Friday, February 9, 2018

February: Valentine's Candy + Marathon Training

Hello blogosphere, I'm still struggling with a writer's block/brain fog but I'm giving it a go today because it's February. February means Valentine's candy, our baby's third month exploring this world and the beginning of Grandma's Marathon training.

January was my "ease back into running" month and, despite it being brutally cold, all has gone well. I just found the MapMyFitness app (that connects to my UA HOVR shoes) tracks my monthly mileage! For a lazy data runner, that's great. The shoes accidentally picked up random mileage here and there, probably while I walked around the house, but overall they did a great job tracking.

62.88 miles for January? Sure! I'll take it. That's better than any guess I would have had.


Recently I posed a question via Instagram: Which training approach do you swear by?

I've ran on Hal Higdon's plans for my earlier marathons and McMillan's for my last three. The debate was Hanson Method or stick to McMillan.

For Grandma's Marathon, McMillan's Marathon Plan of running 4-5 days per week wins again. Considering our littlest is only 3 months old, I think it's best to stick to what I know. McMillan's plan made adapting my mileage to the realities of life fairly simple and that's a great fit for life with a new baby, 2.5 year old and almost 5 year old.


On the home front, I can hardly believe how the time flies... except for when I look down at this baby and remember that our almost 5-year-old looked very similar to this... but now he's almost 5. That makes me a little teary eyed. It's great that our kids are growing but how have these years turned into such a blur in my memory?

To briefly update, Baby C is 3 MONTHS OLD already! He's a sweetie and we all adore him. The big brothers are so full of love it's nearly suffocating. Please, give the baby just a little personal space. Maybe an inch.

C is pretty much always smiling or sleeping or eating. Oddly enough I've tried to catch a picture of him frowning but I haven't been able to yet! I guess that's a good thing. Yet even his frown is adorable, to momma at least. He's an easy going baby, which has been a breath of fresh air. Our middle "W" is also a sweet, sweet boy but he was extra intense for the first 18 months of his life. Like I felt as though I was walking on egg shells 24/7.

I had plans of writing a post about "Adjusting to Life with Three" or a three months postpartum update but it just hasn't happened. Maybe I will get around to writing those when C is celebrating his first birthday ;)

And no he's not sleeping through the night yet. We'll save that for his first birthday, too!


I want to leave you with a thought from our kids’ favorite movie lately: Cars 3. 
Cruz: How did you know you could do it?
Lightning McQueen: I don't know, I...I just never thought I couldn't.
As training for my 10th marathon begins soon, I found Lightning McQueen's words oddly encouraging. Why do I think I can run another marathon in this new season of life with three kiddos at 7 months postpartum? I just never thought I couldn't.

There's something to believing you CAN.

Doubt makes a person shaky. As James 1:6b says about our faith in God, "the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." God calls us away from doubt and instead to BELIEVE. There is power in believing you can do whatever He calls you to.

So how do you know you can do it? Pray past the doubt and choose to BELIEVE!


Weekly Workout Wrap-Up

MONDAY: 

Off

TUESDAY: 

Easy Run (Treadmill): 4 miles, 39:26 @ 9:51/mile avg.

WEDNESDAY: 

Bodyweight Strength Circuits by Run Far Girl: Squats, lunges, side/front planks, bicycles, bridges.

Image from RunFarGirl.com

THURSDAY

Tempo Intervals (Treadmill): 4.04 miles, 35:00 @ 8:39/mile avg. 185 spm.

FRIDAY:

Easy Run (Treadmill): 2 miles @ 9:40/mile avg.

SATURDAY:

Long Run: 1 hour planned

SUNDAY:

Strength/stretching planned


Do you have any fun Valentine’s plans?

Let's Connect!



Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hear It All | AfterShokz Trekz Air Review

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Completely zoning out to music while on the run feels great but, let's be honest, it's not that safe. While some ear buds and headphones block out surrounding sounds to a dangerous level, AfterShokz open ear headphones deliver unrivaled situational awareness and comfort without compromising sound quality.

