About Me

My photo
mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Monday, December 28, 2015

how to run 20 miles while on vacation: city edition

Did you know that running a marathon in January means you have to train through the Christmas holidays?

Did you know that training for a marathon during the holidays leads to limited opportunities for the long runs that one needs in order to get ready for a marathon? 

I should have known. I think I was in denial.

For two Saturdays, I missed my long runs and spent the rest of the week trying to cobble miles together in parking lots, town circles, and neighborhoods while still spending as much time as I could with the people I love.

Eventually though, I had to do something about the 20 miler that was following me around from state to state. 

It's not easy to find somewhere to run 20 miles. Especially when you're not in your usual, familiar running environment. 

I kept pushing it back, hoping that inspiration would strike while I was home in Staten Island, and a 20 mile route would miraculously present itself, like in a dream or a vision. 

It didn't happen. 

I got desperate and posted a whiny status on Facebook, hoping one of the crazy running people I know would be like "I have a route! I'll join you!" 

Nope.

Then it hit me. Inspiration.

I could run to the ferry from my Grandma's house (I estimated it would be about 5 miles), take the ferry to Manhattan, and run along the waterfront on the West Side. I thought this was a brilliant idea. I have always wanted to run that particular route, having walked a large portion of it with my Mom during our city jaunts. 

I had to make a series of promises to my husband, including running with my phone, texts at various points, and using the Road ID app so he could keep tabs on me.  

Nothing could damper my enthusiasm. He could have asked me to hire 2 giant thugs to follow me, secret service style, and I would have agreed.  

I was very excited.

it was very foggy
Even the heavy fog that made every street look like a creepy scene from a horror movie didn't bother me. I bounded my way down to the ferry and took my 5.5 mile smelly body right onto that boat and tried to stand as far away from the other passengers as I could. 

As soon as the boat docked, I was off and running towards Battery Park where I took a very rare selfie of myself. 





 













The miles positively flew by. I was looking around at buildings, people watching, making sure I knew where I was and how to get home. It was lovely.

The Intrepid. It is very big.
At about 12 miles, I turned around and headed back to the ferry terminal. At 34th street, I jumped onto The High Line and ran its length - which was FABULOUS, The High Line is simply one of my most favorite places on Earth and it was a wonderful experience to run it, in the rain at Christmas time. 

I made it back to the ferry, stopped at Starbucks (which I paid for using my Starbucks app - greatest thing ever), and called my husband to come pick me up.

It was one of the best running days I have ever had. 20 mile training run DONE. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I hate downward facing dog

I hate, loathe, detest (basically any word you can think of that denotes total and utter disgust) the yoga position of downward facing dog.

You see, I have one hand. My forearms are the same length but my right arm stops at my wrist. I don't have a right hand, a palm, or fingers. Basically, it is just bone.

I grew up doing everything everyone else did. I can tie my shoes, do my hair - the list goes on and on. Sure, I could never climb that rope in gym class but really who wants to do that anyway? 

When I started practicing yoga. I never considered that some positions would be difficult. I just started doing it. I use a block for some positions, to give myself more balance and to take some pressure off my right arm but you can't use a block in downward facing dog. 

Hence, the hate.

It's not comfortable. Relying on my upper body, ultimately, my arms and hands, to bear the weight of this body is hard.

A yoga mat only provides so much cushion. Trying to find the sweet spot, where my arm can dig into the mat and not kill me, can be hit or miss. I'm also incredibly stubborn and will stay in that freaking position until the cows come home just to prove that I can do it. I want people to think that I am a cool, capable yogi.  

And because I am concentrating so hard on not giving up - I usually stop breathing. Which if you know anything about yoga is ridiculous because yoga is ALL about breathing.

It becomes a battle of will. Will I give up? Will I wiggle and wiggle until I find that spot where I can hang out until the next movement? Will I breathe? Will I take that time to breathe and be proud of myself for always trying and trying even when it is hard?

Life, recently, has felt like one very long moment in downward facing dog. Uncomfortable, stressful, and raw. I feel vulnerable. I care too much about what other people think. I often forget to breathe.

This past week, I was in downward facing dog and having the usual fight with myself about how much I hate this position and this is so ridiculous and why do I continue to do this to myself and something made me stop. BREATHE LAUREN. Just breathe. And as I took each breath, thinking about only that breath - in, out, in, out - it got easier. Not less uncomfortable - just easier to bear.

So, as the holiday season rolls in, and things get complicated with traveling to 3 different states in 4 weeks with 3 kids, and negotiating expectations and celebrations - I am going to carry that mantra with me. BREATHE LAUREN. Just breathe.          

Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: The Gap of Time

I'm terrible at book reviews. Particularly, when it comes to books that I didn't enjoy. A book is a result of someone's hard work. Long hours spent writing and editing. Deleting and starting all over again. Who am I then to read it and say "um. yea. not so much"?

I just finished Jeanette Winterson's The Gap of Time and I am under whelmed. 


On paper, this book seems awesome. It is a retelling of Shakespeare's The Winter Tale, where jealously, paranoia, and heartbreak abound. Pretty much like every Shakespeare play in existence. The thing with Shakespeare, though, is that language and phrasing take so much brain power to compute that it almost hides the absolute insanity of the characters. It somehow becomes less crazy when there are thee's and thou's involved. 

However, when you retell it in modern language the craziness is VERY evident. There is no flowery language to hide behind. The intensity of the characters and their emotions are front and center.  

I find as I get older (and this makes me cringe because I'm only 34) that I'm becoming more and more intolerant of violence, excessive profanity, and the general abuse individuals inflict upon each other. Reading serves as an escape and the mere act of it has a profound effect upon me. If a book is emotionally draining, I feel that. It stays with me and it's hard for me to shake it off. I recently remarked to a friend that I feel as if I'm out of emotional credit. I only have so much to give, worry, and agonize over - I can't spare anymore for the characters in books that I'm struggling to get through. 

I know that this is unfair. And by no means am I advocating that every book be filled with unicorns and glitter. I have a feeling that this is just a phase I am going through because, ultimately, books have the power to stretch you, change how you view things, and teach you something about yourself and the world around you and I need that. We all do.     

