Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thrifty Thursday for January!

Happy New Year!  Woo!  New year, new finds!  

 When going through the racks of leggings at thrift stores, I usually go for the ones that stand out with an unusual color or pattern.  These stood out because of the color, then they were super soft.  I looked at the label and saw they were my size and from Aerie, the lingerie company by American Eagle.  I generally try to stay away from fast fashion brands like Old Navy and American Eagle, but these were just so soft and would make perfect pajama pants! 
Aerie Real Soft Jogger PJ Pants:  Originally $40, paid $3!

Sometimes I like to wear running skirts, and when I came across these I liked all the cute pleats on the back.  Oddly despite the name, they're actually made for tennis because there's a pocket to put a ball on the shorts underneath.  But that's also the nice thing about that hidden upside down pocket--I'm the only one who will know it's there! 
Lululemon Pacesetter Skirt:  Originally $58, paid $6 for each

 Last month I found the capris.  This month I found the tights version of Athleta's Relay Capris, the Relay Tights!  (Also pretty awesome I must say!) 
Athleta Relay Tights:  Originally $79, paid $6.

This actually ended up being a Christmas present for my Mom.  Typically she doesn't like to wear wool, but this scarf from Icebreaker was so soft that there was no way she wouldn't like it.  And I was right!  She put it on almost immediately and was shocked when I told her it was made of wool.  
Icebreaker Boreal Scarf:  Originally $60, paid $5.

I saw this and jumped on it, especially once I saw the price.  I've been wearing it through this cold snap here in the mid-Atlantic and it's been great. 
So warm and comfy!
The North Face Denali Jacket:  Originally $179, paid $13

One of the things I've been passively looking for is a good pair of tall boots that would fit my big runner's calves.  And I completely lucked out.  I've had Frye on my radar for awhile now and they're known for the quality of leather and durability of their shoes (which means $$$$.)  When I found these in my size I was in absolute shock.  Then when I saw the price, I hugged them and didn't let go until I got to the register.  Now I try to find any excuse I can to wear them.
Frye Veronica Slouch:  Originally $368, paid $11

Any new races coming up?  How are you surviving the intense cold?  Any great thrifting finds lately?

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap, Part 3: What I Learned

Recently I ran my first ever marathon ever (the Marine Corps Marathon.)  If you missed the first two parts, here's part 1.  Here's part 2.

I read a lot of articles, blogs and books telling me what to expect about running my first marathon and about the Marine Corps Marathon.  But there were some things that I found worked for me.  After reading so much, I have no idea where I got some of these ideas from, but they might also work for first timers and seasoned marathoners.  (Even if you're not running a full marathon, some of these tips should be helpful!)

Crosstrain. Seriously.

I should've seen my injury coming.  When I trained for my first half marathon, I got IT band Syndrome (or ITBS) in my right leg.  But when my gym closed in July right as I was starting to train, I figured I would be fine and I would do some cross training on my own.  Of course I didn't and just kept putting it off.  So I got ITBS in my left leg this time.

ITBS is basically caused when your IT band gets aggravated by repetitive motion--like running.  The IT Band is a ligament that runs from above your hip (with some connection to your glutes) all the way down your leg and connects below your knee.  It basically acts like a giant rubber band helping your leg snap back when extended.  So, if you make that ligament snap back too much it gets angry.  The anger can surface anywhere along the ligament but typically when I have flare up it is at the hip AND at the knee.  But while running, it literally feels like some outside force is taking that tendon and just twisting it or someone just sucker punched it.  At first it's just a slight nagging as if to say "Hey.  Um, you might want to take it easy."  Then if I try to ignore it, that's when it starts screaming as if to say "HEY!  I TOLD YOU.  TAKE. IT. EASY." then if I keep ignoring it on a run, walking even becomes impossible.

How can you avoid an injury like ITBS?  Cross-training.  How do you help it heal?  A bunch of different things, but I've found that rest, icing, foam rolling and massage helps.  I also tried a variety of straps that are supposed to help, but the only thing that helped was a compression sleeve from Zensah for my knee.

