PicturePhoto Cred: Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa
One week after I completed my last full marathon, The Hubbo and I ran another race here in Tulsa. The Golden Driller Marathon. Well, I ran the half and he ran the full. He's crazy! I opted for the half because I knew I would be sluggish from my full, but definitely wanted to be a part of the inaugural year. 

I'm really glad I opted for the half for a few reasons.
1. It got HOT HOT HOT that day. 
2. We had tickets to a 2:00 PM performance for the Phantom of the Opera and I wouldn't have finished a full marathon in time to go home and shower and get back to downtown Tulsa to see the show with my family.
3. I was just mentally over the full marathon distance.

And now, on to the recap!

The Medal

PictureFull Medal vs Half Medal
Y'all know I'm all about the bling! The one and only lure to running the full at this race is that their medal was bigger than the half medal. Which is the way it should be in my opinion. The bigger the effort, the bigger the reward! 
The Hubbo ran the full and I ran the half so we have both at home. 

I live in Tulsa and see our giant Golden Driller keeping watch over all of Tulsa all the time so this medal was a little more special to local people than it might be to other. That Golden Driller, he's famous you know! ;)

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Here he is! Keeping watch over all of Tulsa!

Golden Driller Facts

Here are some fun Golden Driller Facts according to Wikipedia!
  • Born in 1953
  • The Golden Driller is 76 Feet Tall
  • He clocks in at 43,500 pounds
  • He's the fifth tallest statue in the US
  • He's worn a shirt, tie, shorts, and a kilt for various promotions

Parking

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Parking was easy and free. The earlier you get there the better spot you could get like with any event. There really isn't a bad parking spot at this location. The race was kept small so there won't be overcrowding in the parking lot as well as on the course. Sitting in our car, we could easily see the start/finish line but also had easy access to leave too. 

The Course

Typically when a race is put on using the Riverside Trail system, it typically starts on the east side of the trail. There is a major construction project in Tulsa that should continue well into 2017, so most of the races have been shuffled over to the west side of the river. Which is a little more industrial in parts and less populated too.

The half marathon course had one hill that you went over twice since it is an out-and-back course. The first time you hit the hill at Turkey Mountain is the hardest. But at least you get that out of the way in the first 3-4 miles. The rest of the course is pretty flat. 

The full marathoners had a mind-numbing course. They did an out-and-back, with a couple out-and-backs mixed into the major out-and-back! Confused? Yes! Mind-numbing? Yes! Hopefully next year they can come up with a better full marathon course. So glad I didn't have to run that one. Poor Hubbo did though! 

The Swag

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This is a small local race put on my my running club. It has the typical local race swag. 

Shirt. Check!
Medal. Check!
Bib. Check!
Post-race food and drinks. Check! 

My Results

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I ran the first 6 miles with my buddy Tom and then we had to part ways because he was doing the full and I was doing the half. After I left Tom, I really started to crash. My feet hurt, I was hot, my Garmin quit around mile 7, and I was just mentally ready to be done. I think my experience was impacted more by my current running state. I've been feeling a little running burn out and my efforts show that. But I still finished, and for that, I'm excited! 


Time: 2:54:47
Division Place: 40 out of 49

This ended up being my slowest half to date. I'm not even mad! I was glad to be a part of the inaugural race in my hometown, glad to pick up some more bling, and glad to see my racing season wind down so I could give my body some much needed rest! 

Question! Have you ever been a part of an inaugural race? 

 
 
PictureThe Wicked Witch, The Hubbo, and I
You guys! 
It's been almost a full month since I've published a blog! How did that even happen? 
So many things have happened since then. I've ran a marathon, ran a half marathon, updated my blog discount page, and so many other cool things. Today I'm going to tell you all about marathon number 7. Garmin in the Land of Oz Marathon which takes place about 4 hours north of Tulsa, in Olathe, Kansas. (Oh-lay-the)

This is actually my second time to participate in this race, but last year I ran the half marathon. 
This year I ran the full marathon for one reason and one reason only. The medal. You might recall that I wrote this post. 
It's still true. I only ran 26.2 mile to get the Dorothy Medal. It totally completed my incomplete collection! 

Before we get into the recap I have to say that this race was one of my all-time favorite races to date! Not because of the medal, not because of the course, but because I got to run most of it with two new friends and it was a blast! 

The People

PictureTom, Kristy, and I in the corral!
Usually, I start my recap with the medal because it is my #1 favorite part about racing. But not today medal, not today! 

