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Race Day Goals

I never thought I would write about this, because the picture is not pretty. However, in all reality I think it is a moment in time that defined me. More than the pretty moments, the fun moments, and the accomplishments even – I believe this is important.

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My 3rd half marathon in 2017 the worst race I have ever run to date. Like I said there are no pretty pictures, and I won’t say the actual race was a defining moment. What was a game changer was the learning that came later. After the worst 13 miler of my life I decided to kick my own butt and work toward the next thing.

What happened? Around mile 6 I felt like something split in my right foot. I had a sharp pain right down the middle from the heel to the ball of my foot. I kept running, but around mile 10 I was just drained – tired of trying to run on it and it was getting really sore. I ran/ walked the rest of the way in.

Embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed in myself I had all my excuses ready. Regardless of the situation I had FINISHED. I told myself I was going to finish and I did. No matter what it took to cross the finish line I made it happen.

That day I learned that it is important to set an A goal, a B goal and a C goal.

A Goal – stretch goal, given feeling really good what would you love to accomplish? This is what you train for and how you structure your training cycle.

B Goal – realistic goal, what would make you feel positive walking away from the event? If your A goal were to fall short what would you like to achieve?

C Goal – feel good goal, given unfortunate circumstances of some kind what would be an accomplishment?

In reality, things are not always going to go the way you want. Being mentally prepared will help you to walk away feeling great. I say this all the time but will say it again because I think it is important – so much of running is mental. The only guarantee in running is that at some point it is going to suck. Can you push yourself past that point? How are you going to motivate yourself when things get tough?

What I learned from this race was just that. Preparation, both mentally and physically will make you successful.

How do you break through mental barriers?

Feetures Athletic Socks

Feetures Running Socks

Retail: $15.99

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https://www.feetures.com/

I have written about running socks before briefly- but in case you haven’t heard I didn’t use good running socks for running until I learned the hard way and got some nasty blisters. Gross, I know.

Recently I asked 10 experienced runners if they ran with athletic socks and it was a resounding – YES. So, why? what is the big deal?

  1. Running socks use technical material that will wick sweat from your skin – you do not want cotton in your socks which is what most everyday socks are made from. Cotton will hold on to moisture and lead to blistering
  2. Many Running socks are seamless to prevent additional rubbing
  3. Often times there will be additional padding if you want to lessen the impact
  4. Arch support
  5. Left/ Right specific socks to create the perfect fit

Feetures claim to be America’s #1 Running Sock. Do I think they hold up? Well, I have tried other brands but keep coming back so I would say yup they’re my favorite.

Why? First, they provide what I consider the basic needs of running socks.

Capture

 

Also how about that lifetime guarantee? 🙂

They are really comfortable. There are 3 levels of cushioning available ultra light, light, and max cushion. I use the ultra light and the light depending on how long my run is going to be. For anything below 10 miles I find myself going to the ultra light and anything above 10 miles I reach for the light.

Max cushion is great if you want, shocker, more cushioning but I find that they make my feet just a little too hot. That is not something for me that is specific to this brand – I don’t like thick socks in general.

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To me this breathe ability is one thing that sets Feetures apart and is why I keep coming back. I mentioned above that my feet get hot. Side note this drives my husband nuts! I am one of those sometimes I sleep with one sock on and one sock off kind of people. It is a real struggle sometimes to have the right foot temperature for me…. It leads to a seriously irrational irritability. Feetures do a great job and keeping my feet comfortable.

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This is a feature I didn’t know existed and I didn’t know I needed. Have you ever stopped mid run to fix your sock because you can feel your shoe rubbing into the heel of your foot? Hello, yes. Annoying! Prepare to never adjust your socks again. Due to the y construction I have noticed a little bit of separation happening at the intersection of the Y  and where the Y meets the arch way (see photos below). This happened to a couple pairs after about a year of use. It doesn’t bother me because it is so small and does not impact performance so far, but is a call out.

Stinky feet? While yes, they’re not made of cotton and do a better job at keeping the smell out, I wouldn’t say this is the answer. These are socks not miracle workers. You’re still going to have to stuff some newspaper in there or use sneaker balls on occasion if you’re a stinky foot runner. To be realistic – that isn’t always your socks fault. You have sweating feet in shoes while working out- common sense.

I give Feetures 5 stars.

The images used above in this review are from http://www.feetures.com to read more about their socks and shop visit their website! Below are some of my personal images of the ultra light and light socks.

