Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends! Things have been busy at the RunGingerRun house but I'm slowly getting caught up. I know I still need to post more about my recent vacation in Hawaii, but I'm working on something I've never done before. Videos! I want those videos to be a part of that post so it will be just a little longer. But for now, I want to tell you about my new best friend. His name is Justin's and he is delicious! Don't worry! The Hubbo is totally fine with my new BFF and even let me take him on our recent trip to Hawaii.

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Justin's thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

What is Justin's?

Justin's is an all natural nut butter company located in Boulder, Colorado. If the rumor I heard was true, Justin's company had runners and cyclists in mind when creating their products! Hence the small and portable packaging as well as jars. According to the website, Justin's started out as an out-of-the-kitchen type business and his roommates kept stealing his butters. So he put his name on his jar and Boom! his company had a name! 
The nut butters are made of all natural, high quality, and organic products.  

Why do I love it?

I first discovered Justin's at my local grocery store, Sprouts. I was standing in line waiting to check out and it just so happened that we were in the middle of one of our juice fasts. I, of course, was absolutely starving and was fantasizing about cheating on my 10 day diet. I saw Justin's single serving packets (1.15oz) of Chocolate Almond Nut Butter and I grabbed it.  During our shorter juice fasts we allowed ourselves to eat a couple healthy snacks a day. One of the approved items was eggs and the other was raw almonds. When I saw this I thought to myself, "Eh, close enough and it sounds AMAZING!" and it was! It was love at first taste! I remember eating the entire packet before I even left the parking lot! Since then I've purchased Justin's several times. When I found out I'd be getting samples to try out and review through BibRave, I was even more excited! My shipment came in and I received 3 different flavors. Classical Almond Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, and Maple Almond Butter. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is my favorite! I'd live in a jar of that stuff if I could! Last week I had a left over baguette from my lunch so I put the chocolate hazelnut spread all over it and it was the perfect 3:00 PM snack! A little sweet for my sweet tooth and some protein to keep me full until dinner. 

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have noticed I took some of it with me to Hawaii.  
If you have followed my blog for a long time you may also know that I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome with Insulin resistance. (PCOS) and I have a hard time regulating my blood sugar on some days. I was afraid that with being on vacation and all the activities we wanted to do that my blood sugar issues could be real annoying. So I packed a handful of these guys, since they are so portable, just in case I got caught off guard.  Luckily that never happened but I did have fun taking pictures with my packets during most of our activities. Which is where all the pics came from for this blog post. The best part about these is they are protein packed and not all carbs, which is good for me and other active runners/cyclists.

Short recap of why I love Justin's:
  • It comes in portable 1.15oz pouches
  • It tastes amazing!
  • It's all natural
  • It's loaded with protein
  • It tastes amazing! 
  • There are a hundred recipes for fun ways to eat this product

Justin's on Social Media

If you have Facebook, Twitter, or an Instagram account you have to follow Justin's! They have the best pictures of all kinds of delicious, clever, and sometimes witty ways to enjoy their products. On their website they even have the recipes so you can try these ideas at home. 
Justin's Instagram
Justin's Facebook
Justin's Twitter 
You can buy Justin's online if you'd like or you can also find it in some grocery stores. I did a quick online search and found that it is available at my local Target, Walmart, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. 

Which flavor should I pack in my lunch this week? Classic Almond, Chocolate Hazelnut, or Maple?

I don't even know where to begin with this race report. It's so hard to believe that the Honolulu Marathon has come and gone and it's already been over a week since race day! Sorry to keep you all waiting so long. After the race we spent the week in Honolulu being tourists and relaxing with our friends. More on that in another post. If you have read my blog for a while, you all know that I always start with the medal, so here we go! 

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Honolulu Marathon thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

The Medal

PictureHonolulu Marathon Medal 2014
The picture on the left is the front of the Honolulu Marathon Medal and the picture on the right is the back. I think this is the first medal that I have that is two-sided! 
When we crossed the finish line we were handed a shell necklace right away. Then we walked further into the finisher area and picked up our cotton finisher t-shirt and medal. It was a pretty smooth process. 
The medal is about the size of my palm so it's not the biggest medal I have, but not the smallest one either. I love how it perfectly represents Hawaii and even though the sponsor (JAL = Japanese Airlines) is on the medal, it's not the main focus of the medal. I hate when races do that! 

The Start/Finish Line

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
The start of the Honolulu Marathon is like no other start I've been a part of! The race starts at 5:00 AM so it is still dark for a couple of hours at the beginning of the race and instead of using a starting pistol THEY USE FIREWORKS to kick off the race!!! How awesome is that?! 

The starting corrals are different in the fact that they do not assign corrals. You just line up using the honor system and the signs they have posted showing about where you should stand if you plan on finishing in the 4 hour range, the 5 hour range, and so on. We lined up towards the back of the 5 hour range. 

