Editor's note: I met Jeremy, also known as @spartansailor, a few years ago on Twitter during #runchat. Turns out we are both from the same hometown of Flint, Michigan. We have done a half marathon together and 2 Ragnar Relays so far. He's a terrible influence - I'm currently doing a runstreak in part due to his encouragement, and now he has inspired me to finally commit to a 50k. Enjoy!
I was flattered when Emily asked me to write a guest spot… then, I realized that I’ve never written a blog before and have NO IDEA what I’m doing. So, much like everything I do… I’ll just jump right in.
Just a quick bit about me to set the stage… I really enjoy running. I wake up each morning and look forward to when I can put some miles under my shoes and get outside—until I get my run, it dominates my every thought. So far I have managed to make it out the door and run every day since January 2013. That’s right, I’m a streaker :), and a half-fanatic. A few years ago I also started a quest to run a half marathon in each of the 50 states plus Washington D.C.
Since this blog is about Emily’s traveling and running, I’ll write a little about my recent 6 weeks of running and traveling fun!!
Mid to late September, I took an interest in trail running and decided it would be a nice change to give a trail race a shot. Like any reasonable runner looking for a first trail race, I registered for the Patapsco 50K in Maryland. I mean, who wouldn’t jump into trail running by doing a 50K? 31... 13… pretty much the same thing, right?
Come race day, I was there early (as is my normal). I had come to terms with the fact that it was going to be a long day… and I was right. In fact, 31 miles just wasn’t enough to get the full ULTRA experience. So, after around mile 11, I decided to go off and explore a bit on my own and added 3 miles to the day. Ugh… but wait, there’s more. After reaching mile 31/28 (me/race), I just had to go off course AGAIN and add another mile. By the time I reached the finish, I had run 35 miles and accumulated nearly 5000ft elevation gain for my first 50K. The best parts were the river crossings… absolutely amazing! Now I have this badass hand-crafted mug to commemorate the day.
CLEARLY I was smart and allowed myself to recover according to the “rest a day for every mile” theory, right? Absolutely…. So long as you consider a trail half in Texas 6 days later as recovery. Texas “hill country” is essentially flat by the standard established the weekend prior. However, I do NOT like heat and humidity and this race was not easy for me by any stretch. I DID get to run with another good friend, Jen. She, of course, was running on SUPER fresh legs and led the way most of the day… she had only run 31 miles the day before. Yeah… the DAY BEFORE! She’s an animal. Jen was training for the Brazos Bend 100M—which she crushed, btw… she is easily on my hero list.
Now it’s time to rest… right? Exactly. My "rest" included running another trail half the next weekend along the Potomac River in Washington D.C. My goal was to enjoy the day, and I did. The day was a perfect 30 degrees F—MUCH preferred to the previous weekend in the 80s in Texas. Fantastic volunteers and the race did loops which meant there was a lot of interaction with fellow runners essentially the entire race… At the finish, I was surprised to find that I was 7th overall and 2nd in my AG. HA! Trust me that was NOT expected
A couple weeks later I found myself in Orlando, FL, for a work trip. I went down a couple days early to run the OUC Half in Orlando. I had not yet run a half in FL, so this was a great opportunity to pick up a new state. I did not run this race very fast—again, heat and humidity are my nemesis—so instead decided to take it easy like a slow long run and relax.
In the past, I have seen “unofficial” aide stations that offered runners beer and/or shots, but normally just cruise right by—this day was different. I wasn’t feeling my best during this race and decided to accept the gracious offer of a beer along the course. I’m not talking about a little tiny sip either—this was a full-on Red Solo-Cup full of beer. Those who know me know that I don’t really like to stop during races… So, I slammed that beer with visions of my old college days at Michigan State (GO GREEN!!!). Of course, once you start the beer stops you can’t skip the next ones, right?
A new PR was established while running my FL half marathon—most alcoholic drinks consumed WHILE running—3 full beers and a shot of fireball!! Let’s just say… this did NOT make me run any better. But I did finish under 1:45, so… nothing to complain about.
**In case you actually have not kept track… that was 4 races, in 4 different states. Now, onto the 5th and final of this blog debut…
A week after my race in FL, I was in VA for the Holiday Half. In fact, I had only returned from FL the day before the race… Unfortunately I have no pictures from this race, but I really did enjoy it. The course had a nice mixture of easy trails that were covered in snow and paved trails. No streets! That was nice.
