I’m running the Statesman Capitol 10K!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Statesman Capitol 10K 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!

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The Statesman Capitol 10K, known as the “Cap 10K,” is an iconic race in Texas’ Capitol – Austin, Texas. If you’ve ever been to Austin, you know the city in itself is fun and unique. So, what’s so special about this race?

  • The Cap 10K is the largest 10K in Texas (6th largest in the nation!)
  • The race takes place in Downtown Austin, starting on Congress Bridge and heading straight for the Texas State Capitol Building
  • The 10K crosses over Ladybird Lake, has live bands, and an epic post-race party

So, will you be running the Statesman Capitol 10K? I’m excited to see what the “best 10K in Texas” is all about!

Use code BibRaveRunsCap10K for $5 off your race entry! For more race promo codes and discounts view my Race Discounts page!

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Hot Chocolate 15K Countdown: 3 Weeks

Only 3 weeks until my first race of 2018! This is going to be a “for fun” one (aren’t they all for fun?!) so I’m especially excited to meet up with friends and just have fun… and eat chocolate!

If you aren’t familiar with the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K series, they take place all across the US and are known for their awesome swag. Every runner gets a long sleeve quarter zip and the most DELICIOUS post-race goodies you could ask for. You get a big bowl of warm chocolate and dippers! Banana, pretzels, marshmallows… you know. The good stuff. You can still register for the Hot Chocolate 15K Dallas before the price increase on 1/21! Use code BRHCDAL18 for bonus swag!

Huge shout out to Lifelong Endurance for coaching me to the start line of all my races and helping me continue to grow as a runner.

I had a little setback this week but wanted to share how it went, so let’s dig in!

Monday

Plan: Cross-train (no run!) + functional strength

Ran: It’s good to switch it up sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running, but I was excited to see that I had cross-training on the schedule today. I was eager to get up for a 5:30 am spin class (yes, I do question my sanity sometimes) and it felt great! I was, though, ready for a run tomorrow since this was my second no-run day in a row.

Tuesday

Plan: 6.2 miles – 2 miles easy, 20:00 progression (8:10-7:50), 2 miles easy

Ran: 6.5 miles/57:20/8:49 min/mile {splits: 9:30, 9:30, 7:53, 7:50, 8:40, 9:17}

This run felt pretty good! My right foot was sore afterwards, though. It felt OK during, but had me a little worried afterwards. It’s never fun wondering “what’s wrong” as a runner.

Wednesday

Plan: 4 miles easy

Ran: 4.03 miles/37:34/9:20 min/mile

This one felt just OK. I was tired. And stressed. I have an interview tomorrow and these types of things always stress me out. My foot actually felt OK, though, which was something to be relieved about!

Thursday

Plan: 3 miles easy + cross-train

Ran: 3.03 miles/27:32/9:06 min/mile + kickboxing!

I ran RIGHT before the cold front came in! It got extremely windy towards the end and I could’ve sworn I was running in the middle of a tornado. After my run it dropped about 20 degrees! So I had that nice feeling of “just in time!” The run itself felt AMAZING and easy – and no foot pain!!!

Friday

Plan: “Out and Back” – 6 miles – 2 miles easy, 4 miles @ 3:00 hard, 1:00 easy + functional strength

Ran: 6.00 miles/49:10/8:11 min/mile {splits: 9:06, 9:17, 7:43, 7:47, 7:39, 7:37}

This one felt really good! I was surprised at my speed during the “hard” paces considering my general lack of motivation today. I think I was mentally drained from work, my interview, and just life. It happens. So, this run was a nice confidence booster. I felt great afterwards, except for my FOOT! It felt OK throughout the run, but I could just start to feel it towards the end and it felt sore afterwards. Hopefully a good night’s sleep does it some good!

Saturday

Plan: Long run – 12 miles easy

Ran: 6.01 miles/55:47/9:17 min/mile

So, as you can see, this one didn’t go as planned. I woke up at my usual 5:30 am, drank my coffee, got all bundled up and met my group for our Saturday long run. A few miles in, I felt my foot yelling at me a bit. Around mile 4, I knew that a 12-miler was not happening. I needed to cut my route short. I was bummed out watching my buddies run off in the distance as I turned around and went the short route back to my car. I made it 6 miles. I knew that pushing it any further was doing more harm than good. So home to rest, I went.