I should start this section by telling you that I randomly ran into Tom ( @toms66stuff ) on the way to Olathe at a gas station. That's not creepy at all! 
I first "met" Tom on Twitter and briefly ran into him at the Route 66 marathon 2 years ago and then ran a few miles with him at Route 66 last year too.  
At the gas station we chatted for a few minutes before I left to get back on the road. I had already walked out when it hit me that I should see if he has dinner reservations and invite him to join us. #SouthernHospitality 
Turns out, he and his wife didn't have plans or reservations so they joined us at dinner and then he and I ran the entire race together the next day. Almost in matching Marathon Maniac singlets. Almost.   

My Twitter pal, Kristy (@pghrunner ) , and I decided a while back that we would both run this race so we could meet in real life for the first time! Kristy and Tom joined me, the Hubbo, and about 30 of our running buddies for dinner the night before the race and we had a great time with everyone. See pic below. 

Originally, Kristy was going to do the half but ended up switching to the full. She ran the first 13 miles with Tom and I at our pace and then picked it up a bit so she could get back to the hotel and catch her flight. We had so much fun! We talked the entire way, ate bananas, and tried to avoid the rude lady on the course. I seriously didn't want the first half of the marathon to be over because I knew I'd have to say goodbye. But, we're for sure going to plan another race so we can meet up again soon. 

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Run Gingers Run! Oh and Run Tom!
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Kristy and I before the race.
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Just me and 30 of my running buddies carb loading...No Big Deal

The Medal

PictureDorothy, Toto, The Yellow Brick Road, and a Twister!
This is it. This is the ENTIRE reason I ran the full marathon and not the half marathon. Even though I was facing a little runner's burn out, I wanted to complete my Garmin Medal collection. Sort of. Last year I ran the half and got a Wicked Witch medal. This year it was Dorothy. In the past, the full medal has been rotating other characters until this year, and it was DOROTHY!
I don't mind that I don't have the Scare Crow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. Those were cool medals too, but if I'm going to do this race twice, I'd rather have Dorothy and they Witch. 
Mission Accomplished! 

The Course

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The course was a little challenging this year. Not for the typical reasons though. Sure, we had rain and wind, but the most difficult part was the mud and mud puddles. 
This is one of the flatter marathons I've ran, but it did have  some hills. 
We ran a lot of the race  on a small paved trail system through a wooded area in Olathe, and that is where we ran into the mud. We had no option at times but to run right through it or walk carefully through them. I was glad to have the rain on one hand, because I was getting hot around mile three. Shortly after that is when we started getting some rain. We were really really muddy/dirty when we finished though. I wish I would have taken a picture of my shoes because it looked like I had just rain a wilderness trail! 
The cool  thing about the course, is the last 100 yards or so they turn it into a Yellow Brick Road! 

The Expo/Swag

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There isn't really an expo. There is a packet pick up at the host hotel. It does have 3-5 vendor booths, but that is really about all. So don't expect much at the Expo.

The swag was a gender-specific tech shirt which was really cute this year.
I would take a picture to post on the blog, but it's lost somewhere in the laundry pile from hell so this picture of The Lion, The Tin Man, and The Scarecrow will have to do! 

Parking and Aid Stations

Parking is free and there is plenty of it! Just get to the starting line a little early for the closer parking spots and to get in line for the bathroom.

The aid stations were really good! In the later miles they were stocked with water, Gatorade, Gu, other snacks and Vaseline! Some were even handing out plastic baggies for your phone! 

My Results

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This was my last marathon for a while but I'm pleased with how the day ended up. Overall it is my second fastest marathon! That's almost a PR, right?

Marathon Number 7:
Time: 5:34:36
Place: I have no idea
Overall Rank: You aren't even reading this anyways 
Weather: Humid, Rain, Muddy! 

Question! What is your second fastest 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon Time?

 
 
PictureMeb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi with Scott Douglas
After reading Meb Keflezighi's book, Meb For Mortals How to Run, Think, and Eat Like A Champion Marathoner, I've decided we are exactly the same person. But we'll get to that in a minute. 

Runner's World contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this book and you know I said yes! I've actually never done a book review before, but it's been fun doing something different. I was provided a free digital copy of the book to review  but as always, all opinions and typos are my own. 

Now back to how Meb and RunGingerRun are the same person...

I know what you are thinking. 

Sure, he's male and I'm female. He's African American and I'm a Native American Ginger. He wins marathons and I barely survive them. But I'm pretty sure we're the same person deep down inside. 

In his book, Meb talks about a lot of things.
He talks about his mental process, his training plan, his cross training plan, how he eats, and even how he recovers from a race. 

Reason number one on how Meb and RGR are the same.
He takes time off after a race! 
"I always take a break after a marathon. In the first few days after, I don't have a choice - I can barely walk." 

Umm what? So you mean to tell me Meb Keflezighi, 2014 Boston Marathon Winner, also does the stiff-legged-shuffle the days after a race?! I bet he curses those stairwells the same way I do! I had no idea. Professional athletes make it look so easy. 

He says he make take off as much as 3 weeks after a marathon depending on "how beat up" he is. He does this to help recover and avoid injury. 
So my 8 week hiatus from running this summer just means I'm training like the pros...kinda. :)

Reason number two on how Meb and RGR are the same.
He doesn't worry about missing a mile or two on his training plan!
"It's better to be undertrained than overtrained." 
I can get behind this 100%.
Overtraining leads to injury. Injury leads to missing races and other fun stuff.
Personally, I'd rather sit out a training run or cut one short than miss my entire goal event.

Reason number three on how Meb and RGR are the same.
Meb wears sunglasses on race day! So do I! Albeit for different reasons. Until I read the book, I didn't really give much thought to his signature look. You know, the 5 S's...Shorts, Sketchers Shoes, Singlet, and Sunglasses. 

"I usually wear sunglasses in a race if it's a sunny day. This is not because of the sun but to help keep my head at the right level."
For me, it's all about comfort and to keep the sun out of my eyes. For Meb, it's all about posture and running form. He feels that if he wears them he'll notice when his head starts to drop in poor form because his sunglasses will slide down his face. Who knew?

Meb for Mortals is the title, but is it really for the everyday runner?

That thought crossed my mind when I started reading this. I expected to see crazy workout strategies, diets, and gear that only an elite athlete could come up with. Turns out, it really is a book for the everyday runner or "mortal" if you will. 

He talks about runners who wear a phone on their arm and tells us why it's a bad idea when it comes to your running form. I think it's pretty neat the this book focuses on real habits of all kinds of runners. I've certainly  been that runner with a phone on my arm and now that I see it in print that it changes your running form, I can see why. 

I could go on and on about the cool down-to-earth tips this book gives but let's do a quick rundown of the items included in this book.
  • He discusses his 9 day training cycle when most athletes do a 7 day cycle
  • He gives a list of running drills to help you with form (with pictures)
  • He shares tips with where to do certain works outs. He races on the road so a lot of his workouts are on the road.
  • Detailed 4 weeks of his 5k,10k, haf marathon and marathon training plans that lead to his PRs
  • Race nutrition - When he can't sleep at night before a marathon, he eats!
  • When to take a DNF. He's had three. 
  • Eating in general. Quick summary: No to fast food, yes to coffee sometimes!

I could go on and on with the cool tips and advice that this books includes,  but really, it's a quick, easy, and intriguing read if you're a runner or a fan of the sport. 
If you need a book for your next plane trip or day by the pool, this is a good one to have! 
You can buy a copy of Meb's book here. It's a paperback book that retails for $19.99.
You can follow him on Twitter here.
You can find him on Facebook here.
You can like his photos on Instagram here.

Also - Meb will be running in the 2015 Boston Marathon so be sure to cheer him on! 

Question! Do you plan to watch the 2015 Boston Marathon to see if Meb wins again?

 
 
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My 7th marathon is less than two weeks away and I'm trying to mentally prepare for it.
I survived my last long run of almost 20 miles this weekend but my training this season has been less than stellar. I'm pretty sure won't be setting any PRs anytime soon. But I willing signed up for this race and I'm going to give it a shot.

Why?

Because I like medals.

I collect them. It's not just a collection. It's something I can say that I earned as well. Every step of the way. I know some runners don't care much about medals and we all have different reasons why we sign up for a race, but this is mine. 

When I'm picking a half or full marathon, I go through these questions in this order:
1. Does it have a medal? If yes, move on to question two. If the answer is no to this question, there is no need to move forward to any other questions. 
2. What does it look like? If I think it's neat, cool, unique, etc. Move on to next question.
3. Travel, Lodging, Cost. If it's affordable, move on to next question. 
4. Does it fit in my training cycle? If the race in Oct/Nov or late March/early April, next question.
5. Have I already raced in this state? If no, then its a definite possibility!

Sometime last year there were rumors swirling in my running community that the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, Kansas was going to have Dorothy as the main character for their medal this year.

Quick back story - In the past, the half medal has been the Wicked Witch and the Full marathon medal has been rotating the other characters (Tin Man, Scare Crow and last year it was the Cowardly Lion). 

Another quick story - I freaking love the Wizard of Oz! I've dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween 2 or 3 times, I've watched the movie countless times, and I've seen the musical Wicked 3 times! 

Last year, the Hubbo and I and some of our running buddies drove up to Kansas and ran the half marathon. So now I have the Wicked Witch medal and when it was confirmed that the Full Marathon Medal would be Dorothy and I knew I had to sign up. And I did.

It only makes sense, right? If I'm not going to do this race again, this is a perfect set. 
Wicked Witch + Dorothy
They are an iconic pair like, Romeo and Juliet, Popeye and Olive Oil, or Bonnie and Clyde! 
You just can't have one without the other. You just can't. My brain can't comprehend it any other way.

I don't plan to do another full marathon anytime soon. So I won't be collecting the other characters. Sorry Scare Crow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Man! Who knows if they will be doing the same thing over the next few years.

I don't plan on running any marathons for a while because this is me lately...
And that is how I ended up signing up for another marathon when I had no intentions of training for a full marathon two training cycles in a row. 

I'm just here for the medal.

Question! Have you ever signed up for a race just for the medal?

 
 
Happy Good Friday Running Buddies!

I'm off work today, but the Hubbo has to work so I'm just sitting at home relaxing and preparing for my 20 miler tomorrow. 
It's just me, the dog, and the cat. I'm hydrating like a boss and they, well, they are being lazy. 

The Hubbo sent me the pic below of our dog, Zoey, and our cat, Gypsy, a few weeks ago.
This picture is totally staged! They aren't friends, but it's cute when they tolerate each other for a few seconds. 
Don't get me wrong, it's not a hostile relationship, they just prefer to pretend the other doesn't exist. And when Zoey walks too close to Gypsy, she likes to bop her in the face a time or two. Don't worry though, we always separate them and Gypsy doesn't use her claws. Zoey usually just stands there looking confused for a second. 
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You can cut the tension with a knife...
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Today I'm getting mentally and physically ready for my 20 mile run tomorrow with my group.
Here's my plan for the day...

Step 1: Eat cereal for breakfast.
Done!

Step 2: Wear Strassburg Sock off and on today.
Currently In Progress.

Step 3: Hydrate like a boss!
In Progress! Already 17 ounces in.

Step 4: Stretch and Foam Roll.
Eh, we'll see if I get to this one...
Step 5: Play Laser Tag with friends.
Totally doing this today! What should my player name be?

Step 6: Eat a turkey sandwich and apple for lunch.
Nom nom nom!

Step 7: Eat something for dinner and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
TBD

And this will be me tomorrow after my run...

Leave a comment! How do you prepare for your long run?

 
 
In less than three weeks, I'll hopefully complete my 7th marathon. My plan is to run the Full at the Garmin Marathon in Kansas and collect my Dorothy themed medal. I ran the half here last year and received a Wicked Witch medal, so it only makes sense that I add Dorothy to my collection, right? 

Oh the things we do for bling! 

I never really do weekly training recaps but I feel like once or twice a training session I tend to blog about my training. I don't do weekly recaps for a couple reasons.

1. I think seeing post after post after post of someones miles/splits can be boring and mine aren't that impressive. 
2. I pay for my training plan and I don't know if my running club would appreciate me posting it all over the place.
3. I never really stick to that plan anyways.

With that being said, I will share with you all that this is supposed to be my peak week. Supposed to be.
I haven't really been doing a stellar job at sticking to my training and this is the first training session where I've really slacked on my miles.

I didn't run Monday because I got a massage. Remind me someday to tell you about my love/hate relationship with massages. It's mostly a hate relationship...

I ran 4 miles Tuesday and it was HOT! It was close to 90 degrees after work. 
I plan to run a tempo run with my group tomorrow after work. Fingers crossed!
Saturday is our longest run of the session. 20 miles. 

Then I'll slide into taper mode.  It kind of feel like I've been in that mode since January. But hopefully, come Saturday, I'll get the job done. I'm already mentally prepping for that day and asking myself all of life's serious questions...

Compression socks or no compression socks?
Do I tape my feet or not tape my feet?
Do I take 4 or 5 packets of nutrition with me?
Do I take my iPod along or no?
And OMG, what am I going to wear? What's the weather going to be like? 
In other news...

I've been seeing my Chiropractor again. We have an on-again off-again relationship. Right now we are on and I'm happy with how my appointments are progressing.
I've had two this week and I have 3 scheduled for next week.
Today we did some Active Release Therapy and Dry Needling.
I've had the needling done before and it didn't really bother me, but today..OUCH! 
He's working on two separate issues. My plantar fasciitis has been acting up and I have a compressed nerve on the inside of my foot. 
I'm not too worried about these issues. I've been dealing with my plantar fasciitis for a while now and he seems to be confident that he can fix up the nerve problem. So if everything goes according to plan, I should be able to show up and run the Garmin Marathon in a couple weeks.

Leave a comment? How's your training going? 
iPod or no iPod?

 
 
PictureAt the lab and no tears!
Getting blood work done isn't exactly my idea of a good time.  Unless you're a vampire, no one really just likes the site of blood. But sometimes a few vials of blood can provide you with a wealth of knowledge you didn't have before.

That's exactly what happened when I decided to give Inside Tracker a try.

Disclaimer: I received a membership to Inside Tracker 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.

Inside Tracker is a company based out of Boston that uses your own blood to tell you what habits or focus foods you need to add to your lifestyle/diet to live a healthier life and perform better. They look at several different bio-markers and tell you if you're in the optimal zone for each one or not. If you are not, they give you in-depth tips and a long list of foods to add to your diet to improve those areas. 

Spoiler Alert! I had several areas that were not in my optimal zone! 

The process sounds simple right? Here's a quick overview of the process:
  • I set up an account on Inside Tracker's website. 
  • I found a local lab
  • I set up an appointment online to visit the lab and have my blood work done. 
  • I fasted for 12 hours and went to the lab. 
  • They took my blood. 
  • I didn't cry once!  
  • I waited 2 or 3 days and got my results back. 
  • Then I freaked out...

Side Note - If you try this out, you should probably skip the freak out step. 

I ignored the email that notified me that my results were ready for a full day. I didn't want to open it. 
Turns out, the email doesn't actually have your results in it, but tells you to log into your account to see your full results. Imagine that...

I was hesitant for a few reasons. Do you remember my whiny baby post? Yeah, that. I've been struggling with running since September and failing to use nutrition to control my PCOS. So I was nervous to see just how bad things were. No one likes bad news, right? But bad news or not, I needed to know. I needed to get informed so I could take steps to get better, to get healthier. 

It's important to point out that Inside Tracker is not meant to treat or cure diseases or medical conditions. But it just so happens that the top prescribed treatment for PCOS is diet and exercise so I found it to be a helpful tool. 

This tool is something that I've wanted for a long time. I've tried to find a nutritionist before but felt that due to my hormonal endocrine disorder they would never be able to tailor a meal plan that would really fit my needs. What do I need to eat? I remember thinking "I just wish somebody would tell me exactly what I should eat." 

Then finally, I logged in.
I was surprised and not surprised at the same time.
I saw some results that I expected and a couple that totally floored me. 

I had no idea...

Let's take a quick look at the different bio-markers they test.
The ones in Green are the ones that were in my optimal range. The ones in Orange were borderline either getting close to too high or too low. The ones in red, well, those need the most work. 

Iron, Liver, ALT (Liver enzyme), Magnesium, Creatine Kinase (Muscle Health), Folate, Potassium,
Sodium, Zinc, White Blood Cells


LDL, Triglycerides, Ferritin (Iron Storage), Glucose, hsCRP (Inflammation Indicator), Total Cholesterol, HDL, Calcium

Testosterone, Vitamin D, Cortisol, Vitamin B12

My Results

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Any of the markers listed above in orange or red will need work to get in my optimal zone.

I wasn't shocked to see my HDL, LDL, and Testosterone were in need of work. Those are typical results of women with PCOS. But I was shocked to see that my Testosterone had gone up 5 points since my last labs were completed!
I spent 6 months on a medication that was supposed to help reduce my testosterone and it made running almost impossible for me. Since getting these results back, I've scheduled an appointment with my doctor to talk about what's going on and my treatment options. 