Take in Nutrition Every 30 Minutes.

Back in April on my trip to Boston for the marathon I got to meet a few elites including ultramarathoner Scott Jurek.  I typically try to come up with good questions for elites usually it ends up being "What's your bucket list race?" but this time it was "What's your advice for a first time marathoner?"  He said "Take on nutrition every 30 minutes whether you think you need it or not."  While training and on race day, that's exactly what I did and it worked out perfect.  Pre-run OR pre-race I always drink a 17oz bottle of water with cherry limeade Nuun en route, and eat a picky bar (typically smooth caffeinator) 30 minutes out.  During the run/race itself I used Tailwind.  I also put snacks in my hydration pack that I knew my stomach could tolerate, and on race day I used Run Gum as well.  The snacks I could choose on any given day were chia seed bars from Health Warrior, chia squeeze from Mama Chia, gingersnap waffles from Honey Stinger, and I used their chews as well.

Since race day was hot, the pre-race Nuun helped hydrate me pre-race, and the Tailwind helped maintain it and provide calories.  After about 30 minutes of running I was ready to start sipping on my Tailwind and I tried my best to keep up with that.  I also took comfort in that I had "safe" snacks on hand if I wanted something to chew.  (I didn't really eat too many snacks since I was feeling pretty good.)  After separating from the pace group at the halfway point, I started taking water at the stops and that helped too.

By the time I got to the end of the race, I wasn't too hungry or thirsty.  I was just hurting from moving my feet for so long.

Join a Running Group.

This basically saved my butt a few times, because it gave me people to run with and learn new routes.  I'm a member of Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town and despite the name, you don't have to have kids to join.  It's a free running group for women and you can join in group runs as little or as much as you like.  If you join an active group, chances are very good that you can find somebody else who's a similar pace and wants to run a similar distance.  Having that kind of accountability is everything when you're training through the summer for a fall race.

Keep It Simple.

I know I look a little ridiculous on runs with all the stuff I have--my headphones, Garmin, Road ID, sunglasses, hat, hydration pack, phone, and of course snacks.  But the one place I keep it simple?  My clothing.  The top I wore while training and on race day was a Oiselle Flyte Tank.  There are only 3 "seams" on the entire tank--at the top on the straps and around the neckline.  Less seams mean fewer chances of chafing.  I do the same for my bottoms as well, which for most races is the Be Free Knicker from Athleta.  (Added bonus?  POCKETS!)  You would be surprised with how much running gear has an overabundance of seams.  (Seriously, what is up with all the panels on your shirts, and tights, Fila?)

Stick to Your Training.

I'm sure this one will be a little more controversial, but hear me out.  I had to stop my long runs after hitting 19 miles, more than a month out from the race.  Then I barely got in any runs because of my injury flaring up so quickly into a run.  Sure, it was a legitimate excuse, but I feel that if I was able to stay closer to the training schedule and actually do my 20 mile run then I might not have been in general pain at mile 17. But this is tough to gauge too, although while I was ramping up my weekly mileage I wasn't in AS much pain, but with the marathon it was my longest distance overall so it's hard to say.  (But in the month of October, I only got in three runs before my marathon.  So...yeah.)

Overall, I really enjoyed going through the experience of running a marathon.  Will I ever run another?  Who knows.  I've learned to never say never because I also said I'd never run a marathon.  Watching Boston last year was inspirational, and maybe it will inspire me again this coming year.  One thing is for sure though:  I need to heal completely before I even think of signing up for another!  Currently I'm on track for recovery.  I signed up for a new gym that opens next month, I'm still running but not as far, starting to cross train more and I'm wearing my knee sleeve while running and cross training.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap, Part 2: The Race!

Be sure to read Part 1 of my experience running the Marine Corps Marathon.  It's about my training, expo and pre-race prep.  I'll wait.



So, race morning I actually woke up just a few minutes before my alarm which rarely ever happens.  But oddly I felt pretty rested, so I took that as a good sign.  After checking my emails I got up and started getting ready to leave.  I made sure to apply my temporary tattoo to the inside of my left elbow so it was in a place where I thought it wouldn't rub against anything too much.  (I was wrong.  The lower half was gone before the race even started.)