Despite my ridiculous hyper-emotional state, this is a very well written book. Winterson gives Shakespeare's characters new breath and seamlessly integrates them into the modern world. Her retelling is engaging and thoughtful. I may not have enjoyed it, but I can see how it might appeal to others. 

disclaimer: while I received this book for free through the Blogging For Books program, all opinions and views expressed are my own.

previous post: maybe that's why I keep doing it

Monday, November 2, 2015

maybe that's why I keep doing it

As part of my application for the 50 States Marathon Club, I need to list the details of the 10 marathons I have run.

Considering I started in 2007, the particulars are a little fuzzy.

Thankfully, there is a website, marathonguide.com, that outshines all websites and contains race results from EVERY marathon from the beginning of time. Or at least from 2000 - which is super helpful for a forgetful Nelly like me.

As I was searching through the results last night, cutting and pasting each race, it was a little surreal.

On paper, its just a bunch of numbers; date, time, place. But to me, each one was experience and the memories came flooding back: the wall I hit at mile 18 during the Flying Pig when I was sure I was going to die. Crossing the finish line at the New York City Marathon and sobbing hysterically. Signing up for the Richmond Marathon two days after running New York and swearing that I would NEVER run another marathon again. Running the Knoxville Marathon and momentarily contemplating cutting the course so that the misery would end. Convincing my running partner to run her first marathon and then crossing that finish line with her at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama. Begging everyone that loves me to help me take care of my life (ie: packet pick up, babysitting) so that I could get to the starting line of the Pittsburgh Marathon. Running loop after hilly loop in West Virginia among the beautiful changing leaves. And then number 10: the Carolina Marathon: the first marathon my husband and I actually ran at the same time. Not together mind you, but at the same time.    

Running a marathon is life changing. It only takes one to join the club. You can legitimately include it in your obituary. Life seems different after you run 26.2 miles. You learn that you are far more capable then you could ever have imagined. More able to push past the doubts and do something amazing. Running 10 just compounds it. It makes me feel like a freaking super hero.    

Maybe that's why I keeping doing it.



previous post: Race Report: Carolina Marathon

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Race Report: Carolina Marathon

Well, I did it.

10 Marathons. 10 States.

I can officially apply for the 50 States Marathon Club.

like woah.

It went off without a hitch. Everyone slept the night before. No one got sick. The weather was PERFECT.

The course starts in downtown Greenville, S.C. and winds its way into Cleveland Park and the Swamp Rabbit Trail. This trail, also known as the SRT, is one of the coolest things about Greenville. It is a paved path that travels all over the city. It is popular with runners, walkers, and cyclists. It is free from traffic and in most cases surrounded by trees, leaving you with this wonderful "I love nature!" feeling.

The majority of the race is run on this trail so course support was minimal. However, the volunteers and the supporters that were out there were very encouraging. There were adequate water stops but definitely lacking in the porta potty department. There was one bathroom on the beautiful campus at Furman University. It was clean, and there were no lines so that was a win.

My running partner and I chatted, enjoyed our surroundings, and marveled about how good we felt. Then, of course, my body decided that it was no longer a fan of this let's run two marathons in 1 month thing, and decided to rebel. I developed this knot in my right shoulder that made it hard to turn my head. Then the muscle in my right thigh that I strained during my last marathon decided it had had enough. Annoyingly enough, its a muscle that's part of the let's help your leg lift and move you forward team. I wasn't going to quit. Or give in. So I just kept moving. I had to keep moving.

Crossing that finish line was like that last bite of the most perfect piece of chocolate cake. It was fullfilling. Satisfying. but I'm done. Well, at least until January when I run the Mississippi Blues Marathon. But then after that I'm taking a break from full marathons. I think I might chase after a half marathon PR :)

previous post: podcast drama

Friday, October 23, 2015

podcast drama

I have a new obsession.

podcasts.

I know I'm a few years late to the party but I'm ALL in. 

It started this summer when, overwhelmed by things out of my control, I started walking. Around the block, around the neighborhood, with the kids, and by myself. Getting outside; physically and metaphorically moving away from my anxiety was HUGE for me. Listening to someone yammer in my ears about inane things was HUGE for me.

Right now, I have 7 podcasts I'm hanging out with. I'm pretty fond of most of them.

but here's my issue.

The running community is GINORMOUS. Everybody and their mom runs. Where are the running podcasts?

To be fair, I've only listened to three, with another one recently subscribed to, but so far I'm unimpressed. 

I feel like they are a little preachy and elitist. Here's what you should you do to be awesome. and fast. This person is barely running at all, only 40-50 miles a week (I actually deleted that particular episode when I heard that - I just couldn't deal). This person runs an a 50k, breaks a rib, and then a few weeks later attempts a 100 miler (HA! HA! This is all very normal. Nothing to see here). 

I tend to feel deflated after listening to these podcasts. At times, I have even snorted out loud in disbelief. These are not my people. Or at least, I don't feel like they're my people. I am an average runner, not an elite. My runs, in general, are slower then I would like and there is a definite ebb and flow that controls my running, whether I like it or not. I'm left feeling like the 20-30 miles I put in every week mean nothing.  

I would love to hear stories about everyday runners, the runners I interact with on Twitter and Facebook. Men and women who run to find themselves. Who run to beat cancer. Who run for those who can't. The runners who run because they need to. These are my people. 

So, because I'm aware that I need to get over myself, I'm trying to hold on. To give these podcasts a chance because I could probably learn something.

I can't promise you I'm going to stop rolling my eyes though.

previous post: post marathon update   

Thursday, October 15, 2015

post marathon update

This morning I ran for the first time since the hills decimated my thighs during Sunday's marathon.



I'm terrible about post race recovery. No ice baths. I take the hottest shower I can stand. I eat what I want and never drink enough fluids. I did wear my compression socks for the rest of the day though so I'm not a complete and total failure.

This time around recovery was a little slower then normal. Monday was rough. Everything was sore and my inner right thigh actually hurt. I was in this weird fog all day. Tuesday was a little better and I survived a walking field trip to the Post Office with my daughter's preK class. Yesterday, we had a dire laundry situation happening so I forced to conquer the basement stairs. I managed to do it without saying "ouch. ouch. ouch" the whole time.

Success.

The first run after a race, especially a marathon, is always a little nerve-wracking. There have been times where I've avoided it like the plague and other times where I can't wait to get back out there. Fortunately, this morning it was the latter.

It was great to be out there with my running partner, shaking out my muscles and moving towards the starting line of the Greenville Marathon, which is in 16 days.