The finish area was in Kapiolani Park. There were vendors selling more race gear, food tents, the finisher shirt tent, the medal tent, and even a GIANT Jumbo Tron which was on a time delay so you could watch yourself finish the race! 

We saw so many people running in costume during the race. We saw a bride  and groom, Japanese Anime characters, Hula girls, and even a man and woman who did the Tango the whole race!! (Yes she had a red dress on and walked backwards!)

This was taken after the first water stop at mile 2.5ish!

The Course/Weather

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
I couldn't have asked for a better course and weather for this race! We were slightly nervous going into this race because of the heat but it turned out just fine. The course was mostly flat with the slight hill around mile 8 or 9. I wouldn't really call it a big hill. Just a gradual incline as you are running near Diamond Head. You hit it on the way back as well, but we almost didn't notice it at all. This is definitely a flat course with plenty of scenery to keep you occupied! We even saw a rainbow on the course! Seeing that rainbow during the marathon made my whole day! Well, that and the Malasada! 

The weather was definitely in our favor for this race. I know you all already know, I'm not a hot weather runner. But who could pass up the chance to run a race in Hawaii with NO time limit?! Not this Ginger. As we walked out of our hotel we immediately noticed the light rain. I remember thinking to myself that I never even considered checking the weather because, you know, it's Hawaii! So I was pleasantly surprised to have the light rain. It rained off and on for about 75-80% of the race. Thank Goodness! Around mile 19-20 the sun came out and that's when I started to really slow down.  It would  have been a super long day if the sun was out the entire time! 
I can't remember what mile we were at but we did have some strong winds but they didn't last long. 

The Swag

Every runner in the finish area was welcomed with the smell of warm and fresh Malasadas! They were really good and it was all I could think about for the last few miles. It is sort of like a  funnel cake ball covered in sugar. 

All finishers got a cotton t-shirt, a medal, a malasada, a shell necklace, and our bib.

I kinda wish the bibs were a little more fancy being as they are pretty plain, but with over 31,000 runners and the fact that they  even let people sign up for the race at the expo, I understand why they  would want to keep them simple to keep costs down. 

The Expo

PictureFredrik and I at the Honolulu Marathon Expo!
We landed in Honolulu on Friday afternoon before the race. Hawaii is 4 hours behind Oklahoma so when we landed at 3:00, it really felt like 7:00 PM and we had been traveling since 4:00 AM. Long day! So we waited to hit up the expo until Saturday. When we got there it was like we stepped into a different world! It was so crazy and awesome to see that everything was in English and Japanese! This race has a very strong presence from Japan so it makes a lot of sense to have all the signs in both languages. I've never ran a race that has been so diverse and it was really cool to experience that in Hawaii.

During the expo I had a goal of meeting a couple people. One of them was Fredrik who works with the marathon marketing team and does social media. I asked a few volunteers if they knew who he was or where I could find him and no one seemed to really know. Finally I just sent him a message through Twitter and 10 minutes later we were chilling in the expo! 
It was great to finally put a face with a name being as we had been tweeting back and forth for several months leading up to the race! I was totally expecting him to look like a Native Hawaiian but turns out he's not. He's a tall, thin, white guy with an Aussie (I think) accent! 

The expo was definitely big enough for all the runners and vendors and really easy to navigate. It was also easy to get to from our hotel so that was nice. 

My other goal was to meet Sam with FlipBelt. I just recently got my very own belt and fell in love with it immediately! You can read my review here. 
She's a totally cool chick who is super relaxed and fun to talk to. I wish we could have stayed and talked more about running and everything but her booth was very busy selling out of belts so I let her get back to business! If you ever see her at an Expo be sure to stop by and say hi! 

My Experience

PictureTypical Corral Selfie!
Due to the warmer weather in Hawaii and being as we ran a marathon just 3 weeks prior to this race, we planned to take this one easy. We planned to use an interval method so I could avoid getting too hot and because we knew there was no time limit to worry about. We ended up running the first 3 miles non-stop and then picked up our intervals of running 3 minutes and a brisk walk for 1 minute. I also decided that since we were taking it easy, I would give live tweeting during the race a try! It was a ton of fun and I got a lot of encouragement from all my Twitter buddies! If you ever run a race for fun, you should try it once just to do it. I had so much fun going through all my tweets/notifications after the race! 

We ended up finishing in 6:24:00.

I really think we could have finished in under 6 hours even with our run/walk method but we had a few stops on the course and I'm pretty sure they  were 10+ minutes due to long lines at the bathrooms. 

This is a huge race! It had over 31,000 runners and even though there are 26 miles to spread out, you never really spread out. You have to be on your game the whole time to  make sure you don't bump into people. You've been warned! 

The first few miles of the race are in the dark and have you running around downtown Honolulu. We saw a lot of businesses decorated with large Christmas light displays which made the race feel fun and festive! 

