Sunday, November 12, 2017

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k Columbus

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out bibrave.com to find and write race reviews.

I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k this spring with the intention of trying out a race that had a more fun slant than a normal race and a 15k is an unusual enough distance. Why not? You can't go wrong with anything with a theme of chocolate.

Training: I was training already for the Air Force 10k in Dayton when I started getting regular emails from the Hot Chocolate 15k race. They had a 12 week training plan for free that participants could use. I thought it looked a little tough for beginner runners. The 1st week had you run 90 mins for a long run. If I had done that it would have been about 11 miles for me.  I think they should have a just finish it plan as an option.


Expo: The expo was at Columbus Convention center which happened to be next to the race hotel. I was able to stay inside the hotel/convo center and walk to the expo. I had to ask directions to get there since there weren't a lot of signs for it. When I walked in to expo, all the bib pick up and swag were along the walls. The bib pick up had numerous people working and they only needed your QR code that was emailed before the race. There was some confusion, mostly people stopping in front of the pickup to get their QR code on their phone, then others thinking it was a line. Once you had that, they picked the next bib in their pile and scanned your QR code and then printed a sticker with your info and corral. I'm surprised not more races do this. It saves organizing the bibs by number/alphabetical order. My number was super high too, so I wonder if they pre print all the bibs for the whole series.

The swag bag was simple to pick up. They asked that if you wanted to try on your 3/4 zip jacket/shirt that you do it where they had samples already so that you didn't need to open your package. I tried on a medium and it seemed  a little on the big side. (fine by me) so I kept the size. When I went back to the hotel my 3/4 zip was a bit smaller than I tried on. I probably would have gone up a size if i had known. Oh well. It still fits, just not as flattering.






They also had trials sizes of the hot chocolate and chocolate fondue that would be at the finish line. Nothing like a tasty snack! The expo had a few local/Ohio races there and Nuun! I was excited to see Nuun there (since I'm a Nuun ambassador) and got to do a sampling of flavors that I don't normally get. There was also some running gear booths, like headbands, belts, medal holders and a local running store.

Race:
Race morning was perfect for a long run. 60 degrees with a slight drizzle. I wore a tank and shorts (in November!!!) The walk from the hotel was nice, I ran into a few people, one who was doing it for the 5th year in a row. He just raved about how much he loved this race. (I ended up finishing right next to him in the free pictures that I got!)
The park was all set up for the finish and everything was nicely labeled including gear check next to the start line. I didn't use it since it was so mild outside but if it had been cold I would have! Corrals were labeled and there were plenty of porta potties.  I ran into Matt one of the other bib rave pros from Akron area. We listened to the announcer talk to a few different families about how Make A Wish helped them. Hot Chocolate has them as their sponsored charity. The waves started 3 minutes apart so there was no over crowding in the first mile. I felt that I got into my groove pretty quickly. The course was pretty unremarkable. You go though downtown then head up High St around OSU campus then back. My only complaint was they needed more water stops. It was warmer than expected and I felt that every mile or 2miles there should have been a stop, but it was more like every 3miles. Some of the water stops had chocolate, especially the last one. I didn't stop for that but did get water and nuun.

Post Race:
When you crossed the finish line you got your medal and a bottle of water. They really didn't want anyone stopping there so I felt kind of rushed to get out of the "chute". Then I wondered over to the finisher's mugs. They had a really big tent and multiple lines to hand out the mugs. They were very tasty. Each had hot chocolate, chocolate fondue with marshmallows, banana, and a few cookies to dip into the fondue. I was trying to find a way to carry it/eat it with my water bottle in my hands, too. They needed to have some high top tables that people could stop and
enjoy the hot chocolate. They did have a bag table were you could get a  plastic bag to but your mug after you were done. I ended up putting my mug in there with intentions to eat it when I got back to the hotel. The end area also had a chance to buy more Hot Chocolate swag. They also had the Make A Wish photo option. you got your picture taken a $10 donation. The volunteer explained it was free and that they would donate, but later I got an email thanking me for donating and I should expect to see a charge on my Visa for it. I don't mind donating but I think the volunteer didn't quite explain it as well as it should  have been. 
That was the guy I talked to before the race!

