Ultra Training Week #3: The Trails are for Everybody

Training week #3 started off pretty good for me. But a little too much fun at the casino on Friday night left me with a gnarly day-long hangover on Saturday, which meant that there was no way I was getting in my weekly long run. I fared only a little better by Sunday – able to get in 6.4 miles at Center Trails before calling it a day (I still had maybe only 200 calories in my system at that time).

It’s not the end of the world — though at times during my hangover I thought it might be. Running after puking for 24 hours is a skill good for Ultras, no? In any event, Sunday’s run was SLOW for me, and I fell behind my pack for most of the run, working on a lot of power hiking. Though I sometimes need the reminder Run Your Own Race — even on training days. And that came by way of an oncoming mountain biker. I apologized for being slow to move out of the way, and he — ever a gracious human being on this early Sunday morning — remarked: The trails are for everybody!

I let out some kind of awkward, shrill-yelling “YEASSSS!” as we passed one another. And I stopped feeling sorry for myself (and instead started profusely apologizing to my liver).

ultra fun trail running ultramarathon training

I was such a mess on Sunday, that I apparently couldn’t even wear my hat correctly!

WHAT’S FUN?
This upcoming week I’ve got my first meet-up with a work-organized running group and a HOKA demo & pub run with Fleet Feet.

SOMETHING-SOMETHING:
You can’t pay people to be motivated to go to the gym.

AUGUST MILEAGE UPDATE: 36.9 miles
WEEKLY MILEAGE: 14.4 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 577.31 miles
UP NEXT: Rockin’ Chocolate Half Marathon in Madison, WI and NewBo Half in Cedar Rapids, IA — both part of my Labor Day back-to-back half challenge with Pittsburgh City Girl

Weekly Therapy: 8.11.17

the week:
This week I celebrated NINE YEARS since I quit smoking. Pretty proud of that milestone!

Ready to quit? Check out the Quitter’s Circle for resources on quitting AND staying smoke-free — and find the community support you need to quit for good.

weekend:
Off to Riverside, Iowa to see one of my favorite bands, Better Than Ezra, at the Casino. They’re touring with The Wallflowers, who I haven’t seen live since, like, 1997.

Also, it’s THE IOWA STATE FAIR time! Tater tot-nachos, I’ coming for ya.

seven things, seven days:
1. My tomato plants are finally producing some fruit – and I got to pick my first tomato!
2. Have you heard about The BibRave 100? Check it out, and nominate your favorite races.
3. Can anyone run an ultramarathon? Short answer: YES! Even Dr. Stanley Beecham agrees. {via Paste}
4. I participated in a wonderful webinar about energy management, which included some exercises for core values clarification and identifying energy resources. These topics are so interesting to me — as they were in my undergrad — and fueled my desire once again to look into applied psychology graduate programs.
5. SEE?! Why you should manage your energy and not your time {via BBC}
6. This was also long-sitting in my inbox: Define Your Core to Design Your Life {via Day Designer}
7. Running with a therapist: I LOVE IT! {via LA Times}

Race Recap: Minnesota Nut House Challenge — TOTALLY NUTS!

I took a road trip to Rochester, Minnesota a few weeks ago — my first time to the state of Minnesota — to run the TOTALLY NUTS! challenge series of the Minnesota Nut House Challenge. The drive was just over 3 hours from the Des Moines area.

MN Nut House Challenge totally nuts logo

I love multi-event challenge races, so I was ready to get some miles on my legs in my build-up to ultra-marathon training. The half marathon would be my 12th — AND I got to color in another state on my map.

This was the 3rd year for the Nut House series; it’s a small local race put on by Triton Events and sponsored by Active PT & Sports. There are several races that made up the weekend of events: a 5k, 10k, and half marathon; there was a children’s/fun mile run before each of those races, too. While I knew what kind of mileage I was getting myself into by running all three (22.4), I’m SO GLAD that they were not in the order of 5k/10k/half.

