Medal Monday – Palm Beaches Marathon & Half – December 3, 2017

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Palm Beaches Marathon & Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I signed up a year ago after it was announced that the 2016 race would not be held but that they were under new management and offering a low race price and free in training shirt for signing up for this new Palm Beaches marathon & half. At that time I booked a host hotel and planned on spending the Saturday in the Palm Beaches before the race. A week ago I traveled to the Space Coast Half marathon and decided against staying overnight at another hotel. No other reason really than just getting to sleep in my own bed the night before a half marathon. I knew going into this that I would be forced to drive up the day before to pick up my packet. I guess that is one way to get the surrounding county residents to stay in the palm beaches for the weekend but it was just not really possible this year. Maybe next year if I do the race again.

Anyways onward to the packet pick up stuff, it was held in a small building in a big mall like complex known as City Place in the downtown WPB area. Parking in a nearby parking garage was a breeze and parking was free for the first 60 minutes which is another plus that I wish most races would have. I didn’t plan on spending more than maybe 30-45 minutes to pick up the race packet so I could get home and get some other Saturday morning errands done. Found some signs pointing to where packet pickup was and followed some runners (their shoe choices are usually a dead giveaway!). Also had my toddler in tow so we werent quite as fast as normal but still did not take long to get my race bib and race shirt. Probably about 5-8 minutes, no line to pick up my bib and then went into this rotunda area where we picked up gear check bag and then the race shirt in another area. The full marathoners had an option of short sleeve or long sleeve shirt, which I thought was pretty cool. Not that this race ever gets chilly enough to require a long sleeve shirt afterwards but still nice for training purposes in the winter months. Half marathoners get an orange shirt and the full marathoners got a royal blue shirt. In the past some of the shirts I have gotten for this race are nice and some kind of boring, this one leans towards maybe not so interesting. So we walked around a bit and looked at some of the booths but this expo was tiny compared to the ones I am used to from Miami Marathon and even Space Coast Marathon had a larger expo with more to see. Maybe since it’s the first year for this crew they are just getting started and didn’t have as much experience in race expo stuff. They had a good variety of race branded gear from what I saw but I rarely purchase race shirts at expos. During the race though I saw a lot of those shirts being worn so must’ve been pretty good quality for running in. Right before I left I asked one of the official pacers to take my pic with my toddler in front of the official backdrop, he saw my Volee shirt and said “Oh Oiselle girls, head up wings out!” so he was definitely familiar with Oiselle!

Now for race morning, I woke up super early at 2:45am in order to be ready to leave my house by 3:30am for the drive up to West Palm. I took the Florida Turnpike and was able to get a prime parking spot very close to the starting line by 5:15 am, which is perfect because I love being at races at least an hour early. It took me 3 minutes to walk over to the port a potty area, I brought some Starbucks napkins with me anticipating no toilet paper but I guess I was early enough to get to be the first user of the port a potty! Hooray, it was almost like breaking the tape in a race, being able to unwrap the toilet paper for the first time in a port a potty. I have never done that before! And every runner knows that its hell to have to use a port a potty after 50 other people have used it, ICK! Just my luck as soon as I left the port a potty area I walked by a regular running water bathroom, FACEPALM! Yeah so I kept that bathroom in mind later on when the race was getting close to start time to get in a last minute pee, of course at that time the toilet paper was in low supply and the line was long but still less stinky and dark than those port a potties. I met up with an Oiselle Volee teammate, Amy right before and we walked over to the start/finish line. In the past for this race the starting line was a bit farther down the street but this time it was the same as the finish line so that was something different but convenient for me.