As a BibRave Pro, I received Trekz Air — the lightest and most organically designed AfterShokz open ear headphones — to review.


How It Works

The bone conduction technology featured in open ear headphones uses transducers that guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them.

The AfterShokz Way (Image Source)

Taking Trekz Air Outdoors

While running outdoors, open ear headphones allow you to "run defensively" by staying tuned in to vehicle traffic and other people and/or animals on the road. (I've often wondered if I will get ran over by a deer some day. They are everywhere.)

The Trekz Air easily pairs up with my iPhone using Bluetooth 4.2. I turn on my phone's Bluetooth, then turn on the headphones and they pair up in seconds before I head out the door. From there, I stream my favorite playlist using the Spotify app.

If the weather takes a turn for the worse, no need to worry. These headphones are IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture.


Trekz Air on the Treadmill

When I run indoors, I'm usually multitasking a workout with watching our children for about 99% of those treadmill runs. My ears need to be open and I need eyes on the back of my head! Three boys can be mischievous little monkeys. Even the littlest guy - I try to time runs around his nap time but that isn't a guarantee.

Because of the open ear design, I am able to listen to music while keeping an "ear" on my older kiddos or our waking-from-his-nap baby.


The Trekz Air's rechargeable lithium ion battery lasts for 6 hours of music or calls. If the battery is completely depleted, it takes only 2 hours to fully recharge with the micro-USB cable.

What's In The Box


  • Trekz Air Wireless Headphones (of course!)
  • AfterShokz Carrying Case
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • User Manual
  • Ear Plugs


Where to Find Trekz Air

The Trekz Air wireless headphones are priced at $179.95 and include a hassle-free 2-year warranty. Use code “TRUCKER” to receive a bonus BibRave Trucker Hat ($22.95 value) with purchase of the AfterShokz Trekz Air at http://bibrave.aftershokz.com/.


My Final Thoughts

This is my second time reviewing an AfterShokz product and this bone conduction technology is legit! Personally I prefer the Trekz Air headphones because of their lightweight design and natural fit. I could forget I was wearing them, if it weren't for my music playing!

The Trekz Air is more expensive than their counterpart but they are 20% lighter and are designed to meet the demands of elite and aspiring athletes. If you are an avid runner and music junkie, I would say these are worth the price, especially if you use the "TRUCKER" code above to get a bonus hat (the BibRave Trucker is my favorite!).


Weekly Workout Wrap-Up

MONDAY: 

Off

TUESDAY: 

Easy Run (Treadmill): 4.09 miles, 38:49 @ 9:29/mile avg. 184 spm.

WEDNESDAY: 

Stretching, bodyweight strength training

THURSDAY

Tempo Intervals (Treadmill): 4.00 miles, 35:01 @ 8:45/mile avg. 182 spm. 400m x 4 @ 10k pace.

FRIDAY:

Stretching, planks

SATURDAY:

Long Run (Treadmill): 7.11 miles, 1:00:00 @ 8:26/mile avg. 182 spm.

SUNDAY:

Easy Run: 2 miles OUTSIDE! @ 9:30/mile avg. 3°F with -17°F windchill but the fresh air was worth it.


Do you listen to music or podcasts during workouts? Any recommendations?

Let's Connect!



Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018's New Running Experience | Under Armour HOVR Sonic Review

Disclaimer: I received Under Armour's HOVR Sonic running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Under Armour is releasing a running experience like no other coming next week. Until last year, I hadn't thought of Under Armour as a long distance running shoe brand but my thoughts have greatly changed since experiencing the HOVR technology for myself!


Let me introduce you to the innovative Under Armour HOVR Sonic running shoe. 

Designed for runners of the competitive mindset, the HOVR Sonic is a digitally connected, neutral running shoe featuring HOVR cushioning which offers a 60% energy return. These shoes are like nothing I have seen before, in the best way possible.

As a BibRave Pro, I received white HOVR Sonic running shoes and have been packing on the miles over the last couple months. Here's a look at my personal findings on the HOVR Sonic experience so far.

Under Armour HOVR Sonic

The HOVR Sonic Tech Specs

  • Neutral Cushioning
  • Offset: 8mm
  • Stack Heights: 21mm Heel / 13mm Forefoot
  • Midsole Durometer: 47C Rim / 47C Core
  • Last: D Width; Speedfit + Strobel Construction
  • Weight: 9.6oz
  • Midsole: HOVR Cushioning, 60% Energy Return
  • Outsole: Solid Rubber Forefoot; Carbon Rubber Heel

The HOVR Training Features

Both shoes have a built-in sensor in the sole that tracks distance, cadence, pace, stride length and other data on outdoor and even treadmill runs. This data is stored and easily synced up to your device after the run or you can have the app open while running too.

I prefer to sync my shoes post-run so I don't need to bring my phone with on every run. When I'm done running, the shoes sync via Bluetooth to the MapMyRun app on my phone and all of the running data is stored on my account.


The data can be viewed as a general overview and more in-depth breakdowns are included for pace, stride length, elevation and cadence. This has been hugely helpful for my postpartum recovery and return to marathon training as getting back to a solid cadence is my main goal.

Tracking this data via my HOVR Sonic shoes has served as a personal accountability partner! I am able to compare data and (hopefully) see improvements as training progresses.



For outdoor runs, the HOVR Sonic shoes sensor tracks the weather and route to store on my MapMyRun account as well.


The HOVR Sonic Feel

The HOVR Sonic shoe's neutral cushioning feels natural for me. Though these shoes are on the heavier end of the spectrum, the 60% energy return from the HOVR cushioning evens things out. My feet felt light on the run and I haven't experienced any soreness or discomfort from the shoe.

The shoe's knit upper body offers support and breathability to keep you comfortable covering the long miles. The HOVR Sonic's knit upper comes in white (like mine), red, black and brilliance (neon pink).


Where to Find HOVR

Under Armour's HOVR technology is coming to market on February 1, 2018 and the Sonic shoes are priced at $100.

To receive updates on Under Armour's HOVR technology, visit UnderArmour.com/.


My Final Thoughts

The HOVR Sonic is easily my favorite Under Armour shoe. I plan on wearing these for many of my Grandma's Marathon training runs and potentially the race itself. I'm thinking these shoes will really shine on longer tempo runs and weekend long runs. The fit of the shoes has been very comfortable and syncing the data is a breeze. Geeking out on training data and pushing to new levels as a runner is right up my alley!

The absolute only concern that I have with the HOVR Sonic shoe is the mine are a beautiful bright white and I don't think they will stay that way for long. They may be grey after running through puddles this Spring but that's no trouble. It just means they are well loved and I put the work in!

Weekly Workout Wrap-Up

MONDAY: 

Easy Run: Goal pace 9:40 - 10:00/mile.


TUESDAY: 

Ekhart Yoga's Vinaysa Flow video (17:55)

WEDNESDAY: 

Strides: I got out for an early morning run and dabbled in some strides followed by front and side planks that evening.


THURSDAY

Off

FRIDAY:

A late night, night nursing and an early morning took the wind out of my sails today. Not even coffee could help! {gasp} Stretching and yoga will have to do and running will wait for the weekend.

SATURDAY:

Easy Run (Treadmill): 4 miles and another cold weekend in Minnesota!


SUNDAY:

Long Run (Treadmill): Goal pace of 8:30-8:40/mile. This run felt hard... Coming back into running after having a baby can make paces feel very deceiving. My body was going 8:30/mile but my mind thought we were running 7:30's for how the effort felt! I know I ran this one too hard technically, but pushing myself felt good too.


Do you track training data or prefer tech-free running?

Let's Connect!



Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sweat Hard, Smell Victorious | Sweat X Sport Review

Disclaimer: I received Sweat X Sport products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I'll admit it, winter is not my favorite season. Especially a crazy cold winter like this one! The snow came on November 1st and, who knows, it may stay through April. As they say: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And that's exactly what you have to do here!

When the weather gives you lemons, layer up and run!

To avoid being pent up inside for half the year, you dress in layers. Lots of 'em. Below is a picture of my running attire for an above zero run (heat wave!). It went as follows: Buff Thermonet hat and baklava, sports bra, tank, long sleeve technical shirt, winter jacket, spandex shorts, tights, gloves, cozy socks, running shoes and Yaktrax.

When in doubt, wear more tights!


All of the extra layers required for winter running make a whole lot of extra laundry and sometimes the regular old laundry detergent just won't cut it, especially on technical fabrics.

As a BibRave Pro, I received the Sweat X Sport Detergent and Extreme Odor Eliminating spray to test on my sweatiest winter running gear. Sweat X uses NANOVASIVE™ technology that is safe not only for activewear, but on all types of fabrics.


I put Sweat X detergent to the test on my running clothes and our regular loads because it is strong enough for your technical fabric, yet gentle enough for everyday wear, sheets and towels. The "Smell of Victory" scent is pleasant and not overpowering.

Sweat X detergent was even effective on my kids' snowpants and outdoor clothing. This formula is non-toxic and biodegradable so I don't have to worry about harsh ingredients on sensitive skin, even if our newborn baby's clothes sneak in a load.


The Extreme Odor Eliminator spray easily freshened up my running shoes, hockey skates and the plethora of boots and shoes in our house.

Just like the Sweat X detergent, this product is non-toxic and biodegradable as well. With a few sprays, it easily removes odors rather than masking them. I should probably order a whole case of these bottles!


A huge advantage of Sweat X detergent is the efficiency. Sweat X’s super concentrated formula only requires 1 ounce of detergent per wash load. Each 45 oz bottle washes 45 loads!

Sweat X 45 oz detergent is $19.99 and Extreme Odor Eliminator spray is $12.99. The Sweat X Value Bundle, which includes the detergent, odor eliminator and stain remover, is $39.99. You can buy Sweat X products in select retail stores or use code "BibRave15" for 15% off your purchase at https://sweatxsport.com/shop/! They ship to virtually any address in the world.

Here's My Verdict:


The Sweat X Detergent and Extreme Odor Eliminator spray has been very effective in cleaning our laundry, from athletic attire to daily wear to even bed sheets! I feel safe using it on my kids' clothing and sports equipment. The "Smell of Victory" is just the right amount of smell good without being overwhelming. I was most impressed that this powerful concentrated formula washes a whole load of laundry with only one ounce of detergent!

Weekly Workout Wrap-Up

MONDAY: 

Off

TUESDAY: 

Easy Run: 4 miles, 35:59 @ 8:59/mile on the treadmill.

WEDNESDAY: 

Tempo Intervals: 3.62 miles, 31:01 with 2:00 easy/3:00 tempo pace intervals on the treadmill. 10 weeks postpartum and my first go at an interval workout since baby.

THURSDAY

Easy Run: 2 miles OUTSIDE!!!

FRIDAY:

Yoga

SATURDAY:

Long Run: 6.27 miles @ 8:59/mile.

SUNDAY:

Stretching & yoga.

What's your running laundry secret?
Do you separate running clothes from regular clothes?

Let's Connect!



Linking up with Holly and Wendy's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, January 12, 2018

2017 Review /// 2018 What's New

First off, Happy New Year to you! My goal is to share goals for the New Year before we run too far into 2018 (pun intended). How's that for a resolution?

Let me be honest, I haven't blogged much lately because my brain feels "fuzzy". Maybe that's not the right word for it. Basically I feel like I'm still spinning in this whirlwind of life changes we're going through. Really, really GOOD changes but it's hard to articulate my thoughts.

In bulleted format, because it's all my brain will currently allow, let me give you a run down of the previous and the newest years.