To close out 2017, I ran 5 races in 5 states in 42 days…
In the end, 2017 has been a fun year of running and travel. At the end of the year, I ran 8 half marathons in 7 different states, 3 Ragnar Relays in 3 different states, and ran my first Ultra Marathon. I set PRs at 13.1 (an actual time based PR, not just a drinking PR), 5K, 10K and 50K (1st time at any distance is an automatic PR!). Not only did I set those PRs, I broke my 5/10K PRs from 15 years ago when I was in my 20s—take THAT, young Jeremy!
I put 5 pair of shoes to their graves and accumulated just over 2000 wonderful miles. My running streak has exceeded 1800 days and is approaching 5 straight years. I continue to meet the most wonderful people and look forward to what 2018 brings.
Thanks to Emily for the chance to share just a sliver of my story as a guest blogger. Run happy, my friends…
"Disclaimer: I received lifetime access to the Weav Run app 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!"
Music has been used to motivate athletes for a long time. It entertains you, inspires you, and can take your mind off the pain. But have you ever thought that the speed of the beat of the music could make you run faster?
The creators of the Weav Run App have come up with a way to tailor the music to your specific step cadence, without sounding artificial, like they are using helium. They have “re-engineered” the music to sync with your specific tempo.
To get started it just asks you 2 questions –
1) where do you run mostly – treadmill, road, etc. , and
2) where do you carry your phone (in hand, pocket, etc.) .
Then, to really get started, you can either have the app detect your cadence, or you can enter it manually.
I had no clue what mine was, so I let it detect mine. It came in around 166. It just takes a minute or two. If you choose "I know my tempo", then you just turn the dial with your finger like a DJ on a turntable. Then you just hit “start” and go. The songs are very “electronica” in my opinion, but I suppose they have to be in order to customize. There are currently about 25 songs available to US subscribers. I would say that I recognized about 1/3 of the songs, like “cheerleader” and “believer”.
I can see how if you are really trying to follow the beat that it could help you improve your speed. On my second run, I chose “I know my tempo” and I bumped it up a little, in the 170’s. I was into it for a little bit, then my mind started to wander and I just continued with my normal pace.
New songs are coming!
We were lucky enough to be on a conference call with the creators of the app, and they shared that they were finalizing some new 30-35 songs that would be released in the near future. As BibRave Pros, we were able to get a sneak peek. I can’t name any names, but there were some cool songs on there that I enjoyed!
This technology is definitely something to keep your eye on. The app has been out for about a year, and they are still working out kinks and working on new songs with popular artists. Give it a try and see what you think, it could be just the push you need!
Read what other BibRave Pros have to say! Meredith - Lindsey - Brenda - Chris - Vanessa - Fallon
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Sedona Marathon 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!"
If you’re into running through natural jawdropping beauty, the Sedona Marathon Event belongs on your bucket list!
In 2018, I will FINALLY be running the half marathon in Sedona. I have intended to for the last 2 years, but in 2016 I was recovering from a fractured fibula and in 2017 I was recovering from meniscus surgery – in both cases I dropped to the 10k – which is a totally awesome distance in itself! But that half has been calling me for years and taunting me.
Hilly races are not my strong suit, but there really is something magical about being in Sedona that just makes the effort worthwhile. The last few years the weather has been sunny and crisp – not too cold. It’s a really enjoyable run.
This will be the 13th year for the Sedona Marathon. According to their website, “The course will take participants through the scenic Coconino National Forest District, known for its magical iron-clad formations, and onto the streets of one of the most beautiful cities in the Country – a city that has most recently been named by “Good Morning America” as one of the “TOP TEN most beautiful places in America.”
Looking forward to bringing my cheering squad again! Can’t believe it is just over 6 weeks away!
In my next Sedona Marathon Event post, I’ll be sharing race day tips and ideas to extend your trip into a full on “racecation”.
You can choose from the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon or Full Marathon distance. What are you waiting for? Register now with code 18BibRave and save 20%!!!!
"Disclaimer: I received a gift card to puchase Luvo entrees 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 have been a fan of Luvo frozen meals for a while now. I’ve tried many of their breakfast and lunch/dinner steamable entrees and have never been disappointed. I have been impatiently waiting for their new bowls to be offered in my area, and just recently have started seeing them in my local grocery store. I’ve had the opportunity to try several varieties lately, so let me share my thoughts!
But first, I want to mention that I was able to save myself the trouble of going to the store and shopping for them – I was able to order my meals online through Luvo’s new online ordering system!!!! It didn't take long at all, just trying to decide what to choose was the hardest part! I received confirmation shortly thereafter that they were on their way!
