Week 28: Marathon Training

This was THE week! The week that I did my longest training run, the week that I had to really dig deep, the week I put in the extra work. The toughest week until marathon day!

I’m so happy to report this week to you guys, knowing in confidence that I worked my little booty off and am ready to take on this last bit of training and DO THIS THING! IN ONLY 2 WEEKS I will be running 26.2 miles down the Las Vegas strip!

[ week 28 / 2 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run, 20 miles, 3:24:52, 10:14 min/mile.
Longest long run yet again in the books! It feels amazing to have broken into the 20’s. It wasn’t easy – mostly mentally – but I did it. The last 2 miles were especially grueling. Also, oddly enough, the FIRST few miles were tough – mentally. It was a bit hard to wrap my head around how many miles I had ahead of me. I had to adjust my mindset and just take it one mile at a time.

Monday – Rest day!

I felt pretty good after yesterday!

Tuesday – 3 miles, 27:14, 8:59 min/mile.

Easy, nice, lovely, enjoyable miles. My legs felt great! I felt under the weather last night for just a few hours – I got my flu shot the day before. I was glad to feel better in the morning and even better after my little run. Apparently the flu is going around the school of the kids I tutor for. So, it seems as though I just missed it and hopefully got my flu shot just in time.

Wednesday – 5 miles + strides, 5.5 miles, 50:29, 9:16 min/mile.

Easy 5 miles with strides. Strides are short bursts of energy or exaggerated running at the end of the run to help loosen up (not quite a sprint). I felt a little sluggish today, especially to start, but the strides felt good (hooray for a little speed!) and I felt great afterwards.

Thursday – 6 mile tempo run, 51:23, 8:33 min/mile.

1.5 miles easy, 6x (800m @ 7:50-8:00 min/mile), 1.5 miles easy. This was a tough run! I was EXHAUSTED today, had to drag myself out there (and I’m usually excited for tempo runs!) but I got the run in and kept it up… it was hot and muggy (what’s going on, Texas?!) so that was fun. I thought the cool weather was here, but instead I burned my hand on the front door today.

Friday – Cycling + easy 4.4 miles + strides, 40:11, 9:13 min/mile.

I was really excited to do a spin class today! Popped out of bed at 4ish am ready to go. It was tough, but I had a great class and it was good to get out of breath and get a sweat on (all before 6am!). I can tell I haven’t been cycling as much because it’s harder than it used to be.

As for the run, I did a quick 4 mile lunch run with strides again. It was nice out (warm, but nice) and I just enjoyed a short run.

Saturday – Rest day!

Miles for the week (running) – 39

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. I can’t stress enough how much I absolutely love the running community. Runners are the nicest, most encouraging bunch I’ve yet to meet.

HUGE thanks to my coach, Andrew Simmons, for guiding me to where I am today!

October running miles – 150.5 (242.2K)

How was your October?

Do you have any races in November?

As always, tips for a first marathon are appreciated!

Review: SPIbelt

Disclaimer: I received a SPIBelt 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!


So, what is a “SPIBelt?”

The SPIBelt, which stands for Small Personal Item Belt is, according to the website,

“A bounce-free, comfortable genius. A discreet and convenient way to carry your phone, keys, credit cards, and ID while running or on the go.”

Here are the different types of SPIBelt’s and a list of SPIBelt qualities and specifics:


  • Bounce-free
  • 4 loops for energy gels
  • Weather-resistant pocket and zipper (NOT waterproof/rainproof – it can withstand some light precipitation but don’t wear it out in the pouring rain)
  • Fits larger phones like iPhone 6 Plus
  • Comfortable, soft elastic prevents chafing
  • Pocket expands to 8″ x 4″ x 2″

Below is a photo of how to wear the SPIBelt as well as a video on how to pack it.


See how to pack and use your SPIbelt HERE. Note: there is a plastic bag/LokSak in the video but this is a separate product, not included w/ performance belt.