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Start time was delayed till around 6:20ish instead of the original start time of 6am, it was blamed on the full moon/king tide possibly having some of the course under water too early on. I am all for a slightly delayed start if it means that my shoes will not be soaked 2 miles into the race, no one likes running in soggy shoes. I stuck with the 4:00 marathon pacer for most the race but then fell back a bit around the halfway point. Something else new about this race was the course was different than than the past 3x I had done the race. This year we cross over two bridges, although they are not steep bridges they are still a bit of an incline. I never hardly train on bridges/hill so it was a bit of a small challenge for me, plus my hamstrings are still not healed up from Space Coast last weekend. Between mile 2-5 my right foot had gone numb, I just kept running but was a bit concerned about it since it is super uncomfortable to run with a numb/sleeping foot! Someone in the pace group I was running with decided that it would be a good idea to wear jingle bells around her waist, super annoying! Please do not do this unless its a short 5k as it is very annoying to all that are running with you, right up there with change or keys rattling in your pockets the whole time. I decided that it was getting to me and with the numb foot I needed to hang back a little bit to not hear those damn bells in my head. Around that point I saw my other Oiselle teammate & best cowbell/cheering squad of one, Tricia with her Oiselle cowbells cheering in the median, gave me a bit of a boost to get through the 2nd half of the race. The second part of the race was an out and back course that turned around by a FPL energy center and through a park beside the water. I was able to cheer on the iRun ladies, Ana & Michelle who came in 1st and 2nd overall female in the half and able to cheer on Amy who was going for marathon #8. Spoiler alert: she ended up 2nd in AG for the marathon when she just wanted to take this marathon easy! With about 2 miles to go people started talking about a fire, suddenly I turned my head and down a side street I could see a giant black cloud of smoke coming from the area. A few started running towards it but the majority did not, guess those that ran towards it were first responders doing the race. At this point in the race I was grabbing water cups from all the water stops and just ready to be done. Luckily there were plenty of hydration stops on the course and some even had gels for those who needed them. Something a bit heartbreaking about this course is that at mile 12.50 you run passed the finish line, so you see people finishing and think where the heck is the turn around point for me!?! I imagine it’s even more heartbreaking for those doing the full since it’s right there and you have to keep going, haha. Luckily it is not that way at Miami Marathon, at least you cannot see the finish line when you are breaking away to do the full.  Again I got to pass Tricia and her crazy cowbelling before I got to the finish line to collect my new shiny medal. Not my under 2 goal that I have been going by lately but only a little more than 2. Official time – 2:04:42

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At the finish line I grabbed a cold (YAY!) bottle of water and my medal. They were also giving out mini towels so I grabbed one to wipe away a little bit (no, really A LOT) of sweat before heading to the food tent. It was a small tent but the line moved quickly for the most part and they had a pretty good selection of food, the typical bananas and bagels but also pancakes/waffles/sausage options also. Oh and how can I forget, mimosas!! I definitely drank one of those down, probably a bit too fast but the orange juice actually tasted great after that long hot run and I’m sure the champagne helped a bit too! I grabbed a granola bar and went to congratulate the top 2 ladies on their awesome half marathon finish. Then I hit the bathroom for one last pee stop before heading back on the long  trek home. Personally I think I should’ve stayed overnight in Palm Beach for a little less driving and a lot more relaxing. Maybe next year?

 

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Adidas UltraBoostX Running shoe Review

Disclaimer: I received Adidas UltraBoostX 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!

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When I first started running in 2012 I actually started running in Adidas shoes. They were cheap Adidas ClimaCool Oscillation running shoes and Adidas trail running shoes that I found on a website for a good deal. I didn’t really know the reasoning for paying more for a better running shoes. I used to think that getting shin splints were because of increasing mileage and maybe at the time it was partially the reason. Later I found another brand of running shoes and paid more for better quality. I hadn’t gone back to trying out Adidas running shoes though and I had always wanted to try out another pair. I have often seen some super speedy local runners wearing Adidas Boosts and was curious to see how they would work for me, or not. When the opportunity arose I jumped at the chance to try out these new Adidas.

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I got them in the mail a day before I arrived home from my vacation in Aruba so I was excited to arrive home to a large Adidas box! First thoughts were: Wow, these shoes are very lightweight and cushy. I had never tried any of the knitted style running shoes and they really do fit like a sock. I always wore a pair of socks with them when running but right out of the box I tried them on without socks. Just walking around the house at first I could feel the squishy Boost base. Also the heel has a cup that keeps your foot stable while running/working out. I thought it would bother me since the rest of the shoe is very flexible but I did not even notice it while using them.

First run: 4 miles – First 2 miles felt like running on clouds, after a mile I felt a bit of shin discomfort. I figured it was because I hadn’t really been running on the road for a week since I was on vacation and most of my runs were on dirt roads. That week I was in taper mode for my first ultra, a 50k race.