Nut House Challenge flat runner blog review

The 10k was up first on Saturday morning, followed by the 5k Saturday evening, and the half marathon on Sunday morning. Participants had the option of running a single race or completing one of two challenges: Half Cracked (I couldn’t find on the race website which two events were included for this race but I assume the 5k and half marathon) or Totally Nuts (all three). Before each race, the event also hosted a 1 Mile / Kids Challenge. Kinda wonder if I should have signed up to run a mile, too.

I was working HARD in my 10k in hopes of getting that elusive sub-hour PR (my PR from 2014 is 1:00:39). It was not to be. And then I had to walk during my 5k and was all kinds of miserable (I found a place with gluten-free carrot cake, so I’LL BE FINE). Sunday’s half marathon was no better. But I just needed to finish before it was time to check out of my hotel.

Registration + Cost: I registered in December, and with online fees, all three races cost me $107.75.

Minnesota Nut House - race prices

Expo + Packet Pick-up: Pick-up was at local running store TerraLoco on Friday (I drove in that afternoon). There was also bib pick-up on race day. No expo for this race, but I enjoyed browsing the shop. For runners doing the challenge races, the same bib was used (thank you!!!). Naturally, I forgot to pick up course maps when I grabbed my bib; thankfully, I remembered to get the safety pins.

Nut House Challenge totally nuts 3 races

Weather: IT WAS HOT. Like, sincerely the hottest weather I think that I’ve ever raced in (if I’ve said that before, I was lying). The “real feel” temp at start time of the 5k on Saturday evening was 92. I set my limit after completing that evening’s race that I wouldn’t run the half on Sunday if it was over 80 degrees. It was close.

Saturday morning wasn’t overly-warm, but the humidity made my palms sweat within the first mile. It was the kind of thickness in the air that sucked all your energy away.

Nut House Challenge rochester minnesota race blogger

Looks beautiful – but it was HOT!

Start Line + Parking: My hotel was about .3 miles away from the start (and finish) line at Soldiers Field Memorial Park. It wasn’t crowded at all, which is always nice. I explored the memorial and then found a shade of tree to hang out and watch the kid’s mile challenge around the track before race start.

MN Nut House Challenge race day pics

Oh, hey – that’s me!

Course + Elevation: This race series was all on paved trails. The 10K went one direction and several points was in the woods, so it was peaceful (there was also a portion of the trail that ran along a major road, which was not). The 5K started from the same place, but turned towards the city on the trails. The half marathon was kind of a combination of them both (a little more extended into the parks/woods areas portion of the 10K route).

Minnesota Nut House Challenge totally nuts charity race

Aid Stations: Considering this was a small race, I was impressed at how the RD and organizers STEPPED UP to make sure runners were properly hydrated. There was Gatorade available at almost every water stop (if not all of them), AND during the half marathon, there were 11 total stations AND had GU available. Even when there weren’t enough volunteers to support an extra manned water station during the 5K, they left a giant water cooler and disposable cups so runners could self-support.

Minnesota Nut House Challenge start line blog

There’s a giant pool at the Finish Line!

Finish Line + After Party: Guys. There was a POOL at the finish line. There also was a bunch of kids lined up with super-soakers as you approached the finish chute — THANK YOU!!! There was complimentary bottles of water and Gatorade, and free beer from Grand Rounds (a local brewery; nothing gluten-free in the alcoholic department). Also, also: there were Pearson’s Salted NUT ROLLS candy bars (somehow I went my whole life having never had one!). AND there was hot nuts from a local company (wish I caught their name!).

Nut House Challenge nut roll finish line

The races were all timed by MTEC Results — and I got the results emailed to me within an hour of finishing, which included a BUNCH of fun stats! There was a restaurant called Twigs that had a gluten-free menu — I’m talking 4 PAGES FULL of gluten-free options PLUS DESSERTS. I was in fried green beans heaven. I was able to even order a Minnesota-made gluten-free IPA. On my second visit, I had a local cider made with Honeycrisp apples.

