BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Big Sur Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Big Sur International Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Race morning began dark and early.  Seriously, setting my alarm for 2:45 the night before had made me want to cry.  But, truthfully, I had slept so poorly, that I was awake before my alarm went off.   I got up and got ready, popped a Dramamine and we were out the door by 3:40.  Thanks to my hotel snafu, my mother had to get up early too and drive me to the bus pick up.   Thanks mom!

My bus ticket was pretty specific about the buses leaving by 4:15 but I was in line for almost 30 minutes and didn’t even board a bus until after 4:30.   While I was waiting in line, a guy in front of me mowed down a bagel and then a cookie.  I realize I am odd in that I don’t eat before races but I still questioned his choices knowing the road we were about to drive on.  Once on the bus, I somehow was (un)lucky enough to snag a sit with a wheel well so my knees were in my chest the whole ride.  Then I closed my eyes and tried to doze off in an effort to fight off any potential car sickness.  I know how windy Highway 1 is, combine that with a school bus and I wasn’t taking any chances.   Unlike the man who was chowing down in line who almost lost his cookies 30 minutes into the drive.   Once we arrived, we had to walk a ways up the highway to get to the starting area.  By the time I tossed my gear bag to the volunteers (literally), used the porta-potties and seeded myself in the corrals, my Garmin showed that I had walked 1.5 miles.

Being so unsure how this race would go and so nervous about the cut off, I admit I did something I never have before.  I seeded myself in Wave 2- which was for runners hoping to finish under 4:45.  I mentally needed those extra 5 minutes! I did put myself all the way to the back though because I felt guilty.   Then listening to a few runners talk about about their average times (4:00’s) and how they were just hoping to finish after driving the course and seeing all the hills the day before didn’t help calm the nerves.  But after the National Anthem- it was go time.  I was running my second marathon.  Little did I know the next hours would see both a PR attempt and my first almost DNF.

Miles 1-10- 10:19, 10:41, 10:17, 10:56, 11:23, 11:35, 12:00, 12:14, 12:27, 10:38

I was not watching my watch so I had no idea what my pace was.  I focused on keeping it comfortable.  I was enjoying the woodsy feel of running through Big Sur with all the trees along the Highway.  I was very surprised by how many people were using the port-a-potties 100 yards from the start line.   There were also a ton of guys peeling off into the woods to relieve themselves.  No fair.  As you can see by my splits, I wasn’t feeling a lot of the hills.  They were there but I didn’t walk until mile 6 and that was only because I told myself to not be stupid and tire myself out as I still had 20 miles to go.

We could now see the ocean to our left which was awesome.  I was taking water at each aid station as well as drinking from the 2 bottles I had in my pack.  I also had to pee. Crap.  But the lines were so long at all aid stations! Not only that, there were music spots set along the highway and each performer had their own port a potty too and runners were lined up at those! I didn’t want to stop yet so I just kept going.   I knew the BIG hill was coming and that could make or break the race.   We were climbing a hill in mile 8 and I heard a woman ask if this was the worst one- I was wondering if she had looked at the course map- but a man responded- yeah no.

Miles 11-12 15:04, 14:12 The Climb

You could see it coming for over a mile. Runners were sprinkled like confetti as they wound around and up.  I was torn between trying to run it and conserving energy.  As my mile splits show, I walked 98% of these miles. I had checked my overall average pace before starting the hill and it was at 11:20, these miles dropped it to 11:3something.  My Garmin says we gained 600 feet, but my Garmin is also a little screwy as it says the overall elevation gain for the race was 3000.  Strava does agree with these 2 miles though.   I just put my head down and power walked my way to the top.  The drummers almost at the top made me smile.  It also rained these miles with crazy winds- why had I tossed my gloves back at mile 5??