 

Do you have a favorite pair of running socks?

 

 

 

Food, Running, & Goals

I love food. Through out my life I have gone back and forth between what I would consider a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship with food. Running helped me to find peace, consistency, and strength where I had always felt like I was on a roller coaster.

What even is a healthy food relationship ? How do we define that? While I can’t tell you what that means for you… I can only share my experiences with you.

I enjoy working out, most of my life I have. I like the adrenaline rush and I really like the results. There have been times in my life that I now believe I liked the results a little too much. This is where the unhealthy relationship begins. I was looking at the scale constantly wondering how I could drop a few more pounds. I was scared to miss a work out. I would think I had to go work off the bad meal I just ate. I often missed time with friends and family because I had a number I wanted to weigh. Does that even make sense? A NUMBER I wanted to weigh? Why? Who even cares?

After starting to run for a couple months – just easy training runs. I ran my first 5k in 2013, the Walk Ahead 5k, and placed in the top 25 females, I was happy. It wasn’t a very big race and it wasn’t very well organized (It was more for charity than the race). I still felt pretty dang good about earning this medal. I kept up with my running and later decided to run my first half marathon in 2014, the Queen Bee Half. After completing the half in October 2014, I still loved running. Then ran the 2nd annual Walk Ahead 5k about a month later, again placing in the top 25 females. The race still wasn’t very well organized chip timing was off so I honestly am not even sure of my official time but that isn’t the point. I was achieving something.

 

 

I kept setting new goals. I wanted to PR. I was looking for something other than a number on the scale. While running I was working on cross training and yoga – things to make me stronger. I am a person who thrives on setting and achieving personal expectations. When I was working out I picked an expectation – weight – which was no good for me mentally. When I began running I set goals for time and improved form, which drove me with out the magnifying glass on the scale.

Personally, I felt there was a huge difference in the health of my approach.

In no way is there anything wrong with whatever way of exercise you choose. Lifting, yoga, cross fit, running, swimming, or any work out method are all great. I strongly believe whatever you love to do, is healthy, and you can commit to is what is right for you. For me, I am a goal setter and setting positive realistic goals in running has helped to keep me on track both physically and mentally. Health is so important, notice I said health not weight loss. If you want to achieve a certain body type – more power to you. Do I think there is anything wrong with that? No, as long as you are doing it in a healthy way and for the right reasons. Right reasons meaning YOU want to. I also am a believer that being healthy doesn’t mean eating “healthy” 100% of the time! You know, for my mental health. I am team burgers and pasta all day.

I have recently fell in love with two cookbooks that provide healthy well balanced recipes. Check them out!

http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com – Provides delicious healthier desserts that are not over complicated. I mean if I can make it I am sure you can… I am no Betty Crocker that is for sure. A personal favorite is the black bean brownies. Don’t knock it until you’ve rocked it! They are unlike any black bean brownies that you have ever had, and no they don’t taste like beans.

http://www.runfasteatslow.com – provides easy to make quick recipes for athletes (or anyone who wants to eat something healthy and is han-gry). My favorite is the Turkey Trot Meatballs. I mean… parmasean and garlic in meatballs, yum. The recipes are generally fairly easy and have alternative ingredients listed if you want to take the recipe gluten or dairy free.

All that being said here are 3 goals I have for the next year.

  1. Run at least 5 10K / 5k races

I don’t leverage the shorter distances as much as I should. There are huge benefits to racing the 3-6 mile races. This will give me the ability to race more often and see where my fitness is. Also, it will allow me to test some of my new strategies before a bigger race.

2. Strength train more during the running season

In the off season I will typically run my easy runs and work out. During my training cycles I am really bad about finding time for my cross training. In order to meet my goals both are important, running and strength. This is a proven way to decrease race times and reduce the risk for injury.

3. Break 1:40 Half Marathon

This right here is my ultimate goal for 2019. I truly believe the two outlined above will help bridge the gap between 1:51 (current PR) and 1:40.

What are your goals for the upcoming year?! I would love to hear. Let me know in the comments.

26 things I learned from my 1st 26.2

I learned a lot of things during training and running my first marathon. In order to perform on race day you will have to train. This takes a lot of time, energy and effort. Here are 26 things I now know because I took the plunge.