The course takes you along the shore line not too far from Diamond Head and there are a few opportunities to see the ocean. It was so beautiful! What was even more beautiful, was seeing all the green mountains off in the distance with the low rain clouds hanging around. It gave the race a cool ambiance and backdrop that made everything feel all majestic and stuff! Don't even get me started on the fact that we saw a rainbow during the race. I almost died!! 

Around mile 19 or so I hit the wall. Our walk breaks got a little longer and our running was a little shorter. I was still having fun and the volunteers were still cheering loud and proud. So overall I was doing ok! I've just come to the conclusion that marathons are just hard! I have one more full marathon planned in 2015 and then I think I'll retire and stick with half marathons. We'll see!If full marathons aren't your thing, and you want to run a race in Hawaii, the same race organizers hold the Hapalua Half in April. 

I seriously can't recommend this race enough! If you are looking for a special race for a milestone or an anniversary you MUST. DO. THIS. RACE!
The course, the scenery, the fireworks, the rainbow, the ocean, the list goes on and on! 

How you think I feel during a marathon...
How I really feel during a marathon...

Question! Where is your next race or vacation or race-cation?

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon
You guys! It's finally here! The Honolulu Marathon is just a few days away! I can't believe that we signed up for this race in April and now race week is upon us! To say that I'm excited is a huge understatement! 

To add to the excitement, as part of a new project I'm taking on as part of my BibRave Ambassadorship, I got a fancy new GoPro camera in the mail today! I'll be able to share more on that later but I'm super excited it got here just in time to go to Hawaii with  me! 

My Race Plan

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon
Let's be real clear right off the bat people. This race will be warm.  I've said it 100 times already, I am not a hot weather runner. I've been stalking my weather app on my phone and watching the temps in Honolulu for a while now. It. Will. Be. Hot. 

The race starts at 5:00am and we'll be running almost 2 hours before the sun comes up so that is on our side. The course description, according to the website, says "The terrain is level except for short uphill grades around Diamond Head."  So that sounds promising to me.

The Hubbo and I have the plan to run the whole race together. We haven't done that in a while so that will be nice. We also realize that we ran a marathon 3 weeks ago so we plan to take this one at a much more relaxed pace. In fact, being as the Honolulu Marathon has no time limit and race walkers are very welcome, we plan to do a run/walk/run strategy for the whole race. We haven't figured out the exact intervals yet, but we just want to sit back and enjoy the race and the beautiful scenery! So this will definitely NOT be a PR race for us, but we plan to have a good time! 

Packing For A Race and Vacation 3,819 Miles Away

According to Google the distance from Tulsa, OK to Honolulu, HI is 3,819 miles. That is a very long way to go if you forget something! Here's my plan. I will pack all my my race day needs in my carry on. If something happens and my bags get lost, at least I won't to have to buy all new running gear at the Expo. So anything and everything I need for the race will be carried on. The rest of my belongings will be packed in my regular suitcase. 
I may toss a few other important things in  my carry on bag like my swimming stuff and flip flops. That's pretty much all I need the rest of the week, right?

Confession: I'm an over-packer y'all!
It's true! Every. Single. Time. 

If you don't believe me, look at this picture. This is my living room the day before my first out-of-town race.  From the looks of this picture it appears that I would have been gone several days or at least traveled a great distance. Do you want to know where I went for my first out of town race? To Oklahoma City. A measly little 1.5 hours away from Tulsa and for only 1 night! 

The struggle is real y'all! 

You can't see it very well, but in that blue bag on the left side of the picture is my toaster and a loaf of bread. Yes. A freaking toaster!!!! 
Don't worry, since we are flying I won't be packing my toaster this time. But no promises that I won't pack far more outfits than I can possibly wear while we are there! I mean c'mon. You never really know what you are going to do until you are there and you may need 2 outfits a day, right? Ladies back me up on this!

Fun Facts About The Honolulu Marathon

Picture2013 Finisher Medal Photo Cred: Honolulu Marathon
  • The race starts at 5:00 am
  • The race is kicked of by a Fireworks display!
  • It is the 3rd largest race in the US
  • Over 30,000 runners participate each year
  • There is no registration cut-off
  • There is no time limit
  • This race is only a full marathon or 10K race day walk
  • The Elite 1st place winner gets $40,000!
  • The men's course record is 2:11:12 set in 2004 by a Kenyan
  • The women's course record is 2:27:19 set in 2006 by a Russian

Question! What is your favorite Racation destination you've been to or want to go to?

PicturePhoto from Addaday.com
You all may remember that about a week and a half ago I ran a marathon. If we want to be technical and slightly obnoxious about it, technically I ran the world's shortest ultra marathon coming in at 26.5 miles! 
Let's be real. 
Runners, especially myself, love to talk about running. Sometimes we talk about it to an obnoxious level. AmIRight? No? It's just me? Okay, moving on... If you read my race recap you know it was a very tough day for me. Not only did I miss my PR and goal by one hour, but I had horrible cramps in my quads and feet. Not fun. Luckily for me, I had recently acquired a new recovery tool. I had an Addaday Ultra Roller Plus Series C roller waiting for me at home. It was perfect timing and just what I needed to start my recovery process. After all, I have another marathon in just a couple weeks. Hello Honolulu Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an Addaday roller thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Disclaimer #2: I'm a Ginger, not a Doctor. If you are having any injury issues, please go see a professional. 