I then grabbed my water bottle with cherry limeade Nuun, hydration pack and spibelt with race bib and headed out the door with my Dad to get to the metro.

After a shorter than usual metro ride with my Dad, he wished me luck as we parted ways.  Then started the long walk around the Pentagon to the starting area.  (I'm not totally sure how far it actually was, but it was at least half a mile probably closer to three quarters.  Either way, I finished my water bottle with Nuun as we walked to the starting area.)  I got there early enough that security was a non-issue.  I just walked up to a guard, showed them my hydration pack, they felt the reservoir portion and waved me on.  The lines for the bathrooms started to get a little crazy so I went ahead and got in line.  After getting through, I walked across the parking lot and got in line for the other set.  This line was a little longer, but I made friends with a couple ladies from Indiana who were also running their first marathon.  I told them everything I knew about the race and how it was awesome.  I also started texting with my friend who ran with me on that fateful training run that shook my confidence, and we tried to figure out where we were.  While we were in line for the portajohns we got to see the skydivers and see the fly-by from some of the Marines' Osprey (they had people hanging out the back door waving at the runners!)

I had seen part of it from the National Mall, but seeing it right up close was awe-inspiring.  Nerves started to set in as I neared the portajohns for one last stop.

At this point it was 7:55am and I headed over to the starting area with my friends from Indiana, hoping that I would come across my friend.  Fortunately, since she's so tall it was pretty easy to find her in the crowd once she told me her corral.  (We are a similar pace so I felt good about lining up with her.)  I also got a glimpse of the pacers for the 5:30 finish time.  We were close enough to see the pacer, but far enough back that we weren't in that pack of people.  My initial strategy was to keep the pacer in my sights while hanging back far enough that I wouldn't get caught up in the pack.

Finally the gun went off at 8:05am.  (Later I found out it was due to a suspicious package on the course.)  I crossed at 8:24am with one of my friends from Indiana and my training friend.

I decided to take it easy and not go out too fast, so when my watch beeped to start one of the intervals, I waved bye to my friends and told them I'd catch up later.  At this point, my IT band was feeling a little achy, but not terrible.  I tried not to focus on it and somehow I managed to catch up with the 5:30 pace group early on and kept up with them pretty well for the first half of the race.

Staying with the pace group for the first half helped a lot.  It helped keep me from going out too fast, and the pacer knew when to speed up and when we could slow down.  Thankfully it was a group that did run/walk breaks, although I'm pretty sure the leader wasn't very strict about sticking to them.  She also stopped briefly enough at the aid stations that it was basically impossible to take any liquid, which was stupid because of how hot it was supposed to be that day.  (Thankfully I had my hydration pack.  Yes, it had Tailwind in it, but I remembered a bit of advice from Scott Jurek from my Boston trip in April for Marathon Monday.  He said to take on nutrition every half an hour whether you need it or not.)  But after a point I started to get annoyed with the people around me because it was packed.  One woman kept throwing elbows to stay right next to the pacer, and various people kept knocking into me, and several people lost shoes because somebody behind them stepped on their heel.  Normally I don't like to post pictures from MarathonFoto with the watermark, but this is a great visual of how packed the pace group was.

By the time this picture was taken, I was getting pretty tired of being in such a tightly packed crowd.  Just before Hains Point aka The Blue Mile (and the halfway point), the pacer ran through the water and paused just briefly at the Gatorade and I walked that portion.  I tried to hang back but keep her in my sights, but she just kept getting further away.  And then I suddenly felt relieved.  I could hang back and look around!  And I was at the first point where I needed to look for a familiar face!  And...I didn't see her!  Oh well, no worries!  My next milestone was to beat the Gauntlet at about mile 17 by 12:33pm and I was well on my way to doing that.

A lot of the race was pretty much a blur.  I remember seeing some people from the pace group and passing by them.  I ran into one of my Oiselle teammates just before I met up with my Mom and husband right by the Washington Monument to change out hydration packs just as we planned.  At that point, I was past mile 17.  Less than 10 miles to go.  Might as well finish, right?