The one *tiny* thing I did not like about this was the size of the pouch. In the video, the guy gets his phone in the pouch easily. This was not the case for me. I do have an iPhone 6S Plus with a case on it (a thin/average sized case) so, if you have a smaller phone, or don’t mind taking the case on/off each time you use it, this shouldn’t effect your experience. I’m not taking the case on and off every time I run. In fact, that is when I will likely most need it, because I’ll probably drop it trying to jam it into the pocket. Anyway, if you can’t already tell, I don’t appreciate how difficult it is to get my phone in there. Once it’s in, it’s in, and there practically no using it the entire run unless you stop and spend a frustrating 30 seconds getting it out. Now, I have not heard these complaints with other people. I’m 100% sure that if you have a bit smaller phone, or don’t use a case on your phone, you’ll be fine. This is just an honest concern I have. I may get used to getting it in and out over time, but so far it’s been a bit too much of a struggle for my personal liking.

*UPDATE: if you think this may also be a concern for you, consider trying the LARGE SPIBelt. This should allow your giant phone to go in and out with ease.*

Despite this one frustration (keeping it real, here) I DID find that the SPIBelt held up to its claims. The belt is soft, and didn’t chafe, AT ALL – even on my 20-mile run. There were even times the belt was on bare skin and it was soft and comfortable. I had my iPhone 6S Plus in it and arm sleeves tied around it the whole time and, though it bounced a bit with my body as expected, it didn’t bounce in any way that bothered me. I actually didn’t even have to tighten it extremely tight in order to feel that it was secure. It is also very lightweight and easy to wash (I hand-washed after my run and it after towel drying, it was practically already 100% dry).

I do think the SPIBelt is definitely worth a try and can really be a lifesaver on runs where you need a few small items. I think my problem is just that I need a smaller phone! Please let me know if you try it and if so, how you like it!

Use code bibchat2016 for 20% off a SPIBelt until 11/18!

Image credit: www.spibelt.com

Week 27: Marathon Training

It’s almost time!!! Only SEVENTEEN more days until MARATHON!

Rock n Roll Las Vegas, here we come!

[ week 27 / 3 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run, 18 miles, 2:56:21, 9:48 min/mile.

Longest long run yet again! It was not easy. Miles 14-18 were practically unbearable. In fact, I thought this might be the first time I let myself down by not completing a long run as planned. I pushed through, though, because I just couldn’t bear to quit. I could barely pick up my legs the last two miles. I got emotional. I questioned all of my life choices. Mostly the one where I decided to run a marathon and wake up this morning and run 18 miles. I felt pretty poopy afterwards, too. It was a hot and humid day, so I’m thinking that contributed to the poopy feeling. Yes, I said poopy. Three times now. It was one of those runs. But I was stronger for it and able to do TWENTY miles yesterday! (That’s not supposed to be revealed until NEXT week’s update, but I couldn’t hold it in)!

Monday – No run. Strength training.

I felt fine after a night’s sleep. I don’t get sore from running anymore (muscle soreness), but I just get achy after a really long run. So far, it’s gone away within a few hours each time. The back of my hips and feet are achy in particular. This is cured with some couch time. Anyway, I felt fine today so I did some strength training. Nothing too intense, and only did arms just to be safe. Dips, flys, and some other exercises I don’t know the names of, to be specific.

Tuesday – Easy 3 miles, 28:44, 9:33 min/mile.

Easy early miles!

Wednesday – 3 easy miles, 27:55, 9:16 min/mile.

Sunny and hot today, but it still felt nice and had a nice, short run. My legs felt so great that I also did a spin class after work! My arms were sore from yesterday’s strength training (good sore) and I was feeling great after spin class!

Thursday – 6 mile tempo run, 52:56, 8:49 min/mile.

3 miles easy, 3 miles tempo. This run felt AH-MAYY-ZING! First of all, I LOVE tempo runs, I like being able to go a little bit faster and just a little bit longer than 3 miles, but not too long. I just felt perfect during this run. The weather was perfect, my legs felt great, I was in a great mood, and excited to RUN! I was so excited I almost tripped over a squirrel while waving to a lady and apparently became a run-vlogger! With the cooler temps (80ish or a little below), I felt SO energetic. I had to slow myself down!