Why I Chose Addaday Series C

When I was contacted by BibRave and they let me know that I had the opprotunity to try out an Addaday product of my choice, I was pretty excited. I'm an average runner with normal aches and pains after a long run, but I've also been battling issues with my feet for a while now. Hello Plantar Fasciitis! It's definitely better than before, but I have to stay on top of it or it tries to come back. 

So when I was looking over all the options I noticed a few things about the Series C first.

1. It was smaller than some of the others. I like the idea of being able to pack this in my luggage being as we plan on running a race in all 50 states.
2. It had 1 little red gear. When I read more about that specific gear, it was listed as a way to work on your Achilles area which is where my feet problems stem from. Boom! Sold!!
3. I've actually tested out the Type C before at my local running store and I knew it was good to work on my IT Band. 
4. I didn't realize it at the time I picked it, but when I got home from my last marathon I was in so much pain, I couldn't even walk, and I definitely didn't have the strength use my regular foam roller. This was a good way to start the recovery process because I could control how much pressure I put on my quads without having to hold myself up off the floor. 
5. For the guys: I can't attest to this personally, but my fellow BibRavePro, Jeremy, says the Addaday Rollers don't snag the hair on your legs. 
6. The Type C has a medium firmness to it which allows for a deep tissue massage. I didn't want something too soft or too hard. So this was the best option for me. 

How I Used My Addaday Roller After My Marathon

When I got home from my marathon my quads hurt, my feet hurt, my calf muscles were tight and everything just hurt. After I showered, I was able to sit on the edge of my couch and start using the roller on my calf muscles and quads. I started wit my quads first and got them to relax a little. Then I was able to move down to my calf muscles and then eventually my Achilles.

Once I got all of those areas loosened up, I was able to move to the floor and work on my feet. I used the regular gears and the small red gear on different areas of my feet to get the blood flow moving. Then I propped my feet up on the coach while I was laying on the floor for about 5 minutes to help some of the blood drain out of my feet. The next day, my feet, calves, and quads, were all totally fine. After all of my previous marathons, I normally would still be having trouble walking the following day. Not this time. My back was sore but I didn't roll out my back. Lesson learned! 

In the picture above, I'm rolling out my feet. I just put the roller on the floor and roll my feet back and forth. It really helps to loosen it up after a long day or a long run. 

Get Your Own Addaday

You can see a full list of their products by clicking here. They have seven different types of rollers as well as a wealth of information on how to use them on their website. 

You can also find their products in your local running stores like, Fleet Feet and Red Coyote Running just to name a couple. You can click here to find a store near you. 

The Addaday Type C is listed on their website for $40. The rest of their products retail from $19 to $45. 

They might also be the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite runner! 

Check out what my a few of my fellow BibRavePros have to say about the rollers they picked!

Jeremy - Ultra Plus Series Pro
Angie - Universal Roller Type D
Melissa - Ultra Roller Plus Series C

Question! What is your post-race recovery ritual?

PictureNicholas Norfolk and I before the Blogger's Panel
I already know exactly what you are thinking. That is the most random mash-up of a blog title that you've ever laid your pretty little eyes on, huh? Well it's too bad that "Meeting Bart Yasso, Blogger's Panel, Volunteering at the Expo, and Random Pics from Route 66" didn't fit in the title line. Weird. 
Well what can you do? I have a few topics to talk about but I don't think any of them are single-post worthy on their own. So blog mash-up it is! 

Now before you send me hate mail, I know, I know Bart Yasso is DEFINITELY worthy of his own post! But what can ya do? 

Meeting Bart Yasso

PictureSassy #Bartie
A few days before the Route 66 Marathon I sent a tweet to Bart Yasso that I was excited to see him at the Expo and hoped we could get a pic together. Stalker Pro Tip #1. Tweet in advance that you are looking to meet and get a pic! 

I was actually just putting evidence out there in case any stalking charges would be filed against me later, but it turns out, I didn't need to! Bart replied to my tweet and said we could get a pic! Whew! Stalker Pro Tip #2. Don't be shy! When I first got to the Expo Bart was alone and setting up for his upcoming talk he was about to give. But I got too shy to approach him. Just when I was about to walk up to him, he walked over and started talking to the guys at the Marathon Maniacs booth! Fail! Then when I finally went up to him after he spoke he said he remembered me and we were able to get our Bartie! That's what selfies with Bart Yasso are called apparently. I was lucky enough that we got to take two together. A normal one and a sassy one. The sassy one is my favorite and I'm totally taking suggestion for the best caption for this pic! 

