Heading Back to Chicago, Soldier Field 10 Mile

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to Soldier Field 10 Mile race 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!*

It’s about time! I’m finally getting the chance to run the Soldier Field 10 Mile Race on May 25th.  I lived in Chicago for a couple years and it never fit in my schedule.  No I’m not a Bear fan (GO PACK GO!), but the setting of the race always appealed to me. After reading reviews about the race and scouring the Soldier Field 10 Mile website, here are a few things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Free Parking – THIS IS UNHEARD OF! Yes, they have complimentary parking for runners. This saves me at least $10 and a lot of hassle of figuring out which ParkWhiz lot to use.
  2. Beautiful Race Venue – Even though I’m a Packer fan, I still appreciate running through Soldier Field. I’ve also read that Soldier Field offers a reprieve from the hot sun at the end of the race.
  3. Great Race Swag – The tech shirt and medal look awesome! I’m looking forward to adding these to my collection.
  4. Well Organized Race – I’ve run a few Ram Racing events (North Shore Classic, BigFoot Tri) and every one is very well organized and thought out.  They always have great volunteers, vendors before and after the race, and the aid stations fully stocked. I expect nothing less at this event.
  5. Post Race Party – As a Wisconsin girl, I always appreciate a free post-race beer! The party setting with music, vendor booths, and friends to hang out with are also a perk.

I hope you consider running this race with me! Check out my discount page for the code to get a surprise FREE item with your goodie bag!

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Zwift into the New Year: Review of Zwift Runpod and App

*Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Runpod 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!*

Are you a treadmill runner? I’m not going to lie to you, treadmills are my last resort. I have a treadmill at home which may very well have been made in the 1990’s. But it works and does the job when there’s sleeting rain or a snow storm outside.

As part of being a BibRave Pro I was offered the opportunity to trial the new Zwift Runpod and Zwift Run app. I figured it would be worth a shot since the treadmill experience is not super enjoyable to me. And anything that could improve my treadmill workouts is worth a shot.img_7150.jpg

The Runpod arrives in a small little box with directions on how to insert the battery and connect it to your shoe. Once I did that, I downloaded the Zwift app and Zwift Companion on my iPhone. Zwift Companion is a great way to check out who else is using the app and to look up group runs that are scheduled.

For my first run, I signed up to join the BibRave TRE 5k. They had 3 different pace groups to join. Before the race, I made sure to calibrate the Runpod with my treadmill. I also used my Garmin Forerunner 935 to calibrate the speed. The app walks you through the process very easily. Once I was calibrated, I was able to join the run.

I joined the run a few minutes early. When joining a group run they line everyone up on a start line, just like a real race. However you can either just wait for it to start or start a warmup on your treadmill, where you’ll see your Zwift avatar run in place.

When the race starts, everyone’s avatar rushes out of the start corral. I thought it was cool to see people running that I knew. I even ran along side another BibRave Pro. Running with a group of people virtually definitely boosted my competitive side and made the treadmill experience a lot more enjoyable.

Since the BibRave TRE Virtual 5k, I’ve been able to run using the Zwift app several more times. Some fun perks of running with the Zwift app:

  • You can change the appearance of your Zwift avatar
  • You can change the view that you see your avatar running
  • You are never running alone – even if you can’t make one of the scheduled runs, you can always join the thousands of people who are running in Watopia
  • The Zwift app is FREE!

Ultimately I would recommend the Zwift Runpod and Zwift app for anyone wanting to enhance their treadmill running experience.  I even bought one for my brother!

Lessons Learned Accomplishing the Scoobtober Virtual 10k

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to the ScoobyDoo Virtual Run Series: Scoobtober Virtual Run 5k/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!*

Cooper and I completed the Scoobtober Virtual 10k with a sturdy training program throughout the entire month of October.  Cooper was put through rigorous long runs and strength training….I’m just kidding.  We just had fun with it! We got out and ran about 2-3 times a week on roads and trails. It was great to have a running goal that involved my pup.

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One thing I learned throughout the training is that just like humans, dogs aren’t always 100% ready to run. Cooper is definitely not a “Morning dog” so all our training runs were primarily late mornings or in the evenings after work.img_6953

By the end of the month, we were primed and ready to run the race! Cooper did so well, I think he could have ran another mile with how much energy he still had left! By the beginning of November we were happy to celebrate with our awesome new swag and finisher medals for accomplishing the ScoobyDoo Virtual Run Series!

Training for Scoobtober Virtual 10k with My Pup!

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to the ScoobyDoo Virtual Run Series: Scoobtober Virtual Run 5k/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!*

My pup might love running more than me….this says A LOT! Signing up for a second virtual run with Mr. Cooper was a no-brainer. Cooper did an amazing job at the Doo Good Virtual 5k last month.  This month we are shooting for a 10k! Cooper has run a 10k before, but it has been well over a year. That is why Cooper and I have a training plan. Feel free to join!