& I found a rock on my run that looked like a piece of steak, so that’s a bonus.

Friday – 5 easy miles, 45:53, 9:09 min/mile.

This was supposed to be a 4 mile run, but I found a stray dog. Again. Guess WHICH dog? Yes, the same dog I found last week!!! I know it sounds like I’m making this stuff up. But, if you kept up with the details, the pup escaped from my yard before I could take him to the animal shelter to see if he was chipped and try to find his parents. For some reason, this morning I set my alarm a little earlier than usual. Not even a mile into my run, I see him! I can’t believe it. I crouch down and he comes sprinting towards me with a huge smile, gives me a big hug as to say “thank you! thank you! take me!!!” Poor baby was scared, hungry, and incredibly thirsty. Long story short, I get little Houdini in a crate until I can take him to the shelter. I take him, and unfortunately he’s not chipped. They are currently holding him for a few more days to see if parents claim him, if not he will be up for adoption. I’m just happy he is off the streets! (I found him near a highway). So, I had an eventful run to say the least! I went ahead and started my run over after all of this, because I ran about a mile, then spent about an hour doing stray puppy things, then back to my run.

Saturday – Rest day!

Total running miles for the week – 35.03

I am so excited for the marathon and cannot thank my coach, Andrew Simmons, enough for getting me to where I am now. I can’t imagine where I’d be, training-wise, if it weren’t for him. I have no doubt that I would be way less prepared. With Coach Simmons’ help, I feel 100% confident going into this that I can, and WILL, finish that 26.2 miles. Thank you.

What’s a memory you have from your first marathon (good or bad)?

Week 26: Marathon Training

In 4 weeks the Las Vegas Strip will be closed off for the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and I will be running 26.2 miles down it!

I have no doubt that it’s going to be a BLAST, it’s going to be TOUGH, and it’s going to be WORTH IT! I’m doing this!

What would you do if you lived in a world where you knew you could never fail? Live that way!

[ week 26 / 4 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run, 16 miles, 2:36:26, 9:46 min/mile.

Longest long run ever in the books! 16 miles! I was nervous for this one – 16 miles is far! But I did it AND I survived! I more than survived! I felt great about this run. The weather was PERFECT and I just focused on a slow, steady pace. The last two miles were tough – my hips and legs were stiff, but I felt great afterwards!

Monday – Rest day (no run), strength training.

I felt fine after yesterday’s long run so I went ahead and did some strength training in the gym. Nothing too intense. I was also off work today…

Tuesday – Easy 3 miles, 27:13, 9:04 min/mile + Cycling.

Did some easy miles at lunch. It was sunny but really nice out. Not too hot or humid like it has been. My legs felt great! I’m really loving the new New Balance Zante V2’s. I’ve never run in New Balance before but I’m very impressed.

In fact my legs felt so great, I felt so great, that I also did a spin class after work. It was great. I want to continue to add this in until race day. I think cross training is so useful and important. It feels good to get my legs going in a different motion than running, as well as to work on my endurance in a different way. Plus it’s fun! That’s important!

Wednesday – 5 easy miles, 46:00, 8:56 min/mile.

It was sunny again (90’s) but still a nice day and a nice run. Really could’ve gone for another spin class today but it just didn’t work out. Best not to push it or overdo it but I find those classes so helpful for my running!

Thursday – 7 mile interval run, 1:02:33, 8:56 min/mile.