The Route 66 Marathon Blogger's Panel

PictureT-Rex, RunGingerRun, Running Jacksons, and Angie
A couple weeks before the Expo at Route 66 I got a message from one of the Race Directors asking me if I was running in the race and if I was available to be a part of the Blogger's Panel on Saturday. I immediately agreed and was super excited. I had actually attended the panel as an audience member the previous two years and really enjoyed it. 
I had the honor to join these fellow runners and bloggers for a 45 minute Q&A about blogging and running. It was a ton of fun and I can't wait for Route 66 next year! The Hubbo and I are already planning to run the half and the 5k.  

The other fab bloggers:
Danielle Hastings http://trexrunner.com/ 
Becky Jackson http://runningjacksons.blogspot.com/
Angie Whitworth Pace http://www.angiepaceruns50.blogspot.com/

Blogger's Panel Live Action Shot!

Volunteering at the Expo

PictureBlinky bling and handing out bibs, like a boss!
I've been running in races since 2010 and before last weekend had never actually volunteered at a race. It's been on my mind for a year that I need to volunteer as a way to give back to the running community, but never made it a priority. Until the Route 66 Marathon Weekend. RT66 makes it very enticing to be a volunteer. Here's why:

1.  You get a coin for volunteering. You all know I'm a sucker for bling!
2. There is a post-race volunteer party! Umm hello?! I like to party! 
3. They make it very easy to sign up and have a long list of areas you can help. Everything from packet pickup to course marshal to expo tear down.
4. It let's you see some behind the scenes aspect of the race.  I now have a whole new respect for race directors, volunteers, and outlook on being a participant of a large scale race. 

I volunteered for 2 shifts on Friday before the race on Sunday. From 10-1:00 I worked the packet pickup table. It was crazy busy from 11-1! We could literally tell when they opened the doors. From 1:30-4:30 I worked the shirt table where it was much more chill but I had a run in with a VERY RUDE and somewhat well known racer from Oklahoma. I will say that for the most part, the running community held true to their reputation of being awesome! So overall, it was a great experience! 

One of the cool things about being at the Expo all day on Friday was that it was super easy to pick up my shirt from Okies Rock that I won on Instagram! I met Adam before the Expo really got started and when I went back to the Okies Rock booth to claim my prize he totally hooked a ginger up! 

Check them out on Instagram to see some of their awesome line if you are an Okie or fan of us Okies! They have their merchandise in stores in Tulsa, OKC, Harrah, Sapulpa, and Bixby. 
And just in case you didn't already know...#OkiesRock!

More Pics from Route 66 Weekend

Random Silliness before the Route 66 5k!
Got to meet my Twitter buddy Luis G. at the Blogger's Panel!
Bumped into another Twitter pal Laura before the marathon!

Questions! Have you ever volunteered at your hometown race? Are you coming to Route 66 next year?

Picture2014 Route 66 Marathon Medal
Before we get too deep into my Route 66 Marathon recap, I won't keep you waiting to see if I reached my goal of a PR and a 4:45 marathon. 

Nope! It didn't happen and that's ok. 

I will say that while I'm a little bummed I didn't get a PR, I know that sometimes you win some and you lose some. This was just not my day and that's how it worked out this time. It just means that there will be another time and another race worthy of a PR! 

I don't regret sharing with my blog buddies what my goal was, albeit an ambitious one. For me, sharing my goal with you all made it real and it made it a solidified plan in my mind and it made it feel doable. I received so much love and encouragement on social medial from all  my fellow BibRave buddies and everyone else before and after the race and that was totally amazing and worth every painful step! My recap below will bring you on the adventure of marathon #5. 

The Bling

PictureRoute 66 2014 Medals
I ALWAYS start with the bling because it's my favorite part of any race and since this is my hometown race, I was able to collect a lot of it this weekend.  Between the Hubbo and I, we bought home 8 pieces of bling and 10 shirts! 

Starting on the top row on the left is my 5K medal. These are a definite improvement from last yeas's 5k medal. It's about the size of my palm! 
The next medal on the top is my Marathon Maniacs medal for finishing the full. This is another cool feature of this race. If you are a Half Fanatic, Marathon Maniac, or 50 State runner, and if you register in time, you can get a special medal that shows your club affiliation! The leaves on the outside of medal actually spin which is a cool feature of this large medal! 

The smaller coin on the bottom row is my volunteer coin for helping out at the Expo on Friday. I took a shift of handing out bibs and a shift of handing out shirts and had a blast meeting most of the runners! 

The red and blue coin in this picture is my coin for completing the Center of The Universe Detour. Two years ago when I ran this marathon for the first time the CoU detour was around mile 17, but this time it was after mile 25 and I love that they moved it! 

The Center of The Universe Detour

PicturePhoto Cred: Route66Marathon.com
One of the little extra things that makes this race special is the optional detour that runners can take around mile 25.5. If you want to, you can elect to run up to the Center of The Universe which is famously located here in Tulsa and if you do, you get an extra coin and you get the bragging rights of running the World's Shortest Ultra, a 26.5 mile  race! 

