shirt…minus the sign.  I went over there and asked if he was the 3:35 pacer.  He said he was, and his partner was currently missing and had the sign.  The other guy showed up a few minutes later, but he was prepared to get us all there with or without the sign.  I felt a lot better.  No need to stare at my watch and fuss over the pace if I could hang with them.  About 5 minutes before the start, I went to ditch the Mylar and trash bag and got back in line with the two pacers.  The race started, with the wheelchairs.  Then Wave 1.  Then my wave.  As we crossed the start line, it was crowded and packed, and the pacers were a bit ahead of me, but I didn’t panic.  I waved to Cathy, Melissa, and Paul…and began to weave a bit to make my way closer to the pace group.

I caught up to them in the first quarter of a mile and made sure not to feel crowded.  If you remember, last year I attempted to do this very same thing…but ended up getting tripped a few times.  That wasn’t happening this year.  NOPE!  We were a fun group and the pacers were great at not only giving direction on where we were turning or where aid was…but just keeping us talking to keep our minds off the race.  One of my pacers was from Sellersburg and we talked about Louisville races and whatnot for awhile.  That was really cool.  He apparently had never heard of me.  He must run in the wrong circles, HA!  Just kidding.

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MRTT/SRTT

By Mile 2 I had already talked his ear off about the Dopey Challenge.  So…there was that.  This is also where my watch was off from the mile markers.  And, yes, my friends…it remained like that until…I kid you not…MILE 26.  My watch was beeping about .1 mile after the actual mile markers.  So, with the new course changes this year, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to get in a full 26.2.  BUT…I was also reminded by the pacers, that with the tunnel overpasses we run under/through, plus the buildings in downtown…you can’t really trust your GPS and that the course WAS measured correctly.  SO…we went with it.  I let it go.  I just let it be.

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Melissa, Baby C, and Me before the start of the marathon!

The first couple of miles of this race is a lot of turns.  For real.  I feel like we go around so many corners, but it was okay.  Also…we were slightly behind pace for the first couple of miles, but I trusted the pacers to get us where we needed to be.  I was, however, keeping a close eye on my watch, in case I needed to just break away and do this on my own.  Then, we busted out a faster fourth mile and had to tone it down a bit.  Too early for that kind of craziness…and they knew it.

From there on, we pretty much stayed steadily just ahead of the actual pace, which made up for those first three, crowded miles.  Also, this time I wasn’t tripped about three times heading into the 10K mark.  For real.  Last year, I had lined up with the 3:35 pace group and it became hazardous to my health around this time.  Nope.  We were a large group, but we were very aware of each other’s space. And that made a whole heap of difference.  I was able to stay relaxed and just breathed.  We crossed the 10K mark and kept on going.  One of the pacers asked, “Who was worried, for no reason, about how cold it was today?  You’re warm now right?”  We all raised our hands.  Don’t get me wrong, it was cold…but our bodies were working hard and we were definitely warm.

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3:35 Pace Group taking off!

At Mile 7, we separate from the half marathon runners.  They take a turn and the full marathon continues on straight.  I was surprised at how good I felt at this point, but I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Despite the cold, I was fueling how I did in training and staying relaxed. I had goals, but I didn’t want to get worked up over them.  I was just going to run my best on this day.  And right now, my best was feeling good!  At Mile 8, I fueled with the 5 oz flask I brought of the rest of my Maurten 320 from the morning.  Onward.

I stayed just slightly behind the pacers through Mile 15 to be honest.  But, I wasn’t going to sweat it.  I distracted myself from Mile 10 to Mile 12 looking for my friends Susan and George.  They live along there, and were going to come out to cheer.  If they were out, I totally missed them.  If they weren’t…I don’t blame them…it was cold.  But, I continued to search for them on the sides of the roads, where people had come out of their warm houses to cheer everyone on.  At Mile 12, I took a Maurten Gel 100.  AND…I ditched my throwaway hat that I had kept on my head until then.  The sun was finally coming out and I knew that the day was about to really start warming up.  I was, however, glad I had my head covered up until that point.  But now…now it was time to let those pigtails fly!

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Cathy got a 5K PR at the Monumental 5K

Halfway there…and I was smiling and high fiving kids and just having a blast.  I mean, if you’re going to run 26.2 miles…you might as well have fun while doing it, right?

I was keeping a very steady pace, which continued as the miles ticked off.  I fueled with another Maurten Gel 100 (and I was taking sips of water from my hydration vest EVERY mile (because I tend to under-hydrate in marathons and had practiced this in training so that it would be a habit and I wouldn’t crash at the end…which I still think is what happened at Glass City) at Mile 16, because I was going to do it every 4 miles to make sure my fuel stores stayed primed as the race went on.

The pacers had pulled slightly ahead of me, but I remained calm and breathed because I still had a ways to go.  Panicking over pace right now wouldn’t serve me.  Stay calm.  My mantra crept in…”Keep Fighting.”  At Mile 18 we went through this little park-like area…which I remembered last year had a lot of people inside just screaming.  Same thing this year.  It made me smile.  “Keep Fighting.”

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Finish line in sight! I was ugly crying already!

I caught back up to the 3:35 pacers as we started down the exit ramp at Mile 19.  If you know me…you know…downhill is my favorite speed.  I smiled a lot at this point…because I was still feeling good.  I was feeling strong.  I was ready to keep going.  I had 7 more miles to go. I did that pretty much every easy run day.  I just had to hold on.

Keep Fighting.

At Mile 20, I took another gel.  This was the last 10K.  This is where most people hit a wall.  Not me.  I wasn’t going to hit a wall today.  I was on a mission.  I kept my head up, soaking in the sun (which was now up), thinking of my mom, running as fast as my legs could possibly go that far into a marathon.  I was feeling strong still.  No wall to have to break through this time.  Although…to be honest, they have you run through this inflatable arch thing that looks like a brick wall… which did amuse me.

I maintained quite well the next few miles.  I could feel some fatigue setting in, but it wasn’t bad.  I still felt good.  I kept telling myself that I had done this before.  I raced a 30K and managed to be under my marathon pace.  I did two of my five 20+ miler training runs at my marathon pace.  Whatever road I still had ahead of me…I knew I was beyond capable of bringing this home.

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Official Results

And then, around Mile 23, we turned a corner and the headwind hit.  And it hit hard.  While the pacers continued on, I could definitely feel the need to fight a bit more now.  The wind was no joke…and I knew we’d have it for the next few miles, at least until we turned and headed to that finish line.  I wasn’t going to let it get in my head.  I had time.  I had this.

Keep Fighting.

At Mile 24, I tried to open my final Maurten Gel 100 (I listen to enough runners on podcasts warn people to not skip that final gel in the last few miles…and now I understand why).  It was hard to tear open, so I slowed to a light jog, got it opened, and picked it back up while I took it down.  2.2 miles to go.

Keep Fighting.

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FINISHED! Here with my Indy Monumental & IndyThon Ultra medals!

The next few miles, I had my personal trainer, Corey’s voice in my head.  All these little moves he had me do that would strengthen my body and get it prepared to find that “next gear” all came into play here.  The wind was whipping, and I was fighting it the best I could.  The next couple miles ticked off.  I even had a friend of mine from Instagram shout at me from the side of the road.  I smiled.  That was amazing.

I made the turn onto W New York Street. From the years prior of me running this…the full and the half…I knew the finish line was around the corner.  I made the turn.  I could see it.  I could see it and I picked it up…I started to just fight every part of my body that wanted me to slow down.  As I got closer, I spotted the signs…the one Cathy held and the one Melissa held up.  I could hear them shouting at me.  I could hear them cheering.  I was already crying.  I was already crying because I knew I was doing it.  I knew I was about to do it…FINALLY!

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I have THE BEST friends!

FLY!

I crossed that finish line, arms up…and then, after I moved past the photographers…I paused my watch and glanced at it.

3:35:13…I had done it.  I had gotten my BQ time for 2021.  And the instant I confirmed it, I just started bawling.  I was ugly crying right there at the finish.  Cathy, Melissa (and Baby C), and Paul rushed over to me and we all hugged and cried together.  All of us.  Except for the baby, ironically.  HA!  Cathy pulled up her phone and started to play Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up To Boston.”  I cried some more.  I cried more than I thought I could because I was just so happy.  Cathy texted my mom and my coach.  She told me they would meet me at the end and to go get my Mylar, medal, and snacks.

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A shower and some coffee!

After I got my medal and Mylar, I spotted the pacer I ran with from Sellersburg and I told him I got my time.  He high-fived me and I tried not to cry again…but I think I was.  I met up with my amazing friends and they were patient enough with me to let me lay down and put my feet up for a few minutes.  Melissa went to retrieve official results.  Cathy and I went to see about getting my medal engraved.  Then we went to retrieve my bonus shirt and medal for the Indython Ultra (for doing Fort Ben Half too). I gave Paul my free slice of pizza. It was a lot of emotions all at once and the reality of it all just kept hitting me.  And I just kept crying…and smiling.

We made the walk back to the hotel together.  Paul and Melissa very kindly went to retrieve some coffee for all of us.  I took a shower and got dressed because I had the USL Eastern Cup Final happening in Indianapolis as well and I needed to go cheer on Louisville City FC.  This also meant I had to go back out into the cold, but Cathy promised to bring blankets.  Our friend Greg came with us to the match and to dinner.

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A very cold, intense victory at the USL Eastern Conference Final in Indianapolis the same day!

I actually didn’t get to eat anything until long after the match, but the wait was worth it.  I enjoyed some gluten free pizza and gluten free fries from Harry & Izzy’s.  I had half the pizza left, so Cathy and I decided that would be breakfast the next morning.  No shame.

We then returned to the hotel where we FINALLY got to crack open the wine I had been saving for the BQ moment.  The three of us lifted our hotel plastic cups and enjoyed the celebration.

Let me also mention that Melissa and Cathy ran the 5K on race morning, with Melissa turning in her BEST post-baby 5K time and Cathy running a new PR (and her first sub-45 minute 5K).

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Harry & Izzy’s Gluten Free Pizza (no cheese) and Fries. FINALLY got to eat!

Now that I’ve bragged on them…let’s go to the stats…

The official results of the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon are that I finished in 3:35:13, which makes it my second fastest marathon to date of the 16 I have now fun.  This took down Marshall by about 42 seconds. So damn proud of the hard work and training I did to make this happen.  I was 1282/4962 finishers overall. I was the 329/2111 female finishers. And I was 98/412 in my age division. I might still be in shock from how everything played out that day.  When it started to feel hard…I just kept fighting.

Never, ever give up on your dreams.  It sometimes takes time to reach your goals.  But that’s what makes them mean so much.  Keep fighting.

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FINALLY! After 2 years of seriously trying, I finally cracked open the wine I saved for when I got my BQ!

Project BQ – Marathon Training Week #20

dreams-hopes-poster-rhino-treadmill-unicornI don’t know how I made it through these last 20 weeks, but with that said…race week has arrived.  I’m both nervous, excited, anxious, and calm.  How is it possible to feel all the things and remain sane?  Well, the vote is still out on that whole remaining sane thing.  HA!

This was definitely a week to turn it down.  And my coach gave me specific instructions that he didn’t want me to take a complete back seat this week, but I could move or change whatever I needed to going into it.  I didn’t change a damn thing.  I did, however, knock my recovery runs down one mile and made sure to keep that pace nice…and…easy.  The last thing I wanted was to go into race morning with lactic acid hanging around in these legs.  NOPE NOPE NOPE!

As I mentioned previously, my coach does an untraditional taper.  He does lower mileage (although I was in the 60s, 50s, 40s for the last three weeks)…kinda.  He makes a lot of it all about that speed work.  Getting those legs to fire…right at the end of a run…when they are the most exhausted.  But this week really didn’t have too much on it.  My longest run was 7 miles, and that was the ONLY one that really had a speed element to it.  And it was a 4 mile fast finish.  Other than that…strides on the last day I ran before the race.  But I’ll cover all of that in this week recap.

It’s race week…let’s go!

Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.

I love that even in taper, my coach trusts me with “Choose Your Own Adventure” runs.  Knowing that this is race week, I really wanted to make my primary focus recovery.  I want to hit that start line feeling fresh and ready.  I was stressing over the forecast a little too much, because it looks like this will be my coldest marathon I have run.  Thanks to Canada and this arctic blast that is attacking our nation.  HA!  Anyway, I woke up to weather JUST above freezing.  So it was a long sleeve, capris kind of a run.  I didn’t wear my Dunkin’ Donuts hat…don’t know why.  I just didn’t.  And the legs did a little shakeout.  They felt good for a Monday.  I opted to do 4 instead of my usual 5 miles…and somehow snagged some negative splits in the process.  I called it a day.  No personal training.  Just my normal PT stretches.  I didn’t even do the additional hip strengtheners this week, not wanting to accidentally tweak something.  Simple.  Basic.  Got it done.

Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: 5-8 MILES WITH 3-5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 6.5 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL THE FAST FINISH AT THE END

I woke up on Tuesday morning to 50 degree weather.  Yep.  From 33 degrees Monday morning to 50 degrees on Tuesday.  Fun times.  I knew he gave me the option of 8 miles…and if this was training on a normal week and I was feeling good…I might have pushed for it.  BUT…it’s taper.  It’s race week. I don’t like half miles…so I rounded up to 7…and I opted to go right in the middle with that fast finish, doing 3 easy miles and pushing pace on those last 4.  It felt hard.  It shouldn’t have felt hard.  But, I did at least get it done.  My sinuses were having a fun reaction to the yo-yo temperatures, so that was fun.  Other than that…I took it for what it was.  Finished as strong as I could for the day, then went inside to shower and just do my usual stretching.  Keeping it nice and easy.  Oh, and I went and voted.  Because that needed to happen!

Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.

Second verse, same as the first.  My only other “Choose Your Own Adventure” run for the week.  Happy to have had 2 of these.  I opted to do 4 again, unless I just wasn’t feeling it.  That’s the glory about these…I control them.  I did make a note to back off on pace and just let the legs work a little less.  My last 2 miles were much quicker than my first 2 miles, but that’s because it took me 2 miles to feel warm.  Isn’t that fun.  OH…did I not mention that the temperature dipped back down to just above freezing again?  Another morning with 33 degrees.  Oh…joy.  And the fact that I went from a warm apartment to run and it took me 2 miles to get my legs going was a bit of a concern.  I just tried very hard not to let it get into my head.  I did my stretches twice that morning.  And I foam rolled before work.  After work, I had a sports massage and I was so thankful for that.  Basically all that is holding me back right now is the weather.

Thursday: BASE FUN 4-8 MILES + 4-6 STRIDES – GOAL 6 MILES – EASY OVERALL EFFORT

It was another rainy Thursday morning.  Just like last week.  UGH.  MEH.  BLAH.  I originally had thought about just doing the run on the treadmill, but I can’t do strides on the tready.  Nope.  So…I opted to just go and get it done.  It never stopped raining on me…but thankfully, we were back up to 50 degrees.  WHAT THE HELL WEATHER?!  So, I definitely didn’t want to push anything. Not even the hills I go up and down.  This was one of my slowest training runs to date.  And some of it might have been fear of slipping on the wet pavement and falling.  I won’t lie.  But I really just wanted it all to feel super easy.  It didn’t.  I blame the rain.  But, I did get in 6 miles.  See…I was given the option of going up to 8…but I really am doing JUST what needs to be done this week.  I reset for strides and pushed those legs on some short sprints…then went inside to take a hot shower, stretch, and get to work.  I met my friend, Melissa, for coffee after work…and she gave me my start line pep talk just in case she couldn’t get that out at my start line.  I appreciated it.  Went home to eat dinner.  Was supposed to pack.  Didn’t pack.  Went to bed by 8:30…because I really wanted to get some quality sleep knowing that I probably won’t sleep much on Friday night.

Friday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!

Thank God for small miracles.  I woke up at normal time…of course.  I didn’t set an alarm.  I just woke up.  So I lounged and dozed and finally got up at 5 am.  I showered.  I stretched.  I was thankful to not have to do one single mile today.  I was thankful that it was 26 degrees outside and I got to stay inside, stretch, hydrate, and sit under my snuggie, working on this blog.  That’s what I did.  I eventually made breakfast and my roommate and I got to packing…pretty much every option for any scenario on race day.  I still don’t know what I should or want to wear during the race.  We haven’t had weather this cold yet here…so I am at a total loss.  Not to mention, I have never run a marathon or a long distance run in temperatures like this.  It doesn’t sound fun.  It’s producing a lot of anxiety…but we’re working through it.  We had to wait for Dragon King’s Daughter to open so I could order my “magic sushi” to take with me to Indianapolis.  Then we hit the road to get up to Indy, check into the hotel, and hit the expo.  The rest of the time, I was going to spend in the hotel…rolling, stretching, and keeping myself off my feet.  I wanted to feel good Saturday morning.

Saturday: CNO FINANCIAL GROUP INDIANAPOLIS MONUMENTAL MARATHON

Goal: Qualify for Boston – needed 3:40 time.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Finished in 3:35:13.

More to come in actual post race recap!  This girl is going back to Boston in 2021!  This is my second fastest marathon…EVER.  This beats out my 2nd marathon, the Marshall Marathon, by about 42 seconds.  Super proud.  Super sore.  But my day didn’t end with that finish line.  Then I went and sat outside in Indianapolis for the USL Eastern Conference Finals between the Indy Eleven and…Louisville City FC.  We won.  In overtime.  It was a long day of being cold.

Sunday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!

I just can’t sleep the night after I run a marathon.  I was up until after midnight, watching Mindhunter (finished Season 2) and was still NOT tired.  I tossed and turned all night.  Finally got up and decided to finish this blog.  Will take a short 20 minute walk on the hotel treadmill this morning before grabbing breakfast, packing, loading up the car, and heading out for some shopping and lunch (you know I’m going to Woody’s).  Then, the long car ride home to Louisville, where I still need to buy groceries, meal prep, and all the usual stuff.  This coming week will bring my 20-30 minute walks (just like I did post Glass City Marathon in April).  I want to get back to spin classes…all the stuff I stopped doing when marathon training took over my life.  Looking forward to this recovery time while I make plans for 2020, which now doesn’t need to include a marathon!

Project BQ – Marathon Training Week #19

dreams-hopes-poster-rhino-treadmill-unicornGuys…we have 19 weeks of hard training down…and only one more to go until the big day.  Am I nervous?  Of course.  There’s something scary about putting your goals out there for people to see…for putting your training out there for people to read.  Setting big goals in and of themselves can be a scary ordeal.

But there is no turning back now.  We’re in the homestretch.  That start line and that finish line are waiting…

So let’s do this thing.

Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.

I was so thankful to have another Monday as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” kind of run.  After moving my long run last week to Sunday, it was nice to not have to worry about hitting paces or doing some sort of workout.  I didn’t know this, however, until the morning when I woke up.  My coach sends through my plan after his children go to bed…and I had already gone to bed ahead of that.  What can I say?  Rest and sleep have been a priority this entire training cycle and it has made a world of difference.  So…I went out there, watch covered, and put in some miles.  I kept it easy and relaxed and just let my legs do what they needed and wanted to do that day.  No pressure.  No anxiety.  Just a simple run to shake out the legs.  I finished up with 5 miles for the morning, because my legs felt that good.  I did my additional hip strengthening exercises with my morning round of stretches this morning.  Then, at noon, at met with my personal trainer, Corey, who put me through a leg day workout, targeting some muscles that don’t get a lot of love.  I stretched and foam rolled that evening and went to bed early (as always)

Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: SPEED WORK – MONA FARTLEKS W/ 1 MILE HARD EFFORT

I didn’t want to incorporate speed during my taper…but it’s important to keep that rolling.  And my coach, thankfully, handed me my favorite of the speed workouts to do.  The Mona Fartleks.  If you haven’t tried these yet…DO IT!  You’ll see what I mean.  Mona Fartleks work like this: 2 mile warm up, 2 x 90 sec, 4 x 60 sec, 4 x 30 sec, 4 x 15 sec (with equal recovery after each at a pace faster than base pace), 1 mile hard effort, 2 mile cool down.  Simple.  Basic.  FUN!  It was a cool morning…and I felt fast.  I really did.  I kept my warm up nice and easy then really hit those intervals.  I even managed a mile in the 6s for pace at the end.  My cool down…faster than my warm up, but it usually is.  I mean…I wasn’t expecting my legs to respond like that, but they felt ready to go.  They felt strong.  It worked out to be 8 miles for the day.  I went inside and did my second day of additional hip strengtheners with my morning stretches.  Went to work.  Came home and did those evening stretches before hitting the sack for some sleep.

Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.

It was the perfect morning for another easy “Choose Your Own Adventure Day.”  When I have those in the middle of the week, it always means another bit of speed is coming the following day.  With that in mind, my watch was covered and I went out and ran comfortably.  And apparently comfortably that day was…faster than anticipated.  I felt amazing the entire time.  Rested.  Strong.  Capable.  This is what you need to be feeling this week of training…and I’m hitting it.  I did another 5 miles this morning, surprised with the average pace at the end.  I hoped it wouldn’t hinder my run the following day.  I stretched.  I went to work.  And I met with Corey at lunch for personal training, focusing on triceps.  We kept the session shorter than usual because he wanted to make sure I had no lactic acid built up as I go into race week.  He’s a runner.  He’s an athlete.  He gets these things.  That evening I had a great sports massage and all felt right with the world.  Except for…the rain.

Thursday: 8-10 MILES WITH A 3-5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 9 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL FAST FINISH AT END

I didn’t casually mention rain yesterday for no reason.  When I woke up early to fit in this run (knowing I wasn’t going to do anything over the goal distance)…it was pouring rain.  Fun fact…if it starts to rain on me after I’m out running, I’m okay with it.  I don’t like starting in the rain.  At all.  And…if this wasn’t as long of a run, I probably would have gone to the gym and done it on the treadmill.  My plan was to go out and do 5 easy and 4 at marathon pace.  When the rain picked up that morning…I hit four miles and chose to just hit 5 at marathon pace instead.  So…off I went.  And even in the pouring rain (thankfully it was 58 degrees outside)…which I always fret over slipping…I nailed it.  Completely nailed it.  I even felt like I could have pushed harder, but the purpose of the exercise was to hit marathon pace, not half marathon pace.  This was also the first time since July that I have run with my watch uncovered.  And it didn’t stress me out at all.  That being said, I was very happy to finish up this run and get out of the rain.  9 miles for the day…5 of them fast.  It was a HUGE confidence boost to do that in rain.  I did my stretches in the morning and night.  Oh…and by the time I left work, winter had arrived.  We legit had snowflakes in the air.  NOPE!

Friday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!

I didn’t sleep in much for some reason this Friday.  I kept waking up.  So, eventually, I just got myself out of bed and went to be a little productive.  I erased my whiteboard art and went and did up something new for the month of November.  I used Simba from The Lion King (the original animated one) with his mane of leaves.  Because it’s fall.  Leaves mean fall.  And I love drawing Disney characters.  I showered.  I stretched.  I finished filling out my paper work for my podiatrist.  My appointment got moved to just before lunch today.  I don’t anticipate this being a long visit…but hoping he can do something about some of my nails (marathon training for 2 years = ugly feet).  And…after work, we hit up Dragon King’s Daughter for “magic sushi” as I prepare for my long run on Saturday.

Saturday: 11-13 MILES WITH 5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 12 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL FAST FINISH AT END

Woke up to weather in the 20s.  No joke.  It was 28° and I was not happy!  Not one bit.  I don’t do well in temperatures below freezing.  It’s part of having Raynaud’s.   It sucks to try to run when you can’t feel your feet.  So, I admit…I was in a bad mood at the start of this run.  Not even going to lie.  I didn’t even plan out a route or think it through the night before.  I just was determined that this run was going to be awful.  It wasn’t too bad.  It was just cold.  But guess what…I warmed up.  The sky was crystal clear.  The sun came out.  And while I wouldn’t call it warm by any means, my movement did finally give me some feeling in my extremities.  YAY!  The same could not be said for my iPhone 7.  The battery died 30 minutes into my run.  Guys…I can’t have my phone battery dying when the weather is cold.  It’s a safety issue for ME.  Against my will, I ended up turning the phone off and finishing up the run, with the last 5 miles being along my super-hilly Thanksgiving course.  WHY do I do this?  Why do I forget (I run this course all the time) how hard those hills are?  But I pushed my fast finish at marathon pace.  It was a bit of a struggle today, but my last long run was done.  I took a warm shower.  I put on real (warm) clothes.  I watched Mindhunter with my breakfast gluten-free bagel.  I went grocery shopping (all day).  I came home and put away groceries.  Stretched.  Watched Top Chef.  Watched Mindhunter.  Then watched Louisville City FC win (on the road) the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  Guess what?  The Eastern Conference Finals are being held in Indianapolis…the afternoon of my marathon.  Guess what we’re getting tickets to go watch!!  It was a late night (for me) but worth staying up for.

Sunday: BASE RUN 5-8 MILES + 4-6 STIDES – GOAL 7 MILES – EASY OVERALL EFFORT

The time change messed with me.  I always panic when we have to fall back or jump forward.  Especially when I am meeting with friends to go running.  I set my alarm clock (which I needed to adjust the time, but in hindsight didn’t actually move it when we jumped forward in the spring…so I totally had the time wrong.  But I also set my phone alarm.  Then I woke up, not trusting it.  And my alarm clock (was wrong) said one time.  My phone and Garmin said another.  The clock in the living room said the same time as my phone, and the clock in the kitchen had the same time as my alarm clock.  I was driving myself crazy.  I finally asked Siri what time it was…and my phone was correct.  I just don’t trust technology to actually fall back.  Deep breath.  So, I snuggled down for another hour…but didn’t really sleep.  Finally got up to stretch, hydrate, fuel, and get my stuff together.  I figured, with it being another below freezing morning, I’d have to give myself time to scrape the windows of my car before driving to meet my friend Ron for my last weekend run before the marathon.  Murder fog rolled in as I arrived.  He had gone to do his additional 2 miles ahead of our meeting.  And we ran through it for a mile before it started to lift and the sun came back out.  We kept it easy and talked a lot about race strategy and the weather (he’s a meteorologist) and how to dress.  It’s all confusing to me.  Aside from the weather (which is an uncontrollable), I do feel confident and good and better than ever as this training cycle wraps up.  We threw in the strides at the end of the run.  Walked it back to the cars.  Stretched.  And that was it.  The last long run before the big day.  8 miles total.

So, yeah…a part of me is internally freaking out because I have put this HUGE goal out there for everyone to see, read about, and follow along with.  But, it honestly doesn’t feel like any pressure to perform has been put on me.  I trust my coach…his plan…my training…and I know I am capable of having a great race.  Now…I need the day to go well.  You never know on race day what can happen.  But…honestly, I have never felt more ready to run 26.2 miles.

Six days to go.  And, let me tell you, my friends running the NYC Marathon have been quite the inspiration!  Here’s to staying focused, healthy, and strong in these final days before the start line.