Miles 13-16 10:10, 11:05, 13:32, 12:59

What goes up must come down but it was a shorter downhill than I would have liked and led us right into another hill.  Smile, Fallon, you like hills.  13 also brought us to Bixby Bridge.  The day was overcast but the bridge was still pretty and I made myself slow down and take pictures- partially to prove I didn’t freak out.  😛  A camera crew and piano player were stationed on the other side of the bridge.

15 was where the pain started.  My back was hurting pretty badly but I was hoping a run/ walk strategy would loosen it up.   At 16, I checked my time and thought if I could hold onto 12:00-12:15 miles, I had a solid PR in my grasp, my back just needed to cooperate. In retrospect, that was naive and I probably jinxed myself.

Miles 17-21 13:50, 13:41, 13:39, 14:19, 14:11

I damn near quit.  The course was gorgeous, I wasn’t tired but my back hurt.  The more my back hurt, the more I walked.  The more I walked, the more my hips tightened up and my knees started to hurt.  WTH?!  I stopped twice and tried to stretch out my back.  Each time a SAG wagon drove by, I considered flagging them down.   But I kept going.  Cell service was horrible out there but occasionally texts from my mom and Kate were getting though and those were so needed.  I had also turned my music on in an effort to block out my doubts and thoughts.

Miles 22-26 14:50, 13:11, 14:47, 14:37, 14:15

They say if you don’t reach mile 21.2 by 11:50, you are not allowed to continue and are swept from the course.  To back this up, there were 3 school buses parked at mile 21.2.  I hit 21.2 at 11:15.    I’d made it this far, I was damn well going to finish.   My back was still hurting, my hips were squawking and now my feet hurt.  Around 24, I briefly considered tossing my shoes and finishing in my socks.  Couldn’t hurt any worse, right?   The course was still full of hills but in a way I think I that helped me.  I think a flat last 10 miles would have broken me, the constant up and down was at least letting me use different muscles.   However every single picture of me is from the last half of the course when I’m struggling and walking.  Thanks guys.   There was a photographer who had a sign warning that they were ahead so runners could smile- or in my case, run- so I picked it up to hobble run past him only to round a small corner and see the finish line.  RUN!

Finish- 5:36:52

Give me my medal and someone take these shoes!  Just kidding, I didn’t say that.   I thanked the volunteer for the medal-which is awesome- and smiled (grimaced?) for pictures before getting all the food treats and meeting up with my mom.

Some say that you should expect to add a minute per mile to your marathon time at Big Sur, I was only about 30 seconds each mile.   It wasn’t the race I had hoped for but it also wasn’t the race I had feared either.  I also proved to myself that first one wasn’t a fluke.   I can do hard things, just need to stop breaking myself along the way.

Maybe I’ll you see you again one day, Big Sur.

BibRave, Product Review, Run!

Light It Up

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro  (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

My town has a lack of street lights and sidewalks.  The sidewalks that it does have tend to be very uneven and of abnormal heights.  Seriously- the city was actually sued at one point due to this.   Throw in the occasional mountain lion sighting and cranky dogs and I had plenty of reasons to not run at night.    All of which I embraced wholeheartedly but I really, really dislike the treadmill so something had to change during these dark winter months.   I ventured on one evening run last winter with a flashlight to guide my way.  Not bad but not great.    I tried again this winter.  Again not bad but not great.  Also I kept accidentally hitting the setting for the emergency flash on the flashlight.  Oops.


Enter Knuckle Lights.   These pint size puppies pack a punch!   They come with a charge right out of the box and I was unprepared for how bright they would be.  I saw stars for a few moments after I pointed the first one right at my face.  Oops.    Ok, so they blinded me in close quarters but how would they work on the run?