The CoU is an architectural anomaly that is a cement circle and if you stand in the middle of it and talk normal, your voice will echo all around you, but those outside the circle can't hear the echos! I've done it before and it's kinda crazy! 

Technically, I've ran more ultra marathons than I've ran regular marathons since 3 of my marathons have been over 26.2 miles. According to some runner's opinion, an ultra is typically a minimum of 50K and up and I've only ran one of those. 

The Course

It's no secret that this course isn't flat. Most people will describe it as challenging but not impossible. It definitely has a lot of rolling hills because that is how most of Tulsa is built. It is a course you can PR on and BQ but you have to work for it. You have to train for some rolling hills if you are going to do this race. 
The course also shows off some of best parts of Tulsa including Cherry Street, Brookside, Midtown, TU, and Downtown Tulsa all in one race. It's definitely a good representation of our city. 

The Expo

PictureBart Yasso at Route 66 2014
This expo is one of my favorite expos of any race I've been to. I've been to OKC, Garmin, Little Rock, and a few others and this one is still my favorite. I even volunteered at the Expo on Friday handing out bibs and then shirts. 
This expo is in a space that is big enough to roam around and it's not crowded at all. There are also plenty of vendors there from races, to Addaday, to KINDBars, to many others. 
They also have extras that make this race special, like Bart Yasso speaking at the Expo, a Blogger's Panel which yours truly got to be a part of this year, and they even collected old running shoes to donate this year. 

My Experience

PictureThe Hubbo and I in our matching Maniac Shirts!
I knew when the Hubbo and I completed the 5k on Saturday that the marathon was going to be a little hotter and harder than I would like. I think I say this in EVERY SINGLE BLOG post, but I'm not a hot weather runner. I'll take 30 degrees over 60 degrees any day! Especially a race day. On Sunday before we even got to the starting line it was 58* and 93% humidity. Not good for this Ginger. Some people thrive in this type of weather and that's good. Everyone has a different ideal race temps. But from what I heard from my running buddies, it was a tough day for everyone. 

Looking back, I really should have realigned my race goals and started with the 5:00 hour pacer, but I decided to go with my original plan of going with the 4:45 pacer and shoot for the best I could do.
I managed to hang with that pace for 10 miles, but around mile 4, I was completely drenched in sweat and knew I wouldn't be able to hang for another 22.5 miles at that pace. 

Around mile 10 at a water stop my running buddy Tara and I left the pacer and our other friends Roy and Paul and decided to slow it down. That was good for a while then we started doing run walk intervals. At mile 20 Tara was ready to run it in so we parted ways. Around mile 21 I started getting cramps in my foot and my right quad. They would literally stop me in my tracks and I'd have to sit down on the curb to stretch them out before I could keep walking.  It was not cute. 
I was hunched over on a curb stretching and a fellow maniac came upon me and asked if I was alright, I let him know I was fine just battling some fun cramps. He told me he couldn't tell if I was stretching or curled up in a ball crying on the side of the road. Looking back, it must have totally looked like I was curled up in an upright fetal position when he came up on me. Also, not cute! 

I managed to limp my way through miles 21-23 and somewhere after that I ran into my running buddy Amber. We had lost each other around mile 4. I have never been so happy to see someone I knew in a race! I just needed someone to help me take my mind off the pain.
Not only was I dealing with the cramps but my feet hurt like hell! I'd stop to walk because I was hot or cramping and all the blood would drain down in my feet until it was too painful to walk. The only thing that helped that feeling go away was to run, but every time I ran, I'd get a cramp. It was a vicious cycle. My feet even got numb and tingly at one point. Again, not cute! 
We managed to run/walk our way to the finish line.
Despite all the heat, humidity, hills, cramping, walking, and stopping to stretch I managed to run my 2nd fastest marathon in 5:43:20. 

More Pics from Route 66

PictureRunning Buddies Tara and Tom!
My running buddy and fellow Okie, Tom, took this photo around mile 14ish. Look at how wet my hair is with sweat and how red my face is! That should tell you that it was a warm one for me! 

Roy, Paul, Tara and I in the corral and ready to go! 
I saw so many people over dressed for this race. So many turtle necks on under singlets, so many long tights and running jackets and gloves. My running club subscribes to the saying "dress like it is 20* warmer than what the temperature says."
So if the temp is 57* outside, dress like it is 77* outside. I wouldn't be wearing a running jacket, and gloves when it's almost 80*! 

Questions! Have you ever gone for a PR and Missed it? 
Does your hometown race have any fun "extras" like the Route 66 Detour?