Later in the day, I got an email with links to my free pictures.
That is a very nice touch.

Overall: It was a cute race. If there was one in my city, I'd do it with my boys. I'm not sure I'd travel to a race like this again though. I tend to keep my travel budget pretty tight and only for major races (i.e. marathons). It was well organized and if you want to do a fun race (there was a 5k option, too) then try it out. I mean, the swag is pretty nice. I've worn my 3/4 zip a few times (in the last week). I've heard others do it for the swag too. 



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fall recap: soccer, needles & knees

The soccer season is over!* (Well, unless you count indoor that starts in a week) which means family dinners together and running after work instead of round n round the soccer fields.
Every Weds & Thurs Run since August. 


My fall went so fast I can't believe that next week is November. Which means my Hot Chocolate 15k race is next Sunday!!!! Eak! Although, my training has been going really well (with the exception of my darn knee). I'm actually running the HC15k on Sunday then running ORRRC Fall Festival 15k on Saturday.

My weeks have been consisting of Mondays off, Tues easy run between 5-7 miles, Weds (at soccer practice) are speed days with variety of intervals with total of 7-9 miles, Thurs (at soccer practice) are recovery easy run days, Fri low mileage 4-5 miles, Sats/Sun are 9-13 miles with the other day being easy. Weekly mileage has been between 30-40 miles.

Dry needling
My biggest concern is my knee.  I have runner's knee, which a generic term meaning I have pain around my knee cap. Usually it bothers me after my runs, going up and down stairs. I started seeing a PT that focuses on a very hands on way. He also loves dry needling. It hurts but it works and keeps me going.

Excited about my first Hot Chocolate 15k. I was hoping to go with some friends but family schedules make it hard this time of year. Looks like I'm going alone. My introverted self is doing a happy dance. Alone time! yay!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

bumps in the road

I haven't been running much since my marathon. 1st of all, I was lacking any motivation in May. Maybe it was running burnout after training for Glass City or maybe it was the craziness of the end of school year and busy soccer season.

2nd of all: Runner's knee. I've had this before where your knee starts hurting when going up or down stairs, then it was happening when I was just walking around. I'd started having problems with this back in April before my race. My chiro helped with stim, ultrasound and dry needling. Post race though, it continued to be a problem without improvement even with rest. Like weeks of rest... Finally went to a Sports Med doc who gave me a printout of some standard PT exercises and I committed to doing them faithfully (at least till I felt better...). 

I also swapped shoes.  Now, I don't want to dog on the Adidas Ultraboost X that I just tested...but they did not work for me. I needed my Powerstep Pinnicle inserts in my shoes. When I went back to my regular shoes I had no more knee pain. Easy fix.

I had a follow up with the dr about the knee and used that to ask about my foot. I've been having 5th metatarsal pain in my foot for about 5 months. It was something I was monitoring and it never got worse just kept being there after running. It never hurts while running. When I took time off for my knee, I was hoping that the foot would get better too. It didn't. So, I decided that maybe having a Dr look at it and make sure everything was ok. Thankfully, it is. Xrays looked normal and he pushed my metatarsals around. I definitely have pain on the side but not directly on top of the metatarsal. He suggested my 5th metatarsal is overloaded.  Funny, now that he says that, I do feel I roll out on my foot when I run in my Mizuno Inspires. He gave me some metatarsal pads to put in my shoes. 

So, I can't win with running shoes. I switch between neutral Adidas Energy Boost 3 and support Mizuno Inspires. When I wore just the neutral Adidas I had hip/glute issues. Once I switched to my Mizuno Inspires my foot rolls out too much. I was switching between the 2 during training. I have a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders that I bought when they were on sale that I haven't tried yet. I used to run in those before my ankle issues a few years ago. I'll try those out eventually. 

Now, time to start training for Air Force 10k...