Just writing that makes me laugh.

When I sign up for these races there's this moment of insanity where I think "I CAN DO ANYTHING! HA! HA! HA!". This time around was no different. 2 marathons in 20 days? huh. Sure. Why not?

Despite the exhausting proposition of running another marathon in so few days, I am REALLY excited about Greenville. I'm running it with my running partner who always makes long runs seem easy and Greenville is one of my most favorite cities. As long as the weather is nice it should be an awesome day and if not, well, there's a Starbucks right around the corner from the finish line to make everything better.

previous postRace Report: Appalachian Series - West Virginia

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Race Report: Appalachian Series - West Virginia

9 marathons. 9 states.

I have run 9 marathons in 9 different states.

Ohio. North Carolina. New York. Virginia. Tennessee. Alabama. Georgia. Pennsylvania. West Virginia.

I am one state away from joining the 50 States Marathon Club. 1 STATE!

But before I go on and on about how excited I am that this HUGE goal is almost within reach, let's talk about this crazy West Virginia race I just ran.

#1 most important fact: IT WAS HILLY.

3 hills. 6 hills per loop. 12 loops.

At mile 21, those hills became mountains. I did something I have NEVER done in a race. I walked the hills.

but I finished. All those hills. All 12 loops. All 26.2 miles.

The particulars: this race is part of a 7 day series, the Appalachian series, hosted by Mainly Marathons. There was a HUGE 50 State, Fanatics, and Maniacs presence at this race, which makes perfect sense considering you can act like a fanatic or a maniac and run a half or marathon everyday for seven days.  

The course went through a park that had beautiful views of trees with leaves that actually change color! The sun was shining but it was still cool and crisp. Pretty much a perfect day. The volunteers were amazing, super supportive and encouraging. My fellows runners were excited, encouraging, and kind. They made the hills bearable.

The cool thing about running a loop is that you become so obsessed with what number loop you're on you forget all about the miles. The first 6 loops flew by. Loops 7-10 were a little rough and the last 2 were all like "YEA! I'm almost done!"  

The medal is pretty freaking awesome.

modeled by my adorable son
It has clips so that you can add more states as you complete the series. So cool. I may or may not have had a brief moment where I was all like "oooo! I want to add more states!" but then I came to my senses.

As I get deeper and deeper into this 50 State quest, I will definitely consider running another Mainly Marathons series. Though small, it is a great way to get the mileage and states you need while  surrounded by wonderful and dedicated people.

previous post: burnt like toast

Thursday, October 8, 2015

burnt like toast

I've been quiet.

I've probably written about 20 posts in my head, while running, while in the shower, or picking up my kids from school. Somehow, by the end of the day, when I finally have time to think - I'm exhausted.

Running has been exhausting.

Over the last few weeks, the only thing getting me out of the bed at 5 a.m. to run has been my running partner.

I'm burnt like those little crumbs that collect in the bottom of the toaster.

I'm 4 days away from my 4th marathon in less then a year and my 9th marathon overall.  

I don't feel as prepared as I normally do. My 19 miler, which was supposed to be 20, was hard. It was long and I felt every step during the last few miles. It left me feeling worried and concerned that this upcoming race is not going to go well.

This race is a loop race and my introverted self is worried about running with the same strangers over and over and over again. Faced with new situations, I tend to come across as stuck up when I'm really just a nervous wreck. Add to the mix, staying with my children the night before in a hotel room where historically NO ONE sleeps well. Oh and did I mention that my youngest son has a cold? Boogers. Sneezing. Crying at night because he can't breathe through his noise and suck on his beloved binky at the same time. All of this is a recipe for disaster.

But you know what? I refuse to accept this reality.

I'm in denial people! AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

So what if I'm going to drag my family to West Virginia to run a marathon and then turn around and come right home?

So what if I feel like I'm coming down with this cold that is currently plaguing my son?

So what if I have to smile and chat with people I don't know while trying to make it through mile after mile of the same terrain?

Whatever.

It's going to be great because I've decided that that's the way its going to be. Take that universe!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Review: Second Street Station

I've been on a bit of a book kick recently.

I've been tearing through titles, reading a book about every 2-3 days.

Some have been good, some have been eh. One was so compelling that even though I didn't want to read it, I couldn't stop myself. 

Then there is Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy. 


It wasn't great but it wasn't terrible either. Mary Handley is our heroine. She is spunky, sassy, and determined to make her own way in the world. Which would be awesome if it wasn't 1888, a time when women were expected to have children, say little, and think even less.

Mary is a sweatshop worker in Manhattan who has a unquenchable thirst for solving mysteries. She is quick-witted and intelligent, but often gets herself into trouble. Through a series of events, Mary lands herself a job as an independent detective on a highly publicized murder case.

On its own, I think the plot is great, The premise of the story, with Mary as the main character, is wonderful. However, Levy uses historically famous characters that dampen the story, and make it seem fantastically impossible. It is quite a stretch for me to believe that a 1st generation Irish American sweatshop worker goes from nothing to rubbing elbows with Thomas Edison, Nikola Telsa, and JP Morgan. It's very Forest Gumpish - I'm not a fan.

I believe that this first book is one in a series and I would be interested in reading another Mary Handley mystery - to see where Levy can take her and whether he can do justice to this fabulous woman he has created.

Disclaimer: though I received this book for free through the program, Blogging for Books, all opinions and views expressed are my own.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: The Little Paris Bookshop

My husband and I went to Paris to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. It was a trip I had always wanted to take and it was as magical and amazing as I imagined it would be. We ate amazing food. Sat by the Seine. Saw priceless art. Walked on streets that could tell a tale or two. Paris' rich history just bubbles up from it's cobblestones.

Since then, I never pass on a chance to read a book about Paris or one that is set in Paris. When The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George became one of the available titles for me to read and review as part of the Blogging for Books program, I knew I had to have it.


Monsieur Perdu owns and operates a floating bookstore, semi-permanently moored on the Seine. He fancies himself a literary apothecary, dispensing novels to heal people's souls. He, himself, leads a quiet life, possessively protecting a broken heart and lost love. Through a series of interesting events, Perdu finds himself captaining his floating bookstore to the South of France in search of a woman whose name he has not allowed himself to say for twenty years. Joined by a young author who has lost his muse, an exuberant Italian, and a lovely but not quite sane woman, Perdu lets go of the past and allows himself to heal.

