Random Updates and Link Love

Sticky Notes EverywhereLife has been pretty busy as of late.  This past weekend was our big fall choir concert, and it was absolutely a success – even the Washington Post review was good!  But it basically meant a week of very few scheduled workouts (though don’t let anyone tell you that 4 hours of choir isn’t a workout – my whole body hurts after that).

I’m back to it now, with the Space Coast Half Marathon up next.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I could bust out a half marathon with no trouble since I was running so regularly.  Now it’s definitely an effort – or so I assume, since I haven’t run a half marathon in almost a year!  The 2017 Space Coast Half was my last, so this is certainly a comeback.  And it’s probably gonna hurt.  But it’s also gonna be worth it.

And now, some links I have saved to share.  In no particular order:

Working the Program from The Bloggess.  She also acknowledges that everything’s gonna be okay.  Seriously, if you’re not just reading everything she writes, why not?

EPBOT made the COOLEST Harry Potter themed cat tree.  And a super cool Harry Potter room.  And photographed some hilarious pun-themed costumes at DragonCon.

Kecia is amazing and conquered IM Louisville, which looked horrible.  Not gonna lie.

Steena did IM Wisconsin, which looked less horrible, but I still don’t want to race 140.6.  More power to you, ladies.

Did you follow Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Fattest Bear competition?  The pictures were amazing.  Those bears got BIG.  Good job, nature.

Jenn acknowledges that sometimes everything is terrible, but you can still find the good.

Chrissy went to Scotland, because sometimes she does things other than cook, and I’m still pretty jealous.

Lauren is running and blogging again and I am very excited for her.

Michaela shows just how rough it is to try to workout with cats.  Cats are jerks.  Furry, loveable jerks.  And I should try to pet mine more this weekend after barely seeing them last weekend.

Why you shouldn’t run streak

madzArt / Pixabay

You see people posting all the time about their run streaks – they make it a goal to run at least a mile every single day.  They tally their running streaks – aiming for 100 days or 1000 days or simply aiming to never break their streak.  Now, in a perfect world, this would be fine.

I hate to break it to you, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  Life happens.  We get sick.  We get injured.  And you know what you should do when you’re sick or injured? Rest.

And yet people proudly proclaim how even though their knee really hurt or they had a fever of 102 degrees, they still managed to keep up their run streak.  This is not something to be proud of.  I’ve seen people talking about running through major injury, against doctor’s orders.  Just because they want to keep up their streak.

For some, the argument is “If I break my streak, it’s over and I won’t go back out for a run.”  And on some level I understand that.  But maybe it’s time to find something different to motivate you.  Maybe instead of a run streak, you make it a goal to do something active every day. If you have a sick day or an injured day, maybe you do some easy stretching or some very gentle yoga.  You’re moving your body but not putting yourself at risk.

On Twitter, you will see the hashtag #restdaybrags.  I love this hashtag.  It was created to counter the run streak and to emphasize that rest days are good.  Resting is good for your body. Recovery is a huge element in training, one I think too many people ignore.

I admit, I don’t love when I miss a workout either because I’m sick or injured or plain exhausted.  But listening to my body is a hugely important part of my racing plan.

I’m sure a number of my friends will disagree with this post.  I’m sure that there are plenty of people who have seen quality results from run streaking.  But there are plenty of people who have run through illness and injury as well.

While I think everyone should take rest days, if you’re absolutely stuck on the run streak, maybe you shorten the interval.  Instead of just going for the maximum number of days, how about a 10 day run streak?  You aim to accumulate 10 day run streaks.  So the 11th day starts a new streak.  Or maybe you take a rest day and start over.  This way, if on day 4, you’re sick in bed, no big deal, just take a rest day and start the ten day streak over.  You can still count the streaks.  “I’ve done 50 10 day run streaks!”  But you are also allowing yourself to listen to your body.

I think most runners have heard from non-runners “Why do you do that? You’re going to destroy your body.”  And we all deny that and talk about how running has made us healthier.  But if we don’t listen to our bodies, those non-runners are going to be right.