Nut House Challenge Minnesota gluten free beer

Fans + Experience + Charity: With small races, you don’t get much crowd support, but I did meet some wonderful runners on my trip — including a beautiful woman from the Carolinas (doing a cross-country trip with her kids) who told me all about the race’s charity partner, Inheritance of Hope. She adamantly expressed her desire to never run another half marathon ever (she was doing the entire challenge as well). Sadly, she lost her husband to MLS a few years ago and truthfully, I haven’t stopped thinking about her and her family since the race. I didn’t know anything about this charity before meeting her, and I’m so appreciative of her sharing her story. I could tell that she was emotionally connected to the purpose, and she really made me think about “why I run” — prompting me to plan to do another fundraise run for charity next year.

Triton Events gives a portion of each registration to Inheritance of Hope — a non-profit organization that inspires hope in young families facing the loss of a parent to a terminal illness. Through these partnerships with endurance events, athletes can raise funds to support Inheritance of Hope and send these families to Legacy Retreats.

Nut House Challenge medals race reviewer

Swag + Medals: There was an individual medal received for each race, and they’re pretty sweet. Though I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t an additional medal for completing the entirety of the challenge (I’m so spoiled), the uniqueness of these medals more than made up for it.

Also, while the t-shirt is a really nice design and SUPER comfy (also, it fits!), I was really hoping for something with the crazy squirrel logo that’s used all over the other race branding because, well… because it’s crazy and I love crazy.

OVERALL
The Great: LOVED the near-instant results email with access to a bunch of race stats.
The Good: Overall, a really fun event – with that “small race vibe.”
The Bad: If I really had to complain about something, it’s that there’s not a lot of the necessary race info on the website — and while this out-of-towner figured things out (and asked questions on their FB page), it could have been better. Also, I almost deleted the race day email because the subject line was about online registration closing.
The Ugly: Another race, another event complaining about the weather. Though this race really stepped up to support the heat!

Nut House Challenge start line soldiers memorial field

OFFICIAL RESULTS:
10K: 1:01:12
5K: 31:19
Half Marathon: 2:23:57
Totally Nuts Challenge Cumulative: 3:56:28 — 58th Overall; 5th in my AG

Weekly Therapy: 08.04.17

the week:
I’ve had a pretty awful go of the PMS this week. I’m dealing with an awful ingrown hair (which I used PTO to visit my doctor about, and basically got instructions for warm compresses and a script for an antibiotic). My dentist finally sent me to an endodontist to check out a tooth that has been super sensitive and causing deferred pain in other teeth for over two years; so, I got a root canal this week (I guess the molar has experienced “trauma” and is inflamed, which is why it’s been bothering me, but no infection).

Did I mention how a small animal somehow got into my car overnight and left his smeared prints and scratches on the INSIDE of my windshield? (See also: WTF?!) And then a WASP hit my side mirror and bounced into my car. I didn’t know it was a wasp at first, until I turned around and found it sitting on my back WHILE I WAS DRIVING. I frantically flicked it off me, and pulled over to a gas station a mile down the road to shoo it out. I couldn’t find it. I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND IT. I’m terrified that it’s lying dormant underneath my gas pedal and is going to crawl up my pant leg one day.

You ever have one of those weeks?

weekend:
Going to the “Glow with the Flow” yoga event tonight at Brenton Skating Plaza (so excited for this!), and I have another massage on Sunday (praise, Jesus). Waiting to see if any of this rain hits us overnight Saturday; if not, our trail group may travel up to Ledges to get some elevation fun on the legs.