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shoe Review: Adidas UltraBoost X



Disclaimer: I received the Adidas UltraBoost X 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 love Adidas running shoes. I've been wearing the Adidas Energy Boost 3 for about a year. I jumped at the chance to try out the UltraBoost X.

1st impression: These look like minimal shoes. They came with a sock-upper glued to a running shoe sole which definitely was not minimal (10 mm drop) I immediately worried about my Powerstep Pinnicle inserts that I've used in my shoes since a nasty case of plantar fasciitis about 5 years ago. I also worried that my narrow heel would slip a ton without being able to lace lock the laces. This was all forgotten as soon as a slipped them on!




These shoes cradle your foot in what the website calls a "Primeknit upper" that includes a "floating arch". They fit like a glove or slippers. These shoes felt amazing. I never tried these shoe with my inserts because with the arch being how it was it seemed that it wouldn't work right. The upper was supportive with out being restrictive. My heel didn't slip at all which shocked me! I felt fast, too! The Boost cushioning was very responsive. I felt like I was running clouds but not in that "floating, can't feel the road" kind of way. Kind of like when you don't normally run on a track, then you do, and it feels like it gives energy back to your legs.

I wore these with socks with the exception of one time. Even without socks the Primeknit upper was so comfortable. Adidas has pads around the opening where it could rub against your ankle bones. I have an accessory navicular bone on one foot and my Energy Boosts always rub there but the Ultraboost X didn't at all.
padding in the inside is hard to see but it's there

I think these shoes would be awesome for triathletes. You could slip on the shoe with the laces tied and be out of T2 in a heartbeat. I didn't run long distances in these shoes since I got them right after my last marathon so my runs were shorter. I think that these could be used up to a marathon without problems.

In addition to wearing these to run in, I did just wear them around and got some street cred with my high school students who told me they were "lit". In fact, numerous people from teenagers to grandmas told me they liked my shoes. Once these are "retired" they will be my go to shoes.

👍

  • Most comfortable shoes I've worn
  • superior cushioning
  • arch support is actually there (although it does take a different appearance than traditional shoes
  • responsive
  • light 8.3 oz
  • awesome styling



👎

  • wear and tear seem to be showing after a month on the uppers, snagged on the side on one shoe so I have big loop hanging off
  • may not work if you must have an orthotic in your shoe
  • not "traditional" looking
  • price tag $180
Fraying starting by the big toe area

Overall, I loved these shoes. If you wear a neutral shoe and have minimal biomechanical problems these shoes are for you. Way to go, Adidas!!!!
note: you can see through my arches


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Race Recap: Glass City Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Glass City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review and write race reviews!

I had heard great things about Glass City Marathon and jumped at the chance to run it. A flat, fast course and pretty close to home is always a plus. 

Expo: 
The Glass City marathon expo was pretty nice. They had UT Savage Area floor to use and had the usual vendors for a mid sized marathon. Lots of local services with discounts- definitely nice for the local runners. Also they had venders selling GU etc. for the last minute "oops, I forgot to pack (fill in the blank)". A local run shop had different t-shirts and 1/2 zips to supplement to your Glass City Swag. I stayed away since I already have an entire dresser filled with running clothes. (Yeah, I might have a Oiselle problem!) The packet pick up was very clear and it was very nice that they had a special section for 1st time marathoners who got an escort by the elite runners. 

Shirts are a nice New Balance short sleeve with the north coast line of Ohio across it. 

Gear drop bag with bib and shirt was missing one thing: a map of the course and starting line. Since my husband was there to cheer he didn't want to be looking at the little map on the app that tracked the runner. I didn't use the tracking feature on the app either since I was concerned about my battery life on my phone during the race and after. 

The Race:
Morning of: I met up with a friend from high school & her friend who happens to work at UT. We waited in her building where it was warmer and had flushing toilets. We walked past the portapotty line which didn't look too long but I was thankful not to have to use them! I met up with my Oiselle Volée team mates for a picture a little before race time.