Freakin’ awesome!  My first time running with them didn’t end in full darkness so while I thought they helped cars see me in the twilight, I didn’t really feel like it was a good test of them.  My next run with them was after work and returning home so in complete darkness.   I geared up and set out for my run.  I was surprised just turning on one of the lights, I felt like I could see everything so much better, what would two do?  Holy crap, the night lit up.  Not only could I see the ground and the bushes and everything around me, I knew cars could see me.  In fact I was worried I might blind an oncoming driver!   Now, granted I haven’t asked one to stop to get their opinion.  😛


In fact I love the lights so much that I did something I thought would never be possible.  I ran after work in work town.   I always considered that route to be off limits in the dark- not anymore!    Now I didn’t go all the way into the state park because I do want to do a daylight check for downed trees thanks to all our recent rain but I got pretty close.  Yay for more running options!!

Now for some technical jargon from the website-

 

  • 2 LIGHTS PER SET: The 2 units are held comfortably on your hands with soft silicone straps. The straps are easily adjusted to fit any size hand and even over gloves. The units connect together magnetically so they can easily be stored when not in use. The units are super lightweight at less than 3 ounces each.
  • 280 TOTAL LUMENS: Each unit is 140 Lumens on high power, so you get a super bright 280 Lumens combined. The LED pattern is a WIDE FLOOD BEAM, so it puts out light in all directions, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce around, even with your arms moving.
  • 3 POWER SETTINGS: High, Low and Blinking.
  • BATTERY LIFE PER CHARGE: 4 Hours on High Power | 8 Hours on Low Power | 14 Hours on Blinking.

 

There a few things I wish were slightly different-

  • I like to run with pepper spray and have a free hand to grab it.  More often than not, I run with both Knuckle Lights in one hand.  They are super light weight so it’s not noticeable at all.
  • I run with a handheld water bottle so with my desire to keep a hand free for my pepper spray something has to lose and that is my water.  So far all my runs with the lights have been shorter and that has been fine but eventually I will need to figure something else out.
  • The order of the lights- Instead of High*Low*Flash, I wish it was Low*High*Flash.   Now, I have that preference because I start running at twilight or later so it gets darker as I run. I imagine that morning runners like the standard set up because it gets lighter the longer they run.

All in all, I love these little lights and wish I had them sooner.  I can see them lighting the way for my runs for a long time to come.  It almost makes me sad that the days are getting longer again.  Almost.

Want your own Knuckle Lights?  Use code “bibravepro” for 10% off your order.

Do you run in the dark? 

How do you light up your path? 

 

Product Review, Run!, Training

Taking Directions

Disclaimer: I received a session with Ekiden Coaching to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro  (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’ve said numerous times that I tend to have knee jerk reactions to training plans.   I turn into a 5 year old and say ” I don’t wanna”.   Or a rebellious teenager- “you can’t make me!’.  I’ve posted pictures of my training plans before and they are usually full of color and corrections and look like a 5 year old used them as a coloring book.

That said I’ve always wondered how I would respond to a coach.  Would reporting to an actual person hold me accountable?  Would I get out of my own way and actually commit to a program that could make me a better runner?  I was curious but I figured the odds of me finding out were slim to none as most options I saw could break the bank.   And my bank is pretty broken as it is.  😛

Enter Ekiden Coaching.

ekiden

When I was given the opportunity to try their coaching services, I jumped at it.  What better chance to see how I would do?   Ekiden is fairly new to the scene and founded by Peter Duyan with Head Coach Mario Fraioli.   I checked out the website, looked at their backgrounds and read some articles in Competitor by Mario.  I was excited to get started.

The process started with a very in depth questionnaire that asked about your running habits, preferences and quirks.  It also asked about your nutrition level and if you had any injuries.   Once it was submitted, I waited to be matched with my coach.   Once I learned that I had Coach Jenny, we set up a time for a phone conversation to go more in depth about my running level and upcoming race plans.   This was also when I had the realization that I had a lot of races in the coming weeks.  Oops.   Jenny also let me know I may have bit off a bigger bite than I should have.  Yes, Coach.   This was also proved true when I had to bail on the Run The Runways 5K. 😢

Blue good, red bad😛

From there the coaching plan is uploaded to the Ekiden site on a weekly basis.  The site links to Strava and for every completed workout, you get a blue dot.  Missed workouts show a red dot.    You are sent a weekly text on Sundays with a link to the week’s workouts.  A daily text at 5PM told you the next days workout.  You can communicate with your coach via text message or on the Ekiden site.    Text messages are my jam, sweet!