I'm all smiles, right?  I'm grinning through the pain because at this point both my IT bands were starting to ache.  (But the KT Tape was still intact!!) And I was justifying finishing.  And I had to catch up with my Oiselle teammate I hadn't seen in awhile, and she was hurting too.  Before I knew it we were passing the Capitol building...

And I ran into Oiselle spectator #1 by the Smithsonian.  And she had starbursts on a cookie sheet.  They were perfect and I said hi, thanks for the starburst and walked as I peeled the candy and popped it in my mouth.  (At that point, chewing felt weird.) I had also started to drag so once I finished the candy, so I opened up a pack of Run Gum and popped in a piece.  It was a little crumbly at first, but then it started to hold together after a few chews and the caffeine in it did the trick!  (Okay and maybe Batala and a hose spraying water helped a little bit, but mostly the gum.)  I caught a little bit of a second wind as we headed towards the dreaded 14th street bridge.


All the runners knew going into this weekend it would be warm, and by this point it was about 12:00/12:30 so it was getting bad.  And on the bridge, there is no shade for even a little bit of relief.  I had run the bridge before when I ran the 10k in previous years, but at the marathon distance it was a whole new beast.  No spectators except a few brave souls here and there cheering you on.  At this point, the muscle pain had really started to take over.  I had to really convince myself that I could finish this.  The only way off the bridge was to keep going.  And if I kept going, I might as well finish.

I was so ready to see the familiar faces of my Oiselle teammates at Mile 22.  Finally I came over a hill and I finally saw one of my teammates that I recognized right away.  I screamed her name and ran by giving everybody high fives and kept running.  Right through another fire plug that had been opened up and was spraying water.  And right into a puddle.  (Worth it.)

At that point a couple toenails started softening up and I started worrying that a couple were gone.  I had to talk myself out of it because I had run with wet feet before, and this had happened before.  I was almost done.  I got this.

That final turnaround in Crystal City was glorious.  I was finally in the homestretch.  Once we got back to the Pentagon parking lot, I ran into my Oiselle teammate again, who was also hurting.  So we ended up walking a bunch of the final mile together.  We ended up joking about how off our Garmins were on the distance (maybe it was because of all the weaving around people?) and how when our watches buzzed saying we finished the marathon but we hadn't really finished that we were just doing an ultramarathon.

As we got closer to the finish we started to give each other a pep talk to really go for it in that final stretch.  (Well, as much as we could.)  We walked up that final hill to Iwo Jima (hating that hill more than I ever have in previous years of running the 10k) and once we hit the flat portion, we took off...again, as much as we could.  And we finished!!  My official time was 6:03:59.  Not my goal time, but still an automatic PR.

I hobbled with my Oiselle teammate through the medals, the water, and the post-race snacks and then we parted ways.  Throughout we both kept texting our loved ones letting them know we crossed, and we were almost to them.  Just after the bridge we parted ways and I got my watermelon.  (Barely.  Apparently they were giving a ton to everybody who walked by since the race was almost completely over and they still had a lot of fruit.)  Either way, I met up with my parents and husband again and they handed me another container of watermelon.  (I'm all about that post-race watermelon.  Seriously.  It's always the best. Thanks, Watermelon Board!)

After I finished the watermelon, drank a bottle of water and started finishing my hydration pack, I was ready for some real food.  Fortunately, there were tons of food trucks around.  I opted for a nutella crepe, and my Mom got one for each of us to enjoy back at their house.  On the metro ride back, I tried really hard to stretch.  But that only lasted a few minutes.  The muscle fatigue had definitely set in and my legs were hurting, especially if I lifted them more than just a couple inches off the ground.  I definitely didn't sit on the metro because I knew that was just asking for trouble.