Week 1: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = run another 5k

Week 2: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = run up to 4.5 miles

Week 3: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = Run 5 miles

Week 4: Run/walk 2-3 miles 2 times throughout the week, Long-run = Run the Scoobtober Virtual 10k! 

Zoinks! Don’t miss out on the Doo Good Virtual 5k!

*Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Scooby-Doo Run Series: Doo Good Virtual 5k 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!*

Now that my training is starting to taper, it’s time to focus on what is important in my life, my pup! It’s been too hot to take him out on my long runs this summer. Now with September in full gear, the temps are perfect to get my pup up and running.

I was offered the opportunity to do the Scooby-Doo Run Series: the Doo Good Virtual 5k. I’ve never run a virtual 5k before, but liked the opportunity to do a fun run with my 8 year old lab, Cooper. I’ve thought about signing us up for other runs in the area, but Cooper can sometimes be unpredictable around other people and especially other dogs.  He just LOVES EVERYONE! A virtual 5k offers us the chance to train together for a fun goal without the stress of being around other people and dogs. We still get the comradery from other runners and dogs running the 5k through social media too!

Cooper and I chose to run our race on September 19th. Sign up and join us!

Training for Kettle100 #LiveMoreNow

*Disclaimer: I received 3 Buff® products 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!*

 

New adventures are what I live for. All the emotions of excitement, nervousness, and fear wrapped up into one event. I love this and hate this feeling all at the same time. It seems like every year I pick a new adventure or goal to tackle. I don’t always accomplish this goal, but I always try.

This year I’ve decided to embrace the #LiveMoreNow campaign from Buff ®. My crazy adventure is to tackle my first 100 mile trail race. To this point the furthest I’ve gone is 64 miles at the Frozen Otter Ultra in January. This was a whole other adventure of its own (feel free to read my blog post about it).

Throughout the last 4 months of training, my schedule has predominately looked like this:

Monday: Strength Train (focus on legs/hips/glutes)

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Strength Training using my UV Multifunctional Headband from Buff®

Tuesday: Hill Repeats + run = 6 miles, followed by Strength Training (focus on glutes/core)

Wednesday: Mid-week long run of 8-12 miles, plus some additional Strength Training (core/arm focus)

Thursday: Speed Work =7-9 miles

Friday: Either easy 4-6 mile run or rest day

Saturday: Long trail run (anywhere from 18-50 miles depending on the week)

Sunday: Long run (usually on the road and less than the Saturday run)

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Relaxing after Ice Age 50 miler (wearing Dorn Hat from Buff®)

With this schedule, I typically put between 50-85 miles in each week. I hope I’m ready to take on the challenge of Kettle 100 in 6 short days. All I can do is give it my all, and pray for good weather. Wish me luck!

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Sharing some watermelon with my pup after my last long run before Kettle 100

 

Review of FlipBelt Crops

Disclaimer: I received the FlipBelt Crops to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews

Once I find running gear I like, it stays in my running gear forever. I don’t play fast and loose with my gear and I like what I like. That being said, I can be a bit skeptical when I am introduced to new running gear. BibRave offered me the opportunity to test out the FlipBelt Crops.  I’ve heard of FlipBelt before, but was satisfied with my running belt so I never purchased one for myself.

I’ve had some issues with running belts in the past – either they don’t fit what I need, they break easily, or they tend to ride up while running. It’s never a fun run when you’re constantly messing with your running belt. I’ve also had some bad luck with running capris as well. But I wanted to try the FlipBelt Crops despite my issues trying something new in the past.

My first time trying on the FlipBelt Crops, I still wasn’t sold. To be honest, I didn’t run in them, I only tried them on and walked around a little. They were comfortable, but I was skeptical about the waist area. It didn’t fit very snugly, it felt slightly loose.  My running belt and capris are always super tight on my hips in order to keep my cell phone and keys in place and prevent them from flopping up and down. But they were comfortable, so that was a definite plus.

The second time I put them on was for an easy run after work. I put my keys on the key hook in the front as well as my cell phone in the front. I have an iPhone SE with a wallet case, so it’s not the lightest phone in the world. When I started running, I was very surprised to not feel my phone or keys bouncing around my waist. This was completely different from all the other running belts I’ve encountered. I didn’t have to adjust anything and I didn’t have to wear it super tight on my waist.  This will be especially nice when I go on long runs since I won’t have to worry about chaffing or rubbing.

Another plus with the FlipBelt Crops is, it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a running belt.  Running belts always looks like I’m wearing a fanny pack. With the FlipBelt Crops, the belt melds right into the capris, so it just looks like a part of the pants.  This makes it very easy to go from running or workout straight to running errands or having brunch with my running partners. Everything I need stays on me and you can’t even tell.

Try the FlipBelt Crops for yourself and find a discount code on my Discount page!