 

 

1. It will change you.

There is something about a marathon that is indescribable.  At first I told myself I want to run at least one. I felt like it was a badge of honor and I wanted that patch. I knew the marathon would be hard and there would be one or two 20 milers that would kick my butt. Through out training I had highs – “Wow! I am awesome”, “look at that pace”, “look how many miles I logged this week!” and lows – “should I even do this?”, “yikes that was painful”. I learned how to use the good runs to fuel the bad ones. I taught myself to dig deep and how to change my thought process. I found out how cool it was to be just me, the music, and the road. During the race around mile 20 I started thinking “what is wrong with me?” “why did I decide to put myself through this?” but then I remembered what an experienced marathoner told me while i was training… “at some point during the marathon you will question everything you know but trust that you are strong. Stay with it and the ecstasy of the finish line is near. Pain is temporary, pride is forever”.   This got me through the last 10k. After I crossed the finish line I felt like a champion. I realized all the people crossing with me were champions. We just did this! It was exhilarating. In the days and weeks to follow I began planning my next goal… wait I thought I said was done running marathons? Yeah, you forget about all that once the pride becomes overwhelming. My mentor was right, Pain was temporary & pride is forever.

2. The running community is awesome – people are nice!

In training I spent a lot of time on the road. Getting in touch with the local running community really helped me through some tough runs. Some how they always seem shorter when there are other people around you going through the same grueling workout. Local running groups are great to reach out to – they’re always happy to have someone new join! Also, finding a friend to run with is great. I reconnected with a high school friend. We both trained for the marathon and now can share in the experience. During the race there was so much support on the course. People coming out to cheer not only for their family but for all the runners on the course. This is SO cool!! The people running are tired. They’re pounding pavement for 26 miles and they could use a good job, a funny sign, a high five, or a cheer. After all every single person running/cheering is AWESOME. Lets celebrate that! Toward the end when I was cramping in my quad (story for another time) I was in visible pain. Multiple runners turned around and encouraged me to run with them saying “we’re almost there, lets go”! I looked to my right; my friend was next to me and these people I didn’t even know were encouraging me. I then realized how cool this was! The running community is so uplifting and supportive.

3. When you think you’re done, find another gear.

You will be tested. I was prepared to be tested. Every single race I have ever ran I was tested in some way. During a marathon the trials are magnified, running becomes SO mental. More than I ever imagined. I was tested the same way I was during the half marathon but adding another 13.1 I had to shift my thinking. Yes, I hit points where I felt done. I just wanted it to be over. I thought to myself this gear is burned out – find another one. Some parts of the course I looked around at the scenery and people cheering. When that wasn’t working anymore I would go inside my head and repeat my mantra. Part of the race, about 3/4 through, I decided to kick it up a notch and pick people off to increase my pace. The last 10k I listened to my friend and the people around me encouraging each other. Feeling done is okay, giving up is not. I trained for this and I was going to finish it – all I had to do was find another gear.

4. Proper running gear is IMPORTANT.

Now here I am talking about running gear. Not mental gears. You know – shoes, socks, belts, headphones. During a half marathon I ran previously I experienced some serious blisters on my feet. Ever since I have been running in Feeture socks – no more blisters. I bought a belt to hold my phone and fuel because having something on my arm for over 4 hours running didn’t sound like fun. Shoes are so important! Yes, read reviews and have an idea of what you want as far as style and price. However, there is no replacement for going to your local running store and checking them out. Typically they will let you run in them; then give you options to compare. Tell them anything that has bothered you. They will watch you run giving you advice and a shoe tailored to your running style. Example, I had started to experience pain in my left shin. I went to my local running store and the specialist saw that I was pronating just slightly but enough to give me pain. I bought the shoes and the insoles she recommended – no more pain.

5. Proper fuel is IMPORTANT.

You will be hungry through training.  On days that you’re running 10 miles you’re burning approximately 1,000 calories just through your work out. Now, I am not saying to go out and eat a tray of brownies. A common mistake is “I ran I can eat anything I want!” wrong. I have made that mistake a couple times. The goal isn’t to gain weight, the goal is to fuel your body with good healthy food, INCLUDING CARBS. Actually, especially carbs. During training make sure that you’re properly fueling. On the week of race day, carb load. With out properly fueling hitting a wall during the race is imminent. Although hitting a mental wall is  going to happen if you’re starving on top of it – OUCH. My husband looked up how I should eat the week of the race and held my feet to the fire like no ones business. I am thankful! I got hungry and wanted to eat everything in sight after (as always waffles from Taste of Belgium) but didn’t feel like I would pass out.