Once we got off the train, I yelled at my husband for walking so fast and he said to me "I'm walking at a normal speed!" "No you're not!  Stop walking so fast!" And we both laughed as I collapsed into the car.  Shockingly I didn't have very much trouble getting back out again and hobbled my way inside the house and ate my nutella crepe.  Then came the time where I had to get up and get to the bathroom for a shower.  Naturally, it took longer than I'd like to admit and part of it was because I was nervous about what I would see when I took my socks off.  So I sat on the side of the tub and very carefully pulled off my socks.

And what did I see?

All ten toes, all ten toenails.  INTACT!  Win.  (Small victory.)

And I was SO happy to put on my finisher's shirt.

That shower felt amazing and soon after my husband and I headed home.  I was still hungry, so I opened up my snack box and was VERY impressed!

I'm almost positive everything except the fruit cup was gone before we arrived home an hour later.  At that point, I was so ready for a nap.

And it was glorious.

Next up:  What I learned!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap, Part 1: Race Prep and the Expo!

The Marine Corps Marathon is notorious for being a fantastic race, and for the most part it did not disappoint!  You can either get into the race by running the 17.75k (which sells out quickly), entering the lottery, being active military, or signing up for their Four Star registration (which includes 2 race entries, hotel, reception, smartrip cards and access to a hospitality tent before the race.)  I got in by finishing the 17.75k, which you can read about here.

Training for the race began almost immediately.  I followed Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Marathon Training Plan and was doing really well until mid-September as my high mileage runs were about to finish.  I had been doing all my runs a little extra difficult in very hilly areas to make race day easier.  I was well on track to beating my goal pace of 12:35 to be able to finish the race in 5:30:00. Then my IT Band started acting up.  This was not the first time, so when I did my 19 mile run and it started aching I knew exactly what was wrong when it started to get angry right around mile 2.  But I kept going.  And that was the dumbest mistake I could've made, because it just kept getting worse.  And my splits kept getting longer and longer.  (My average pace ended up being 14:46.)  I know exactly why my IT Band got angry too and it was a combination of no cross training (my gym closed suddenly in July and I had a hard time finding a new one) and the increase in mileage.  I should've seen it coming, because that's exactly why it flared up the first time in the opposite leg.

Either way, it definitely messed with my confidence and that day of the 19 mile training run I was ridiculously happy to be running with somebody who was willing to put up with my IT Band's shenanigans.  We ended up naming my IT Band Frank, which actually helped.  We would start to run a little bit, the IT Band would scream, and then we would yell "DAMMIT FRANK!"  It wasn't much, but it helped with my morale.  For several days afterwards I had a hard time walking normally because even just bending my knee hurt.  And this was just before the DC Ragnar.  I managed to suck it up and do the Ragnar.  (More on that another time.)

About a week after that nightmare run, Brooks released a preview of some of the merchandise.  Naturally I bought the race jacket and the dash half zip since it's one of my favorite pieces from Brooks.  (Lightweight, but provides some warmth as well.)  It arrived a couple days later, and there it sat in the tyvek envelope.

The rest of my training for the race went terribly because of outside factors too.  September was a crazy month at work, and October was also moderately crazy so with working 6 or 7 days a week it made squeezing in long runs hard if not impossible.

 Once I received my confirmation email with my race number, it got real.

 In October I ran the BAA Half Marathon, and treated it like a training run since it was my next to worst finishing time.  I knew it was inevitable since my IT Band didn't have time to heal.  Before I even came home from that trip to Boston, I started calling a sports massage therapist that a friend recommended.  I got in there for an hour long massage and cupping later that week.  I was a little skeptical about cupping since I don't believe in anything drawing out toxins other than your liver, but why not try it if it doesn't hurt? Well, it did hurt.  So good.  Afterwards my IT Band felt amazing.

And I opened that tyvek envelope.

I was not disappointed.  I tried both on since well, the race was happening whether my IT Band liked it or not.  I also scheduled one more massage for the morning before the race with some cupping and KT Tape application, because I was desperate and ready to try anything.  (The first time I tried KT Tape, it didn't work out well and peeled off before it could be of any use.)