Preparing for BigFoot: Training Tips for BigFoot Triathlon

*Disclaimer: I’m promoting BigFoot Tri 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!*

Last year I ran the BigFoot Triathlon in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for the first time.  This wasn’t my first triathlon, but it almost felt like it. For those of you considering the BigFoot Triathlon, it’s a beautiful and scenic race through the rolling hills and trails of Lake Geneva.  The swim is located on BigFoot Beach, on the east side of Lake Geneva. Followed by a hilly bike through county roads. It finishes with a run through the trails of BigFoot Park. This course is definitely different from the fast and flat courses you typically find in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Keeping this in mind, here are some tips for preparing for BigFoot Triathlon:

  1. Train for Hills – Though there aren’t any huge climbs like you’ll find in Madison, the hills can take their toll on the bike and run portion.  Half way through the bike portion you’ll hit a road of rolling hills.  If you are not prepared, then you could be losing some time on the ride. The 10k run also has about 300 feet of elevation change (according to my Suunto watch). None of the hills are steep, but the constant up and down takes it toll.IMG_0010
  2. Prepare for all sorts of weatherIMG_2628Some years the race is delayed due to fog or storms. Other years the heat will sore.  Last year the wind picked up in the morning, causing some decent sized waves on the lake.  Another thing to consider is how this will affect the trail conditions on the run.  If there was a good amount of rain anytime within the last few days before the race, you might consider packing the trail shoes, or a pair of shoes you don’t care to mess up.
  3. Prepare your feet – there are two sections of running I’ll bring up here: the first transition and the trail run. The first transition, going from the lake to the bike, has a good distance run on pavement.  Make sure you prepare for this long section and how your feet will feel running barefoot on this surface. Another thing that makes this race special is the trail.  Most races involve a road run for the 10k. This race goes through a nicely groomed trail section of the park.  The trail is primarily made up of packed down dirt, gravel, wood chips, and grass.  You will also have some areas of pavement running.  Personally I do not believe trail shoes are necessary, since this is not a technical trail.  However, like I mentioned earlier, if it has rained in the last few days, it might not be a bad idea to wear the trail shoes since the course will be on the squishy side.IMG_2652

These are some quick tips to help you prepare for a unique and beautiful race.  Feel free to message if you have any questions.  I’m happy to help!

Rivals for life: Fun Perks of Using Athlinks

Disclaimer: I reviewed Athlinks 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!

It’s been a while since I looked into my past running records. In fact, my sister had to inform me last year that I PR’ed my 10k time. I’m not good at keeping track of that sort of thing, nor did I think I was even close to PRing that day. This year BibRave partnered up with Athlinks, and asked all the BibRave Pros to check out their profiles. I was surprised with how many races of mine were listed and ready for me to claim.

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After accepting my results, I looked at the results tab. Without having to do any work, it tallied my PR results for 5k, triathlons, all the way to my ultra trail races. Now I no longer have to rely on my sis to tell me when I get a new personal record.

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Another fun feature I was messing around with is the Rivals tab. You can follow friends on Athlinks. Then Athlinks automatically will compare the races that you both have run. It’s like a game to see who has won the most races. I even found that some friends from BibRave ran in the same Chicago marathon several years ago as me, before we were even BibRave Pros. I especially like that Athlinks shows that I’m beating my sister overall in races. We may be a bit competitive.IMG_4738

Another feature I like is how easy the app is to use. Because let’s be honest, I’m usually on my phone and never on my desktop. Now I have all my PR’s and race results in the palm of my hand!

Now the question is, will you sign up and be my rival?

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Review of the BOCO Gear Run Hat

*Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear Run Hat 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!*

Headgear can be tricky.  I’ve been in the middle of a race or a long run when all of a sudden the hat I’ve been wearing the entire time starts to itch or feel uncomfortable. Whether it’s over heating, sweating, lack of coverage or not fitting properly, these are all things likely every runner has experienced with their headgear at some point.

img_38401.jpgI received the BOCO Gear Run Hat several weeks ago to review. The BOCO hat is different than my other running hats.  It is super flexible.  So flexible you can bend and fold it and don’t need to worry about any permanent damage to it. The bill can be snapped up or molded in the more traditional curve. This came in handy when I stuffed my hat into the bottom of my running pack.

I used the BOCO Gear Run Hat during my last two 50 milers.  I appreciated it’s wicking capabilities, especially during the 90 degree race, and that it stayed light weight. The hat kept my head nice and cool, and was breathable the entire race. My second 50 miler I used it over my Buff ®. The BOCO hat has an adjustable back snap feature which made the hat fit comfortably over the extra material.  It also kept the rain out of my eyes the entire race.

And probably my favorite feature of the BOCO Gear Run Hat is that it is machine washable! I’ve been using my BibRave orange BOCO hat a lot lately since it’s hunting season in Wisconsin.  It’s nice that I can throw it in the wash along with my running clothes and it will be ready without any hassle.

Now the next question is, what color BOCO Gear Run Hat should I buy next?