2 miles easy, 20:00 @ 8:30, 3 x (3:00 @ 8:10, 2:00 @ easy pace), 1 mile easy. It was nice and cool outside! And it was actually an eventful evening – I found a stray dog. I wasn’t sure what to do – I could tell he was scared, and he was just darting around. An owner wasn’t around. I wasn’t sure if he would bite or if he was nice (I have been attacked by dogs before) but I had a feeling he needed help. I squatted down and the sweet baby just darted at me, tail wagging, as if to say thank you! thank you! save me! I didn’t have a leash or anything so I ran home (literally) and got one of Derby’s leashes. I came back and he was still there. I took him home and put him in the back yard in hopes to find an owner. Anything was better than the streets where he could’ve gotten ran over. By this time my 2 easy miles were about completed and I continued on my run.

Friday – 4 easy miles, (last 10 min hard), 34:45, 8:40 min/mile.

Easy pace, stepped it up the last 10 min for a hard pace. Hamstrings s little tight today and was tired tonight but had a good run and was ready for a rest day!

Saturday – Rest day!

Miles for the week -35.2
Thank YOU for all your support and special thanks as always to my amazing coach, Andrew Simmons with Lifelong Endurance! Despite some beliefs, coaches are for everyone (beginners to elites!) and having a coach is really my #1 recommendation for anyone wanting to improve their running. Everyone is different, on different levels, and has different goals. There’s tons of information out there on the interwebs with generic training plans, but nothing compares to personalized coaching. Feel free to contact him with questions!

Did you race/train this weekend? How did it go?

What’s a must-have/do for winter/cold weather running? For keeping warm/motivated?

Week 25: Marathon Training

5 weeks! Only 5 weeks until I will be running a distance further than I drive in a week. 5 weeks until I will be in Las Vegas. 5 weeks until I become a marathoner.

[ week 25 / 5 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run (recovery week from half marathon). 8 miles, 1:12:46, 9:06 min/mile.

Nice easy “short long run.” It was a beautiful 8 miles. I just enjoyed the weather and a nice, easy pace. Looking ahead at next week, I have a 16-miler and an 18-miler the week after, so I took it easy and was completely OK with a shorter long run this week!

Monday – No run. Strength training.

Did some strength training in the gym, nothing too strenuous. Mostly leg exercises and some core work. Squats, lunges, dead lifts, planks in between reps among the workouts.

Tuesday – 4 easy miles. 35:06, 8:45 min/mile.

Felt AH-MAY-ZING! I just wanted to go FAST and go FOREVER. I felt great not only because I felt well-rested from the recovery week after the half, but because of my new shoes! I may have found “the ones.” The New Balance Zante v2. Great weather and just all around great day and run today.

Wednesday – 5 easy miles, 46:13, 9:15 min/mile.

It was warm today but still not bad. I wasn’t as energetic today as I was yesterday, but I was still excited to get out there! I saw the first fall leaves of the season!

Thursday – 6.5 miles, 57:13, 8:50 min/mile.

All I wrote in my journal for today was, in barely-legible handwriting, “Hot. Tired.”

Texas was just kidding about the cool weather that day. It was back to being it’s regular, hot, humid, miserable, summer self. But I managed!

Friday – 4 easy miles, 36:45, 9:11 min/mile.

It was so cool outside!!! (Texas is indecisive). In fact, today I was reminded about my paper thin ears. I need to wear an ear warmer apparently in any temperature below 65. 4 easy miles then I cycled after work. It has been a while since I did a spin class at Flywheel and I could tell! My “power” points were a bit less than they used to be but I still did well and got an awesome workout. I’m going to try to go a few mire times before marathon day. Cross training is the best!

Saturday – Rest day!

I’m ready to ramp up the runs for the next few weeks leading up to marathon day! Thank you so much to my coach, Andrew Simmons, for getting me there! Let’s do this!

Any marathon day tips for a first-timer?

Tips for weeks leading up to marathon day?

Week 24: Marathon Training

Well, this week’s recap is short and sweet because it was also a recovery week! That’s right! I did the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon this past Sunday. It was a great experience AND I had a 15 minute PR! (my race review is on BibRave.com here).

[ week 23 / 6 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon! 13.13 miles, 1:51:18, 8:29 min/mile.

