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 β€” 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 CafΓ© for brunch. And I already ordered a half-dozen gluten-free donuts for post-race pick-up from Do-Rite. πŸ™ˆ

SOMETHING, SOMETHING:
Running and Social Media β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” I did find the PERFECT use: trail skating. Since I can’t do a handheld over my wrist guards β€” and on my far-away-from-home trail skates, I need to carry my skate tools and parts with me β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” or plan to visit β€” 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 β€” if not every night. The nightly repetition just makes the movements part of a mindless routine β€” 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 πŸ˜†).

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 β€” Finished 4th in my 40-49 Age Group! Official Time: 28:22
UP NEXT: Minnesota Nut House Challenge β€” 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 β€” 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}

My Race Calendar for 2nd Half of 2017 + Mid-Year Check-in

Today seemed like the perfect day to reflect a bit on the first half of the year (thanks, Holiday PTO!). I’ve got my tracking spreadsheet updated from January-June, and my training plan set for my first Ultra race (more on that in another post).

30 something miles iowa runner blogger

I like running and chocolate milk. I estimate that I’ve probably had at least 65 chocolate milks since the beginning of the year.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:
I participated in my first Ragnar relay.
I ran my first race as a BibRave Ambassador.
I colored in 3 more states on my U.S. Race map.
I also took 2 DNS (Did Not Start) on registered races.
I added 2 more half marathons and another full marathon β€” bringing the totals to 11 and 2, respectively.
And I’ve run 456.2 total miles as of the end of June.

I also took THREE GLORIOUS WEEKS off running in June.

What’s Next:
July: Earlham 5k; Clive Running Festival (10k); Minnesota Nut House Challenge β€” Totally Nuts! (5K, 10K, half marathon); BTN Big 10k (Chicago)
August: Not registered for anything; and if Iowa is anything like last summer, I probably won’t!
September: Rockin’ Chocolate Half Marathon (Madison, WI); NewBo half (IA); Pleasant Creek trail run; Capital Pursuit (10-miler); Heartland Half (Omaha, NE)
October: Chicago Marathon; GOATz 50k (Omaha, NE)
November: Hillbilly Hike half marathon (Indianaola, IA), Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK)
December: Hitchcock Experience 50 Miler (Honey Creek, IA)

I’ll also color in 3 more states (all road trips!), finish 2 more marathons β€” and a 50k AND a 50-Miler, and add another 800+ miles to my yearly total by the end of the year. NEAT!

30 something miles blog iowa running goals

A mix of old and new… I retired a couple old pairs of running shoes this year.

I’ll likely add in a couple of the fall trail races that I did in 2016 to this year’s calendar (Sycamore 8, To Grandmother’s House).

What’s on your schedule for the second half of 2017? Looking to add any races to your list? Check out my Race Discounts page!

Weekly Therapy: 6.30.17

the week:
I finally moved back into my office building this week, since being displaced by a fire back in February. I’m on my second week back to running, too, and it’s nice being back on something of a regular schedule (trying to get in at least 3 runs a week). A return to usual habits and familiar surroundings brings with it a certain kind of peace…

30 something miles blog weekly therapy july

Day and Night…

…but also opens itself up to some fun.

weekend:
Last night, I danced my ass off to STANTON WARRIORS at Lime downtown (still kind of shitting myself that these guys were in Des Moines). Today: my ears are still ringing and I am feeling the effects of a bit too much vodka, though hopefully I find my second wind this afternoon to get some miles on the roads. Sunday Funday: I’ll be enjoying the outdoors and doing a bit of trail running in the AM, possibly biking or skating, and maybe some kayaking (and probably brunching). I opted not to use a PTO day for Monday, but look forward to having the upcoming July 4th to catch up on my hammock time.