6. Never run with something new on race day

If you don’t know how something feels when you run – do not use it. Test the outfit you will run in on race day. I tried a couple shirts that I thought were so cute but they rubbed my arm and over 4 hours of constant rubbing = chaffing. No bueno.  Try your fuel on a long run, if it hurts your stomach that is not the one. On the course I was tempted to take a GU before the end of the race but I resisted knowing the pain that it could cause.

7. Have new shoes but not new new shoes

I went to purchase new shoes about a month before. For me, I like to have at least 100 miles on my shoes before I race in them. I feel like at this point I have broken my shoes in and I am used to running in them. If they are brand new you risk not having experienced all kinds of runs and there is a little unknown. Make sure to take these with you on your 20 miler if you’re rotating shoes – if they hurt that is a warning sign!  My feet hurt any way, don’t get me wrong, but they didn’t and shouldn’t feel injured.

8. Train for what you’re training for

If you are training for the goal of finishing then running at least 3 times a week easy runs with one long run is okay. However, if you are running to PR or to get a specific time I would recommend following a preset plan that includes hill repeats, tempos, long runs, and easy mileage. I really like Hal Higdon’s plans which can be found here: https://www.halhigdon.com/training/marathon-training/

9. Don’t fluff off the taper.

I tapered for 3 weeks. This means at T-3 Weeks you start backing off. I did my last 12 miler exactly 1 week before the race and felt great. I started to get nervous about losing fitness 4 days before the race and told myself I was going to just do one more 12 miler. NO, TRUST THE PROCESS. My husband reminded me to trust my training. I had practically read every article on the internet and they all said the same thing. I was so nervous but having a fresh body on race day was worth it! I ran a 4 miler 6 days before, a 4 miler 4 days before, and a super duper easy 2 miler the night before just to get out pre-race jitters. This worked for me.

10. Rolling your legs is so important!

Muscles get tight, inevitably. Rolling out my muscles was something I originally didn’t pay attention to. Until I got deep into my training and was waking up with cramps every night in my calves. I went to my local running store and they showed me how to use a massage stick. I bought one and haven’t had issues since.

11. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch.

I have always stretched but more just because I knew I was told I should. I didn’t know how long to stretch for or how to actually do it. Properly stretching will help loosen up your muscles and make your legs more fresh for running and race day. The 10 minutes before a work out will be well worth it. Also, spend 5 – 10 minutes every night and this will make a big difference.

12. Every 10k new thoughts emerge.

1st 10k: I am stuck in the middle of people, there are so many people here. Wow, this crowd is driving me nuts but it is still fun, cool we are all doing this!

2nd 10k: Look at all these people cheering! Running through my city is awesome! The signs are so funny. High fives for the little kids holding out their hands! We are strong!

3rd 10k: I am a little tired… but look my family! second wind.

4th 10k: WHY. WHY DID I DO THIS. This is painful and I am donezo. Find another gear.

Finish: Lets do that again, wow I am a champion. These people are champions. Congratulations champions!! We are strong!!

13. Our bodies are amazing.

Think about it. 26 miles. Over 54,000 steps. 138,336 feet. 4h 30m. 270 minutes. That is running my 15 min work commute almost 4 times! It seems impossible until you do it.

14. Support systems are vital.

During training you will be dedicating a lot of time to running. I have a full time job, 2 kids, a house, and a husband. All these things take hours out of the day. Relationships, cleaning, helping with homework my husband steps up to the plate every time. Sometimes I had to run when I really really really didn’t want to. My kids would ask me if I was running and this would remind me of the example I am setting. You don’t become a champion by sitting on the sidelines!

15. When you see your family/friends you will get a second wind.

My friends mom was at mile 4 cheering and taking photos. What a nice start! My mom was at mile 6. She is a runner and she had been here before, knowing I am following in her foot steps kept me going strong. 1st 10k DONE! Then I saw my dad, husband, and kids after I was over half way through around mile 18. This gave me a very necessary second wind. Seeing them reminded me of all the effort I had put in. They reminded me how much love and support I have behind me.

16. There will rarely be good professional race photos.

Wow, yeah no burn mine.

17. Do take photos!

My best pictures always come from my family. Instead of taking one or 2 they take A BUNCH which helps to catch you in a good stride looking strong with your eyes open. Also, take some photos before the race with people you know at the start line. I like to have some before I am all sweaty and exhausted. Also take advantage of the photo opps at the finish line. After working so hard you should enjoy it!