You can get get a discount if you order 10 or more. They arrived within a few days, perfectly packaged on my doorstep!
Ok, it’s time to dig in and try them.I love having a freezer full of Luvo frozen meals for quick grab and go options!
GREAT KARMA COCONUT CURRY
This is one of Luvo’s new “Planted” power bowls. These bowls offer at least 2 full servings of veggies, plant protein, plus whole grain rice. They are all vegan and gluten free. I am a huge curry fan, so I was excited to try it. My first impression was that the sauce was AMAZING and I wanted to take a bath in it. Ok seriously – it was super creamy and not overly spicy.This has SO many ingredients that I really like – butternut squash, garbanzo beans, brown rice – yum! Winner for sure.
Nutritional facts – 330 calories, 15 g fat, 10 g protein 45 g carbs
HAWAIIAN UNFRIED RICE
This is another “planted” bowl. I was quite curious about this one. Forbidden rice with cashews and pineapple? Intriguing! I loved the crunch of the nuts and the nuttiness of the rice. I'm not a mushroom fan, but was able to pick around those. I did find the pineapple a bit sweet, but it certainly was tasty. It felt kind of exotic, I’m not gonna lie! Bonus - it was quite filling.
Nutritional info – 360 calories , 14g fat, 10 g protein, 52 g carbs
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER MAC & CHEESE
This was the one I was the most excited for!!! I love cauliflower and love mac and cheese. It was comfort food heaven! The texture is a little gloopy, and It was a little on the greasy side, but I practically licked the plate! It still makes you feel better about eating mac & cheese! It uses brown rice noodles ( I honestly couldn’t tell that by taste), and panko bread crumbs.
Nutritional info – 340 calories, 10 g fat, 11 g protein, 55 g carbs
QUINOA & VEGGIE ENCHILADA VERDE
Another entrée that I was excited to try was the Quinoa & Veggie Enchilada Verde. Mexican food is my favorite, so to have a yummy and healthier grab and go option would be fabulous. This has black beans and corn, plus 2 kinds of quinoa in a green chile verde sauce. It did feel lighter – it comes in at 290 calories but still 10g protein, so that’s a winner in my book.
Nutritional info – 290 calories, 11 g fat, 10 g protein, 46 g carbs
To sum it up, I am a fan of the new bowls! They are a bit higher in carbs than I probably should be eating, but they are quality whole grains you can feel good about. These have been great for carbing up for a race, or just having something quick and healthy during the decadent holiday season. Luvo isn’t available everywhere, but where I live, I had my choice of over a dozen local supermarkets that carry it. You don’t need to go to a specialty or high end supermarket. You can find your closest location here.
But don’t forget that you can make it easier on yourself and order online! Right now you can save 10% with code BIBCHAT on your online order!
"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Hot Chocolate 15k 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!"
This was my 5th hot chocolate race. I ran Hot Chocolate 15k here in Scottsdale the first year they offered it, back in 2012. I was scheduled to run the 15k last year, but had to drop down to the 5k after having knee surgery.I also ran the 15k in Las Vegas in 2016 and 2017.
One cool thing about Hot Chocolate series is that they send you a training plan each week via email! With your entry you also got a logo ¾ zip this year, which is super cool, a chocolate finishers mug, and the 15k folks get a nice medal. More about that later.
The location for the Hot Chocolate race is Salt River Fields, where the Arizona Diamondbacks call home for spring training. It’s a nice area, but a little out of the way in terms of racing for us East Valley folks. Packet pickup was held there too, on Friday and Saturday. No same day pickup was advertised. You could also opt to have your packet mailed to you for an extra fee. I went on Friday afternoon, which was pretty easy – as long as you were carpooling! We breezed through traffic, luckily. Packet pickup took place on the concourse of the ballpark. There were a ton of vendors from other local races, as well as Hot Chocolate merchandise for sale. More vendors than last year.
Pickup was pretty easy, except they make you go to 2 separate ends of the concourse for bib and goodie bag.
They were handing out samples of hot chocolate, I *may* have had two!
On race morning, we drove up there early, knowing would be a fiasco later. We still encountered traffic near the ballpark. There were over 7,000 people participating in these 2 races! It was warmer this year – 55 at the start and 65 at the finish. I was a little overdressed for the 2nd half of the race. It is a wave start, with corrals leaving every 3 minutes. I was in the second corral, and boy was it crowded. I could not move for pretty much the first 1/2 mile.