Long run Saturday with the Striders, as is tradition!

seven things, seven days:
1. Hey there, 50% off sale stuff, J.Crew!
2. Why is a nude sports bra so hard to find?
3. Do Not Be Afraid of Your Dinner: Louie’s Wine Dive is doing a gluten-free meal event! (YAY!)
4. My golf clinics are done for the summer, and I miss the weekly lessons. If they don’t do another session in Fall, I’m likely going to sign up for private lessons again. Dare I say that I actually enjoy it!?
5. Am I the only one irritated by a LARGE local race that is promoting a certain on-the-course product that isn’t even available to purchase locally ANYWHERE?!
6. Eh, that medal doesn’t excite me either. #subtweet
7. Oh, man, is this an excellent article about The Barkley Marathons {via Esquire}

Ultra Training: The Adventure Begins!

ULTRA UPDATES:
The adventure begins. I’m officially back on a training cycle and banking runs for my first ultramarathon. My 20-week training plan started on Monday and ends with my ultra in early December. I’m already dreaming about running in the cold weather.

ass if freezing meme

Oh, if only…

So, there are a few things coming up race-wise before the end of the year that I hope not to make TOO confusing on the blog — while also still posting weekly about my training progress for each of these different races.

WHAT’S ON TAP?
No, not beer (but I am drinking a delicious English style Crispin cider!). Let’s talk races! My two marathons in Fall fit beautifully into my ultra training — I’m running the Chicago Marathon in October and the Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK) in November. In between those, I’ll get my first 50k distance completed with the G.O.A.T.z over in Omaha (yes, by training for my ultra, I’ll complete another ultra). And then… AND THEN, the 50-mile experience they call Hitchcock.

I LOVED the half marathon at Hitchcock last year, and I feel like that course as part of a 50-mile race is going to kick my ass and challenge me in the best possible ways (and let’s be honest, probably some of the worst ways, too). Having this race in mind will push me in training, push me on the trails, and get me into some regular hill repeat workouts. I’m already super pumped up about it — despite initially being kinda quiet about it — and having some fellow CS Turkeys running it with me has made it all the more exciting.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?
I’m using an UltraLadies training plan for both ultra races (my 50-miler schedule building upon the 50k plan, while still allowing for enough low mileage/recovery weeks). I’ll be running 5 days a week on this plan; so, I will be assessing my fatigue levels regularly to make sure I’m not burning out or increasing any risks for injury. 20 weeks. Let’s do this!

WHAT’S FUN?
Fun fact: I’ve already surpassed the total amount of miles that I ran in 2016.

SOMETHING-SOMETHING:
What’s worse than finding new chafe spots after hot races? Probably an infected hair follicle. Actually, it’s worse. Trust me.

JULY MILEAGE UPDATE: 68 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 524.2 miles
LAST RACE: The BTN B1G 10K last weekend in Chicago.
UP NEXT: I’m not registered for any races until Labor Day… though I’m considering making myself miserable at this.

Race Recap: The BTN Big 10K in Chicago

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the BTN Big 10K race 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!

Big10k Chicago BibRave review

Most of you know that I’m originally from the Buckeye State. I did not attend THE Ohio State University (I received my undergrad from another Columbus-based college), though I had many friends who did attend. Because of that, I visited OSU frequently in my early 20s and went to games (when I could get tickets) and tailgated nearly every home game. I became something of an OSU alum by proxy. The BTN Big10k event was ALL about school spirit… and many “Go Bucks!” and “O-H!” chants were shared. I was with my people.

The BTN Big10K race overall was an awesome time, and I enjoyed expressing my OSU Love and hanging with my fellow Pros. I didn’t have the best race — once again the sub-hour 10k alluded me. The humidity once again didn’t give me a dang chance and sapped up all my energy, so I had to walk quite a bit to get my heart rate down. Ah, well. Another race down.

Big10k Chicago BibRave review

Flat Mel ready to run with the Buckeyes!

Registration + Cost: My race entry was provided by BibRave. The 10K price starts at $50 for early bird registration, and has incremental price increases up to race day registration for $60 (if spots are available). The MC said that some 10,000 people were registered — approx 6,000 of those finished the 10k (there was also a 5k option, which I don’t cover in my review).