The other result that I was shocked to see was that my Vitamin D level was low. Umm, hello! I'm a Ginger and that is our one and only super power! We are super proficient when it comes to Vitamin D and in fact, we need less of it than others! 

In reality, this test was done in early March and I attribute my low VitD level to it being the winter months with less sunlight available.  So if I re-test this summer, I suspect this wouldn't be an issue. 

What Now?

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Now that I know which areas I need to work on, I can visit another part of the Inside Tracker Portal and start looking at focus foods that I should incorporate to my diet. It's called the Food Basket. It has over 7,500 unique foods to suggest to you and even gives you your suggested caloric needs for each day based on the information you provided. Mine is around 2160 a day based on my activity level. And yes, Dark Chocolate is on the list! 

I filled out a simple food questionnaire to let them know if I had any dietary preferences or restrictions. For example, when I'm creating a food basket I can tell it that I don't like fish, or that I'm a vegetarian/vegan, or that I want to eat a Paleo diet and it will tailor the suggested foods to meet those needs. 
It also suggested that I add a few vitamins to help out. 

Let's take one of my bio-markers and look at their suggestions to help me improve it.

Calcium

My calcium was too high. 
It gave me a quick list of foods I could add including: peaches, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, kiwi, lima beans, lentils, squash, black beans, tuna and cod. 
It gave me a list of foods to eat less of: Whole milk, Cheddar cheese, pancakes, and ice cream. 
The tip it gave me was to eliminate any supplements I'm taking that include calcium. 

Bonus - One tip it gave me to help my cortisol level was to each dark chocolate! (70% cacao or higher) I've never heard of a diet tip that included eating chocolate! 

Is It Working?

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It's probably too early to re-test and see if my levels have improved so I'm basing this answer off of my recent training runs. But I have been adding focus foods into my diet for a couples weeks now. 

My energy has been slowly getting better but the biggest results that I can tell so far is that my running is getting stronger. I just made a few simple tweaks to my diet and I've already seen a big improvement and had stronger runs lately.

I recently ran my longest run of this training season, 17 miles, and it was good! It was one of my best long runs I've had in months. I've had a few good 10k runs with my group as well. Even some of my volunteer coaches and the Hubbo have said they can tell I'm running better lately. 

Also - usually Sundays are a rest/recovery day but the last two Sundays I've found myself wanting to get out and do a fun activity. We went for a bike ride and we went on a hike. Before, I would just prefer to rest all day and work on my Netflix marathon skills. I like that my energy is increasing and helping my motivation to creep back in for fun activities. 

If you want to check out Inside Tracker for yourself you can visit their website and look at the different packages they offer. I was given the Ultimate package. 
They start at $49 and range to $499. Two of their packages are available worldwide. 

If you want to see what my fellow BibRavePro Tom thought about Inside Tracker from a male's perspective, check out his blog here!

Question! What is your favorite super food? 

 
 
PicturePhoto Cred: Blanca Zavala
Hi Running Buddies!

How is your training going? My next race is just under a month away and I have two more long runs left with my running group. But this isn't a training recap blog, this is a review of a new product I've been testing over the last couple weeks, Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Zensah Ultra Compression Sleeves 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.

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If you look at this picture really close, (but please don't) you can see that I have two bruised big toe nails. Gross! That is what happens to me when a race is hot and humid and my feet swell a bunch.

This tells me 2 things.
1. Running is hard
2. My feet swell

In the past when I've worn compression socks or sleeves, I've had a love/hate relationship with them. I need them but they don't make my legs feel great. My legs feel tired when wearing them. So when I got news that I would be able to try Zensah, a brand of compression socks/sleeves I hadn't tried before, I was happy to give compression another shot. 

According to the Zensah website, "Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves give athletes a tighter fit in the calves and shins to increase performance and decrease muscle recovery time by stimulating blood flow while stabilizing the muscles to help prevent injury."

If you are a runner who prefers tight compression, then these are the sleeves for you! Some people need that tight support and I feel this is definitely one of the tighter compression sleeves I've tried. 

I ended up trying these on several runs. A Monday night 6 mile recovery run, a 9 mile base pace run, a 13 mile race pace run, and my last run was a 17 mile run where I put them on at mile 8.  Yes, I sat down in the middle of my run, took my shoes off, and put these on. It's all for science and the love of testing out products! 

I ordered a medium in the sleeves based off of my calf size. After testing these out, I feel like I got the right size and the best practice for me is to go by calf size and not necessarily my height. I also feel like I may be a person that needs a lighter compression. 

What I Learned

I actually learned a lot trying these out.

I learned that I prefer tight compression sleeves for recovery.
I learned that putting compression sleeves on half way through my run is better than starting out with them on for me.
I learned from one of my fellow BibRavePros that it can take a few weeks of consistent wearing of compression for your legs to become fully acclimated to them. Who knew!?
I learned that not everyone loves compression for running, but compression for recovery is key!
I learned that not all compression socks/sleeves are created equal and if I wasn't loving these, that I may be a better candidate for the regular compression socks. 
I learned that Zensah has some CUTE argyle socks!

Zensah Discount Code

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If you want to try out some Zensah socks or sleeves, you can save some $ by using the code Zenbibchat20 to get 20% off until 3/31. If you buy a pair, be sure to Tweet me and let me know what you think! 

Photo Cred: Jenn at www.thecupcakerunner.com

What Did Other BibRavePros Think?

Question! Socks or Sleeves?

 
 
Hey Running Buddies,

Last time we talked, I went on a long rant about my issues I had been facing while running and my loss of motivation. It's been a little over two weeks since I wrote that post. I have now humorously dubbed it "my whiny baby" post. 
But in all honesty, it has been one of my favorite blog posts I've written in the 2+ years I've had RGR. 

So what happened?
A lot.

I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) and amazed at the outpouring of support I got from all corners of my life! I got texts, emails, tweets, Facebook comments, comments on my blog, people approached me at work, people approached me from my running club, and everyone had nothing but nice and encouraging things to say! It was truly the best thing ever and it has really helped me start to turn this burn-out feeling around. 

And I realized something.

I'm not alone. 

There are others, that I know personally, that are experiencing the same feelings. I was so consumed with my own issues, I didn't stop to look around and see what other people were up to.  

I don't want my running buddies and friends to have these feelings, but it made me feel more normal to know that this is just something that happens to people sometimes.
I had this self-inflicted feeling that I would be viewed differently as a run/blogger if I wasn't loving it all the time. Looking back, that was dumb.  But when so many aspects of your life, such as your blog, social media, social life, friends, travel, etc. are tied to one activity and you find yourself not loving it, it's hard to see clearly. 

And then I learned something.

I've been training consistently since Fall 2011. That's a long time with very few breaks sprinkled in the mix. I learned that I'm a person that needs an off-season. I need a break. 

I know! Gasp! To say running has an off season is absurd to some. After all, we are runners. We run in the winter, the rain, the heat of the summer, and all sorts of conditions. If you are one of those people who can do the same activity for multiple years straight, and not face burn out or a loss of motivation, rock on! 

I remember a little over a year ago I was participating in #runchat on twitter and we answered a question about what running in the summer means to me.
I replied "Off-season!"

You would have thought that I told people I punch babies for fun! My twitter blew up with people, probably joking, telling me there is no such thing as an off-season when it comes to running.

By the way, I DO NOT punch babies for fun.  

So what have I been doing the last two weeks.
A lot and not too much.
Super helpful answer, right? 
That answer is complicated. In my last post I told you all I stopped taking my medication that was causing my body to overheat and making my running life a living hell. I feel that now I'm a month off that medicine, it has finally worked its way out of my system and it's getting better. I even had my first run where I felt "cold" and it was amazing!

I've been taking baby steps.

I've gone to the gym to cross-train a couple times a week. But it's not the same as before. Before, I would join an instructor-lead class. Now, I go and do my own thing. If I feel like doing push-ups, I do push-ups. If I feel like doing squats, I do squats. For the record, I'll never feel like doing burpees! Burpees are dumb! Joking...kinda.

I've had a few days in the gym where I just spent the 45 minutes foam rolling and stretching. 

I've been joining different groups within my running club to get my miles in. Before, a few of us would just meet up and run how far we felt like going. This week, I went to two organized runs my club hosts and that was helpful. I had a really strong run on Monday night. 

I've also been digging deeper into my nutritional needs because it's something I struggle with. I've been working with a company from Boston called InsideTracker to see what I need to add to my diet. They test your blood for 20 different bio-markers to see what you are missing so you can add it to your diet to perform better. 
My results are back and it was VERY eye-opening to say the least.
More on that in a future post, but I'm very happy to have this opportunity through my BibRave Ambassador program. 