I did my first-ever half marathon earlier this year on a whim with no training at all – never having run any further than about 8 miles in my life with a time of 2:05. I am truly happy with improving that time by almost 15 minutes with my second-ever marathon time of 1:51. Training really does pay off! Mostly, having a coach really pays off. I truly thank Coach Simmons for all his hard work. Without following his training schedule that he lays out for me week after week, I wouldn’t be talking about a 15 minute PR right now.

The race was enjoyable. It was hot and muggy (of course this was the day before the cool weather hit Texas) AND started pouring rain but, lucky for me, I only dealt with the former because  I finished just about 5 minutes before the downpour. So, I didn’t have to run in the rain, but most importantly, I had time to grab the hot post-run breakfast before high-tailing it out of there to get dry!

The race was really well-organized, plenty of porta-potties (this is important!) WITH hand sanitizer stations, plenty of pace groups (I aimed to stick with the 1:55 pace group), no traffic jams (hallelujah!) AND awesome post-run snacks (most important!). I ate some kind of squirtable applesauce that they had at one of the aid-stations and, though I spilled half of it on my crotch, I really liked it! Might be getting some for my long runs…

As for how the run went – in my journal I mostly went on about the hot breakfast – “eggs, bacon, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, yogurt, chocolate milk, bananas…” – just some of what I ate afterwards… I needed it ! I was starving. That applesauce mid-way through was really a life-safer (which reminds me, I need to have a better pre-run breakfast than 2 Eggo waffles).

Anyway, the run was tough – HILLS. So many hills. I had no idea there’d be hills. It’s just not a thing I worry about in Dallas. I mean, where did all these hills even come from? It was fine, though – I didn’t let them slow me down! The last few miles were mentally tough, and at the final stretch I felt like I was SPRINTING to the finish – the race photos aren’t quite what I pictured… I pictured myself majestically speeding over the finish line like some kind of Gazelle when in fast I looked as if I was lucky that my legs were moving while having a death grip on my handheld water bottle. In the end, I did it an that’s what matters! I felt extremely accomplished with my PR and completion of my second half marathon.

Didn’t I say this one would be short and sweet? Moving along…

Monday – Rest day!

I felt fine today! Nothing hurt and the only thing that was sore was my left bicep (thanks to the water-bottle death grip).

Tuesday – Cycling, 45min.

So, I was going to swim today, but I showed up to the gym in my suit and flip flops and walked over to the pool area to find and empty pool! Yep, pretty hard to swim in a dry hole in the ground. They were doing some kind of construction on it, so I turned around and walked out. I wanted to get some kind of workout in, so I ran home and threw on some “real” workout clothes and signed up for a spin class. Gotta expect the unexpected! I had a great ride and worked up a nice sweat. It felt good to get the legs moving.

Wednesday – Rest day!

No run today – for the third day in a row! I’m not complaining, though. Even though I felt fine, I was happy to take a day. I looked ahead at my training for the next few weeks leading up to the marathon and, well, let’s just say I will look back and be happy I took the day to rest.

Thursday – Tempo run, 6.5 miles, 55:55, 8:36 min/mile.

It felt good to run today! It had been a while and the weather was AMAZING (only 75)! It was tough having the first 3 cool-weather days be the first time in forever that I didn’t have runs scheduled, so I was really happy to get out there today. At first I was just going and easy pace, happy as can be, and looked down at my watch to see that I was going at a 7:something pace! I slowed myself down, and though my legs felt heavy after a little while, they snapped out of it and felt better towards the end. A few parts of me were stiff but nothing to where I thought I’d have to cut the run short. I guess just normal stiffness from a long run. Happy run!

Friday – Rest day!

Saturday – Rest day again! Good Form Running class (some easy drills on the track).

So, a PR and lots of (much needed) rest this week! I’ll take it! Ready to get to work this week!

Miles for the week – 19.63

Miles for the month of September – 116.83
What’s your go-to/favorite pre-run breakfast/meal?

What, if anything, do you like to take along on long runs for fuel?