Although drawn out in a few places, overall, I thought this was a well-written and enjoyable novel. George's descriptions of Paris are spot on - there were moments I could close my eyes and feel like I was again enjoying a fresh croissant. Perdu's foray into Southern France made me want to pack my bags that very instant and hop on a plane. 

The characters are lovable and endearing. I am fascinated by French apartments and their inhabitants. George does a wonderful job of painting a clear picture of Perdu's neighbors, so much so that I want to live with these people. I want to gossip with them on the stairs and endure their endless questions and misguided goodwill. Oh, to be harassed by a French concierge!

The implausibility of just up and driving a very large barge down the Seine, despite it not having moved in over twenty years, irked me at first. Taking a trip on a whim! With no money! Not telling anyone you're leaving! It's all very crazy and oh so very french. 

I'm passing this book along to a friend who has just read a series of stressful and anxiety provoking novels. This is just the book she needs to soothe her soul.  

Disclaimer: while I received this book for free in return for a review, all opinions and views expressed are solely mine. 

previous post: I forgot to eat lunch today

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I forgot to eat lunch today

I forgot to eat lunch today.

In truth, I did remember, I just wasn't hungry.

Also, it doesn't help that whatever I'm eating, my 17 month old instantly wants.  So, I don't actually get to eat an entire meal unless I want my ear drums blown out by a very loud little person.

He's lucky he's cute.

Back to the lunch thing.

So, I didn't eat but I did have a very large cup of Starbucks Macchiato which in hindsight was a terrible idea.

With sugar and caffeine coursing through my veins and no food in my stomach, I started having hot flashes, then my heart started to race and I was feeling all jittery.

Forgetting that I forgot to have lunch, I thought I was having an anxiety attack. Like a dork, I sat there doing a mental self analysis, trying to figure out what would be making me anxious. Then, I did what every self respecting 34 year old, mother of three would do - I called my mom.

She was at work. That poor woman. Nothing like getting a call from your distressed daughter, who is 14 hours away.  Thankfully, she is a nurse and NEVER visibly panics when I call with some dramatic story. She tells me what to do and sends me on my way. 

It took me about 15 minutes after we got off the phone to realize that the WHOLE issue was caused by the fact I had forgotten to eat lunch. No, that's not embarassing at all.

I bet she calls me tomorrow to remind me to eat.    

previous post: marathon training update

Sunday, August 16, 2015

marathon training update

Hey there stranger!

It's been awhile, I know.

After our 6 week trip roaming the Eastern seaboard, I was a little... well... a little of everything... happy. tired. You know how it goes.

Anyhoo.

School has started, bringing a whole new level of crazy to my life.


This SuperHero has started full day preK, taking her spidey sense and web slinger with her. Not to mention her forward fashion sense.

Not only have I been left to fend for myself against evildoers, but now I have lots of people who need to be lots of different places at pretty much the same time. Oh! and I can only fit like three of them in my car.

These types of logistical situations are what my nightmares are made of. My anxiety goes through the roof and the only thing that can bring it down is wonderful people agreeing to help me and (of course) running.

Speaking of which... I just finished week 7 of marathon training.

Considering it has been hotter then an oven and more humid then a freaking sauna - training has been  going very well. I haven't missed any runs and actually have been adding a few extra miles here and there. My #100milesinamonthstreak is still going strong.

I have my moments where I can't stand the idea of getting up and putting in a bunch of miles before the sun comes up but I'm pretty good at ignoring that voice. Having a running partner who I hate to disappoint helps. She gets up before I do, so I would feel terribly guilty chickening out on a run when she's already up and dressed.

The mileage is starting to add up and race day will be here before I know it. I'm playing around with some ideas about what I want to do next year... as soon as I get that figured that out you'll be the first to know :)


previous postan open letter to dog owners everywhere

Saturday, August 1, 2015

an open letter to dog owners everywhere

Dear Dog Owners,

Hi!

Remember me? I'm that girl who ran by your house/passed you on the sidewalk/or trail/or any other public space ever conceived by a city planner.

I'm that girl who was sniffed/barked at/chased by or whose run was basically interrupted by your well meaning/protective dog.

We're on the same side. No seriously we are. I want to be safe. I want your dog to be safe. Let me tell you a story so maybe you can understand where I'm coming from. One day, I was running down a sidewalk by a busy two lane road. Across the road, a little boy opened his side door and his two dogs came running out. They saw me and ran across the road to investigate. Only one made it across. I didn't actually see the dog get hit but I did see the other dog whimper and try to get his partner to get up. I did see the owner come and pick up his dog with tears in his eyes. I cut my run short that day.

Ever since then, I have ZERO trust in a dog's behavior. When your dog barks and comes running towards me how am I supposed to know he's "friendly"? How do I know that he's not going to run out in traffic to reach me?

Throwing up in your hands in frustration or letting me know "he NEVER does this" is not helpful. I need to know that its safe to keep running. I need to know that your dog is not going to chase me for miles while you halfheartedly yell for him to stop.

Please leash your dog while walking in public areas. I know you know that you have a lovely, nice, kind dog but unless he's wearing a sign, I don't know that. I am going to assume the worst because I would like to finish my run in one piece.


Please don't get frustrated with me for running by your house (on the public sidewalk) when your HUGE dogs are roaming loose. I run long distances. There is only so much road for me to run on - it is inevitable I will pass by your house. I try to take note of areas that have aggressive/loose dogs but sometimes my system fails me.

Please don't allow your dog to sniff me or lick me. Seriously. Its just awkward.

Thank you to those dog owners who make their dogs sit quietly when I run by. To those dog owners who make an effort to share the public space we are both enjoying. To those dog owners who make eye contact and let me know that its safe to pass. To those dog owners who let their dog know that I am coming so that neither of us are caught off guard. I thank you for caring enough about me and your dog to make an effort.

Thanks so much! Until we meet again....

Sincerely,

Lauren

aka

that super sweaty runner girl who is slightly afraid of dogs while she's running


previous post: Profiles of Inspirational Women: Michelle Wolfer

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Profiles of Inspirational Women: Michelle Wolfer

It's been awhile since I've posted about the amazing women that cross my path on a daily basis. Women who inspire, support, encourage, and strive to make the world a little better. Michelle Wolfer is one of these women.