Big10k race shirt OSU
Expo + Packet Pick-up: One of my favorite features of Ram Racing events is the option to have your packet and bib mailed to you before race day. I will happily fork over extra dollars for this benefit (which was not included in my race comp).

Weather: UGH. Over it. But sincerely, I want to know why I cannot perform in the heat AT ALL.

Big10k start line chicago

Start Line + Parking: Chicago parking is insane, so I was happy for a hotel within walking distance of the start and finish lines — with valet parking… which I found out a day later cost me $70 for one night. OOOF. Anyways. The corrals opened way late, but the mascots were out mingling before the race.

Big10k race Brutus Ohio State run

Course + Elevation: This was my first time running in Chicago. The city is pretty flat; though in the heat, the inclines felt like I was climbing Everest. It was lovely to be on the lake again (no thanks for the added humidity) and seeing the tall buildings looming around us was pretty neat. I absolutely hated running in the underground tunnel spaces. That said, I cannot wait to run the marathon here in October!

Aid Stations: Not enough! If you send out warnings on social media about the heat and the addition of fluid stations, then you need to have more aid stations. I didn’t think there was enough, particularly for a larger race that seems to draw a LOT of participants who aren’t regular racers (there were more water stops in the small race that I did the previous weekend).

Personal preference I guess, but I’d rather have an extra water stop in the first two miles than having one within the last mile of a race. Also, despite fervently hating nuun, I used it during this race. At the first aid station — which wasn’t until 2 miles into the course — the volunteer told us that it was the only electrolyte stop on the course (it wasn’t… but wtf?!).

Big10k Ohio State blog race review

Finish Line + After Party: Special Olympics kids high-fiving at the finish line OMGGGGGG. 😍😍😍

The usual bottled water (but also cupped water and nuun) and bananas were available in the finish line chute, but also ice cold towels (my line ran out, so thankfully there were more on the opposite side). The chute opens up to basically a block-long tailgate party in the street — each school had its own booth and tent, and there was food and drinks and live music. It was a lot of fun.

Big10k finish line selfie

I was SUPER pumped about eating some sausage at the finish line, especially because Sausages by Amylu are gluten-free. But the runners food box came with sausage wrapped in a bun — and there were no NON-bun options. The “hot dog” came alongside a bag of pretzels and wafer cookies (neither of those I could eat). Thankfully, Sausages by Amylu had its own tent with ALL THE SAMPLES of its product. Beer was provided by Revolution Brewing, which I gave to my husband because there were no non-beer alcoholic options (man, can a girl get a cider???).

After hanging for a bit eating sausage and taking selfies and posing with All Things School Spirit, it was time to pack up and grab my special order from Do-Rite Donuts (not affiliated with the race, but some of the best gluten-free doughnuts I’ve had ever) and drive the roads back to Des Moines.

Big10k sausage finish line food

SAUSAGE!

Fans + Entertainment: The Finish Line Tailgate party was legit awesome. Though I guess that I was expecting a little bit more in terms of course entertainment. Maybe a marching band or something? Cheerleaders throughout the course rather than all smooshed in at the start line?

I did go through the first water slide, though maybe THREE people before me stopped over to do the same (one person in front of me did the second slide). More than anything, I just wanted to cool down my body temperature. But I’m glad that I participated in some silliness. There should have been a photographer there!

Lame: My Big 10 school had no swag at its booth. I thought that at the very least I would get a pair of Buckeyes sunglasses or a pom-pom or sticker or something (like the other schools’ booths). I don’t know if there were that many Ohio State fans running and they ran out of stuff… but by the time I arrived, they were only selling a t-shirt. SUPER LAME!

Big10k race Ohio State alumni

Swag + Medals: Keeping with the Team Spirit theme of the race, participants get to select a technical jersey in their school colors during registration. Likewise, at the end of the race, you visit your school’s booth to get a coin that fastens to the front of the medal by magnet. It was a lot of fun to cheer with (and snarl at) all the different schools. Because of my partnership with BibRave for this race, I sadly couldn’t wear my OSU shirt; I added in a few scarlet and gray pieces and school-branded temporary tattoos.