Then before I knew it, race weekend had arrived and I got to go to the expo to pick up my packet.  I finally got to take advantage of some of the race merch that I've spent years drooling over since I had only run the 10k in past years.  It was so surreal getting my bib, race patch and shirt.  (It wasn't that long ago that I swore I'd never run a marathon!)  And I totally lucked out with the shirt--I love the color and design!  This year was actually a departure from previous years because this one was a long sleeve moisture wicking shirt rather than a long sleeve fleece lined shirt.

I didn't actually get much in the way of race merch.  The lines for the official race merchandise were next to non-existent so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a finisher's shirt ready to go right after the race and a pin with the race logo.  (Brooks said in emails and on social media that it would be available for purchase online on race morning, but nothing about it being available at the expo!)  From the other vendors I got a half buff and a race logo necklace.

Soon afterwards race day prep began.  With less than 24 hours to go, I started with getting that last minute intense IT Band massage and cupping and had it taped up.  (I'm almost positive my massage therapist used half a roll of KT Tape.)  Coming out of there I was feeling pretty confident that everything would go pretty well.

Once I got home, I filled up my two hydration packs with Tailwind--one raspberry flavored, the other plain.  My strategy was to start out with the raspberry flavored Tailwind, and switch it out to the pack containing the plain flavored Tailwind with my family around mile 17 along the National Mall.  I also put my race bib on a spibelt so I wouldn't have to worry about attaching and reattaching it to my hydration packs.  In the pockets of my hydration packs I put in a pack of Run Gum, Honey Stinger Chews or their waffle, and a Health Warrior Chia Seed bar or a Mamma Chia Chia Squeeze and each had a tube of lip balm with sunscreen from Brooks Running. (Seriously, the lip balm they give away is amazing.)  And of course a picky bar to eat before the race.  With the exception of the gum, all of it was tried in the past and I knew they were easy on my stomach.  (I had never tried the gum, and I lucked out in that it didn't bother my stomach.)  It sounds like a lot, but it really ended up being about 4 small things in each pack.

Next, I had to work on my temporary tattoo.  Since I knew I had to get to different parts of the course in certain times and had friends along the way cheering on runners, I mentally I split the race up into different parts.  So instead of "Uggggghhh 26.2 miles?!" it became "Okay first I have to reach Eileen.  Then Pam... And reach the Gauntlet by 12:33pm..."

Then of course I had to lay out everything to take with me on race morning to be absolutely sure I had everything.

I was ready as I would ever be.  Everything was then thrown into a bag and I headed down to my parents with my husband.  Once we arrived at my parents, we had dinner and my Dad and I coordinated that morning so we could both get to our races on time (he was running the 10k.)  Later that night I threw a tab of my favorite cherry limeade nuun into a water bottle and then got ready for bed.  Just to be safe, I plugged in my electronics just to be sure everything would last.  I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep well, and I actually slept better than expected.

Next up:  The race itself.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thrifty Thursday for December!

It's that time again--Thrifty Thursday!  More great finds this month, although there were some misses on some of my trips out.

Love the asymmetrical slits in the back of these capris! 
Athleta Ananda Capris:  Originally $69, paid $7!

I hate the cold so the more layers the better!  And as an added bonus, the fabric is treated with silver salts so it doesn't hold onto odors, similar to Balega's Silver Socks
Athleta Twist Half Zip:  Originally $89, paid $6

I love Athleta's Relay Capris.  The design is super simple, and the thick bands at the bottom of the legs fit perfectly over my big calves.  I have these capris in a few colors, and they don't show sweat either!  
Athleta Relay Capris:  Originally $69, paid $9

I pretty much wear tank tops year round since I have a treadmill at home.  When I came across this, the fabric felt amazing--a nice weight and a pretty pattern that looks like flowers all over it!  Then I noticed the Lululemon logo on the back and well...I had to buy it!  
Lululemon Cool Racerback in Moody Mirage:  Originally $42, paid $4.