seven things, seven days:
1. Somehow I made the list of Top 100 Running Blogs {via Feedpost} at #74. Neat, but… is this a real thing?
2. I joined a Brooks test run/social run from Fitness Sports Ltd. in Clive this week, followed by drinks at 515 Brewery. What a fun night (but holy moly, will I ever remember to use Glide this summer?).
3. There was not one – but THREE – Great Horned Owls in my backyard this week. With the owls and hawks in our area β€” and our house cats β€” I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about field mice.
4. Three ways running changes after 40 {via Runners World}
5. And here’s 5 exercises you’ll want to do every week if you’re over 40 {via Prevention}
6. What makes us happy?, asks The Atlantic in 2009. Wonder how this would be written today, with a society so entrenched in digital communities.
7. To wit: The psychology of social media and Stoic truths for a digital world {both via Psychology Today}

10 B1G Reasons to Run the BTN Big 10K

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!

2016-BTN-82-bannerhq

The BTN Big 10K and 5k is back in Chicago in Grant Park on a new date in 2017 β€” Sunday, July 23. This is THE race to express your serious fandom (Go Bucks!) and dress in your school colors and compete for your B1G Ten team. Since my training for my Ultra basically starts the following day, this race will be one heckuva kick-off to college football season and a fun way to kind of “end” my base building. Also, it features the ultimate post-race Fan Fest & Tailgate party!

Here are 10 B1G Reasons to Run:

1. While it’s not Ohio (O-H!), this course highlights many of Chicago’s landmarks.
2. Share your Team Pr1de on the course with fellow Buckeye fans
3. Scarlet & Gray school-specific performance race shirts…
5. AND OSU-specific finishers medals!
6. Your packet can be mailed out to you (for a small fee), so you can skip the Packet Pick-up lines
7. BTN on-air talent and former Big Ten player appearances
8. Photo opportunity with the Big Ten Championship trophy
9. Post-race tailgate with free food item and beer (21+) for runners
10. BRUTUS! (and those other mascots)

BTN Big 10k race Chicago

Bonus: BTN is looking for the most die-hard Big Ten fans at the BTN Big 10K! Post your most spirited photos on race day using the #BTNBig10K hashtag for your chance to win tickets to the 2018 Big Ten Football Championship game or the Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The BTN Big 10K takes place in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday, July 23, 2017. For a bonus RAM Racing water bottle, use promo code BibRaveBTN17 at registration.

I-O!

Product Review [Giveaway Closed]: SmellWell odor-absorbing pouches

Disclaimer: I received a pair of SmellWell pouches 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!

SmellWell odor pouches

You may have noticed my presence on social media is melliesmel. That nickname is a result of a prior online handle I used back in the old AOL days (melliemelplease) and my derby moniker: sMEL U L8R. I lived up to that derby name, and SmellWell is sort of my namesake product. Call it fate of the smelly. Where were you when I played roller derby, SmellWell?

Honesty alert: My running shoes don’t stink. I always wear socks and air them out overnight, so maybe that has something to do with it. But my sweaty skating pads and the ballet flats that I wear without socks stink.so.bad. EMBARRASSINGLY BAD. I’ve been looking for products like SmellWell that do their business to remove the root cause of the stink, rather than using sprays or powders to simply cover it up. The SmellWell pouches are advertised to last for 3-4 months and don’t contain any nasty chemicals. SmellWell removes the moisture caused by sweat bacteria and works to eliminate the smell.

First Impression: The SmellWell product is currently available stateside online via Amazon. There are several unique and fun patterns β€” and I had my choice of pouch to test. The smell is fresh and pleasant β€” not overly perfumy.

Review Period: I tried these on several different items: ballet flats, work shoes, skate bags, gym bags β€” even tossing them in baskets of shoes near our garage entry. They seemed to really absorb the smell and freshen the insoles of shoes (particularly from the husband’s overdue-for-the-trash boat shoes), and prevented odors from overwhelming bags.