Corrals were pretty lame, they might think about refiguring them. Corral A was huge and hardly anyone there with 5 mins til start. I walked in A and stepped over the tape that was already on the ground to make my way to B. They had a nice flyover of the Mercy Health helicopter before the start and it took a picture of the crowd. Although everyone around me was correctly placed, I didn't need to run around slower runners.

My goal for this race was a BQ -5:00 so for my AG 3:40. I had been doing well with training but definitely had some small over use injuries that popped up every few weeks. I knew that my training wasn't as intense as I'd done in the past but I was not nursing any injury at the start. Weather was looking ideal as well. Low 40s for a start, not a cloud in sight. My plan was to run 8:20-8:30 pace for the first half then drop down to 8:20-;25 for the 2nd half. 

The course circled around the UT campus then into Ottawa Hills (an absolutely beautiful suburb of Toledo) then through a metro park, out to Sylvania then back through the same metro park then bike path back to UT campus and finishing in the Glass Bowl stadium. I had looked on a few marathon review websites and it was common that the course was long if you didn't run the tangents. This course has a lot of turns so I tried my best to run the most direct path and ended up only running a tenth of a mile over compared to some who had run .4 over. 

mile 12
My race was going great until mile 10. My left knee which had not given me any problems during training started hurting. I have had problems with my IT band in the past and I knew that's what it was. I debated stopping and stretching. Would that mess up my pace? would it just make it harder to get moving again? I tried to run through it. By mile 16 i was slowing down, 10 secs slower every mile then mile 20 (aka the wall) hit as well. I dropped down to what felt like a crawl but really it was 10-11 min per mile pace. I knew that my BQ time was slipping away and I couldn't go any faster. It was a long slog back to the finish. My only complaint would be the bike path at the end... it felt so long and there wasn't any shade. I was hot, sad, exhausted and still had 4 miles to go. Ugh. The bright spot for the last 10k was oranges at the water stops. They were the best tasting oranges I have ever had. I've never taken food other than my own energy (Gu, etc) but wow. Fresh oranges are the bomb! 

Another minor complaint is the last 1/4 mile you turn the corner from a down hill and you see the afterparty but the course isn't very obvious (at least in my haze at the end) I actually threw up my hands like "Where the hell to do I go?" but then it became obvious as they had a cheering section leading up to the stadium. I finished in 4:01:09. I finished, got my medal (holy toledo! that sucker is HUGE), then promptly started crying. I was asked if I needed medical and I said I wanted ice for my knee but then the volunteer walked away figuring I was ok. I was, but ice would have been nice or at least walked me towards the med tent. I stopped and just sobbed for awhile knowing that I had missed my goal by 20 mins but out of the blue my friend from HS was there rubbing my shoulders. She's done countless marathons and knows it's the nature of the beast. I do, too. It still sucks though.

Jen and I waited around for my husband who was near the finish line to find me. My legs were toast and I wanted more than anything is to put my legs up a wall (thanks, Jasyoga!) we found a wall at the end zone of stadium and rested for about 10 mins with our legs up the wall. (My friend had done the half). I actually felt way better after that enough so that I could walk down to the after party and get my nice finisher's glass mug. We promptly went to the food tent, got the usual bagel, banana and pizza. I didn't have much of an appetite but wanted the beer (numb the sting of a crappy race). I'm a beer snob and I have to say they had decent beer...and then I drank a Bud Light Lime because it sounded amazing and it was. (and I hate Bud Light). 

We had an hour to get back to the hotel and check out so I didn't stick around to talk to the other Oiselle volee although I saw some from a far. 

I liked the race. I would do it again definitely. The last marathon I ran before this was Chicago so this was definitely more hometown-y and low key in a nice way. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marathon Training midway there

I planned on blogging about every week leading up to the Glass City Marathon. Good thing I stick better to my planned workouts than my blogging!

I posted earlier that I'm working with Becki Spellman. It's been nice to not over think my training since I'm letting Coach Becki worry about that part.