'Tis the season for cheesy Christmas movies!  And this one is no exception.  This is an episode of the New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh cartoon series from the 90s where everybody writes a letter for Santa.  Piglet then realizes that Pooh never asked for anything, so they find the letter and start asking for a lot of presents for Pooh and everybody else.  When Pooh and Piglet try to send the letter off again, it ends up back at Pooh's house so Pooh takes it upon himself to take it to the North Pole. 
Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too on VHS:  Originally $12.99, paid 50 cents!

So another year is coming to a close!  Any more races for anybody?  Any great thrifting finds?  I've found a few good ones that will make for good gifts, so I can't show those off just yet but they'll make an appearance in next month's Thrifty Thursday post!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 B.A.A. Half Marathon Race Recap

Way back in January I signed up for the B.A.A. Distance Medley which consists of the B.A.A. 5k during marathon weekend, B.A.A. 10k the last Sunday in June, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon over Columbus Day Weekend.  I definitely had mixed feelings about this race mostly because I was (and am) still injured with IT Band Syndrome.  But my thought was that I would do this race and treat it like a supposed training run since the next to last training run for the Marine Corps Marathon called for 12 miles.  (What's one more mile when you're training for a marathon?)

The whole week before race day the weather forecast went between rain and partly cloudy.  The morning of the weather was still looking a little iffy, so I went ahead and threw my phone into a snack sized ziploc bag (seriously, I have them stashed everywhere because they fit the iPhone 8 perfectly) while doing my usual pre-race prep.  I headed out to the T from our AirBnB armed with my smooth caffeinator picky bar and cherry limeade nuun (in a larger than usual water bottle since it's all we could find at Trader Joe's) and hopped onto the first train that came through the station.

After arriving at the station where the race had shuttles ready and waiting, I noticed another girl wearing a Oiselle singlet and ran up to say hi.  It was another girl that I had messaged back and forth with on Instagram because it turned out we had a mutual friend and were from the same area!  (Yay!  A semi familiar face!)

Once we arrived to the starting area, I was really impressed with the setup.  There were tents all over the place with vendors, including Clif Bar, which was handing out all kinds of samples of products.  I shoved a bunch of samples into my bag that I used for bag check, and we checked out the B.A.A. merch tent.  I was incredibly disappointed--there were only jackets for the half marathon, and some Boston Qualifier merchandise.  I was hoping for something small like a hat, socks or something, but they didn't have anything like that.  Walking away a little disappointed, we split up for our respective bag checks.  (Since I did the Distance Medley, I had the extra perk of a separate tent with pre and post race snacks, coffee, water and its own bag check!)  After tossing my bag in a pile in front of the number series including my bib number, I went back to meet up with my friend and we decided to get in line for the portajohns since the lines were getting long.  Once we were next up in line, we wished each other luck and went our separate ways to use the facilities and line up in our respective corrals.  And of course take some pre-race selfies.

And then I started the long(ish) trek to the start line.  I had no idea how close (or far) we were, I just followed the crowd and I knew we were getting close once I saw people start to raise their phones to take pictures of the starting line.  (Short people problems.)

From there on out the race was kind of a blur.  It was one of my slower times, but like I said I decided to treat it like a training run.  The course itself was pretty scenic with rolling hills and went along a golf course for the later half.  The rain that I had been watching for the last few days started at mile 10 for a few minutes, then really started pouring by mile 11.  As if my IT Band wasn't already screaming (and had been since mile 3), the rain made me feel even more ready to be done.

The final mile was through the Franklin Park Zoo, which was awesome because by that point I (and my IT band) were ready to be done.  So during my walk breaks I had a fun time looking at some of the animals.  The race was also pretty competitive and came in among the last 500 runners of about 6,300 finishers.  (And my time wasn't that bad considering my injury--I finished in 2:48:43.)

After crossing the finish line, I received medals for both the half marathon and for finishing the distance medley.  I came across a couple of photographers and got my picture taken with my medals (the one I came across insisted I do a picture where I'm biting the medal.)  And then headed to the food since at that point since I was hungry.  They had b.good there, but by that point they had run out of hamburger buns so I tossed a burger patty into a bowl and put some ketchup and mustard on it, grabbed a bagel, banana, gatorade and a bottle of water and headed towards the Distance Medley tent to get my bag.