Final Thoughts: The SmellWell pouches seem to work, albeit temporarily β€” or at least while in the presence of the smelly objects. These didn’t necessarily CURE the stank caused by gross sweat bacteria as I was hoping. By the next wear, the shoes developed an odor again, though maybe not as bad (at least I didn’t smell my shoes when I kicked them off under my desk at work). I wonder if with more consistent use, the odors will slowly dissipate. And noted for next time: bring on the airplane for when the husband kicks off his loafers.

SmellWell odor pouches review

GIVEAWAY!
Want to see for yourself how SmellWell keeps the stink out of your workout gear? Leave a comment below for your chance to win! One comment per entrant, please. No purchase is necessary. Contest ends on Sunday, July 2 and one winner will be selected at random to win a pair of SmellWell pouches. US entries only. Value of prize: $9.99

Can’t wait for the giveaway to end? Use discount code “BIBPRO10” on Amazon to get your 3rd SmellWell pouch for free when you purchase 2 (*note: must add all 3 into cart in order for discount code to work).

Weekly Therapy: Thoughts after marathon training

the week:
Oh, heyyyy! It’s been a few weeks. I finally started introducing runs into my workouts this week, and also getting back into the swing of blogging since my marathon. I also had a wonderful trip back “home” over last weekend to celebrate with family our recent marriage.

post marathon training blog

weekend:
We’ve got a formal event this weekend (yay, another dress up weekend!) β€” and I’ve got both roads and trails planned with my Strider & Turkey buddies (yay, 70-degree temperatures!).

Tonight and throughout the weekend is also the annual Des Moines Arts Festival. Lots of YAY!

seven random thoughts from marathon training:
1. The clichΓ© is true: Put. Glide. EVERYWHERE. And then put it everywhere else.
2. Why does my shoulder joint hurt when I’m running? Probably time to do a running form assessment with someone.
3. I was so used to being hungry ALL THE TIME. I’m eating like half the calories I was a month ago.
4. My weight dipped below 120 pounds for the first time in over a decade… and then my bathroom scale broke, so I have no idea what I currently weigh post-marathon.
5. I broke out in a rash from sunscreen during my 22-mile run. That makes 3 different scenarios of rashes that I experienced in this training cycle… which means I probably have to visit an allergist to figure out what is going on with my immune system (again).
6. Remember that time I got stung by a wasp? Haaaaaa. This marathon cycle really had it all.
7. I still like running! 😊

Weekly Therapy: Fuzzy Lemonades and PTO

the week:
Almost done with my second full week of NO RUNNING. And I’m doing a whole lot of… well, nothing else. Though I spent the last two days volunteering at the Principal Charity Classic Pro-Am Tournament, so lots of walking and lifting golf bags and sunshine. I’ll definitely go back next year to volunteer again; I had a blast!

Principal Charity Classic volunteer

I finished Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire

What an inspiring story about a woman who I hadn’t previously known! As the epilogue emphasizes: This is a story about a courage. Brownie Wise was a strong woman with the courage to change and strive for independence in the 1950s – And not be quiet in a man’s world of business. This is an incredible story of success; I also hadn’t known much on the history of Tupperware (which we all have in our homes). High stars!

weekend:
One more weekend that I won’t wake up for an early Saturday morning long run. I think I may check out the Farmer’s Market, and then spend some time at the club pool. But then again, I finally got my hammock set up at home and I may just dive into that. And this.

And then Sunday, we’re going downtown for Capital City Pride Pridefest and parade.

seven things, seven days:
1. I’m on my 2nd full week of a new work schedule, and it has made me so happy!
2. The Leftovers is over… and it’s exactly how the series should have ended.
3. It’s been over 80ΒΊ all week, and I have honestly been loving it. Though, in no time, I’ll be complaining about humidity.
4. Another year of no cavities! However, I did get fitted for a night guard for my teeth grinding.
5. How to know when it’s time to quit a workout {via Well + Good}
6. Change at work linked to employee stress, distrust and intent to quit {via APA Center for Organizational Excellence}
7. “Real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance.” {via Aeon}