Next run: 3.5 miles – Post 50k dilemma I was less inspired to run much that week but still managed some miles in the new UltraBoostX. Due to the extreme heat (record breaking actually) my run became more of a run/walk so I wouldn’t pass out from a heat stroke. Again I felt some shin issues. It was then that I researched more about these shoes and discovered the heel/toe drop is the conventional 10 millimeters and I have been running in minimalist low drop (3-4) shoes for the past 4 years now. So going to a higher drop shoe puts a lot of pressure on my shins and these shoes only succeed in giving me shin issues. I can use these shoes for fast short runs on treadmills or tracks where the ground is softer but pavement and longer distances have proven to cause shin splints in me at least. I think that for someone that is used to higher drop shoes, these would feel like running on clouds with that Boost base but for me they just don’t seem to work. They seem to work for short fast mileage though so maybe for a fast track run. This is after running in these shoes after around 50 miles and 3 weeks of use.

For Cross training: I tried them out with a popular workout app that I use pretty often from another shoe brand. The results were that they were very comfy for jumping jacks and jumping exercises in general. I felt the cushy Boost especially well and I did not have any shin split issues.

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My verdict is : These shoes are very attractive and work well for short runs/ Hiit style workouts. They didn’t work for me for significant distance runs but for short sprints they perform very well. If you have ever wanted a shoe that cocoons your foot and hugs your arch, these are the shoes for you.

 

 

Weston Rotary Club Half Marathon – December 11, 2016

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The whole reason I signed up for this race is because the West Palm Beach half marathon was cancelled this year and I really wanted to do a half marathon in December. I went into this half marathon with only one goal: under 2 hours. The weather was looking to be rainy all that weekend and it had started the Friday before. Even at packet pickup which was held in the same park beside where the race started it was drizzly. Running races in the rain is not something that makes me happy, chaffing usually happens and sometimes I even get sick afterwards. Packet pickup was a breeze, I brought Phoebe along with me and we ended up getting a vanilla bean frapp at a nearby Starbucks after. It was one of the fastest packet pickups that I had ever been to, literally I got out of my car and collected my bib in less than 2 minutes! Anyhow I spent the rest of the day trying to rest my legs but failing miserably as I chose to go by Target on the way home and get some Christmas shopping.

Race morning I woke up very early because the race was a bit farther from my house than usual, about a 45 minute drive to Weston. I got there an hour early and was able to use the port-a-potties before the race started. And these were were some very nice port-a-potties, that is one sentence I never thought I would write. LOL. PortaJane was the name of the company and all the potties were pink! They all had a small light, which is much needed when navigating those things, a mirror (haha) and a sink with running water by pushing down a foot pedal. And the toilet was flushable too, think a toilet in a motor home, it was just like that! As you can see I was pretty impressed with the bathroom options at this race, which is rare. Anyways back to the race stuff, Everyone lined up pretty well at this race which is a pet peeve of mine when a bunch of little kids or run/walkers line up in the front and I have to dodge and jump over them at the start.

I heard some complains about the course afterwards and although it wasn’t scenic like some of the other races in the past, it was easy and clearly marked. It was an out and back course in the shape of an L and as far as I heard no one got lost. Most of the time I enjoy out and back courses because I can see faster or slower friends somewhere along the course and be able to cheer them on but sometimes it does make me feel a little dizzy if I focus too much on finding people in the crowd.

It was overcast and drizzly for the whole race. No big downpours but just drizzly light rain the entire 13.1 miles, my feet were soaked by the end but I didn’t really notice it at the beginning. Thanks to feetures socks I didn’t acquire any blisters during the race. After I crossed the finish line and collected my medal I walked over to the covered patio of the high school where they were serving food. I now regret not trying the vegetarian breakfast wrap but I generally don’t trust things being handed out by high schoolers. I got a muffin and a banana and headed to the car to change out of my soggy shoes and replace my soaked singlet with a tee shirt for the drive home. I would definitely sign up for this race again, it had a smooth packet pickup, good bathroom facilities and a very easy course.

Later that afternoon I had to refuel and figured the best way would be to go to Jaxson’s Ice Cream parlour with Phoebe and some friends for a gigantic sundae! It was a good ending to my Sunday.

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Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips- A product review

I have been on the search for a product to make my Bob running stroller more visible at night. I take it to run clubs pretty often and now that the time has changed it gets dark pretty much before run club even starts. I always try to wear bright colors on my evening runs and especially so when I bring the little one along but I still don’t feel too safe. I have looked into wheel lights (not sure if they fit my stroller wheels) and installing flashlights to illuminate our path but haven’t came up with anything solid.

That is where Brilliant Reflective steps in, I received a set of the stick on reflective strips as well as the iron on reflective strips. Immediately I knew that I would be applying the stick on ones to my running stroller to help us be more visible on night and early morning runs. Not sure when I will be using the iron on ones as I do not know exactly what I want to iron them permanently on but I’m sure I will figure something out soon. Most likely I will iron them onto  some winter gear, but since it’s not really feeling like winter here yet, I’ll have to wait.