Awesome: Within hours of the race finish, I had an email with my race results and photos. Like this one…

Big10k free race pics

😂😂😂😂

Hey, it was free!

BONUS: Picture with the championship trophy – HOLLA!

Big10k race championship trophy

OVERALL
The Great: I loved being able to personalize my race shirt and hang with other Buckeye fans.
The Good: SAUSAGE! This after party was legit the best.
The Bad: Not enough hydration stations.
The Ugly: Why do I keep signing up for races in the summer??????? [enter weather expletive here]

OFFICIAL RESULTS:
1:08:28
3,547th out of 5,945
66th in 40-44 age group

Big10k BibRave Pros race

Orange is the new fast!

Accountability Monday: SO EXCITE!

ULTRA UPDATES:
One week away from my official kickoff for Ultra training!

WHAT’S FUN:
I’m really excited about my weekend road trip to Chicago this weekend — it’s been a couple years since we’ve been, and the city holds a special place for us. That’s where I officially gave my now-husband my number on St. Patrick’s Day 8 years ago after rejecting him for 10 months. Our trip this time will be brief, but I’m pumped to “tailgate” with my fellow Buckeye fans (and BibRave Pros!) at the B1G 10K. I can be cordial to my fellow Iowa fans… but I will be poo-pooing my husband and his M*chigan cronies for most of the day’s events.

I’m also VERY excited to go to Wheat’s End Café for brunch. And I already ordered a half-dozen gluten-free donuts for post-race pick-up from Do-Rite. 🙈

SOMETHING, SOMETHING:
Running and Social Media — are you working the ‘net or caught in the web? {via Run Ultra}

JULY MILEAGE UPDATE: 50.6 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE WEEK: 25.0 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 506.7 miles
LAST RACE: Minnesota Nut House Challenge — Totally Nuts! (5k, 10k, Half Marathon)
UP NEXT: B1G 10K this weekend in Chicago! Online registration is still open.

Product Review: Orange Mud Phone.Flask.Vest.

Disclaimer: I received a Phone.Flask.Vest from Orange Mud 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!

Heck. Yes. I have wanted to test an Orange Mud vest since I became a BibRave Pro, and I was positively geeked to get the invite to review their newest product: the Phone.Flask.Vest.

Orange Mud bibravepro vest review blogger

First impression: I love how small and light the P.F.V. is — and it’s awesome for when you only want to carry the essentials along with your hydration. Though it’s smallness comes with one awkward issue: I legit couldn’t get the vest over my head on my first try.

I unclipped the single latch and loosened the straps a bit and still struggled. I reached out to my fellow Pros for a little help with the “how to.” There’s still a bit of a struggle, though loosening the straps completely is really the only way to “get in.” I don’t know… maybe I have a big head?

First run: The P.F.V feels super light compared to another hydration vest that I wear. Though, I’m not used to running with something tight against my chest as how the P.F.V. fits, and I felt like maybe it was going to suffocate me (bear with me, I’m a little dramatic). I eventually got used to it; however, loosening it up only made it bounce, so I opted to wear it a little tighter. I tested the vest on a moderately hilly trail run, the provided 450ml soft flask was enough hydration for an hour (I’d probably look at upgrading to a larger size soft flask for longer distances). I was nervous the entire run that my phone would bounce out; as the water flask emptied, the phone wasn’t quite holding place in its pocket. I wish there was a little pull cinch on that front pocket. Just kidding! I realized on my second training run that it DOES have a cinch cord on the phone pocket, which helped SO MUCH to prevent any “Oops! I lost my phone in the woods!” moments.