Meet Michelle.

I stole this beautiful picture from her twitter feed
She is a wife, a mom to 4 grown children, a teacher, and a cross country and track & field coach.

I met Michelle when I randomly joined her #earthathon team, #uponeaglewings, a few weeks ago. At the time, I had NO idea that she is currently battling breast cancer. She is not just battling breast cancer, she is FIGHTING it. She is tenaciously, aggressively giving it hell. She has chosen life, chosen to #FightLikeaGirl, and to #runwithcancer.

Her commitment to running and to living life is awe inspiring. Her twitter feed, @lutherungirl, can make you smile even on your worst day. I knew I needed to share her story, to profile another amazing woman who, despite everything, still laces up her sneakers and does her thing.

I asked her a few questions and she kindly agreed to answer them...

When did you start running? What drew you to the sport in the first place? How many races have you run? Any running moments you are especially proud of? 

I ran for fun in grade school and competitively in middle/high school and for two years in college at the division I level.  I ran mid distance and distance.  I ran my first marathon in high school.  Our coach made us sign up and I wasn't happy about it at first but after I finished, I was hooked.  I took a hiatus from running competitively after college because life happened.  I started training for my second marathon when my youngest child was in third grade with a friend, his teacher.  I have run 13 marathons, 4 half marathons, 2 15Ks, and a handful of 5Ks.  I would love to qualify for Boston and perhaps that will be my goal after I win my fight with stage III Breast Cancer.

When were you diagnosed with cancer? What are some of your symptoms related to treatment? How do they affect your day to day life? 

I have a history of breast cancer on my mother's side of the family so I have always been proactive about getting my yearly mammograms.  Because I have dense breast tissue my family practice doctor decided that I should consider a breast MRI which I did in August of 2014.  The report came back with suspicious areas of concern. Unfortunately, my doctor retired and no one followed up with me about further tests.  I should have called to ask for results.  My BIG mistake.  In February I noticed a small lump (about the size of a pea) with a bruise around it.  The bruise would come and go which I thought was weird so I decided to call the new family practice doctor.  He had no idea about my August MRI and was very apologetic that no one followed up with me.  He ordered a breast ultra sound with possible biopsy.  The radiologist decided not to do the biopsy (even after I pleaded my history, case and concern) and just sent me on my way saying it was probably a hematoma and would go away in several months.  My family doctor was furious and sent me to another radiologist in the Fort Wayne, IN area.  By the time I had my first biopsy the tumor had grown to the size of a walnut (about a two week time frame) and had a red rash outside the bruised area.  He took 7 biopsies and my worst fear was confirmed.  My biopsies were positive for breast cancer.  My family practice doctor did some research over the weekend and decided I would be best served to meet with a breast surgeon and oncologist at Indiana University Simon Breast Cancer Center in Indianapolis.  

When I met with both doctors in Indy, the breast surgeon did an immediate biopsy of the rash and confirmed that it was cancerous.  I was diagnosed with level III Inflammatory Breast Cancer, a very race and aggressive form of breast cancer. This is the same form of cancer my aunt was diagnosed with 3 years earlier.  She is doing well but continues to have some related medical issues.

I have tolerated my treatments pretty well but my oncologist had to dial back the amount of chemo because my white blood cell count has been almost wiped out.  He is baffled and amazed that I haven't had many side effects and attributes that to my healthy lifestyle.  He has asked that I dial back my running miles so I remain healthy during my treatments.  I was running about 50 miles a week and now average about 20*, some of which is walking per my doctors orders.

*just to put this in perspective: I, Lauren, run 20-30 miles while training for a MARATHON. Michelle is basically running the same amount while going through CHEMOTHERAPY. #mostawesomewomanever*

The plan is to shrink my tumor before surgery if my white cell count isn't compromised then I will undergo radiation after surgery.  I will be having a radical mastectomy due to my type of breast cancer.  I remain full of hope. I am strong, positive, and a fighter!  I absolutely love my doctors and that is huge.  I don't think I could get through this without the support of family, friends and my running community.  I continue to teach but do take a few days off during treatments.  I'm off for the summer thankfully as chemo is once a week now.  I will be facing my surgery in the Fall and will of course take some time off.

How did you get involved in #earthathon? What kind of impact do you see this type of relay having on the community? 

I discovered Earthathon in early December and logged miles for the "race before the 1st race".  I was asked to be a team leader for the first race that started in January.  We were asked to name our teams and my quote below reflects the name #uponeaglewings 

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and 
not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

 We were one of 10 teams.  I enjoy leading our team in the 2nd race as well!  I think Earthathon brings runners from all over the planet together and is so encouraging.  

----------------

Many of you know that my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Because we live so far away, I often feel at a loss as how to help or encourage her and my father-in-law. Through her strength and resolve, Michelle reminds me that hope is the greatest gift I can give them and myself.

Do yourself a favor and follow Michelle on Twitter @lutherungirl. She will help your spirit soar. (oh! and join us on team #uponeaglewings at earthathonrelay.com - Michelle will send you awesome, encouraging, supportive tweets!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Review: Ruby

I strongly believe that life is too short to spend reading books that are not enjoyable. 
Recently, however, I've read a string of books that I've grudgingly and somewhat unwillingly forced myself to finish. 

First up was Moby Dick, a book that took me weeks to finish. It was all about whales, boats, and crazy people. 

Then I read 12 Years a Slave, which is a harrowing account of a Freeman's kidnapping and sale into slavery. While Moby Dick was just plain boring, 12 years was emotionally exhausting. The constant cruelty and abuse suffered by the slaves was upsetting and overwhelming. Of course, it is important to remember this part of our nation's history and this book serves as a great representation of that time but it was still difficult to read.

Then, as part of Blogging for Books, I started reading Ruby by Cynthia Bond. I have a bad habit of blindly choosing books without really learning what they're about. I'm about halfway through this book and I can't bring myself to finish it. It's well written, has some beautiful language and imagery but it's just too much. Too much imagery. Too much sexual violence. Too much hate and pain. My heart just can't take anymore. I'm not attached to the characters enough to want to discover what happens to them. With 12 years, I felt invested in the lives of the slaves but the characters in Ruby left me with no feelings at all.

Clearly, this book was not for me but I don't regret giving it a chance. I'm sure it will find its way into someone's heart.