So how did training go?  I really liked it!   Every workout was something that I could or should be able to physically do and it was very easy to understand.  I didn’t have to do any math or fancy equations to know what I was supposed to do.  I’ve had a good mix of easy running and speed work.  The speed work was great (remember Float?).  It pushed me out of my comfort zone just enough.  I never would have planned a long run with a fast finish end of 6 miles but I came close to pulling it off!  My left leg has been giving me fits but being honest, it hasn’t been happy since halfway through marathon training.   That said, Coach Jenny has been a great resource with that- I can text her when it hurts and we can adjust the plan.  It helps to talk it out with someone so I don’t just panic on my own.  The accountability portion of having a coach is kind of awesome.  I call myself Slacker for a reason so having someone check in with you is a great way to stay on track.   Even a day when I was feeling super crappy and knew I couldn’t handle a run, I went home and did a few miles on the bike.  I can say without a doubt that I would not have done that had I not had a coach and a training plan.

So would I do it all over again?  I actually have a week or 2 left on my plan right now but I think I would do it again.  Personal plans can be as low $49 a month and I think a 3 month plan would be a great fit for me next year- I may finally buckle down to train for a sub 2 half… or maybe a second marathon.  😛

I also have a discount for you- use code BibRave16  and get 1 month of free training when you purchase 3 months.  Dang it, I could use that next year!

Looking for more information?  Check out the Ekiden website or read these Pro’s reviews-

Christine
Angie

Have you ever worked with a coach?

Do you like training plans?

Product Review, Run!

Outside of my Box

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Inc. to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro  (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Food is my weakness, my Achilles heel- guilty pleasure, comfort food, way to celebrate, when I’m sick, when I’m bored, yadda yadda.  I know I have a dysfunctional relationship food, I’ve mentioned it here a few times.  I have a very angsty post on the back burner too but that’s not the point right now.   Laziness is also a weakness- I eat out way too often.   I try not to think about how much money I spend on food.    Side note- I did set up my online banking to track pizza spending once—holy crap!!!!!!!!!!!

I am trying to change things up though so when the opportunity came up to try Luvo Inc, I thought about it.   I liked the convenience but was concerned about the food.  I have so many diet restrictions I have troubles remembering what is what.  Then there is the fact of how picky I am outside of the restrictions.  But I spent some time perusing the website and decided to go for it.  Good time to step outside the box right?

So, first things first- I went with a few of restrictions but not all.  So the items I received  had no soy, no nuts, no fish and I no dairy?  I think, not sure about that last one. Not too bad right?  I received-


They looked equal parts yummy and scary.  There were a few things in each meal that I was little stymied by, I won’t lie but I was looking forward to trying them.  They are super easy to cook- place the bag in microwave to steam, let sit for a minute, cut open and slide onto a plate.  Done!!  Want to know something sad?  I use my microwave so rarely, I couldn’t figure out how long to cook the meals!  It got worse when I tried to use the work microwave that is about 12 years old! 😏


Once I got past my ineptitude with the microwave, I discovered that I really like the meals I got to try.   The Red Wine Braised Beef is my favorite.  Well, except for the brussels sprouts, I can’t stand brussels sprouts.  😛  It was also my first time eating Polenta.  Sadly I had to google what it was first but I like it!  I only wish the meals were a little bigger.  I felt really good about my dinner choice though!

capture

I liked that the meals were all natural and better for me than my usual dinner choices.   They were super convenient and took very little time to prepare.  Plus, they look pretty on your plate so I felt like I actually accomplished something.    They have an Orange Mango Chicken and Chicken in BBQ Sauce that I would love to try.

Do you cook every night?

How often do you eat out?

Have you tried Luvo?