The brilliant reflective strips are very sturdy and easy to apply, I started with applying them around the stroller base and was done fairly quick and used all but one strip. The stick on strips come in 4 colors (black, red, blue, and purple) I got the black ones, which works well with the stroller because you don’t even notice they are added on in the daytime. The iron on strips come in the same colors as the stick on ones. I took a picture before applying the strips and one picture after and if you are not looking very closely, you cannot even tell a difference. The difference is when a flash of light hits them and then it is very noticeable where the stickers were applied.

I took the stroller out on an evening run, I do that fairly often when I cannot find someone to watch Phoebe in order to get my daily run in. We started running when the sun was just starting to set and before the final half a mile was done of our 3 miler it was already getting pretty dark. I’m so not a fan of this early sun setting season, I feel like my running gets a bit more dangerous to do and I usually shorten my weekday runs. My boyfriend was so kind to take these pictures while I ran back and forth along the road to get the best shot of how these reflective tapes work. Took some time to get the right shots as the flash is not the fastest on the iPhone 6s but I think it shows how the tape is visible in the darkness with a light shined on it. We even encountered a few cars while taking the photos and one of the pictures shows just how the tape lights up when the car is starting to pass by us. This is a great product and I will be definitely showing this post to all my mommy stroller runner friends, they could really benefit from this product as I have so far. I cannot wait to try it out again at run clubs this season. I plan on getting another pack of these stick on ones and putting them on my clothes as well to try it out, but I felt safer running with this on the stroller for sure.

For more info and to order Brilliant Reflective strips.

Use code “BIBRAVE25” for 25% off the full order (one time use per customer). The code will expire on Tuesday at 11:59pm.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

3rd Annual Holiday Family Fun Day 5k presented by Mitchell & West LLC – December 3, 2016

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I knew I wanted to do some sort of holiday race this year but not per say with wearing an itchy Santa suit so I decided on this race. Going into this race I knew that I was never going to place as it always brings in all the speedsters in the area (I have seen pics from previous years). Also there is a mile option as well. I’m kinda thinking about signing up for that option as well next year. Awesomely enough the winner for both races was the same, Baptist Health South Florida Kendall Run Club pacer, Ethan Clary.

Anyways back to the race morning, I got ready and was on site an hour before the race, I wanted to make sure that I could hit up the Publix bathroom before the race started. I picked up my race packet, which was a super speedy process and headed back to the car to change Phoebe’s diaper. Of course when you choose something for a toddler to wear you must always keep an extra outfit on hand for any unforeseen issues. Just my luck Phoebe’s diaper leaked right before we got out of the car so I had to do a whole clothing change in the car before setting up the stroller.

The weather was pretty nice on race morning too, not too warm and slightly breezy, which was a bit of a problem on the final jaunt to the finish line. No one realizes just how difficult races with a stroller can be in windy conditions, I felt like I was going nowhere pushing 50 lbs of stroller/toddler. The course was different from the typical Coral Gables course around the Granada golf course and instead ran us through very shaded areas (awesome!) and in front of the Biltmore Hotel. For most of the race I followed a speedy girl whom I knew was finishing her long run at the 5k, figuring if I could keep up with her I could do pretty well. Well I did keep up with her pretty well and ended up with a new stroller PR! Official time: 23:58, 7:43 pace, almost an overall stroller less 5k PR, amazing! I stuck around to cheer on my friends still running the 5k and then for the mile race. Great event and I will definitely be back again next year, most likely doing both races, the 5k and then the mile race 🙂

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The start of the mile race. Speedsters are off!

The next day I had my first 20 miler of marathon training and by Monday morning I was feeling that speedy 5k + the 20 miler.

Turkey Day Miami – November 24, 2016

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Running this race on Thanksgiving Day morning has become a tradition for me, been running this race since 2012, the first year I started running. The first year I only ran the 5k and since then I have ran the 10k. Phoebe has already done this race twice now. Last year it was horribly rainy and although it started out a little drizzly it cleared up before the race began. I was crossing my fingers that I would not have to run the stroller through massive puddles again. I got to the race site early and met up with some of the other ladies in Every Mother Counts South Florida team. Parking is always a bit of a problem for this race but if you get to the site an hour early its a breeze, everyone else is stressing out and you are parked and can relax a bit.