Disclaimer: while I received a free copy of this book in return for a review, all opinions and views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Product Review: JWalking Designs Running Skirts

When I first started running, I was baffled by running skirts.

Why would you want to run in a skirt?

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that there are shorts under those skirts.

Now, that that dilemma was solved, I had another pressing concern...

how long are those shorts?

One year, while on vacation, I forgot my running shorts. I tried to run in a pair of cotton shorts that I used to walk to and from the beach.

BIG mistake.

The thigh chafing was epic.

Ever since then, when I see a pair of shorts shorter then 5", I cringe. literally. I literally cringe from the memory of that awful experience.

Most running skirts don't have shorts that are longer then 3". In fact, most don't even tell you the length of the short which isn't helpful for a girl suffering from PTTCS (post traumatic thigh chafing disorder).

Last week, during #runchat on Twitter, Alison from JWalking Designs reached out to me to let me know about her fabulous running skirts with a 5" short!

photo courtesy of JWalking Designs
These fabulous little skirts are made in the USA and constructed from eco-friendly recycled material. They are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable to wear in both hot and cold temperatures. 

Alison kindly agreed to give me a discount on a skirt and although I am completely in LOVE with the plaid skirts, I chickened out and ordered the little black active skirt. I wasn't wholly convinced I would wear the plaid skirt unless I had a perfectly matching shirt. It's an issue I've had since childhood. 


Within a few days of ordering, I had my skirt and took it for a 3 mile run on a nature trail near my in-law's house.


I ordered a medium and it fits like a dream. The wide waistband holds in the smush left over from my babies. There are 3 pockets, one on the back and one on each side. The longer length of the skirt keeps me covered but still feels flattering.


While running, I noticed that the shorts do tend to ride up. Now, given my thigh chafing history, I may be overly aware of such things. Honestly, I think adding a strip of elastic to the bottom of the short to help keep it in place would cement this skirt's place as the greatest running skirt EVER. 


It really is a fabulous little skirt that you can wear ANYWHERE to do ANYTHING. The gym. The playground with the kids. The supermarket. The school drop off line. The options are pretty much limitless and if that wasn't enough....


I HAVE A DISCOUNT CODE!!! (is there anything better then finding something awesome and being able to save a little money at the same time? I think not.)


Take your little fingers, head over to jwalkingdesigns.com, and use the code RUNNINGMOMS to receive a 10% discount! 


A BIG thank you to Alison for sharing her great product with the RSWK family!


If you purchase a skirt, please reach out to Alison via Twitter @JWalkingDesigns and let her know what you think!


*Disclaimer: while I received a discount towards the purchase of a skirt, all opinions & views expressed are my own.*


previous post: the life of a mother runner

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

the life of a mother runner

I was so desperate to run this morning that I made my kids go outside to play in the front yard while I ran up and down the sidewalk.

Over. and. over. again.

For about a mile and a half.

I had to stop once to find the sidewalk chalk after my daughter got bored following me on her plasma car.

And then I had to stop to take the clothes out of the dryer and put a new load in the washer. 

Not to mention the numerous drive by (or run by) comments to my son, "NO! Don't hit the ball near the house! Put that bat down! Pick up that plastic bag! Put it in the garage! The garage! THE GARAGE! oh for goodness sake."

Multi-tasking at it's finest.

This, my friends, is the life of a mother runner.




Monday, June 29, 2015

fall marathoning at it's finest

This year has been epic.

Two marathons down with two more to go.

My 9th marathon is scheduled for October 11th, and on October 30, I should be crossing the finish line of my 10th marathon - securing my spot in the 50 States Marathon Club.

Training starts tomorrow.

Along the way, I'm planning on volunteering at a local half marathon to get that warm, ooey, gooey feeling that comes with watching others achieve their goals.

I've had about two months to recover from more then a half a year of training. I was worried that I would be mentally and physically exhausted but my runs lately have gone well and I'm excited about this new phase of training.  

This time around, I've decided to go with a mix of Hal Higdon's Novice II and Intermediate I training plans. I'm going to pick and choose the distances that work well for me and push myself a little harder then I have been.

It's a bit overwhelming to think that I am so close to achieving a goal that I've been working towards for a few years. I've always said once I hit 10 then I would take a break and hit other states when I could. Well, I've already signed up for a race in January (Mississippi) and I'm secretly trying to figure out when I can get a spring Kentucky race on the schedule. I might have a problem.



   previous post: running things in list form

Thursday, June 25, 2015

running things in list form

I had every intention on posting before we left for our massively long visit every family member in the Eastern part of the United States trip but then I remembered I had a billion things to do and blogging was very low on the to do list.

I somehow managed to get everyone and everything packed and here we are in NE Ohio, where the weather is BEAUTIFUL. Nothing like that furnace I left behind in Georgia. Running has been fabulous.

Which leads me to a quick list of running related things...

1. #100milesinamonthstreak is still going strong. June was another month where I was all like "ahhh probably not going to happen" but I only need 16 miles over the next 5 days to make it which is easy peasy.

2. Marathon training for the Mainly Marathons Appalachian series and the Greenville Marathon starts next week. I'm running 2 marathons in the same month. Even I can't believe that. Just goes to show you that anything is possible :)

3. One night during #runchat on Twitter, someone mentioned that they used #earthathon as a means of motivation to get up and out the door to go for a run. I had no idea what #earthathon was. So I did what any self respecting smart phone user would do and googled it and this is what I discovered...



 "EARTHATHON is a 25,000-mile running relay.
We tweet our running in miles or km to #earthathon.
Run anywhere.  One team, one planet.
Join Us Today.
Be A Part of Something Big.
Become an “Earthathoner”

Pretty cool huh?
I joined team #uponeaglewings and have already met some amazingly supportive and encouraging people. The relay officially kicks off on July 1st so head over to www.earthathonrelay.com and get signed up! 

4. I am sick to death of EVERY SINGLE song on my running playlist. If you have any new favorites, old favorites, suggestions please let me know. I'm not picky. 

6. The Ohio Metroparks System is the greatest thing EVER. Miles of paved roads that are free from traffic, meandering through woods and backyards. So far on this trip, I have run a very pleasant 12 miles and look forward to logging some more. If you live here and are not utilizing this amazing thing, you should be ashamed of yourself.  