18. You will be your best friend.

There is one person you need to count on. YOU. Support is important. Running buddies are important. The running community is awesome. However, one person is guaranteed to stick with you the entire race and on every single training run- yourself. Through out training I talked to myself more than I should admit. Sometimes out loud, sometimes not. I learned who I really was. I spent countless hours on the road and I took this time to try and focus on me. How do I become a better person? What are my goals? How can I help people?

19. I will wear my medal for the entire day.

Always. Every marathon from now until infinity I will wear my medal on race day until I go to bed. Going out to eat? Medal still on. Grocery store? Medal still on. Sitting on the couch? Yes, medal still on.

20. Find the positives and highlight those.

There are things I can pick apart of my first 26 miler. This is inevitable. I cramped at mile 20 making the last 10k a grueling finish. Instead of being mad about having to stop every mile from 20 – 25 to rub out the cramp I focused the fact that I FINISHED MY FIRST MARATHON. Things are going to go wrong, but focus on all the awesome things that went right!

21. Bring a change of clothes

My clothes were anything but dry. I didn’t bring a change of clothes, but man did I wish I had. There was an awesome post- race party that I went to. There were celebratory drinks and food, no way was i going to leave! I would have had a better time had I been dry.

22. There is usually a bag check

What is a bag check? I was clueless. Come to find out there are usually buses at the start line that will take your bag to the finish for you. I found out about this AT my first marathon, so I didn’t use it. However I used it for a half that I have run since  and it was very simple.

23. Learn what you learned

Often times we tell ourselves something in the moment, but end up making the same mistake again. No, no, no. Don’t put yourself through that misery. If you learned that you get blisters in your cotton socks (like I did) don’t use them! Yes, running socks can be more pricey but making a small investment will save yourself the headache.

24. Be HONEST.

If something hurts to the point of injury STOP. If something hurts because you are increasing your fitness, keep going! You will be a better runner for it.

25. Running on the treadmill is (gasp!) Sometimes necessary

Sometimes it was icy out during my training for the Flying Pig which is a spring race. My long running routes center around a couple busy roads. When the weather was really intense I didn’t feel comfortable running outside, for safety reasons. Instead of calling it quits I took it inside to the dreadmill and although boring I worked through the mundane work out. Sometimes I would watch a TV show on my phone and the time would pass pretty quickly. Sometimes I would just run reminding myself that during the marathon there were going to be boring times. Either way not every run is going to be enjoyable and I was going to have to just suck it up. Just remember that when using a treadmill you need to increase the incline slightly. This accounts for the treadmill being a the lack of wind resistance and treadmills assist in leg turn over making it a little easier. I usually run at a 1 incline that I consider flat and move it up and down mimicking hills. Also, it is a great way to do hill repeats!

26. A little corny I know but… HAVE FUN!

Enjoy the people cheering and the excitement of race day. Have fun playing with your work outs figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Running may have its ups and downs but what I love most about it is the fun that comes a long with it. Notice the people dressed up in costume as you run by – wait is he in a shark costume? Notice the people on the side lines with signs reminding you not to poop. Listen to the local cheer squad laughing and handing out high fives.

Overall, this is an experience you don’t want to miss!

How my son pushes me to run harder

My family is so supportive of my devotion to running.

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I have 2 stepsons and an awesome hubby that cheer me on through training and race day. My husband often makes dinner, cleans the house, gets the kids ready, and picks up anything that I let fall through the cracks with out comment or question. While training, I am often struggling to get my runs in – squeezing them into a busy life is hard! With the help of my family it works.

My whole family cheers me on parents, in laws, husband, and kids (more on my amazing support system later) but there is one person who follows my training closer than anyone. He understands my running routes like no one else and kicks running butt right along side me: my oldest stepson Brayden.

I ran my 1st 5k race in 2013 and Brayden was eating bagels at the finish line. I ran my 1st half marathon and he was drinking a chocolate milk asking about the race; captivated by the energy. Then I ran The Color Run and he jumped in to run the last mile with me. We ran in together cheering and he then decided that he wanted to run a race himself.