Once I had my bag in hand, I started to stretch a little bit while getting bites of my burger and bagel.  At this point it was still pouring and I could see my husband out in the rain (the volunteers wouldn't let him in) so I kept it quick.  I was also SUPER ready to head back to our Air BnB, get a shower, take a nap and then head out to dinner.  Where I ate this.

The most amazing fried pickles and ranch ever at Buttermilk and Bourbon!!  Just the right amount of salty, spice and vinegary goodness to help stave off any potential post-race cramps.  (Science!

Overall, I'm not sure if I would do this race again if I wasn't in it for the Distance Medley swag or coming in from out of town.  It was fun getting the weekend away and having an excuse to do so, but the race was very competitive.  I'm not usually so slow, but it was a little discouraging to come in so close to the end of the race altogether. 

The shirt and the medals were really nice and this time the shirt was a color that I would actually wear!  The design is similar to the other shirts, but this one is a navy blue long sleeved tech shirt instead of short sleeved with the race logo in a lighter blue across your back and shoulders.  One of the pluses though was getting my bib mailed to me in advance so I didn't have to worry about getting to a packet pickup.  All I had to worry about picking up was my shirt on race morning, and they still had plenty available.

Also, there is a stunning lack of B.A.A. merchandise available.  I happened to have time to get to Adidas Runbase store on Boylston, and found a B.A.A. half marathon jacket and maybe one shirt with the B.A.A. logo on it, and just about everything else is from this year's Boston Marathon.  (And not even marked down 6 months post-race!)  As a Distance Medley participant, I also had the option of buying a hoodie with the race series logo on it, but it could only be pre-ordered and you could only see pictures of it prior to picking it up.  On top of that, the hoodies were a final sale so if you didn't like it, you're out of luck!  (For something that would set me back over $100, I want to get my hands on it first.) 

Have you run this race?  What did you think of it? 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thrifty Thursday for November!

Sorry for the Thrifty Thursday hiatus, folks!  Work was crazy so I had next to no downtime while thrift stores were open.  Without further ado, here are my finds for November!!!  (Seriously?  November already?  Where has this year gone??)

 I just signed up for a new gym membership (my old one closed in July and I didn't find anywhere that felt like "home" until I met the trainers for my new gym that is slated to open next month!)  I usually take a few little things with me, but I've been known to go to a yoga class every once in awhile.  This gym bag is perfect since it can hold a change of clothes, a water bottle, towel, and a yoga mat and even came with a little cosmetic bag.  
Nike Victory Tote:  Originally $100, paid $19.

I don't usually buy tights in colors other than black since I sweat like crazy, but I love a fun color and print.  For the price, I am totally fine with relegating them to the treadmill at home if necessary.  
Nike Running Capris:  Originally $60, paid $8. 

Love finding Lulu when I go thrifting.  Even better when it's in my size!  I took a chance and they didn't look terrible on so I snagged them.  
LuluLemon High Times Tights in Full On Luon:  Originally $98, paid $7.

When I was a kid I had a TON of Disney VHS tapes.  I was shocked to come across these completely wrapped up and with the original price tags still on!! And even more surprised when they were 60 cents each!!!! WHHHHHAAAATT???  
The Three Caballeros VHS:  Originally $14.99, paid 60 cents.  
The Return of Jafar VHS:  Originally $13.95, paid 60 cents.

If you follow me over on Instagram, you probably know that I'm a brand ambassador for Balega.  (And that I'm currently fighting IT Band Syndrome for a second time.)  One of Balega's sister companies is TriggerPoint, which specializes in different kinds of products to help athletes work out any tension or injuries and help with recovery.  One of their most popular products is the Grid Foam Roller.  The indentations in the foam are supposed to mimic a massage therapist's hands.  
Triggerpoint Grid Foam Roller:  Originally $39.99, paid $5.

I know it's been a minute, so has anyone had any good thrifting finds?  Any races coming up?  I'll be at the Across the Bay 10k this coming Sunday and can't wait to get medal 4 of 5!!