5. Not running related but worth noting is that I made the questionable decision to start reading Moby Dick. There's a whole chapter just about the different types of whales. A whole chapter. I'm determined to read the whole thing. Sometimes, the skills you need as a long distance runner can be applied to other areas of your life. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.  


previous post: Product Review: Jawbone UP Move

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Product Review: Jawbone UP MOVE

There's been a little drama. Strictly, a #firstworldproblem but aggravating nonetheless.

My Jawbone UP 24 is dead.

That's the second one in less then a year. 

This time, instead of waiting 6-8 weeks for a 24 that would probably die within a few months, I opted for the Jawbone UP MOVE.


Initially, I was skeptical about the clip but I have found that it stays put and is very convenient to wear during a run. I wear a GPS watch while running, so I had to put my bracelet in a pocket and I was always worried that I was going to lose it.

The MOVE has a few less features then the 24. There's no idle alert, smart alarm, or power nap feature. It does, however, have an LED display that lets you know how close you are to your step goal as well as the time of day. The battery life is reported to be about 6 months and then you replace it with a new battery purchased at any big box store.  

You can also wear the MOVE as a bracelet, which is cool unless you have one hand like I do, which then makes the bracelet pretty useless. I almost started crying to the poor Jawbone customer service lady (it had been a long day) who handled it very gracefully. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who puts it on for me when I ask.    

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the MOVE. It does everything that I need it do and I am still enamored with the Jawbone App. Though, I will admit that I miss the power nap feature and had actually initiated the idle alert the day the bracelet died, so that's a bummer.

I was debating whether or not to upgrade to the UP2 or UP3 but will probably just stick to the MOVE until it meets its demise. 



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Product Review: Injinji Toesocks

Happy National Running Day!

I hope you take the time today to get out there and enjoy a run. Ditch the watch, forgo the music, and just enjoy the sound of your feet hitting the pavement or trail. You won't regret it!

On this day celebrating the wonderfulness that is running, I have a product review for you!

Injinji Toesocks!



To be fair, I didn't actually test these out myself. I bought these for my husband as an early Father's Day present because A. he is awesome and B. his feet are funky.

I tried to get him to try these socks out when he first started running but that was before he learned the golden rule of running: COTTON KILLS and was too cheap to invest in quality running accouterments.

Needless to say, when I saw a coupon in my virtual goody bag from the Pittsburgh Marathon, I knew the time had come.

Since I do the laundry around here I know that he's been wearing them, so I asked him to sum up the socks in a few words...

These socks serve well as compression socks: they fit well and snuggly and don’t slip.  So far, they have have done a great job of wicking away moisture.  I haven’t run in the rain with them yet, but they have kept my feet sweat-free in this humid, Georgia summer.


Perhaps the greatest thing about these socks, however, is their blister control. Recently, I have begun to get blisters between several of my toes.  By separating my toes into separate compartments, wicking away moisture, and preventing my toes from rubbing against each other, these socks have eliminated my toe blisters.  I have wore these socks on four runs of 10-miles or more and haven’t had a single blister.
The only negative thing I can say regarding these socks so far is that they do not provide much padding or cushioning. My feet have been sore after each of my runs with these socks.  To be fair, the pair I have are the “lightweight” version – it is entirely possible that other types provide more in this area.  Also, I have begun to use these socks on my longer runs (10+ miles), so it is only natural that my feet would be sore afterwards.
He's so cute.
Personally, I'm all about socks the keep him blister free so I don't have to cringe when he asks me to rub his feet. 
So, not only will these socks make your significant other WANT to rub your feet but because you took the time to read this review you can get them at a discount too!
Visit Injinji's website and use the code : runningslowly15 for 15% off a pair of your very own Injinji toesocks! 
Let me know what you think!

Friday, May 29, 2015

on Dean Potter and living life

For my 11th birthday, I convinced my parents to split the cost of a cable Olympic package with me.

For two weeks, I practically lived in my living room, watching 3 channels of 24 hr coverage of the 1992 Barcelona games.

I have always been drawn to sports and athletes that push beyond the acceptable and normal boundaries.

There is nothing more awe inspiring that watching someone accomplish something that they have sacrificed and worked SO hard to achieve. Show me someone competing against all odds, crossing a finish line, or just plain doing something physically extraordinary and I will show you ALL the tears.

The first time I ever saw someone rock climb was while watching ESPN's X Games. I can't even tell you who it was or when it was - all I remember is watching this young girl work her way up a wall with such finesse and confidence that I think I stopped breathing for a moment. There were no rock climbing gyms or walls to scale where I lived so I had no idea that people actually did this, that they climbed walls, rocks, mountains FOR FUN.

Nothing made this more clear then an amazing documentary I recently watched called Valley Uprising. It describes the history of climbing in Yosemite Valley - past and present - complete with colorful characters, rivalries, and breath taking views. One character, in particular, struck me - his name was Dean Potter. He was the latest in a long line of climbing revolutionaries. Constantly pushing and pulling at what it meant to live free. He pioneered speed climbing, racing up the face of mountains, smashing all sorts of records. He began slack lining high atop the Yosemite Valley. Everything he did, he went all in.

slack lining

free climbing

At the end of Valley Uprising, the camera cuts in close to Dean free solo climbing a rock. It pulls in closer to his fingers as they reach and grope for a hold. You watch as his finger tips grab the rock for a second and then... he falls. The camera pulls out and you watch as he plummets down to the Earth below... and then he pulls his parachute. Inevitably, you sigh a breath of relief because you know that he survives... this time.

On May 16, 2015, Dean Potter and Graham Hunt were killed during a wingsuit BASE-jump in Yosemite National Park. After 20 years, the sport, the life, that Dean Potter so lovingly cultivated is what killed him. Immediately, the news spread and the critics' voices rose to the top. I, personally, refused to read the negative comments on social media about how Dean was stupid and reckless. He lived his life they way he wanted to, on his own terms - isn't that what we all want?

I have had many well meaning people tell me that I shouldn't run so much. Or run races so close together. Or push myself. Or sacrifice to achieve a goal. I know that their intentions are good. The unknown is scary. If you've never run a marathon, it probably seems like a daunting endeavor. Running 4 in a year just seems downright insane. Running, for me, is my personal mountain. Marathon running is my version of rock climbing. Every time I finish a race, reach the summit, I want more. More chances to try, more chances to achieve.