Orange Mud phone flask vest review bibchat

Fun features: the P.F.V. has a velcro pocket that contains a key hook (which I didn’t even realize the first time that I used it — thanks to another Pro for that tip as well). Unfortunately, my car key is usually what I run with, and it while it sits in the pocket, I can’t secure it inside with the velcro closure. I also love the easy access shoulder pocket, which is perfect to fit two fig newtons or a couple of gels.

During my initial test run, I started to get warm and had to take off my long-sleeved shirt. Removing the vest is not a quick task. I had to take off my hat, loosen the straps and struggle to remove it STILL over my head (and knocked off my sunglasses in the process). Getting the vest on does get easier as you get used to how it fits. The back pocket is not large enough to hold a long-sleeved tee, but the bungie straps kept it in place, so I didn’t have to tie my shirt around my waist.

Orange Mud blog product review bibrave

On a second test run (on single track trails), I couldn’t get the fit right. The left side was completely tightened, but the top of the vest wasn’t fitting flush on my shoulder, which made it bounce. I tried loosening both straps and balancing the tightness between the two sides, but the left shoulder was just too big — and the side was all the way tightened. Did it stretch out over one sweaty use? Or did my boobs grow?

On my third trail run, I got it to fit perfectly on both shoulders. But as I drank from the flask, the fit shifted again. I can’t tighten it any further. On one side of the vest, there is a dust cover for the bite valve of the flask — it’s brilliant… when it works. Maybe as result of my fit issues, or when the bottle contents empty, but the bite valve doesn’t stay put. Also something I noticed with the flask deflating, is that the drink valve stops fitting into the dust cover (which is one of my favorite features of the PFV). I wore this thing THREE TIMES before realizing this elastic strap existed to hold down the flask tube.

Orange Mud flask phone vest blog review

For ladies wondering about sizing: I’m an A-cup, and measure 33″ around my chest.

I like the weight and “essentials-only” purpose of the Phone.Flask.Vest., but it’s not the best fit for me and running trails. Never fail — I did find the PERFECT use: trail skating. Since I can’t do a handheld over my wrist guards — and on my far-away-from-home trail skates, I need to carry my skate tools and parts with me — the P.F.V. is great for that. I usually carry a pair of flip-flops with me too (which I can secure in the back with the bungie cord), in case I’m out and my skate completely breaks or a destination won’t let me enter while I’m wearing rollerskates.

Orange Mud vest roller skating product review

Last thoughts: I feel like a second clip (so there’s one on each side) would be an easy design fix, making it so much easier to get in and out of. It was also difficult to tighten and loosen the straps when the vest is on because tightening the straps all the way to fit my small chest makes the release clips situated in the back. I hate to say make the straps longer because there’s already a LOT of excess strap to fold under when it’s tightened (there are those little plastic pieces to fasten away the fly-aways, though I found it impossible to do while on the run).

That said, every piece of gear I own has a purpose — I think this Orange Mud vest is perfectly suited for skating and biking, and I imagine it would be pretty great for my kayaking adventures, too.

orange mud vest logo

Orange Mud is sponsoring BibChat on Tuesday, July 25 — follow along with hashtag #bibchat on Twitter at 8pm CST for your chance to win your own Phone.Flask.Vest. Save 10% on all Orange Mud purchases with discount code “BRPPFV.”

Accountability Monday: Building Consistency + Trail Fun

Since coming back from my post-marathon recovery period, I’ve been getting back to a regular workout schedule — particularly with my running consistency. Without getting too far ahead of myself, when I start my Ultra training program in a couple weeks, my plan calls for 4-5 runs per week. Once I got into the rhythm of marathon training, 4 runs a week was my normal — 5 will be challenging.

Des Moines run blogger weekly group runs

But why would I be running an Ultra in the first place if I didn’t like a good challenge?

