Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #10

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

As the runners like to shout out: WOOOOOOOOOOOOAH, WE’RE HALFWAY THERE! Halfway through Marathon training!

This was a drop-back week for me, as I rest and recover from the first half of training β€” and prepare for some serious mileage. Per my conversation with my Coach, the theme of the week was: Focus on something other than running. Kinda weird coming from a running coach, right? But the intent of that was to save my mental energy and let my brain refresh. I think most of us runners β€” especially those in the middle of marathon training β€” seemingly eat, sleep, bleed, (eat again probably) running. The downtime can help a runner be reflective in how training is progressing, but also be a wake-up call to do. your. strength. training. That said, this was also the week to NOT add anything crazy or new into my schedule.

As Coach says: There’s plenty of weeks left to worry about training (and mileage and fueling and… and…). FOCUS. Worry about other things, like, GETTING MARRIED.

vermont city marathon halfway training blog

My weekly plan included only 3 runs (all easy), 2 strength sessions, and yoga.

MONDAY Rest – and bi-weekly Coach call.

TUESDAY Strength workout for runners with kettle bell and TRX.

WEDNESDAY Easy 3-mile run (ran 3.17 to celebrate the upcoming holiday πŸ˜‰)

39:09 / 12:21 average pace

THURSDAY Skipped yoga; felt pretty energy-drained (thanks, PMS) and distracted about work and wedding stuff. Probably all the more reason to go to yoga, right? NOTED, UNIVERSE.

FRIDAY Wedding Day (and Rest Day) πŸ˜‰

SATURDAY 7 easy miles on the treadmill

1:25:58 / 12:16 average pace

SUNDAY Easy 2-mile recovery run. A beautiful day in Iowa β€” we saw 70 degrees in the late afternoon! And though my motivation to run was low, I really wanted to be outside. Followed up my run with two rounds of my strength workout using both my kettle bell and TRX.

19:49 / 9:52 average pace

I also had a massage on Sunday morning. Every month, I’m dealing with a different issue – right hip, left calf, right glute, left hamstring… this session, seemingly a bungled up right quad. The last couple days I’ve had some right knee issues, and I wondered if something else might be the root cause. So, I’m spending some extra time stretching my quads (like, really stretching) and focused foam rolling. And I’m probably not going to wear those shoes on a long run anymore, just to be safe.

WEEKLY MILES: 12.7 miles

vermont city marathon burlington panorama

Getting so excited to see Burlington in person again!

The Vermont City Marathon is only two months away (plenty of time for experienced runners to train!). Use discount code BibRaveDsct17 to save $5 on your registration! Prices are set to go up again April 1.

Product Review: XX2i France2 Pro Racing Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2i Optics France2 Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

This is my 2nd pair of XX2i Optics sunglasses. My other pair, the Australia1, I won during a twitter giveaway, and I have worn them during several training runs and races; so, I was pumped to get an opportunity to review a different style for BibRave!

bibrave xx2i glasses review blog

These are the France2 HYPER PINK (yes, all caps) with the Blue Flash lenses and blue temple tips. The France2 is made from flexible and strong Grilamid, which makes for a feather light pair of glasses. Included with my shipment was a protective case, a soft carrying bag, and extra bits for fit β€” they also included a mini screwdriver in the kit. XX2i claims these sunglasses are perfect for running, cycling, golfing or any activity that requires your sunglasses stay put.

First impression: The France2 are SUPER lightweight β€” weighing in at only 26g. I LOVE the color and design. These glasses are light but durable (I’m terrible about tossing my sunglasses around my car and stuffing in workout bags). XX2i GUARANTEES the lenses β€” even against scratches!

Runners problems. AMIRITE?!

Trial Run: During runs, I barely noticed them on; there was zero bounce, they didn’t fall off, didn’t hurt my ears (even pairing with my Aftershokz headphones), and they didn’t steam up even on cold mornings.

What I didn’t like: I found the blue glare reflection off my face to be bothersome in direct sun and on super sunny trail days. I’ve never experienced that issue wearing my XX2i Australia1s β€” maybe the full frame around the lenses helps to block that glare at the bottom? Which… is a bummer because I like the France2 style more. I’m uncertain if they have the same lenses, which is something I plan to ask XX2i.

bibrave xx2i review run blogger

30-Something Approved: Protecting my eyes from the damage of the sun is really important. Despite the annoyance with the blue glare, I prefer the France2 because of the color options and that they are so durable-yet-lightweight. I also love the price-point. Because I seem to be missing at least 3 pairs of sunglasses right now. And those items pretty much sum up this 30-Something’s needs for a pair of running sunglasses.