2017 in Review:

  • I joined the BibRave Pro team in January.
  • Two races were run, the Frozen Feat 10k & Hot Chocolate 15k Minneapolis (with BibRave), and I continued "running for two" with Baby C through 39 weeks pregnant.
  • My 30th birthday happened in May. Whoa. 30.
  • Our homeschooling journey began as E started the God's Little Explorers preschool curriculum in August.
  • Baby C was born on his due date.
  • My husband finished out his last year on the farm (and is starting his new job on Monday!).
  • 9 out of the 12 months were spent growing our third baby. This pregnancy was easy (for pregnancy anyways), about as easy going as our Baby C is!

Two days before delivery

2018 What's New:

  • We're getting the hang of life as a family of FIVE!
  • The Frozen Feat 10k in February (Brrr!) and Grandma's Marathon in June are on my race calendar so far.
  • E will be a Kindergartener this Fall. How is that even possible!
  • Two races in the Fall are a possibility depending on how Grandma's goes.
  • I'm returning for my second year with BibRave because last year was THAT awesome!


And Goals for the New Year:

SPIRITUAL GOAL: Be more devoted to prayer and to be more confident in my calling and in sharing Jesus with others.

PHYSICAL GOAL: Become a more balanced runner using the Hanson Marathon Method and yoga for strength and stretching. As I'm regaining my running fitness after having our baby, I'm focusing on keeping my cadence at 180+ spm. Running pregnant makes my legs a bit lazy! Not complaining, just sayin'.

MENTAL GOAL: Keep my social media usage to a minimum. Obviously as a blogger/reviewer, I have my to-do list of tasks to complete but I want have to stay more on point this year. Free time is a scarce resource so I need to be intentional and time efficient in my writing.

MOM GOAL: Breastfeed our newest little boy through the 12-month mark. I'm pumping and freezing once a day to use for later as well. Breastfeeding while marathon training means I need to drink more water and eat more (still quality calories, mostly!).


One last note to ensure that this post reaches novel length, here's a quick workout wrap-up for the week with the Weekly Wrap crew.

Weekly Workout Wrap-Up

MONDAY: 

Rest day from official workouts anyways. I took the big boys out for a sled ride and we went skating to make the most of the sunshine & above zero temps.

TUESDAY: 

The weather was in the 30's, sun was shining and it just felt amazing. I ran at whatever pace I wanted and cranked the tunes, something I hadn't done in a long time.


WEDNESDAY: 

Ekhart Yoga's Runners Yoga video (25:28)

THURSDAY

Testing out my "easy" pace for the upcoming marathon training cycle. It doesn't feel quite as easy as it should yet. We'll see how a month and a half of base building helps get me back in shape.


FRIDAY:

Ekhart Yoga's Vinaysa Flow video (17:55)

SATURDAY:

TBD: 4 to 6 mile long run planned.

SUNDAY:

TBD

What's a favorite memory from 2017 or goal for 2018?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, December 15, 2017

To Grandma's Marathon I Go!

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

Back in the elementary school days, my best friend talked about her parents running "Grandma's Marathon". Being a youngin' with little knowledge of running, I pictured them traveling to visit their super ripped runner Grandma and then running a marathon with her. Like she must have her own marathon. Whatever distance that was, I wasn't sure.

Years later, I learned that Grandma's Marathon is indeed a running race and they may even have a Grandma there to take pictures with. Not my Grandma, but someone's Grandma! Started back in 1977 along the scenic North Shore of Minnesota, the Grandma's Marathon is now listed as one of the Top 50 Marathons to Do Across America and around 9,000 runners participate.

Like I said, it's a pretty big deal, and I am ecstatic to be running this race as a BibRave Pro in 2018. Only 182 days to go!


That being said, I should probably start running one of these days!

After spending this year pregnant and our third precious baby boy being born in early November, I am now easing back into run/walk intervals at 5 weeks postpartum. While allowing plenty of time for recovery and stretching, I plan to build up my base mileage through the end of December and January.


By mid-February, the 16-week training cycle for Grandma's will begin! I plan to use the Hanson Method’s Beginner Plan because it is low mileage and as intense as I want it to be, making it a great plan for postpartum training.


This is my second time running a marathon at 7 months postpartum and I'm focusing on keeping realistic expectations, prioritizing rest and recovery over high mileage, and making those running workouts count when I can fit them in. As for time goals, I'm not setting anything crazy because this is my first race back after baby but realistically I would like to run a sub-4:00.

If you're interested in running Grandma's, check out grandmasmarathon.com to take in all of the distances and highlights of the marathon weekend! Prices do increase at the end of this month plus there is a bonus if you register now...


By registering before 12/31/17, you will receive a bonus full-zip fleece lined jacket! I could use that cozy jacket on cold wintery days like today. Brrr. That's life in #Minnesnowta.


After taking a year off marathoning, I feel so blessed with the opportunity to celebrate my 10th full marathon with this epic race. Follow along with me and fellow BibRave Pros Angie and Amy S as we train for #Gmas18!

What races are on your 2018 calendar or your race bucket list?



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

5-Minute Healthy Meals | Luvo Review

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Healthy Meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Our littlest one is one month old this week and the past two weeks have been crazy. Not the typical newborn crazy but the 101.5°F fever-not sleeping-mastitis-give-me-antibiotics-now sort of crazy. Uff... He is a sweet, easy going baby but that infection has made this my toughest postpartum recovery to date!

Now here we are, cuddled up and I'm on the mend. I haven't ran a stride since 39 weeks pregnant (except emergency running after 2-year-old once) and that's just fine. The goal now is to fully recover and take care of my family. Running will come back one of these weeks!

How does a household keep rolling when mom is sick?



Thankfully my husband is amazing and he has been doing the dishes and putting the bigger boys to bed... while I went to bed at like 8 pm. We have eaten a lot of breakfast food and I have even popped in a few freezer meals for myself.

As a BibRave Pro, I received a shipment of Luvo Healthy Meals right on my doorstep! I was able to try 11 Luvo meals including the steam-in-pouch and bowl options.

These meals take about 5 minutes to cook in the microwave and the "bowl" meals come conveniently in a microwaveable bowl! Less dishes, very helpful.

Chicken & Corn Chowder Bowl

After making my way through the Luvo meals, the Chicken & Corn Chowder Bowl was one of my favorite. The chicken and herb-base is very tasty and it contains 15 g of protein and a 1/2 cup of vegetables. When I think frozen meals, I usually think high sodium, but this meal is on the lower end containing only 320 mg of sodium while other brands' meals contain around 600 mg of sodium!

Luvo's 3-2-None Philosophy is about simplifying nutrition and making it easy to eat well. Luvo meals focus on fruits & veggies, whole grain, and quality proteins while limiting sodium and sugar by delivering flavor through herbs and spices instead. Then they leave out artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.

This 3-2-None Philosophy is what sets Luvo Healthy Meals apart from other meals found in the frozen food aisle.


As for my personal taste opinions, our household favorites were the Chicken & Corn Chowder, Chicken Chile Verde (my husband's favorite!), Quinoa & Veggie Enchilada Verde and Orange Mango Chicken. The price of each meal varies, with the ones I selected being $5.99 to $6.99 each.

A quick meal before feeding baby!

The Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese, Kale Ricotta Ravioli, Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken and Turkey Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes meals just weren't my thing.

Orange Mango Chicken

To find a store that carries Luvo products near you, check out their Where To Buy page! If you're like me living in the boonies where Luvo isn't available, you can order online on the recently updated Luvo website. They ship your meals right to your doorstep in a foam cooler. That was so handy!

Be sure to use the discount code BIBCHAT (case sensitive) for 10% off your Luvo order and stop by #BibChat with Luvo at 8 pm CT on December 19th!


When is the last time you were sick? What were your survival tactics?!



Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.