WHAT’S FUN?
The most fun of the last few weeks has been getting out on the dirt trails. I LOVE BEING ON THE TRAILS! I’ve run at Jester Park, Sycamore, and Center Trails. I like each of them for different reasons, though I think Center is my favorite (if only because it kicks my ass). If you’re in the Des Moines area — or plan to visit — you can definitely have some fun in the woods here! Once I get into the meat of my training program, I’ll move onto trails that wreck my quads and that are a bit more technical, difficult, and with more elevation change.

Bring on the hill repeats!

SOMETHING SOMETHING
I quit my gym membership, and along with that, my yoga spot. I enjoy the Yoga with Adriene videos (particularly those geared towards runners), but I’d like to find a place for regular practice again. Des Moines has some fabulous outdoor “pop-up” yoga this summer though. Rounding out my cross-training: I’m doing strength at least once a week in my home gym with dumbbells or kettlebell, and following up my easy runs with core workouts. I love this glutes workout from SELF. I also do my hip and glute mobility and balance work several times per week — if not every night. The nightly repetition just makes the movements part of a mindless routine — just like brushing your teeth every night.

I’m also participating weekly in a women’s golf clinic, which is every bit as fun as it is frustrating. Because I am NOT GOOD, it’s also challenging. So, for the betterment of my (eventual) golf game, I continue to go out of my comfort zone and learn something new every week.

des moines lady golf beginner

That said, I am NOT enjoying this summer humidity at all. The 5K that I ran on July 4th felt awful (despite still running a respectable pace), and this past Saturday’s 8-mile long run didn’t feel any better (despite it being 10 degrees cooler). I’m also feeling sore, which is not something that I usually experience. I’m hoping for a little cooler temps for my challenge race next weekend… but it’s not like Minnesota is a winter wonderland right now.

Earlham Firecracker 5k race

Did you notice that I changed the site branding? As most of you know, I aged out of my old blog name, and I honestly don’t have the energy or time to rebuild something from scratch. Given my updated goals and upcoming running adventures, this was the perfect way to carry on the ol’ URL for a bit longer (the idea came to me spontaneously in the shower, so who knows how I’ll feel about it in another month or so 😆).

JULY MILEAGE UPDATE: 25.5 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE WEEK: 20.4 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 481.7 miles
LAST RACE: July 4th Earlham Firecracker 5K — Finished 4th in my 40-49 Age Group! Official Time: 28:22
UP NEXT: Minnesota Nut House Challenge — Totally Nuts! (5k, 10k, Half Marathon)

Weekly Therapy: 7.07.17

the week:
My week as told in bug bites: Sunday, after my trail run, I took off my tall socks and slipped into my OOFOS sandals. While I stood around talking with my friends, I got bit twice on my right calf. My stupidity at spraying my bug spray while my socks were on, which was rendered useless with the removal of them. Then Wednesday, while I was waiting for our golf session to start, I felt something fall down my shirt AND PROCEED TO BITE ME twice in my bra area. Then today at work, something BIT ME ON MY FACE while I sat at my desk. WTF?!

That’s it, I’m bathing in DEET from now until Winter.

weekend:
Capital Striders long run on Saturday, followed by a visit to the Downtown Farmers Market. And then another trail run Sunday with the CS Turkeys. We are also going to a house concert on Sunday afternoon to hear Amy Gerhartz and hang with our fellow Rock Boat peeps (and have some Jell-O shots, probably).

seven things, seven days:
1. I NEED THIS.
2. Happy that the 4th celebrations are over and I can return to my regularly scheduled sleep program.
3. The baby barn swallows under our deck have seemingly grown out of their nest — though they still haven’t fledged!
4. When I was on the treadmill last night, I noticed out the window that we also now have a Robin’s nest under our deck. 24-HOUR BIRD WATCH OVER HERE!
5. Chicago Marathon made a lot of effort to provide an excellent training program for its race participants… in PDF format. Would really like to see a major race do its own app that includes a training program!
6. What should you yell to encourage runners, so sayeth Science? Personally, I like to use: YOU GOT THIS! {via Runner’s World}
7. Fascinating. What cookies and meth have in common {via NYT}