In 7th grade he decided to run track. The desire to be lightening quick was enticing, so he signed up to be a sprinter. It was apparent during the first 100m dash that this wasn’t his forte and he wasn’t sold on the idea of competition. 8 kids lined up on the track. The gun goes off. Brayden is in a solid 7th place. About 50 meters in he turns around and starts cheering for the runner behind him. “You can do it!” “Keep going!” He yells. “Brayden – YOU keep going! RUN!” His Dad and I yell.

His compassion for others is unmatched, I love this about my son. He makes me so proud every day and his kindness is what makes running such a great sport for him – the running community is such a positive and uplifting place.

One practice toward the end of the season the team was running a mile and Brayden was barely breaking a sweat. His coach approached him with the idea of running Cross Country. He thought he would just give it a shot and the rest was history. This kid has endurance like nobody’s business and didn’t even realize it.

The Cross Country season came and watching him run was exhilarating. I would clap and cheer for the kids running, but when Brayden rounded the corner it was a whole new ball game. I would cheer my booty off clapping so hard I once bruised the palm of my hand. I’m extra, I know. He began to gain confidence and competitive spirit. He was GOOD, this fueled him. He experienced the highs and the lows of running – great training runs where you feel like you’re on top of the world and the ones where you question if it is worth it. He experienced PR’s but also the humbling feeling of a hard course. He developed friendships, gained support, and saw his family on the sidelines cheering him on. He ultimately felt like he invested in himself and was seeing the ROI both when it came to athletic and personal development. I could not be more proud.

The year before I had taken a break from signing up for formal races. I was in a rut; not really motivated to get out and race. Even though I still knew I enjoyed running, getting to the place where I was pushing myself to dig deep and enjoy all aspects of the sport was going to take a little time. I had to push past that “I am out of cardio shape” phase. I had to realize I was going to breathe a little heavy until I was back in the swing of things, ugh. The torture was daunting. During the Cross Country season I thought, knowing I am a runner I can’t sit on the sidelines asking my son to do things I am not willing to do myself. At that moment I decided to kick it into gear and start training again. I ran a half marathon that year, 2017, and followed it up with my first marathon 6 months after, May 2018, with a time of 4h 30m (more on my 1st marathon another time). Not my fastest pace, but hey! Longest distance EVER. I was proud.

My family was at the finish line waiting for me and Brayden was beaming with pride just like I had been at all of his races. Through out my training he would ask me how far I was running every time I left the house and understood how much of a commitment it was. He knew how big of an accomplishment this was.

This whole running thing was something that we were doing together.

From this marathon I decided to sign up for the 2018 Queen Bee Half and train for a PR with the goal of having a negative split. I had never done this before. I trained for 4 months while Brayden was practicing and running in XC meets. I was at every one still cheering my butt off like it was his first time walking.

He was asked to run in a meet that was originally not on the calendar and thinking of missing it absolutely broke my heart. I immediately told my husband and son that I was dropping out of the race. My husband told me not to, that I had been to every other meet, and that sometimes things were going to come up. I was almost in tears. He is only a kid for so long, this is something we share, I love seeing the progress and giving him a hug when he crosses the finish line. These were all thoughts racing through my head. He could not convince me to race. There was nothing he could say that would change my mind.

Then Brayden chimed in. “Allyson. You HAVE to race. You have worked so incredibly hard. I will race my hardest because you will be running for me and I will be running for you.” I broke down. Tears in my eyes. I knew that he got it. That was the only thing in the world that could have possibly changed my mind.

I wrote three things on my hand that day to remind myself to focus when things get tough:

  1. PR
  2. Brayden
  3. Right Foot, Left Foot

That day I went on to PR and a negative split! Through out the race I kept thinking about Brayden and how hard he trains every day. I kept thinking about calling him after the race and how we were going to celebrate together- with waffles from Taste of Belgium. That is always my post-race pick!

I dialed his number and couldn’t get through because the cell towers were jammed. I tried again, again, and again. I text him as a last resort. A couple minutes later he called me. He also ran an absolutely incredible race with a PR on an extremely hard course!

I was ecstatic! We push through for each other supporting each others successes and failures. Running is a lifetime sport and I am so incredibly blessed that I get to share it with my son.

AfterShokz

AfterShokz Trekz Air

http://www.aftershokz.com

Retail: $149.95

This is a personal experience, basic, easy to understand review that reflects my first 3 runs using the AfterShokz Trekz Air. Opinions are all my own and may differ from other reviews you read online. If there are any additional questions or features you would like to know about, please leave a comment! 🙂

What comes in the box?