Sunday

Rest! Since cutting my run short yesterday and with the entire day of rest today, I’m in hopes that my foot will feel better. I explained all my symptoms to my coach, and we suspect it’s Turf Toe. Has anyone ever dealt with this?

So, despite a (hopefully minor) setback, I still had a solid week’s training and am excited to run for Chocolate on February 3rd! Let me know if you will be there!

How do you determine if something is an “injury?” vs. normal soreness? 

Have you ever had a major injury that set you back? How did you cope? 

Training Update & 2018 Goals!

The first week of 2018 is in the books! This week I continued my training and working towards getting faster and becoming a stronger runner in general, as well as reflected on my personal goals. I don’t do “New Year’s resolutions.” I am supportive of anyone who does, though, because – let’s face it  – working on yourself and your goals takes commitment, time, and dedication – no matter what time of the calendar year it happens to be. So, I think any time is a great time to decide to put in work.

I’m happy to say that I have now accomplished being a “runner” for a whole year! 2017 was my first full year of running! It is neat to look back at how many miles I ran, PR’s, and how much I’ve improved. It certainly acts as motivation for the 2018 year.

A few goals for 2018:

  • 1:30’s Half Marathon
  • 1,800 total running miles
  • Improved nutrition
  • Strength train a minimum of 2 days/week

I’m thankful and excited that I have Lifelong Endurance on my side, helping me train for my races, stay healthy, and become a stronger runner. In fact, they put together this amazing read to help YOU set your 2018 goals. We all know that reaching your goals takes effort, but sometimes setting attainable, practical, yet challenging goals can be difficult. I really recommend checking it out: http://lifelongendurance.com/setting-goals-smart-way/

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So! Let’s see how the first week of the new year went!

Monday

Plan: 4 miles easy

Ran: 4.01 miles/37:27/9:21 minutes per mile

Today’s run felt just as intended – nice and easy! It was COLD! Definitely my coldest run yet at 15 degrees. But, like I tell all my Texas friends, “gross” weather is usually PERFECT running weather! It felt amazing!

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Tuesday

Plan: 6.2 miles/ 2 miles easy, 10 x 20 second hills, jog down recoveries, 2 miles easy

Ran: 6.22 miles/57:51/9:18 min/mile

It was another great one! The cold weather is doing wonders for my running efforts – not as enjoyable the rest of the day 🙂 I found a nice hill for quick intervals in my neighborhood and had fun with it.

Wednesday

Plan: 5 miles easy

Ran: 5.00 miles/47:36/9:31 min/mile

This one felt nice, too. Really nice. EXCEPT. Some discomfort in my foot. It was a little sore a few days ago but today I was slightly worried about it. I will let Coach know and try to be easy on it. It feels good to stretch and massage it, which is a good sign (it’s not broken!)…

Thursday

Plan: 3 miles easy + Cross-train

Ran: 0 miles + spin class

“Listen to the whispers before they become screams.” I did an early morning spin class (didn’t hurt the foot at all) then decided to call off my easy 3-miler. My foot was sensitive to walk on and it just didn’t seem worth getting injured. I’d rather take one day off than one month.

Friday

Plan: 6 mile “Out and Back”/3 miles easy, 3 miles @ 8:30 or faster

Ran: 6.01 miles/51:30/8:34 min/ mile {splits: 9:19, 9:10, 9:02, 8:07, 8:01, 7:47}

My foot felt better than yesterday – not quite 100% – but well enough, so I went ahead and went for my run. It felt really nice. My foot was sensitive here and there but the run itself felt effortless and focusing on a faster cadence and softer landing helped the foot issue. I’ll continue stretching it and rolling is as suggested by Coach.

Saturday

Plan: 10 miles easy

Ran: 10.01 miles/1:34:18/9:25 min/mile

The weather was PERFECT this morning. A bit colder than expected, so I did find out that socks make for great makeshift mittens… but once I got going the weather couldn’t have been better! I felt good and it was enjoyable except the discomfort in the foot the last few miles. I am hopeful that an FULL rest day tomorrow will do wonders (I’m amazed at what ONE day can do!).