"No matter the risks we take, we always consider the end to be too soon, even though in life more then anything else quality should be more important than quantity." -Alex Honnold

There are often times that I sit back and reflect on the choices I have made in my life. Sometimes, I wish I would have tried harder or pushed myself more but I have NEVER regretted my decision to become a marathon runner. Just this morning, my daughter asked when I'm going to stop running. Before I could answer, my husband said "Never. Mommy is never going to stop." Not stopping means doing some crazy things, like running 2 fulls in a month, or 2 ultras in the same calendar year. This is me living my life.

Dean's death is sad, but his life speaks volumes about the person he was, and the effect he had on those around him and on the sport he loved. To be that lucky.

"His death has reminded me to reflect carefully on my own decisions about risk. There's a constant tension in climbing, and really all exploration, between pushing yourself into the unknown but trying not to push too far. The best any of us can do is tread that line carefully. Dean was making his choices clear-eyed. He knew the risks in his life, and he was still willing to pursue his dreams. How many of the rest of us live with that kind of intention?" -Alex Honnold

            

previous post: #100milesinamonthstreak

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

#100milesinamonthstreak

I'm a streaker.

Not a creepy, run through a stadium in the middle of a game, streaker. 

Rather, I'm a logging 100+ miles a month streaker. 

So far, I have 4 months under my belt - January, February, March, and April. (I'm pretty sure I have November and December too but since Runner's World shut down its classic log and took with it ALL my data I can't be sure).

May was supposed to be a recovery month. After 3 marathons, a half, and countless miles spent on my feet, I needed a break. I told myself I was ok with giving up my streak. Convinced myself that it was necessary. I loaded up Hal Higdon's Post Marathon Training Program and followed it to the letter.

Yesterday, I randomly decided to update my new training log, Final Surge, and discovered I have run 73.22 miles this month. Of course, I quickly did the math and realized I only need 27 miles to reach 100.

27 miles. 

in 5 days.

Totally doable right?

See, I'm not good with recovery. I need to run. I actually have a physical/physiological reaction when I don't. Sunday is my rest day and I wake up EVERY week feeling like I was hit by a truck. I'm tight, achy, sore and cranky - oh so very, very cranky. If it wasn't for the edifying nature of Church, I would really be an unbearable monster. 

I really should have taken the ENTIRE month of May OFF. Entirely off. As in NO running. I keep reading all these articles about how elite runners take time off and yadda yadda yadda. But I can't do it and instead I'm trying to figure out how to cram 27 miles in before the month ends.     

As of right now, I have 21 miles left.

Happy Streaking!    


Feel free to join me on my journey via Twitter at @ljzp or #100milesinamonthstreak!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Product Review: NoxGear Tracer 360 Visibility Vest

This morning, I ran into a dead armadillo on the side of the road.

It took me a good three minutes to stop feeling gross.

I was so busy writing this blog post in my head that I completely forgot it was there.

The things I do for you people.

O.K. enough about roadkill ... I'm here to talk about this...


noxgear's Tracer 360 Visibility Vest

This is the coolest thing I have seen in a very long time.

I'm terrible about visibility. All my winter running clothes are black. From head to toe. Truthfully, it's surprising that I haven't been plowed into by now.

I know this is going to sound crazy but stay with me here: I don't like to draw attention to myself while running. Which is insane because when you run in the dark you SHOULD want people to notice you, so that you know, don't get hit by a car.

I've tried those little blinking lights you attach to your clothing but I was always worried they were going to fall off. I thought about trying a regular reflective vest but seeing them on other runners made me think they're not very comfortable and fit poorly.

Basically, I wanted something that would make me visible in the dark, that was comfortable to wear and fit well.

Enter the Tracer 360.

It combines 360 degree visibility with comfort and functionality. This baby is light, coming in at a paltry 6.5 oz. You hardly even know you're wearing it. The adjustable reflective belt sits right underneath your chest and does not shift or move while running. The flexible fiber optic cables are also adjustable and barely noticeable when not illuminated. The battery pack is padded and shaped perfectly to sit between your shoulders blades. The whole thing is ridiculously comfortable to wear.

The vest and its always cool to the touch cables boast a full color spectrum. You can have solid color or blinking or blinking mutli color. The options are kind of endless. I stuck with boring solid red this morning, primarily because blinking lights freak me out and with the previously mentioned issue with being noticed, I figured red would make me visible but not put me in the "is that an alien?" category.

Seriously, if you run in the dark you NEED this vest. There's no discussion, no questioning - just go and buy it. NOW.

and guess what? The wonderful people at noxgear are offering you, my loyal readers, a discount!

visit www.noxgear.com and use the code RSWK20 (expires 9/30/15) to receive 20% off the Tracer 360 and Tracer 360+!

You have no excuses! Go get illuminated!


previous post: I ran a marathon and then spent a lot of money


Birthday/anniversary/Father's Day/graduation coming up? Read my other reviews here!
Montrail Trail Shoes
UltrAspire Hydration Vest
Altra Zero Drop Shoes
Huma Chia Energy Gel
Simple Hydration bottle
OVERDRIVE Compression Sock + Ice Kit
Jawbone UP (edited to include UP 24)


Thursday, May 7, 2015

I ran a marathon and then spent a lot of money

Over the years, I have discovered that the days following a marathon can be dangerous. You feel invincible. Triumphant. You look around and try to figure out how to act like a normal human being but you can't because you just ran FREAKING 26.2 miles! 


You do crazy things. Wear your medal to bed. Wear flip flops to your daughter's soccer game because your feet still hurt but you're really just looking for a way to tell someone why your feet hurt in the first place. Sign up for another race before you can even walk down the stairs like a normal person. Or if you already have too many races to run, you go shopping! Smart phones are really wonderful little things. Not only do they keep you connected to the world but they allow you to buy running gear from the comfort of your car during an 11 hour drive home. It would probably be a lot cheaper if I just stopped running.  

In a haze of post marathon madness, I bought this..


    
and these...


and then these...


In my defense, the vest was an early birthday present from my Dad (Thanks Dad!), the socks are an early Father's Day gift for my husband, and the sandals are my Mother's Day gift. I CAN NOT wait for UPS to show its face!

I am ridiculously excited to review these goodies for you! It's going to be a fun couple of weeks around here and then training for Outrageous October* begins! 

*Outrageous October is going to be my attempt at running 2 marathons 2 weeks apart.