Yum! Luvo Meals Review

Disclaimer: I received a Luvo Bundle 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 really want to be that person who is great at meal prepping on the weekend.  I am so impressed by people who put up Instagram posts on Sundays showing the lunches they have made and packed for the week.

I am very much not that person.  Sure, sometimes I manage to make some soup or a casserole and portion it out into single serving portions and toss them in the freezer.  But most of the time, I eat frozen meals (since I try to avoid going out to lunch, both to save money and calories).

Enter Luvo.  A lot of the frozen meals I have found are either unsatisfying or not the healthiest option.  What I love about Luvo meals is that they’re not only delicious, but they’re filled with protein, whole grains, and at least one serving of vegetables.  That means they’re good for me, but more importantly, they’re filling.  I don’t end up hungry right after I eat.

For this review, I tried Luvo’s Hint of Spice Sampler.  This sampler included two each of the following meals:

  • Mighty Masala and Greens
  • Great Karma Coconut Curry
  • Chana Masala
  • Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken

Yes, that is my keyboard in the background.

“Hint” of spice is definitely a good descriptor for these meals.  I love spicy foods, and definitely appreciated the spice in these meals.  They were so incredibly flavorful.  I didn’t want the meals to end – but I certainly wasn’t hungry after finishing either.  If you’re not into spicy foods, they might not be for you, but don’t worry, Luvo has other good options as well.

I’m not sure which of the meals was my favorite.  It’s probably a tie between the Great Karma Coconut Curry and the Chana Masala.  While eating the Coconut Curry, my boss actually walked into my office and said “That smells amazing.  What is it?”  If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Yes, I would also like to be that person who puts their microwave meal into a fancy bowl before eating, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

These Luvo meals were all super easy to heat.  You know how some microwave meals have all sorts of weird instructions?  Poke three equidistant holes, microwave at 72% power for 3 minutes and then 45% power for 2 minutes?  None of that here.  Pop the meal in, microwave for the set amount of time at full power, and boom, you have lunch.

I have a crazy week coming up and will likely be eating Luvo meals for lunch every day.  It’s so nice to know that I don’t have to worry about meal planning and will have something tasty and healthy available to me.  And I will probably be stocking up on additional meals as well.

You can find Luvo meals in your local stores (use the store finder here) or purchase online.  From now through October 23, use the code BRPFREESHIP for free shipping.


Race Report – 2018 Army Ten Miler

Ten years.  I’ve been running this race for ten years.  That still feels absolutely insane to me.  I guess this running thing has become a bit of a lifestyle.

For much of the year, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run this race.  With my labral tear, I had two big race goals.  I wanted to be able to complete Rev 3 Williamsburg and I wanted to be able to complete the Army Ten Miler.  Honestly, I thought ATM was an even more remote chance, not only because of the distance but because of the time limit.  ATM has a 15 minute mile pace limit.

Unlike with Rev3 Williamsburg, when I registered for this race, I knew I was injured.  So as I prepared for the race, I really only had one goal – finish.  Sure, I wanted to be magically fast, but mostly, I just wanted to finish.  And that meant keeping a sub-15 pace.

Race morning came as normal.  I will admit, I wasn’t super motivated to run.  As has become my routine, I planned to arrive at a local parking garage by 6 am.  Definitely earlier than I needed to be there, but as roads are shut down, it’s just easier to get there and be ready to go.

Things were a bit different for the race this year due to some road construction.  It meant that the course was different and the start was a bit different.  They added two additional start waves to help thin out the crowds.  Typically, we would have gathered in grouped corrals in the Pentagon parking lot, and then led to the start.  Due to the construction, the corrals were lined up in a straight line from the start.  Since I was in the 9th wave, the brand new pink wave, that meant the start was a hike away.  Some people opted to not go to the corral and instead wait for the corral to come past them, but we opted to go to the corral and wait.

As per usual, the wheelchair racers were finishing before we started, and just as we got to race start, the race winners were coming in to the finish as well.  That’s aways a bit funny and a bit demoralizing.  Mostly, I was jealous they were done.