Sunday

Rest day!

I took a FULL rest day today as per usual on Sundays. I’ve noticed that in the running community, “rest” can many many different things. Some people consider a spin class rest. Or yoga. Or gym time. I consider it sitting my happy butt on the couch. 🙂 And what do you know. My foot didn’t bother me at all. We will test it out on a run and keep you updated! Stay tuned!

What are your goals for 2018? 

How long have you been running? When did you first consider yourself a “runner?”

Training recap: last week of 2017!

My next run will be in 2018! It seems so crazy to say that. Time really flew this year. It was my first full year of running so I had more adventures, health, happiness, and made more amazing friends than I ever imagined possible. Thank you to everyone who has followed my journey and thank you for allowing me to follow yours as well. You are all so incredibly inspiring.

Huge thank you to Lifelong Endurance for coaching me through my 2017 races and helping me improve as a runner while keeping me injury-free!

Monday

Plan: 4 miles easy + functional strength at home

Ran: 4.01 miles/38:21/9:33 min/mile

Today was Christmas! I spent time with my family but got my run in first (of course!). It wasn’t the BEST run but I got it done. The weather was perfect, cool running weather but My shin muscles were a bit tired (happens sometimes) so I stopped and walked a few times.

Tuesday

Plan: 6.2 miles – 2 miles easy, 2:00 @ 8:00-8:30, 3:00 @ 9:30, 2 miles easy

Ran: 7.0 miles/1:02:56/8:59 min/mile // splits: 9:35, 9:20, 8:25, 8:24, 8:47, 9:06, 9:16

Today’s run felt MUCH better. No soreness at all, which I think may be due to adjusting to new shoes. This run just felt downright AMAZING. It was 40 degrees (F), cool, crisp, and drizzly. “Yucky” weather to everyone else, perfect weather for runners. My legs felt 100% today, which made me feel great!

Wednesday

Plan: 5 miles easy

Ran: 5.01 miles/47:46/9:32 min/mile

I ran with a great running friend of mine and the miles FLEW by. We had a great time chatting and before you knew it, we’d hit 5 miles. The run felt good and effortless. Running with friends is the best!

Thursday

Plan: 3 miles easy + Cross-training

Ran: 3.01 miles/28:55/9:37 min/mile + spin class

I got to run with my friend AGAIN! (Hooray for being off work for a week for holidays!) The run felt pretty good, not as “easy” as yesterday but still not a tough one. I just wasn’t quite as peppy, but the miles still flew by. The spin class felt really great – lots of energy and got a nice sweat on, which is nice especially in the winter when I don’t sweat much while running.

Friday

Plan: 5 mile “Out and Back” – 3 miles easy, 2 @ 8:30 or faster + functional strength at home

Ran: 5.00 miles/44:02/8:48 min/mile // splits: 9:23, 9:29, 9:23, 8:01, 7:44

I did the strength moves first before the run, which felt nice because it warmed be up (literally) before getting out there in the cold to get my miles in. The strength session is still pretty tough for me (this is week 2 of consistent strength for me) – especially tricep dips and push ups. The run felt really, really nice. I used my new New Balance 1400v5 for the last two miles and I felt like I was flying. I LOVE them. Definitely my new race-day shoes.

Saturday

Plan: 10 miles easy

Ran: 10.00 miles/1:37:58/9:48 min/mile

This run felt just OK. I was really tired afterwards and my right foot is aching. I was also really hungry and ate everything in sight today. I just went with the flow. Hoping my foot feels better after tomorrow’s rest day! Looking forward to the new year and crushing some major goals in 2018!

Sunday

Rest!

Happy New year and here’s to many exciting running (an non-running) journeys in 2018!

Upcoming races in 2018:

  • Hot Chocolate 15K Dallas (Feb 2018)
  • Rock n Roll NOLA (March 2018)
  • Statesman Capitol 10K (April 2018)

How was 2017? What are your 2018 goals? Resolutions?Upcoming races?

Year of Running 2017 – First Full Year of Running!

2017!!! Where to begin. 2017 has been good to me. To say the least, it has been an incredibly special year. I started running in April of 2016, so 2017 will be my first FULL year of running! I had so many firsts, PR’s, and unforgettable experiences running with new friends, new races, and new places.

I have been fortunate to spend the year working with Lifelong Endurance and their amazing coaches, being a BibRave Pro, and being a part of a few amazing running teams – Oiselle, Run Texas Frisco and Team Saucony/Milestone Pod.

I’ve joined in on a “Year of Running” with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, so let’s see how the year went!

Best race experience

The Portland Marathon. I truly enjoyed the entire trip to a really unique city that I’d never visited before. I had a great local place to stay, enjoyed trying lots of new food and exploring, and had an AMAZING race on race day. I loved the little running shop and friendly feel during the race start, the temperature was perfect, and I just felt UNSTOPPABLE the entire run. It just felt effortless, and I PR’d with a 1:44 (Half Marathon). This was HUGE for me. Since then I have cut off another two minutes but this was just an incredibly special race and run.

Best new piece of running gear

As a fairly new runner, I’ve found way more than one. If I had to pick one, the Milestone Pod. This little gadget packs a lot of power. Knowledge is power and knowing my running metrics helps me improve my form, know which running shoes I’m most efficient in, and know when I need to replace shoes. It provides invaluable information. A few others: the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones and my Nike Pegasus 34’s.

Best running advice you’ve received this year

“We don’t make up miles, we move on.” During training, I missed a 3 mile easy run, and asked my coach if I should make up the miles on my rest day. He explained that we just move on and pick up where we left off. This made me realize that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t check EVERYTHING off my list. Just move on and keep going.

Most inspirational runner

OK. How could I NOT say Shalane Flanagan. FUCK YES.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year

I just love this photo from the Portland Marathon. I look strong. I felt strong.

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat

The Tulsa Run! I did this run with my dad and we had an AMAZING time. The entire trip was a blast, and we loved running together. On the drive back to Dallas we both agreed that it’d be an annual tradition. My dad now runs every week to keep himself ready for Tulsa!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?

Running opens doors. 2017 taught me to take chances and experience life to the fullest.

Check out Eat Pray Run DC’s Year of Running!

Review: Athlinks

What is Athlinks?

From their website:

With the largest collection of results at your fingertips, let Athlinks do the tracking for you. If you’ve crossed a finish line in the last 10 years, you’ll find yours here. Athlinks makes finding, claiming and sharing all your hard-earned results easy.

Athlinks is a website and App on your phone that shows all of your race times in one place (yes, really!). It is essentially a social network – you create your profile, follow friends, and even select “rivals.” I downloaded the Athlinks app about a month ago and have added a profile picture, claimed race results, and followed all my friends. They really did have all my run times when I searched my name. I was amazed! Even a 5K I did back in High School! My first impression was amazement. This is so COOL!

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As a new runner and someone who doesn’t always memorize everything, I love that I know I have a place where I can quickly refer back to what times I ran during which race. I can also see my personal best times and even see what time friends ran in during the same race! I love the competitive edge – the ability to see other people’s times and set up rivalries between local runners or running buddies that you know.

Claiming your race results is easy – simply search your name and claim race results that you recognize as yours. This could take more time if you have a more common name, but when I searched my first and last name, all of the results were indeed my own. For example an Ashley Smith might have to sift through a few and select only the races she recognizes that she ran.

Adding friends and rivals is also a breeze – its very similar to other social media set-ups – add friends, view the timeline, view your “page,” and view a friend’s page with easy navigation. You can also see upcoming events, events near you, and events that your running buddies plan on participating in. On your page, you will see your overall stats, race results (including time, place, average pace, etc), total miles run, and a list of all your races.

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I just think it’s brilliant and amazing to have all of this in one place! To say the least, I am truly enjoying Athlinks and can’t wait to take it further by adding rivals and keeping track of PR’s to come!

Claim your race results between now and January 8, and you’ll be entered to win a free 2018 race entry from one of our amazing partners or a one-year premium TrainingPeaks subscription!

Do you have Athlinks? Add me! My Athlinks profile: https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/319145186

Up next: Hot Chocolate 15K Dallas!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate Dallas 15K 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!

As you may already know because I’ve been talking about “running for chocolate” for months now, I am running THE MOST epic run for chocolate – the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K. The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K takes place in cities all across the US in many major cities:

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I will be running the 15K in Dallas on February 3rd! It will be my first race of the year and I can’t wait! I will just be running for fun (ALL runs are “for fun,” right?!) – as I am currently trying to perfect my half-marathon distance, so for the 15K I’m just going to go out there and have fun and run with friends.

This is one of my favorite races not ONLY because of the chocolate goodies:

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But because of the top-notch SWAG:

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This year’s Hot Chocolate quarter-zips!

So, I can’t wait to go have fun with a few of my fellow BibRave Pros and local friends who are running. I will continue training for the half marathon distance and use this as a tune-up or training run, whatever Coach decides.

If you decide to run HC15K Dallas with me, use code BRHCDAL18 for even MORE swag – an additional HC15K cap!

View a video clip from Hot Chocolate 15K to get an idea of what you’re in for! – https://youtu.be/HYfJ8udGK6Y

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What is your favorite “swag” item to receive from a race besides a T-shirt?

Will you be running for chocolate in 2018?

THE perfect gift for runners!

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

We all have holiday hurdles. Getting the house clean before relatives come in town, baking the perfect cookies, and – the really tough one – getting that PERFECT gift. Yes, socks are always an option, but it’s the best when you can get something that really shows you care. Something they will use and enjoy.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones cover all your bases. As a runner, this is a gift I would personally LOVE to receive. Not only is it thoughtful (it shows you know how truly in love with running they are) but it also shows that you care about their safety.

Dad’s lucky day!

I decided to give my dad (best friend, and running buddy) a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium for Christmas because I  care about his safety and know how incredibly active he is – running, biking, hiking, working outside – and I know how much these headphones have changed my entire running experience. Sounds dramatic, I know, but these headphones not only sound amazing, but allow you to hear ambient sounds – aka the car speeding by or the yelling neighbor. I can’t express how important it is to be aware of your surroundings while running (And I’m sure you know this, too!)

So, Dad got to open his present a little early for the purpose of my project (his lucky day!) of sharing with all of you what I think will solve all of your runner-gifting needs! These headphones are the perfect solution to your big question, what should I get him?! They are sure to please any runner or active loved one in your life.

For more information on the perfect headphones, see my Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Headphones Q & A! Feel free to ask any questions here as well! I love spreading the word and informing runners about this incredible running gadget.

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Their newest color is even perfect for the holidays!

What will you be gifting your favorite runner this holiday season?

What would you love to receive as a gift?

Race Recap: BCS Marathon Half

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to The BCS 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!

The BCS Marathon & Half Marathon in College Station, Texas is known to be one of the best running experiences. I’d heard nothing but GREAT things from my running buddies. In fact, according to marathonguide.com, the BCS Marathon is the highest rated marathon in the state of Texas! Now that is a loaded statement. If you didn’t know already, Texas is HUGE. Therefore we have TONS of marathons. So you bet your bottom this race caught my eye! The marathon also raises a lot of money for charities, which I find important. This year, almost $16,000 was raised for the Mercy Project, which helps to end child slavery in Ghana, Africa.

Not only is the BCS Marathon doing great things for the community, the race is know for it’s epic swag and post-race party. They did not disappoint. Upon finishing the race, runners received a SWEET finisher’s jacket (it’s going to be the only jacket I wear forever for the rest of my life) AND there were a bunch of food trucks ready to serve sausage on a stick, pizza, breakfast burritos, margaritas, beer, and more! To top it all off, they had a huge gong for you to bang with a hammer if you PR’d or BQ’d!!! What more could a runner ask for?

Needless to say, I had an overall amazing experience on Sunday at the BCS Marathon.