I started out in January doing 2 weeks of cross training. Normally that would freak me out but I think my body needed a rest from the fall marathon. Also, I'm not getting any younger... more time stretching, yoga and foam rolling are needed to maintain this "master" runner.

We started doing a 9 day training cycle. So, instead of running a long run every Sunday, now its every 9 days. My training looks like this: rest day, easy day, hard day x3 with the last hard day being a long run. Obviously, this may not work all the time but for now I've been able to do it. The hardest thing is having my long run on a workday and having to do it after work. Since I teach, I have just planned that my long days are days where I'm not having to be up and walking around the whole time. Since, Coach Becki gives me 2 weeks in advance, I've been able to plan for the long runs pretty well. Next long run is tomorrow (yay, a Sunday!) but next week its on a Tuesday. (18 miles after work!). That might be a long week...
this could be my house

I've been feeling really good and my legs are fresh. This is the opposite of how I've felt with the Hanson's Method. I do feel a bit worried about "Am I ready?" I know I will be, I'm just not used to rest days. My chiro reminds me that I've never been healthy at a start line either since my legs are usually pretty trashed.

see the track? my new workout location...
Now that we're in March, this race is suddenly feeling pretty close. 7 weeks from tomorrow. Also that means, soccer season is starting on Monday for Buster. Time to plan those runs during soccer practices. I need to get some new podcasts on the list. I'm digging the Bib Rave podcast right now.
I'm usually a listener of Another Mother Runner, Fresh Air and This American Life. What other podcasts would you recommend?


Join me at the Toledo Glass City Marathon on April 23, 2017 Discount code: brpsavings for $5 off any race.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: AfterShokz Sportz Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Sportz Titanium Headphones 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!

Do you run listening to music or podcasts? Or are you prefer to be able to hear your surroundings? Do you try to do both? 

I always listen to something. On slow days or long runs I listen to podcasts but for speed days I love listening to music. The only time I might ditch the headphones is on the trails.  I pride myself on being aware of my surroundings but I know I've been caught off guard with a car passing or a dog barking when I've been in the zone.

I've been wearing Yurbuds for woman for the last few years. I've had a serious love/hate relationship with them. They fit in my ears ok until it gets hot out and I start sweating. Then it's a every few steps, I'm adjusting the earbud. Then I've lost the silicon earbud covering and replacing them is nearly the cost of what paid for the headphones. I've been wanting to try something new but wasn't sure what would work. 

Enter AfterShokz Bone Conduction headphones. What?! Bone Conduction? Here's what Aftershokz webpage says:

Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them.


Here's a picture of my son wearing them:
Not "in" your ear, so you can still hear around you!
 They are one piece that is connected by titanium frame that, of course, is super light weight. When I wore these I could hardly feel them. That was such a nice surprise after always messing with my normal headphones.  

Positives:
  • light weight
  • sound quality was good- but I'm not terribly picky about that
  • you could hear around you
  • no one could hear my music -at least when I asked
  • no earbuds falling out
  • plugged in with no problems with my Otter Box case
  • no interferences with my sunglasses by my ears
  • You can hardly see them!
Negatives:
  • you need to turn them on and off- I forgot once but they were still good for the next days run.
  • extra little battery pack attached to the end of the cord was awkward, I used my FitBelt so it was tucked away but if I had an arm strap that would be swinging around.
  • I tested these in the winter. Anytime I had a hat on the headphone frame would pull the hat out, so my ears did not stay covered. I ended up having to use the headphones when I didn't need a hat. 
  • I could hear things that I previously could tune out. Examples: my keys in my pocket making noise, other runner's weird breathing in races, etc. also at the gym all the grunting and conversations that you kinda want to tune out. 
    cold ears :-(
    Do I recommend them? I do. I love them and the price for them was a reasonable $59.95. They also carry a wireless version which is $129.99 (I might be asking for those for a mother's day gift). Overall, it's really a win, win. You can hear what's going on around you and still listen to music!
Click here to buy and get a free stainless steel water bottle. Plus free shipping!