PictureCrossing the finish line of my first RT66 Full!
It's Wednesday night which mean's the weekend is pretty much here, right? This weekend is a big deal because it's the weekend of the Route 66 Marathon! It is also important because it marks my return to the full marathon distance. ::Insert Terrified Emoji Here:: The last time I ran a full marathon was in early March 2013. So it's been a few months. To say I'm a little nervous would be an understatement. I'd give my overall training this season a B-. I had to sit out a total of 3 weeks due to various illness/complications. It was very hot in Oklahoma a lot later in the year than normal. In fact, most of October was unseasonably hot. We all know I'm not a hot weather runner so my training runs suffered. I had a good 15 mile run and good 21 mile run, but my 16 was a little tough and my 18 wasn't pretty. 

RunGingerRun's Route 66 Marathon Weekend Schedule

PictureMe, The Prez of MM, and T-Rex @ RT66 2013
In case you missed it from my last blog, here is where I'll be and when:
Friday: Open-4:30 - Volunteer at the Expo at the Bib Table and Shirt table.
Saturday: 8:00am - Run/Walk the 5K with the Hubbo and Friends. 
Saturday: Afternoon - Speaking at the Blogger's Forum at the Expo (Time most likely will be 3:00 -4:00 pm) Come by and say hi!
Sunday: 8:00am - Run the Marathon 26.5 Miles (Includes the Center of the Universe Detour)
Sunday: Running across the finish line sometime before or around 1:00pm! 

Goals for Route 66

Way back in January of this year, I wrote this post outlining my goals for 2014. So far I've completed 2 of the 3 goals and goal #3 is why I'm so nervous about my full marathon this weekend.
I've literally been thinking about this weekend for almost a year! My goal is to wear my Marathon Maniacs shirt because I've never been able to wear it and also get a new Full Marathon PR! That's the part that makes me nervous, not the shirt. Although, I need to try that baby on and make sure it still fits!! If not, I'll be buying another one at the expo and selling the one that magically shrunk itself in my closet last year. Weird. I'm sure a magic MM singlet will bring in a pretty penny on Ebay, right? 

Not only am I going for a Full Marathon PR, I've been rather ambitious and decided that my goal is to do the full marathon + the Center Of The Universe Detour (adds an extra .3 miles) with a time around 4:45. That means I'll take off a full 31 minutes from my previous PR of 5:16.
That's a lot of time! I don't know if you can tell, but I'm kinda freaking out the more I write this post. 

BUT! I have a plan. I have my blood sugar under control for this race, I have my plantar fasciitis under control (this will be the first full that I can say this), I have a great nutrition plan thanks to ENERGYbits, I have a game plan to join a pace group (4:45), and I have friends joining me in that group so I'll have plenty of distractions! 

I can do this! Right?

Are you running Route 66? What are your race goals for your next race?

We are officially less than a week away from my next full marathon, the Route 66 Marathon here in Tulsa! Last week I had a case of being lazy during taper but I just got in from my run and I am over that now. I have some exciting news to share with you, as well as my schedule for race weekend! 

Exciting News!

PictureRoute 66 Marathon 2012
You guys! I'm super excited to share this news with you! Late last week the Assistant Director of the Route 66 Marathon reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in being a part of the Blogger's Forum this year! I tried to play it all cool and contain my excitement but I think the 100 !!!!! that I left at the end of my message gave it away that I was a tad bit excited. 

I've attended the Bloggers Forum the last two years and enjoyed them both times. All the details haven't been finalized just yet, but if it goes like the last two years, here is what you could expect if you attend.
It is a 1 hour panel type discussion with 4 panelist that are involved in the running community. Last year they had Bart Yasso, T-Rex Runner, and Mama Laughlin on the panel! 
Yes, THE Bart Yasso! I'm dying! 

It is at the Expo on Saturday afternoon. The time has not been set but I remember last year it was around 3:00 or so. They have questions for the panel and then people from the audience can ask questions as well. 
If you are running the Route 66 this weekend feel free to swing by the expo on Saturday afternoon and check out the Bloggers Forum. You can see my amazing trick of making my face turn as bright red as my hair! No really, I consider myself pretty outgoing but I blush very very easily. Should be a fun sight for those in the audience! #FairSkinProblems

Be sure to check out the Route 66 Twitter and Website to get the exact time of the forum. 

RunGingerRun Route 66 Marathon Weekend Schedule

PicturePhoto Cred: Route 66 FB Page
Being as this is my hometown race, I am trying to experience every bit of it that I can. Here is where I'm going to be, what I'm going to be doing, and when.

Friday: Open-4:30 - Volunteer at the Expo at the Bib Table and Shirt table.

Saturday: 8:00am - Run/Walk the 5K with the Hubbo and Friends. 

Saturday: Afternoon - Blogger's Forum at the Expo 
(Time TBA)

Sunday: 8:00am - Run the Marathon 26.5 Miles (Includes the Center of the Universe Detour)

Sunday: Around 1:00pm collect the medal in this pic! 

Question! Are you running the Route 66 Marathon or half? What is your goal?

We all know that I'm Not That Kind Of Runner who freaks out over the idea of taking an extra rest day. In fact, extra rest days are welcome to show up at the RunGingerRun house anytime they want! 