I drove to College Station, Texas on Saturday (about a three hour drive from Dallas) then headed to the expo at the Baylor Scott & White Hospital. The expo was nice – nothing huge, but had a few booths offering things for sale – where I managed to score a few cute “Run Texas” long sleeves from the $10 bucket, grabbed my bib and t-shirt, and did some mingling. I spent probably less than an hour at the expo then hit a nearby restaurant for some grub in time for early bed time.

I have a bib, so I guess it’s official!

Race morning, I woke up with plenty of time to get ready, drink my coffee, and dilly-dally a little bit (my second profession). It was 36 degrees outside so, naturally, being from Texas, I had no idea what to wear. If I hadn’t known (slightly) better, I would have bundled up. But I went with a simple tank top and crops underneath a “throw away” jacket to wear just until I warmed up. And if you know me at all, of COURSE I wore gloves to relieve my case of chronically cold hands.

Getting ready!

So, I’m all geared up, shot a few Insta-Stories and got a few “good luck” messages that made my day, then headed to the hotel lobby for some free coffee! Hooray for free energy and warmth! I get in the elevator and meet a sweet woman named Angie. We talked a bit, then out of curiosity, I asked her how she was getting to the start line. She said her husband was about to driver her over. I told her I planned on taking an Uber and, without hesitation, she offered a me a seat on the ride over. So, I rode over to the start line with Angie and Glen, who I’d just met about 20 seconds prior, and it was great. I’ll never forget my new friends. I’m telling you, runners are the BEST! Not just because I’m biased. 🙂

So, I’m at the race start and I know a friend from Dallas is there who I planned to run with. And by “run with” I mean “chase like a rabbit and try to keep up.” We met up and he had brought me these little hand warmer things. SO sweet! It made a WORLD of difference and I can’t thank him enough (THANKS HECTOR!!!). As a Texan, I had never even seen these things. I just slip them in my gloves and it was like holding a hot cup of coffee without holding a hot cup of coffee. So, basically perfection (if only they could inject caffeine…).

I hit the porta-potties at the last minute just as a precaution, then warmed up my legs a bit, and meet Hector back at the start. We sang the National Anthem. I will never forget this moment. The announcers were struggling to get the recording going as everyone stood their with a hand over their heart. Without hesitation once it was realized that the recording wasn’t cooperating, the entire crowd of runners sang in unison. We stood there, without music, and sang our National Anthem. Loud and proud. I almost cried.

We head to the group of runners near the 1:40 pacer and they let us loose at 7:00am, on the dot. WE’RE OFF! There’s nothing like the adrenaline of a race start. I cross the start line wondering… Wondering if my plan to start at a 7:40 pace was too ambitious. Can I do this for 13 miles? What happens if I die off? Should I slow down? Speed up? I never, ever, in my life before starting running a little over a year ago thought that I would run 13 miles, let alone at a sub-8 minute mile. Heck, if you would’ve asked me if I’d ever run THREE miles at a 7:40 pace, I would’ve laughed. Just two years ago. It’s amazing how far we can come…

Anyway, all these thoughts are going around in my head, then I just focus on following my rabbit (again – thanks, Hector!) and my music. I take in the scenery and enjoy all the spectator signs that read things like “Marathon?! We thought you meant Netflix!” and “An Uber to the finish is only $11.83! Just FYI!” I also got to high-5 some cute little kids in pajamas and got some “Looking strong” comments from adults on the sidelines. All helpful in their own ways. It sounds SO cliche, but I just kept thinking …just keep going. It reminds me not to worry (er, calculate to the hundredth) about how many miles I have left, but to just simply keep doing what I’m doing until I’m past that finish line. Keep pumping my arms and lifting my knees. Just keep doing that. 

So I did just that. My goal was 7:40min/mile, and I was going pretty solid for a while – 7:39, 7:39, 7:27 (thanks, adrenaline!), 7:43… and so on. At mile 8, my buzzer went off on my Garmin to show me my mile 8 split… 8:05/mile. “SHIT!” I literally yelled out loud. I know now that even a few seconds can really matter when trying to snag a PR. I didn’t have time to dilly-dally! I didn’t care why I’d slowed down – hills, tired legs, whatever. I just knew I had to keep going. I didn’t come this far to NOT hit one of my goals.