While this year’s race wasn’t as hot as last year’s, the humidity was ridiculous.  My weather app said the humidity was 90%; the race announcer said it was 100%.  Either way, it was disgusting.  The race started and I started my intervals and within ten minutes, I was dripping sweat.

I opted to run with a handheld water bottle for this race.  Nowhere near enough fluid to get me through the race, but more than enough to get me between water stops.  And I was definitely glad I had it.  The first water stop was around the two mile mark and they were out of water cups (though I believe they had cups of Gatorade).  Volunteers were pouring water into mouths, into cupped hands, and in my case, into my water bottle.  Due to the heat, people were taking multiple cups (not blaming them – it’s just what happened) which meant they ran out by the late corrals.  I had my bottle refilled and went on my way.

Due to the rerouted course, there was one spot where the race came to an absolute standstill.  I’ve never had that happen in this race before, even with 35,000 racers.  It didn’t last long, but it was certainly a surprise.

At one point, I ended up running alongside a vision impaired runner and his guides.  I was so impressed with their process.  The runner and one guide were each holding onto a large ring, and it was seamless how the guide would call out directions.  The second guide ran right behind them, blocking anyone from attempting to cut between them.  They moved as this tight little pack and it was so cool to see.

This race is always so organized, thanks to the amazing volunteers and the organization of the Army.  So I was really surprised when we got to mile 7 and there was no more Gatorade at the stop.  I don’t typically use it, but  was shocked that they were out.  That said, there was plenty of water everywhere, which was great since by that point, I was ready to pour it on myself.  Which I did.

This year, I was slow enough that I saw the cutoff after it was closed.  Around mile 5 or so, if you’re behind required pace, they divert the course because of roads that have to be re-opened.  This only cuts about two miles off of the race.  I’m usually enough ahead of it that I don’t see it, but this year, the diversion was in place by the time I looped back to that spot.  This unfortunately had an impact on my race.  At the beginning of a race, you’re always passing people and being passed, but by midway or so, things have usually settled out.  Sure, you are still being passed or passing, but not to a great extent.  However, when a group of slower people is diverted, that whole process has to start over.  For the most part, it wasn’t problematic, but I definitely got caught behind a few packs of walkers who didn’t realize they shouldn’t take up the whole course.

The hardest part of this race for a lot of people is the bridge near the end.  It’s the same bridge that destroys people at Marine Corps Marathon.  I don’t usually have an issue with this bridge.  Not so this year.  I was starting to get fatigued and I was just mentally tired of running, so this bridge felt so very long.  It felt great to get off the bridge.

I got my second wind sometime around mile 8.5, mostly because I knew I was getting close to being done.  Plus by that point, you’re back with the crowds again, which definitely helps motivate.

Finally, I made the turn to the finish line.  I really had hoped to have a sub-14 finish, but I just didn’t have it in me as I came to the finish and ended with a total time of 2:20:07.  Certainly my slowest Army Ten Miler, but also a finish I’m super proud of.  This was the longest distance I’ve covered since before my injury.  Six months ago, I couldn’t run a single mile.  So being able to race and cover the distance was so incredibly rewarding.  And I managed to do it without any pain from my labral tear.


September Mileage Update

September was an amazing month mileage wise.  So much so that I even went back and double checked the numbers.  This was a pretty big month, training wise.  Not only was I pushing towards Giant Acorn, but I also needed to get my mileage up for this weekend’s Army Ten Miler.

I can’t say that I felt like I was putting in a lot of miles. I was just making sure to put in the time and get in my workouts.  Clearly those small things add up.

September Totals:
Swim – 8.3 miles
Bike – 124 miles
Run – 63 miles

63 miles on the run!  That’s insane!  That’s higher mileage than I’ve had in so long.  I used to aim for 50 mile months, so 63 miles feels crazy.  I did go through a bit of a struggle where my quad started to knot up again, but that has been pretty easily resolved with some regular work on the foam roller.  Almost every day, I spend about 20-30 minutes on the foam roller, focusing only on my lower body and mainly on my left side.  It’s my excuse to play on my phone.

2018 Totals:
Swim – 48.3 miles
Bike – 1313 miles
Run – 155 miles