The France2 sells for $59.99 and features interchangeable lenses configurations (Polarized, Sport Reader & full RX), adjustable temple tips, and adjustable nose pads. There are multiple styles and colors. XX2i Optics has a “no questions asked” LIFETIME WARRANTY against breaks and scratches β€” AND offers a 365-day return policy to make sure they are the right glasses for you. XX2i does charge a nominal fee for shipping and handling a replacement or return.

bibrave xx2i discount sunglasses review

Join us for #bibchat on Twitter this Tuesday, March 21 at 8pm CST for a chance to win a pair of your own XX2i Optics sunglasses. BONUS: Save 50% on all XX2i Optics purchases with discount code: “marchbibrave” through March 28.

Weekly Therapy: Luck o’ the Irish to you!

the week:
Current status: Eating leftover (gluten-free!) wedding cake for breakfast.

So, we made our marriage license official β€” and celebrated EIGHT YEARS together! 😍 We found a wonderful lady to come to our home and get our signatures (along with our witnesses), and then will celebrate with some corned beef and cabbage and shots of Irish whiskey.


seven things, seven days:
1. Spent the week planning out my 50k training (and scheduling periods of NO RUNNING throughout the remainder of my 2017 calendar).
2. I also started my packing list for Ragnar Luckenbach at the end of the month.
3. The Science and Art of Belief – in trail running {via Trail Runner Magazine}
4. Even in middle age, your best running days may be ahead. HOORAY!
5. This research is important for me to see β€” and, I hope, more to come about low levels of Vitamin D in athletic populations, as I’m someone with seriously-low D3 levels with an inability to absorb supplementation and maintain normal levels: New study identifies threshold for vitamin D supplementation in athletes
6. THE MARSHMALLOW TEST IS A LIE (well, sort of) {via Psychology Today}
7. Speaking of marshmallows… I’m going to eat another bowl of Lucky Charms (they’re gluten-free!)

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #9

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

vermont marathon training blog week 9

Longest trail distance (and a crazy map drawing!), easy runs at home on the treadmill and more strength training with the kettlebell.

I got two awesome runs out on the dirt trails during week nine of training β€” which was not quite following my written workouts, though it helped me through a kind of a stagnant, tired patch of my marathon training cycle (go away, cold weather!). Though I went off-plan on my coach, I did ask in advance if swapping my long run day to Sunday was OK (and what workout I should do on Saturday) β€” AND got in SIX days of workouts. And then I did my longest run ever on dirt trails. It was a good week to kind of go “rogue,” since now I’m enjoying a cut-back week for my marathon training mid-point.


  • Two strength workouts
  • YOGA!
  • Tempo Run
  • Long Run
  • A couple Easy runs

MONDAY Scheduled Rest Day! I also did some foam rolling on my calves and feet.

TUESDAY Strength workout with my kettlebell (I’m seriously so happy that I asked for this for Christmas!). I also love starting my week with strength β€” a nice ease-in after resting, which helps me focus for the week ahead.

WEDNESDAY Tempo Run on the schedule… but I ended up meeting a couple trail buddies at Jester Park after work for 5 miles. I did one of my long runs here in the fall, and it’s such a wonderful park.

5.2 miles / 57:50 / 11:12 average pace / 127 elevation gain (per Garmin)

THURSDAY Finally back to my Yoga Roots class after a couple weeks off. It felt GLORIOUS β€” even though it’s always so hard β€” but the instructor always keeps the mood light and makes us laugh and reminds us not to take ourselves so seriously.

FRIDAY Started off with a 5-minute walk and then ran for 40 minutes at an easy pace. Back on the treadmill!

3.62 miles / 41:18 / 11:24 average pace

SATURDAY Since I swapped my long run to Sunday, my weekend Recovery Run became another easy run. Another notch on the treadmill. And some foam rolling to keep those tight muscles in check.

2.0 miles / 21:53 / 10:56 average pace

trail sisters running blogger

Ready for trail running season!

SUNDAY Met a flock of Turkeys (or, since we’re domesticated, do they call us a Rafter of Turkeys?) in the city at Center Trails for my long (and cold) run of the week… just in time to meet Daylight Savings Time square at 8am CST. These trails are AMAZING β€” and probably my favorite in the area so far (there are SO MANY trails here in Iowa to explore!). I love the mixed terrain and that these are tucked into city limits. There’s a lot of activity here β€” and a lot of fat bikers (not bikers who are fat). I love to see mixed use of the trails and people out having fun outdoor in winter. The Center Trails webpage also has a conditions indicator β€” like when it’s closed due to it being too wet and muddy.