Goals. My ultimate goal was sub-1:40. I’d have been ecstatic with 1:39:59. My other goal was anything closer to that than my previous PR of 1:44. This race was just my second half marathon I’ve trained for, and I realize goals take time, so anything under 1:44 would’ve been worth celebrating!

So, I remind myself I don’t have time to dilly-dally at 8:05 and step it up. I get Hector’s bright red shoes back in sight, which makes me feel better because I know that he is holding a solid 7:40 pace. He’s where I want to be. We agreed that he’d hold 7:40 and my plan was to do my best to catch him. Literally.

I caught up with Red Shoes!

So, I just keep going. Having those red shoes in sight meant I could be less obsessive about looking at my watch and enjoy the scenery and high-5’s. I know running is all about having fun, and I will always remind myself never to lose that.

Next thing you know I just have 4 miles to go, then 3. I realize at this point more than ever that I’m mostly surrounded by men. Strong runners. The people I was running with looked super legit. I felt pretty bad ass to be honest. People were cheering “GIRL POWER” and “YOU GO GIRL!!!” because I was passing up the boys. It felt good. It really helped me push through that mental barrier and forget about all the “what if‘s.”

Hector and I cross the finish line simultaneously and I felt like Super Woman. A kind volunteer placed a medal around my neck and I had just won the Olympics PRed!!!!! I knew I didn’t hit that 1:39:59 but I knew I was oh, so close. I felt ZERO disappointment. I felt nothing but joy and happiness. I had worked DAMN HARD and I did NOT STOP. I kept flying and smiling. I did it. I finished in 1:42:43 (official time) and I am more determined than EVER to keep going. 1:39, you are mine.

I see you, finish line!

Thank you to my coach at Lifelong Endurance for helping me crush my goals.

I did it! PR!

Also, check out my detailed review of the race itself on BibRave.com here!

See you soon, 1:39.

Review: Luvo Healthy Meals

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!

Luvo meals are frozen, healthy, quick and easy meals. They offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, nut free, and dairy free options. They are available in grocery stores (I have seem a few selections in my local Kroger) or they have an online ordering option, which is what I did and is SUPER EASY. They even have an app! The food is delivered quickly and comes carefully packed in ice as to not spoil (ingredients are fresh, so that’s important!)

How are Luvo meals different from the others? We may think of frozen meals as being “bad” for us, having lots of preservatives, sodium, and additives. Not Luvo meals! I do personally prefer to cook my own food, but when in a rush I like knowing I can heat up a Luvo meal without feeling like I’m poisoning my body because they have such high quality standards.

Here is what Luvo believes:

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They guarantee the following for each of their meals:

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Ordering is easy and very user-friendly:

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Once I picked out all my meals (about one of everything because it all looks DELICIOUS!) I received confirmation and updates as to where my order was.

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So, on to the important part – how do they taste?

I tried many of the bowls and pouches, and must say they have ALL been delicious. They have a lot of different flavors and textures. Each meal has wholesome, healthy, and unique ingredients like cauliflower, quinoa, and polenta. I had a few favorites, including:

Roasted Cauliflower Mac n Cheese – this one is as delicious as it sounds. I mean, it’s mac n cheese! Yum! The texture is nice as the cauliflower and panko bread crumbs add a bit of crunch.

Quinoa and Veggie Enchilada Verde – I love Mexican food, and this is a nice twist. Not very spicy to me (just as an FYI) but is delicious just how it comes or I bet it’d be great with hot sauce!

So Cal Kale & Bean – This one I added some seasonings to, but I loved the textures and I just love beans in general so this is one I really liked.

Great Karma Coconut Curry – THIS one is my #1 favorite. I could eat this every single day. I love curry and the flavor of this bowl is just perfection. Not too “coconutty,” just a perfect blend of delicious ingredients.

So, I will definitely continue keeping Luvo meals on hand for those busy days (what days are we NOT busy?!) and will continue to try different bowls – so many options! I definitely recommend these healthy meals as well as utilizing their online ordering option. Convenience + healthy is a tough combo to find, so really Luvo meals are a gem!

Use code: BIBCHAT for 10% off your Luvo meal order!