The 5k was first, with the 15k race starting 45 minutes later. I felt pretty good during the race, with the exception of needing to use the porta pottie, which never happens. About every 2 miles there were sweets available, as well as water and nuun. The sweets were everything I don’t like, which was actually a good thing so I didn’t have to stop. Marshmallows, candy corns and peppermint sticks. Blah. At other hot chocolate races they have had m&ms which would have been much more awesome.
The course is flat as a pancake and has some out and back sections. Overall not much to look at. I did get to run into my fellow BibRave Pro Justin and he was able to entertain me for a mile or so.
Time for the medal and finishers mug! It was a cup of hot chocolate, pretzels, a banana, a marshmallow, 2 chocolate pirouette cookies and some chocolate fondue for dipping. I enjoyed this part, although it was pretty messy. There were some variations in the dippers given to folks, not everyone got the same kind of cookie.
Bottom line, this is a huge local race, with no big competing race in the area the same weekend. Everyone was happy and enjoying their chocolate. A lot of folks did the 5k with their kids. I am going on the record again to request some tables – highboys- anything! It is NO fun to eat messy chocolate on the ground. Also just fyi it is a really, really long walk back to your car from the finish area. Geez!!
On the plus side - within a few hours I had FREE, quality race pictures emailed to me! What?! I wish more races did that.
The base of the medal appears to be the same across all cities this year – but they added an extra hanging piece that is unique to each city. Like Chicago had the Bean for example. Arizona got a gecko/lizard.
I saw so many local running friends here. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone, for a fun experience. The race benefits the Make A Wish Foundation, which is such a great cause. We even had a young girl fighting MS who was a recipient of a “wish” speak at the start of the race. I'm sure I'll do another one in the future. Look for a Hot Chocolate race near you!
"Disclaimer: I received a set of Knuckle Lights colors 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 fell in love with Knuckle Lights last year when I tested the rechargeable knuckle lights. You can read my review here. I have seen the beautiful vibrant colors that they come in now, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try one of these pairs too.
I’m a total wimp, I don’t want to run in the dark. Sometimes, I have to. Like Ragnar for instance. Knuckle lights have saved me on my night runs when my headlamp crapped out on me.
The new line of color knuckle lights is not rechargeable. They operate on a battery. That’s a bummer, but these are still pretty invaluable. These arrived just before Christmas, so it was time to head out for a “Christmas light run”, one of my favorite things to do this time of year. Obviously, it wasn’t pitch black out, but I certainly appreciated the extra light these provided, as well as an opportunity to make sure I am seen more easily to others!
I really, really hate headlamps. The bobbing and bouncing is obnoxious. Plus, they sometimes don’t fit me quite right and slip. Since I have had both ankle and knee issues in the past, I’m super careful about where I step. I need the place LIT UP! To me, there is no comparison of the light you get (both brightness and width of the floodbeam) from a knuckle light compared to a headlamp.
Another cool feature that knuckle lights have is that when you are storing them not in use, they have magnetized sides so that you can store them together as a pair and don’t have to worry about losing them.
When I tried them out for the first time, they seemed just as bright as my rechargeable knuckle lights, even though they are half the lumens. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference at first glance. 120 is about the same as my headlamp. The fit is comfortable, it is an adjustable strap. The “colors” line comes in a vibrant pink, blue and black.
Summary of Features:
· 120 TOTAL LUMENS — The extra bright lights emit a wide flood beam, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce, even with your arms moving.
· 2 LIGHTS PER SET — The units connect together magnetically for storage
· ADJUSTABLE . The silicone straps easily adjust to fit any size hand, even over gloves.
· LIGHTWEIGHT They weigh less than 3 ounces each!
· 3 POWER SETTINGS — High, Low and Blinking.
· BATTERIES INCLUDED — Each unit operates on 1 X AA battery
· WATERPROOF — The units are fully waterproof, and will operate in below freezing temperatures down to -20 Celsius
Ok, here is the honest truth. These color knuckle lights are great at $39.99 and I absolutely recommend them. However, if you have the extra $20, I think the Rechargeable Knuckle Lights offer a better value $59.99 since you never need to worry about batteries and they do have twice the lumens. Either way, you can save 15% on your order with code “BIBRAVEPRO”! I think these are well worth the money if you do a lot of running in the dark. I know I feel safer with them.
More perks – they offer a 5 year warranty, a 90 day money back guarantee, and free shipping! You can learn more and shop here. They are the perfect gift for runners in your life. Safety first!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!