I did another test run with Cytomax, and I’m still unsure if I want to use it on marathon day. I have only a couple more weeks to decide and fine-tune my fueling strategy. At this point, I haven’t really found something that I love OR something that I dislike β€” mostly just “this works” and adaptable to everything so far (I am not a light packer!).

I was SO COLD when I got home (there were multiple layers of fleece) and I couldn’t nap, which was a bummer. But a big ol’ bowl of chili for dinner was just the ticket to warm me up.

14.08 miles (trails) / 2:56:21 / 12:31 average pace / 358 elevation gain (per Garmin)

WEEKLY MILES: 24.9 miles

vermont city marathon burlington panorama

Isn’t Burlington so pretty???

The Vermont City Marathon is only two months away (plenty of time for experienced runners to train!). Use discount code BibRaveDsct17 to save $5 on your registration! Prices are set to go up again April 1.

Challenge Events: Multiple Races in One Weekend

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Illinois half marathon and 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to find and write race reviews!

Illinois marathon challenge blog runner

A year ago, I finished the Gasparilla Ultra Challenge β€” a total of 30+ miles across 4 races. In 2015, I completed the Steel Challenge β€” a 5k and half marathon. I am also doing the Minnesota Nut House – Totally Nuts! challenge this summer and a DIY 2x Half Marathon series over Labor Day weekend with a friend who is crossing off two more states in her 50 States Quest.

I really like the challenge of challenge races (and let’s not kid ourselves, the extra medals are awesome). And I was excited to see the I-Half Challenge as part of the Illinois Marathon weekend. This will be my first time visiting the Champaign-Urbana area AND I’ll be crossing a state off my map!

The Illinois Marathon has a few different options for its I-Challenges: All include the 5K on Friday; and then the 10K, half marathon, full marathon, or marathon relay on Saturday. You receive:

  • Two shirts (5K shirt plus the 10K, half marathon, marathon, or marathon relay shirt)
  • Three medals (5K medal plus the 10K, half marathon, marathon, or marathon relay medal as well as an I-Challenge medal [different for each I-Challenge])
  • Bragging rights

Challenge events are unique to each race – some are back-to-back AND multi-day races (like Gasparilla) and others are two different mornings (like Pittsburgh’s). I liked the idea of doing a race in the evening before waking up to do a half, particularly on a Friday night and Saturday morning, with enough time to drive home and recover for an entire day. This race fell perfectly into my marathon training and will provide some good mental training for me too. My goal for training is to do something similar (evening run, followed by a morning run) β€” not every week, but tossing in a few here-and-there for practice in running on tired legs.

I don’t have any goals for the half marathon aside from having some fun, getting in my miles, and cheering on my fellow BibRave Pros who are completing the full. Also, I’m not currently registered for any other 5K races (yet) this year, so I might attempt to actually race the 5K. We’ll see…

Room for more Runners! The Illinois marathon weekend is coming up April 20-22. Want to join me in Champaign-Urbana? Use discount code: “bibravebonus” for $15 off all race weekend events (excluding the Youth Run).
*Note: discount code needs to be entered towards the end of the registration

If you want to compete in an I-Challenge, do not register for two races separately. Instead, register by choosing one of the I-Challenges:

  • Full I-Challenge = 5K + marathon
  • Marathon Relay I-Challenge = 5K + marathon relay
  • Half I-Challenge = 5K + half marathon
  • Mini i-Challenge = 5K + 10K

Weekly Therapy: A Week of Awesome celebrating a Day of Awesomeness

the week:
This week we celebrated being awesome and being women. Every person I saw wearing red on Wednesday, I gave a mental fist bump.

Swapped my long run to Sunday this weekend, which ended up being a good call with overnight snow on Friday and sub-freezing temps again on Saturday morning. The time change may hurt a bit though.

Saturday afternoon we’re going to the Iowa Asian Alliance’s Pho King Cook Off β€” while the tickets included all-you-can-eat Pho, it’s unlikely with all my food issues that I’ll find anything to eat (whomp, whomp). Though I’m excited to see the Celebrity judging and get one of those Pho King t-shirts.

seven things, seven days:
1. I broke out in a rash all over my arms and hands and was freaking out over what caused it. Then realized during my facial, the appointment included a massage in those areas. UGH. Thankfully it wasn’t on my face, but WTF!
2. Red LEGEND Compression Performance Socks are here!!!! And use Code: “runred” to earn 30% OFF a second pair of LEGEND socks or sleeves when you purchase a pair of RED.
3. Also, heyyyyyy look at who is up on the LEGEND Ambassador Athlete Page! πŸ˜‰
4. I miss David Letterman. {via Vulture}
5. What causes burnout and how to overcome it {via Lifehacker}
6. A Trail Sister from Iowa City!
7. Selling the thrill of the outdoors to the urban masses: Patagonia and The North Face

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #8

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

vermont training running blog

Tired feelings, new Launch Shamrocks and BibRave buddy!