Right now I'm tapering for my next marathon. Before you roll your eyes about this being a post about a runner going crazy on the taper. It's not. It's, in fact, the opposite. I'm not going crazy that I'm running less. I'm enjoying it a little too much! Now that the long runs are all in the books, I'm ready to fully relax. I want to let go of my diet and eat pizza and have Dr. Pepper (my weakness) for dinner every night! But I know if I start doing that a few days away from my next marathon, the Route 66, it certainly won't help me get the shiny new PR I've been dreaming about for over 18 months! 

The Hubbo and I managed to run our scheduled 3 times this week and our 4th run of the week is tomorrow morning. While I'm looking forward to our last 8 mile run with our training group, the 3 runs we had this week were brutal! Not only did the weather here in Oklahoma snap from 70* on Monday to the low to mid 30s Tuesday and the rest of the week, but it also gets dark at 5:00pm now and even our 4 mile tempo runs felt hard.  

Anyway, I'm worried that with this attitude of extreme desire to be completely lazy that I will hurt my chances of a PR at the Route 66 Marathon. 

A good omen though is that the extended forecast for the weather are looking good, so I'm excited about that! Temps in the low 40s and climbing to the mid 50s throughout the day. Perfect running weather for this Ginger! 

I'm glad the weather is looking good because I have a very ambitious goal laid out for myself. My previous marathon PR is here at Route 66 doing the extra .3 mile Center of the Universe Detour in a time of 5:16. This year I want to do the same distance, 26.5 miles, in:
A: Finish close to 4:45 
B: Finish under 5 Hours
C: Just PR 
D: Just finish! 

I know that seems like a lofty goal for myself and I agree. But there are a few factors that make me think I can come close to my "A" goal.
1. I've never ran a marathon pain free from Plantar Fasciitus and this will be my first attempt.
2. I've been training with a running group and based on our paces 4:45 should be attainable.
3. I'm going to sign up for a pace group at the Expo to avoid going out too fast in the first half.

In other news, Bart Yasso is coming to the Expo at Route 66 and I totally want to meet him and get a picture with him. I tweeted him and told him my plan and he agreed so if I get arrested on stalking charges someone come bail me out and be sure to have Twitter pulled up! :) 

I'm just curious, am I alone here? Have you ever hit the taper and then lost all motivation to keep up your training for your race? 

PictureAmber, Hubbo, and I
Last Saturday the Hubbo, my fellow Ginger-in-Crime Amber, and I ran the Jenks Half Marathon here in Jenks, Oklahoma. It's just across the river next to Tulsa. It was my 11th half I've completed. This one may sound familiar if you've followed this blog for a while being as I did this exact same race last year. Now that I've completed 11 half marathons, I feel so lucky to be able to say that. 

The Medal

PictureJenks Half Marathon Medal 2014
Being as this race is a fund raiser for a local school's cross country team, I totally understand their medal selection. This race is also very affordable for a half marathon. I signed up 1 week before and it was $38 with fees. 
The medal may not be much to write home or blog about, but the race has good intentions. I do wish they would have changed it up a little since the medals are almost exactly the same as last year. The only difference is that last year it said "34" and this year it was "35" for the 35th anniversary. 

The Course

PictureHand drawn map. Seems legit.
This course has rolling hills. These types of hills are good for training because they aren't so steep or drastic that they take everything you've got to complete them, but they are enough to be a good workout. The first 6 miles of the course seem to be the worst of it. From 6-9 the hills lighten up a little. And from miles 9-13 the course seems to level out a bit more and you can push it a little harder. Overall, even though it is kinda hilly, I still really love this course. It doesn't hurt that we get to run by a small airport and watch the planes land as we ran by. 

This is a picture of the course map they were handing out at packet pick up. It makes me laugh so I wanted to include it. If I wasn't from around here, it would probably make me a little nervous to run this race, but trust me. I survived and never heard the Deliverance music! 

The Swag

There isn't an expo for this race. You pick up your shirt and bib at a local running store. Inside by race packet envelope I did get some dental floss so that was pretty snazzy. Here is a pic of the shirt. This picture doesn't do it much justice because it is actually  more of a royal blue which I really like. After the race we were immediately handed a bottle of water by a very enthusiastic volunteer. He was also out on the course and kept things fun when we passed him. The post-race food was decent too. Full sized granola bars and full sized candy bars. 

My Experience

PictureAmber & I Crossing the Finish! #FlexBreak
I knew going into this race I wasn't trying for a PR. I was hoping to practice my marathon race pace to see how I would hold up on all those hills, but plans changed. The day of the race we had some very windy conditions. Wind gusts of up to 25 mph according to my weather app. I was going into this race knowing I was going to run it with the Hubbo and Amber and for the first few miles we just weren't feeling it so we changed our strategy to just have fun, take pictures and beat the 3 hour cut-off time. Mission accomplished! 

Question! Do you ever run races to just have fun?