So, long story short (too late), It's all going to be alright. And I can't thank you all enough for outpouring of support I received through my blog and social media and in real life! It was amazing and truly helped me get back on my feet!
 
 
I remember when I was playing softball when I was younger, we loved to yell chants or cheers while our teammates were at-bat. A lot of them were ridiculous. Okay, probably all of them were. But we had fun and I still remember a few of them after all these years and occasionally one will get stuck in my head. The one that has stayed with me all this time as I've trained for races is, "You've gotta want it, to win it, and we want it bad! You gotta be good, to win it, and we are the best!" Not that I've ever won a race or will ever, but you get the idea behind the motivation. That chant would pop into my mind from time to time when running was hard and it would remind me that I need to keep going because I had goals I wanted to accomplish. 

Well frankly, right now, that doesn't apply to me. At all. 

I don't want it.

I don't want to train for a full marathon. 
I don't want to run in the cold, rain, snow, ice, wind, heat, etc.
I don't want to give up 3 nights a week to running after work.
I don't want to get up early on Saturday mornings to go log miles with my group.
I don't want to give up my lunch breaks so I can cross train. 

To put it the most simply, I just don't want it.

Why?

I'm sure it's a combination of a lot of things. I've been in this training funk since November and it's getting old.  

I do know that after my full at Route 66 it left me completely deflated. I crossed trained 2-4 times a week, I ran 4 days a week. I worked on my diet and nutrition trying to find the right combination and did all of this from July to December when I ran my last full marathon in Honolulu. 

I'm burned out and deflated. I'm deflated because I put in a lot of work for Route 66, my goal race, and it didn't even come close to my plan A or B goals. 

I'm deflated because I run marathons and gain weight. I gain it quickly and a lot of it. I know it's possible but it doesn't make sense. I've said it before but my Doctor recommended a low carb diet to control my weight. Well low carb and 20 mile runs don't mix. Just sayin...

I know, I know. You're thinking,  you win some and you lose some. I get that. But I worked hard and for a long time and crashed and burned and it just took it all out of me.

I struggle.

I struggle with my weight. I struggle with the medications I'm on to control my PCOS symptoms. I struggle with motivation. I struggle with my nutrition. I struggle with Plantar Fasciitis. 

(I know I'm not the only one that struggles but this is a venting post that is long overdue and I'm hoping that it helps me get it out so I can move forward.) #BloggingAsTherapy

When I started a new medication to treat my PCOS in September, it caused a lot of side effects that were detrimental to my running. It made me even more sensitive to the heat (great), it caused a sharp, stop-you-in-your-tracks, pain in my rib cage, it made me pour buckets of sweat even on cold days, and it messed with my cardio/ability to breath while running. Then, as if all that wasn't bad enough, about 30-45 minutes after a long run, I would get extremely nauseated. I knew that after a long run I couldn't go to breakfast with my group or stand around for chit chat. I needed to be home because I would be so sick, I'd curl up on the floor unable to move until it passed. Luckily, one of my Doctors said I should stop taking it. Frankly, he was a little surprised I was on this particular medicine even though I told my other doctor I am running and training for marathons. My primary doctor is also a seasoned marathon runner so I trust him and decided to stop taking it this month and we'll see what PCOS symptoms pop up and I'll figure out how to deal with those.

The third and final blow is that shortly after my long runs my plantar fasciitis has been flaring up pretty bad and made it hard to walk without a limp. I've been working on it, but it takes time.

So in summary, it hurt while running, it was hard to run due to impaired cardio ability, then I'd get extremely sick after a run, and last and certainly least, I could barely walk the next day and a half because of foot pain. No wonder I lost my desire to run. I know running is not always easy, but come on! Sometimes you actually need to enjoy it to want to continue on the bad days. Or in my case, bad months. 

To say that I've been "phoning it in" the first 8 weeks of my training cycle would be an understatement. I had to drop back a pace group in my running club, which is fine, that is why there is more than one. I haven't ran 4 times a week yet. I haven't logged nearly enough miles in the runs that I have completed, and today was only the third time I went to the gym to cross-train in 2015.

Long story short, I need to get my motivation back. My next marathon is about 8 weeks away. I know going into this race that my one and only goal will be to finish it and collect my medal before the cut-off time. This is why I've mentioned that I'm going to retire from the full marathon for a while and stick to half marathons and working on my 5k time. 

Okay, venting over. The end.

It's Your Turn to Vent! What has been bothering you lately?