 

I had the rain guard over the stroller for most of the run since the weather was sprinkly most of the way. But towards the end, in the last mile I believe I was able to lift the weather guard so Phoebe could get some fresh air since it was not raining anymore. A few years ago this race was very chilly, in the 50s but this year it was unseasonably warm. I like the out and back way of this course so you can cheer on and get cheered on by friends passing by. I finished at a respectable 54:36, which 6 minutes faster than last year’s time. There was a bit of clogging in the finisher chute, due to the race backdrop with photographers too close by. I can always expect some sort of line there but this year it was insanely long and I ended up slightly bumping someone as I tried to get through the crowd to get out into the open again. This guy ended up screaming at me for bumping into him and saying I need to pay more attention and not run over people. Very, very rude participant all because of the overcrowding in the area. Phoebe remained sleeping through it all and was finally able to escape the rude guy and the crowd. I met up with Derrick and some of our friends from the 1k run club and then we walked over to the Every Mother Counts tent to see everyone there. After some time there we headed to the food tents and I stocked up on the Picky Bars?! Again, at another local event! Never have I been so happy with the food options at a Lifetime Fitness event. Overall, another great Turkey Day race with my little running partner.

 

Michelob Ultra Fort Lauderdale 13.1 – November 13, 2016

Third time doing this race and the course is a little different than last time I did this race, back in 2014. Less twisty turns this year and more A1A.

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The morning started with a wake up alarm at 3:30am in order to have enough time to get to the race by 5:30am. Once we arrived in the parking lot closest to the starting line I quickly headed to my favorite place to pee before the race, McDonalds across the street. I was not the only one who had this idea this year, apparently people are realizing that it’s better to pee here than in a portapotty! After that I headed quickly to the starting line since the line for the bathroom had taken up a lot of time. There I saw a couple of friends and we took some pics before the race started.

After the gun had went off I stayed ahead of the 2:00 pacer, I was trying to keep the 1:50 in my view but soon after I lost him in the crowd. Going through the small tunnel is always a fun part of the race since everyone wastes their energy early in the race by screaming and cheering once in there since it echoes. The neighborhood parts were nice and quiet with shade from the large trees which is always a plus in SoFla races. The major flaw that I saw in the race was something that was uncontrollable, mother nature. Apparently it had rained a lot in the past couple of days and there was a lot of standing water in the street, covering the whole road in most places. Treading through water at the 5 mile mark was not a good feeling, I was scared of the possibility of blisters and the squishy sound of wet sneakers around me was oddly gross to me. Anyways I seemed to do pretty well in this race, in fact much better than I expected. At this point in my running I just kind of want to finish a half marathon by the 2 hour mark, funny how only 2 years ago that was my ultimate goal. So much has changed since then, I’m beginning to think that whole “faster after baby” isn’t really a myth after all.

Finishing time was 1:54:37! Somehow I stayed ahead of the 1:55 pacer without even realizing it. Saw a couple of my 1k run club friends before the finish line which helped boost me to the line. After I crossed, I collected my medal, got a pic with Derrick, who finished just a minute before me and went to find the beer. Just kidding, well kind of, I first dropped a Nuun tab into my finish line water and headed to the food tent. Got a banana and a few Picky Bars. I was super stoked to find they were giving out Picky Bars at this race, they are $2 something and only really sold in Trader Joe’s so I made sure to get some for the road. Love those bars, but that’s another post all together. After I had an Ah, Fudge Nuts! Picky Bar I went to the Michelob tent to get my free beer. In the past I have been able to get more than one but they have gotten a bit more strict to only allowing one per beer ticket on the bottom of our bibs, kinda lame. They gave out a nice drawstring bag with white sunglasses and a Michelob Ultra visor, pretty good swag. Anywho I got my beer and had a couple of sips before I just gave up on trying to drink it after the race, I was extremely tired from waking up so early and ready to go. So we looked at the sand sculpture and headed to the buses to take us back to the starting line. These were not the nice a/c buses but school buses, luckily it did not take too long to get back to the car, I did hear a story that one of the bus drivers got lost and took a detour through Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood airport, haha. I had not heard until I had already left the race that there had been a runner hit while on the course, later we found out he died. I do not blame the race directors or volunteers for this as the race was blocked off and nicely directed by the cones but the inconsiderate driver who hit the runner. Unfortunately the police did not charge the driver with any offenses, hopefully this does not happen at any future events. #MilesForArthur

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