BibRave, Product Review, Run!

Levitate My Way

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Brooks Levitate 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!

Shoes!!! I love shoes!

Even when they don’t love me.  If you’ve been around the blog for a while then you might know that I’ve been having shoe issues for a few years now.  My favorite shoe ever went through a massive overhaul back in late 2016/ early 2017 and I hated the changes.  Ever since then I’ve bounced around from shoe to shoe and varying brand.   Somebody help!

Brooks introduced the Levitate into it’s lineup in late 2017.  It looked pretty and I was hearing good things but I was hesitant because it looked like more shoe than I was used to.   Yet, I kept hearing good things.  Then I started training for Big Sur and I was a mess when it came to my shoes.  Where were these??? I really shouldn’t have been afraid to try them.

So when I had the chance to try them post Big Sur, I said Yes, Please! Then I waited impatiently for them to arrive.    Once they did, I did a little happy jig and every mile run since has been in the Levitate’s.

Ok let’s get the technical stuff down-

  • Energized Cushioning-With the most energy return of leading performance running shoes, Levitate’s DNA AMP midsole technology gives energy nowhere to go but up, straight back to you.
  • Quick Transitions- A flexible, arrow-point pattern on the outsole helps you move from heel to toe quickly, without losing energy.
  • Intuitive Fit- The 3D Fit Print and FitKnit upper comfortably accommodates your foot as it moves and expands.
  • Quick Transitions-The Midfoot Transition Zone and Segmented Crash Pad provide quick heel-to-toe transitions.
Levitate Specs
all data from brooksrunning.com

Ok, so how did they feel?

Not gonna lie, the first few runs took some getting used to, it’s been a while since I ran in a “normal” running shoe- I went from a zero drop to these so I had an adjustment period.  A couple of runs and a shoelace adjustment and things were feeling much better.

In fact the more I wore them, the better they felt.  I was really liking the cushioned feel they offered.   They made me want to keep running!  I also threw down some of my fastest mile splits in over a year.    Which might not have been the greatest idea as my back/glutes haven’t been 100% since Big Sur which I partially blame on my poor shoe choice there.  By mile 20, I was considering running barefoot.  I wish I had the Levitate’s then!  But that also shouldn’t surprise me- my first marathon was run in Brooks.

Now- full disclosure- I’ve longest run I’ve run is 13 miles in the Levitate so far.  However there were zero hot points or pressure spots so winning!   I’m also don’t see another marathon in my near future so I doubt I’ll be going over 13 miles any time soon.  😛 I am notoriously hard on shoes but so far these still look fairly new other than some dirt and there’s nothing wrong with a little dirt.   I wore significant amounts of tread off my last pair of new shoes (different brand) within 30 miles so right now that is a huge plus in the Levitate’s favor and I have almost double the miles on them.   Some online reviews expressed thoughts that they felt heavy but they felt perfectly fine to me.

All right, slight down point- they are a little pricey.  However, I think they are worth it- I’d rather pay a little more for a good shoe then buy something just because it’s on sale.  That’s a quick way to end up hurting something that wasn’t hurting before.  And yes, that’s the voice of experience talking- been there, done that, lesson learned.

I am loving the shoes so far and am looking forward to putting more miles on them, I think these and one pair of my zero’s will make the perfect shoe rotation.   I will check back in if something changes in how I feel about the shoes but now I just want to #runallthemiles.  When’s my next race?

What do you run in?

Want to hear more? Check out other Pro’s thoughts-
Amanda

Run!, Training

Week 21- What is in the Air???

Upcoming Races-

  • Rock n Roll San Diego 13.1

Dudes, this week- last week, whatever- was flippin’ weird.  Was something in the air?

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad- I ran, I ate pizza, I watched movies, I slept in, it just started out Rough.

Monday and Tuesday were so rough at work that by Tuesday evening I had somehow convince myself it was Friday and we had worked an entire week. When my alarm went off on Wednesday I almost cried.  😂 I’m not normally that emotional.  I pulled it together and got through the week.

In better news, I ran!  I also went to the movies- twice! I saw Solo and Deadpool 2.  Both were good in very different ways.   I also went into Solo with very low expectations but I did like it.😀

Monday- 3.51 miles- I was a little leery of how my hips and legs would after the previous week of pain so I decided to stick to the lake path and keep things nice and easy.   Any thing more than a twinge and I was calling it and going right back to the car.  It took a long time to warm up but I felt ok and decided to do 3 laps of the lake before calling it a day.

Tuesday- Yah no-  The day went south real fast when we lost the server at work and it never came back.  Any post work plans were put on hold as I had to drive to another location to take care of some things.

Wednesday- Rest- My overly emotional day.   And there was reason I didn’t run but I can’t remember what that reason is.😛

Thursday- Rest- So, I changed into my running clothes after work and drove to the river path after work.  I was exhausted but the entire 45-50 minute drive I kept telling myself I could run a few miles.  I could.  Then I parked and the weather was just cold and miserable.  I changed into my running shoes, I grabbed my running pack and put on my hat.  But I could not make myself get out of my car.   For whatever reasons, I just couldn’t do it.  And FYI- I park in front of a friends house so if they had looked out the windows at the moment they would have wondered what the hell I was doing.   I tossed the pack into the back and just drove home.  I don’t regret it.  I later fell asleep in the chair.

Friday- Nada- Typical Friday but we were down 2 people and I was so glad that it was actually, finally Friday.

Saturday- 5 miles- After a leisurely morning, I headed out in the afternoon.   I was expecting much as I had woken with another migraine but this was a surprisingly steady run.   My pace was relatively steady and I actually had to reign myself in a few times.  My playlist playing 3 fist bumping songs in a row didn’t really help with that.  The only issue was that my stomach cramped up twice.  The odd thing was that my stomach cramped at the same geographical location but miles apart in the run.  Dude- was there something in the air?

Sunday- 3.61 miles trail– Instead of a long run, I hit the trails.   My mother and I decided to do 3 Bridges again which while nice and short does give you a good climb.   We power hiked up and then I let myself run like crazy down half of it.  I knew the pounding probably wasn’t good for my hips and I didn’t want to leave my mother far behind but I think I needed that mad moment of freedom.  Even taking a hairpin too tight and almost going off the side of the trail was fun.  Well, after I saved myself it was fun, while I was teetering I was wondering just how far back my mother was and why wasn’t I wearing neon colors? But I did not go over the side.  Yes, I realize I tend to run a little recklessly on trails- which is why I am never completely by myself.

12.1 miles for the week.  Better than last week!

How was your week?

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.

Run!

Run to the Music 9

Big Sur Edition 🙂

Oh, for crying out loud, I haven’t shared a music post since June 21??? How the flip did that happen?  Also, I started these posts when I was training for San Francisco in 2016 and I am only on 9? Slacker.

Well, it’s a good thing I have 2 songs today then.

Shinedown- Devil

I went to grab this video for this post and fell down a YouTube hole watching ALL the Shinedown videos.   I could spend a long time there.

Ok, back to the post- I love this band, this band has got me through training and with be with me on race day and if I have my way, I will see them in concert in August. 🤞 I’ve been a fan for years and can find a song to fit any purpose.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen me reference them in a #tbt post last week.  And FYI, they have the best cover of Simple Man from Lynyrd Skynyrd ever, actually it might be the best version ever.  Yes, I said that.

I loved this song when it first came out just because it was awesome, seriously, I’m hard pressed to think of one of their songs I don’t like- but then I watched a behind the scenes about the meaning of the song.   The “devil” being referred to is the thing that scares you whatever that may be.  So for me right now that could be the miles, the hills, my leg, my side- I have so many options!   So, yeah, I will playing this when things are getting heavy… like my legs.  😛

  • Side note- love the band, love the song but the video is a little odd.  I could have done with the baby bird moment.  Chew your own damn food.🤣

Papa Roach- Born for Greatness

On the other hand, this video is awesome if you stick around to the end.   I’ve shared this song before actually- last April with only a lyric video- but it hasn’t left ANY of my playlists since.  In fact it spawned my motto for the year- Sound the Alarm.  However I never hit publish on that post so surprise!   This song reminds me that we can be better and do better if we only wake up.     And I try not to whine too much when I think about the fact that they are on tour in CA this year but it either doesn’t fit my schedule or is in a town I won’t go to at night.  😢

I have another song that helps get me up hills these days but I’ll save that for another day.

What’s in your ear these days?

BibRave, Run!, Training

Big Sur Marathon Training-Week 13

Ok, I lied, you get the training recap before the race recap.  Oops.

It’s coming, really!  It’s never taken me this long to write a race recap before but maybe that’s because my brain checked out last week.  I was so tired and just couldn’t figure out why or seem to catch up on my sleep.

I had wanted to move my 20 miler up a week to this weekend as it just fit my schedule better that way but between some leg issues and the extreme tiredness I was getting the feeling that was probably not a good idea.

Monday- 2.5 miles I planned on a few shake out, easy miles to get my legs loose from the day before.  I was aiming for 3-4.   My leg had felt ok during the day at work but it quickly let me know that it was not on board with a run.  Not at all.  I was hoping it would loosen up but instead it steadily grew worse until it felt like the pain was in the bone too which alarmed me so I called it short and just headed back to the car.

Tuesday/ Wednesday- Nada  I was giving the leg a few days to see what it would do.   Working at my desk makes it very, very angry.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- stand up desks are not all they are cracked up to be.

Thursday- 4.5 miles  I headed to lake path as I had a feeling that the dirt path would be more forgiving than pavement or concrete.   I started slow and kept it nice and easy.  Because spring had suddenly made an appearance and it was 80 degrees at 6 PM, going slow was not an issue.  In fact I needed a few walk breaks due to the warmth.   However those breaks pointed out that my leg was ok once in motion, it really does not the stops and starts of walk breaks.  Which is problematic as I know I will be walking part of this marathon.

Friday- Stupid For some reason I was so freakin’ tired this week… and it was making me stupid.  And slap happy.  I took a nap on my lunch but it didn’t help.  I had a feeling my long run wasn’t happening on Saturday.

Saturday- 2.2 miles  I was still super tired and my leg was sore but this was supposed to be longer.  But we got a little lost.  My mom and headed to do a trail but the one we did a few weeks ago is closed, boo. So instead, we did the Pine Mountain loop.   It gains almost 500 feet in the first 1/2 mile or so but the path is fun with a couple of random off shoots.  Once we made our way to the top, we took one of the random off shoots thinking it would make the path longer but instead we had climb over and under some downed trees before it deposited us almost in someones front yard and on the highway.  Oops!

Sunday- 10 miles My leg was sore and I was still so tired, I pretty much knew that 20 wasn’t going to happen early and I was going to stick to the plan of 12.  But when my alarm went off in the morning, my head was pounding, likely due to hormones from that TOM, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

That had me heading out for my run in the afternoon.  It was over 80.  I didn’t think it would be that bad.  And it wasn’t until mile 5 and then it was all downhill from there.  So much walking.  I was so damn warm.  I had 2 bottles of water in my pack and I drank them both.   I even took a few moments iny a lone shady spot to just try and cool off.   But no luck.  It took me so long, that I ended up only having time for 10 miles before I needed to head back for Easter Dinner.

19.23 miles for the week.  Not great but not horrible considering how my leg felt on Monday.

How was your week?