Week 8 was my time to focus on foam rolling, recovery, and good habits in general β€” especially as it was my first 25+ mile week since November. Daily stress is fatiguing me pretty hard, and I know big mileage weeks only add to that feeling. And there are a LOT more weeks that are going to feel like that. I haven’t raced in a while though, so I’m getting excited as I approach some of those dates on my calendar.


TUESDAY This felt like the longest 4 miles that I’ve ever done! But my paces were pretty fast for a slower-than-easy run. This is probably why I’ll always run with a watch.

4.32 mi / 42:39 / 9:32 average pace

Splits: 9:44, 10:25, 9:47, 10:03

Ended the run with 4×20 second strides (and a big chocolate milk, of course).

WEDNESDAY Rest Day (planned in advance, since I had a social thing after work)

THURSDAY Interval training day! I always get so excited for speed workouts, as they allow me the time to FOCUS on my runs instead of zoning out on the treadmill watching the third season of Desperate Housewives. And while I can’t run fast for long distances, running fast is SO FUN. Though running fast on the treadmill kind of freaks me out!

vermont marathon blogger winter running

Overall, this was a weird run. I felt like my legs couldn’t turn over any faster, though felt like I didn’t even workout when my sprints were over. I was running so hard on those 400s but not even out of breath!

5.98 mi / 55:14 / 9:14 average pace

warm-up mile: 10:49
1 – 1:27 / 2:41
2 – 1:23 / 2:52
3 – 1:24 / 2:42
4 – 1:25 / 2:41
5 – 1:27 / 2:38
6 – 1:30 / 2:42
7 – 1:29 / 2:41
8 – 1:17 / 2:42
cool-down mile: 11:15

Finding bad habits in the week already taking over, I made sure to get some foam rolling in after my run.

FRIDAY Rest Day (unplanned). Skipped my strength workout that was on the schedule, since some impromptu fun plans came up after work. I moved my Strength Day to Sunday, alongside my recovery run. I still need to do better on getting in my strength workouts and foam rolling.

SATURDAY Long run with the Capital Striders in the AM (UGH, start times changed to 7am, and it was ROUGH β€” but I made it). I completed the 12-mile route, and then came home to do an additional 2 miles on the treadmill. I honestly just had enough of the cool weather, and I was REALLY hoping to enjoy the expected 65-degree day. Alas, it was NOT in the 60s at 7am and wasn’t until well into the morning that the temperatures warmed up. At least it was sunny?

Splits (14): 9:38, 10:08, 9:41, 9:35, 10:24, 10:23, 9:53, 10:02, 10:06, 10:02, 9:58, 10:08
Splits (2): 11:12, 11:00

My Striders buddies keep me fast!

SUNDAY I originally planned to meet some Turkeys out on the trails, but I had a gnarly headache in the morning β€” and I just knew there was no way I wanted to wake up for another 7am run. No fun on the trails for me!

vermont city marathon training recovery day


Sunday is my weekly recovery day; beyond doing my usual recovery run, I also needed to make up my skipped strength workout from Friday. I want to start GOOD recovery habits rather than using Sunday as a make-up day. So I finally took my first epsom salt bath using the San Francisco Salt Company’s Epsoak Muscle Soak. I get really antsy sitting in baths (similarly, I always think 5 minutes is TOO LONG for foam rolling. Patience is not my virtue.), but forced myself to stay the entire 20 minutes. And my body felt GLORIOUS when I was done. All my muscle soreness was gone (along with my hot water to shower afterward).

On Sundays, we recover. If I’m not having a massage, I’ll be using the salts. And foam rolling for longer than 5 minutes. Promise.

WEEKLY MILES: 27.1 miles

vermont city marathon discount code

The Vermont City Marathon is this Memorial Day Weekend. Want to join me in Burlington? Use discount code BibRaveDsct17 to save $5 on your registration! And psssssst… check out my giveaway for your chance to win a pair of Hoka One One running shoes.

Weekly Therapy: March Starts

the week:
I got moved again at work this week, and hopefully we can stay put until being able to go back to our regular office space because I miss my routine (but like my currently-shorter commute). While I shouldn’t be surprised at the effects, all of these changes have really caught up with me physically and mentally this week.

The weather is supposed to be really nice on Sunday, so I’ve got a fun trail date with my fellow Turkeys!

seven things, seven days:
1. Did you see the special edition Brooks Shamrock Launch for St. Patrick’s Day???? Bummed that they are not the offset (or brand) that I prefer, but I purchased them anyways. πŸ˜’
2. After finally finding a stylist to make my hair the shade of brunette that I wanted, this article made me hate my terrible hair just a bit more: Why We Think So Much About Our Hair {via The Book of Life}
3. My Rudy Rutabaga (read: cat) turned 8 this week!
4. 44 marathons in 44 (Euro) countries across 44 days… in support of mental health issues. {via Marathons for the Mind}
5. How to avoid overeating during periods of intense training {via Summer Tomato}
6. Information avoidance β€” aka: ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away! {via Science of Us}
7. OMG I LOVE THIS!!! >> I hate running {via Adventure Journal}

**GIVEAWAY CLOSED**: HOKA ONE ONE β€” Winner’s Choice!

hoke one shoe giveaway marathon

I’ve got an awesome giveaway for you: If you’re not already aware, I’m running the Vermont City Marathon this May. One of the race sponsors is Hoka One One, and they’ve partnered with my blog to provide a pair of shoes to giveaway! Hoka will supply any model to one winner (*provided your choice of shoe is in stock).

Here’s the rules:

That’s it! Giveaway ends at midnight on March 14, 2017. And I’ll announce a Winner at random on March 15.

Hoka One One running shoes VCM


Disclaimer: Hoka One One is a sponsor of the Vermont City Marathon and is providing one pair of shoes to one winner. I received a free entry to the Vermont City Marathon, courtesy of Use discount code BibRaveDsct17 to save $5 on your VCM registration!

Vermont City Marathon: Training Week #7

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

vermont marathon blog training week 7

Crazy week. And crazy weird temperatures!

Despite a crazy week, I completed all of my scheduled workouts! Coming back from vacation, I was eager to return to my routines. I feel like I can adapt well to being thrown off my usual schedule, but I definitely feel the impact of stress when things change in my usual routine. So, this week’s runs and workouts were MUCH needed to help me deal.

MONDAY: Rest day and return to work; but wow, did my hips feel sore from the weekend.

TUESDAY: Random day off (my work building caught fire!), so I did my kettlebell-focused strength workout in the early afternoon.

WEDNESDAY: Easy 5-mile run + core workout

10:21 average pace

My first mile felt pretty rough but got easier β€” and it was 72 degrees in Iowa!!!! Since my office was still closed, I got to run in the afternoon on the Greenbelt Trail in Clive.

Splits: 10:35, 10:29, 10:24, 10:05, 10:13

THURSDAY: A fun but TOUGH Intervals workout β€” 6×400 (400m recovery) with an easy mile warm-up and cool down. I was a little freaked out about sprinting so fast on the treadmill, and it took so much focus.

warm-up: 11:17

400 splits:
(1) 1:45 / 3:04
(2) 1:40 / 3:09
(3) 1:46 / 3:23
(4) 1:43 / 3:04
(5) 1:40 / 3:04
(6) 1:42 / 3:32

cool down: 11:30

Finished with foam rolling β€” which is something that is seriously lacking in my training right now.

FRIDAY: Wow my body is tired; bless this rest day.

SATURDAY: The Long Run That Could – I had 12 miles on the schedule, but I totally mismanaged my schedule and ran out of time in the morning (Who makes a hair appointment for 10:30am on a Saturday in the middle of marathon training?!) I finished 11 miles – a fast finish workout at that β€” just in enough time to shower for 5 minutes, dress, and drive 20 minutes to my salon.

Splits: 11:19, 11:10, 10:58, 10:54, 10:54, 10:59, 10:45, 10:21, 9:53, 9:30, 8:51

marathon training iowa blogger vermont race

Motivation for a 11-mile training run!

SUNDAY: An afternoon recovery run (25 minutes at a slower-than-easy pace), followed by a core workout.

11:22 average pace

Finished with my Core workout and foam rolling of my glutes and TFL.

WEEKLY MILES: 23.2 miles
TOTAL TRAINING MILES: 100.56 miles – WOO! Century Mark!

vermont city marathon training blog

Join me in Burlington this Memorial Day Weekend for the Vermont City Marathon! Use discount code BibRaveDsct17 to save $5 on your registration!