Includes boxed packaging, Trekz air headphones, micro-usb charging cable, ear plugs, and a carrying case.

TL;DR I really like these headphones – they work! You can hear the world around you: cars, animals, and people cheering. Although more of the world is audible, when I talked I was still unknowingly yelling and my husband was shushing me just like with regular ear buds. The only warning I would give is that they are not adjustable. Since they don’t go in your ears they are held on by sitting tight around your head; I did experience some slipping. I would say I have a small head (ehem, small as in I wear child hats, embarrassing.) so I don’t foresee this being an issue for everyone. They didn’t slip to the point of falling off. We are talking centimeters here, but it was enough for me to notice. They slid from the front of my ear to sitting close to the opening. Through out my run it got a little bit uncomfortable and I adjusted it a couple times but this is something I think I will get used to and won’t stop me from using them.

Sooo… what are open ear headphones?

They aim to not drown out the outside world, while still allowing you to listen to music or your in-ear coach while you run or bike.

The AfterShokz website explains how they work:

Transducers guide mini vibrations through the cheekbones to the inner ears, delivering sound without plugging or covering them.

Practical use:

Some people have noted that they can feel the vibrations, I find this to be so minimal I don’t even notice it and it has never bothered me. The sound quality is not the same that you will get from high quality ear buds or over ear head phones, however the quality is very good. I would say don’t expect Bose quality this is more comparable to the headphones that come with your Samsung Galaxy or iPhone.

On the left ear phone there is a multi-function button. This button allows you to answer calls, end calls, voice dial, reject calls, redial numbers, pause songs, play songs, and skip to the next song. I really like all of this being at my fingertip. I found it very convenient to have all of these commands in one button, the trick is that you have to learn the commands! Example, to skip a song you need to double click the button while music is playing where as to pause you only push it once.

The volume buttons are directly behind the ear. This is where you can change the volume, enter pairing mode, reset the headphones, mute and unmute the mic, and check the battery status. For most of these functions you won’t be using them on your run, so the location is not as critical as the multi-function button. I did however find myself going to turn up the volume and wound up hitting the power button a couple times. I am sure this is something I can/will get used to based on feeling but it felt a little cumbersome. Since I was fumbling around it resulted in stopping a couple times to re-adjust them on my head.

After using them they were really easy to clean, I just wiped them off and plugged them in to charge. Since the battery lasts 6 hours of music play and 20 days of stand by time, I probably don’t need to charge them every night but I do just to be safe.

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Overall I really like these head phones and will continue to use them. If you have given them a try let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Why did I start running?

Thanks for joining me!

We all have someone who inspires us, right? So- lets talk about my momma. Growing up my mom ran in the morning, in the evening, whenever it would fit into her schedule she was outside logging miles. She then decided to run a marathon when I was in high school. I didn’t understand her passion for long distance running.

I was on the track team, shot put and discus, where running a mile felt like the biggest chore. One lap around the track and I thought I was going to die (far from enjoyable to say the least). I wanted to be in the gym lifting weights; cardio was a curse word.

In 2014 I committed to running a half marathon with her,  oh goodness what was I thinking? We trained together 3 times a week running a basic regimen focusing on at least one long run per week. I began to enjoy the feeling of being outside, the cool air in the morning, being active before the sun came up, and having an hour or two to chat with my mom.

Race day came and I had the goal of finishing. I knew I had put in the work in to finish, but still had my doubts. Our longest run was 16 miles in training because I was paranoid- so I had done this before. I knew I could do it! Doubt still lingered. The gun went off and I saw the 1st mile marker – looking for a 10 minute mile or so I saw I was below my time by about a minute! What?! I felt great so, I kept going which resulted in finishing my first half marathon in 1:54:17 which is an over all pace of 8:44/mile! This was far beyond expectations and at that moment I was hooked.

I had worked hard and all that hard work had paid off. Instead of the “what the heck am I doing” thoughts I was surprisingly giving myself pep talks during the race. things like “you are strong” “breathe” “keep going” kept racing through my head. I was no longer dreading the feeling of weak legs and pounding pavement. I saw this as fuel for my passion. I CAN DO HARD THINGS.

Fast forward to today… I now understand how gratifying it is to work so hard for something that can not be given, it must be earned. Have I had highs and lows? Of course! However I always return to the road, where I learned to appreciate how strong our bodies and minds can be when we let them.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton