2019 Goals

I know we are already 13 days into 2019 but here are some of my main goals for the 352 remaining days 😜

2019k in 2019 – Because a mileage goal seems like a fun challenge!

Run Streak – I’ve just always wanted to. Also more consistent running is always helpful. The streak to beat is 33 days, but the end goal is to keep it going forever like some of you crazies!

Full PR – This should be a relatively easy PR since my first (and only) full so far went pretty poorly. Really this goal is just finish another marathon with little to no walking and feel good.

50k PR – Same as my full PR. I was injured and maybe shouldn’t have even run my first 50k, but here we are with a nice easy PR to beat if I can just run another 50k.

Distance PR – Yes I am one of those people who think all the ultras sound really, really cool. 50k is the distance to beat!

Half PR – This will be harder since I love and seem to do decent at halves. But since my last half PR is from just a bit of marathon training, I’m hoping if I can manage an entire actual half training cycle and more consistent mileage it won’t be too hard to PR in either.

Strava CRs – They are silly but contests are my shit. Also this will make me check out some new running routes because I know there are tons of awesome places near me that I don’t know about!

I have a bunch of other little goals/goals for eventually, but I won’t bore you with ALL of those. Just figured I’d write a few down here so now I HAVE to do them 😝

Zwift Virtual Running Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Running Footpod 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!

If you’re a highly competitive person who sometimes needs to run on a treadmill (or cycle indoors) then you need to try Zwift. I originally didn’t think much of it but figured I’d give it a shot since nothing could possibly make treadmill running worse.

Zwift is an app (for running and biking) that allows you to hook up to your indoor equipment and run virtually with others using it. You need a phone or tablet to view your adventure and either can hook up to a Bluetooth treadmill or their footpod for reading your pace. You can then see your avatar running along with others in a virtual world full of interesting scenery! (I ran through volcanoes one run!)

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My avatar resting after my run 👍

You’d think avatars on a screen would be completely different than real people on the roads, nope, my brain went straight into race mode and I upped my speed to pass anyone I could see just like on road runs/races 😅 It was CRAZY motivating and highly entertaining for me. I hadn’t cared to run so fast on a treadmill in FOREVER (or ever, I’m not sure)! It’s also helpful on the other end, where while it keeps you entertained, it takes actual action to increase your speed, so you can’t pick it up without noticing and ruin a planned slower run/interval.

I ran two different types of runs with Zwift: a 5K race (kinda free for all mode where you just go run) and then a workout with intervals. The race was really neat and brought runners I “know” from all over the world together, but the workout was what really kind of blew my mind. I am someone who SUCKS at staying on pace for workouts so doing one on a treadmill where your pace is set for you is AMAZING. I still had to manually change the speed by pushing buttons, but that was easy enough and then I got to just run without thinking. It also alerts you when to change speeds and what you should set it to! I honestly will probably be running more workouts than necessary on a treadmill with Zwift now that I know how magical it is.

With Zwift allowing me to enjoy a treadmill run now, I finally ordered myself a treadmill the other day. I’m excited to have no excuse on days with extreme New England weather when it’s dangerous to run outside and I can’t get to the gym. I’m glad I found Zwift to add to my 2019 training arsenal and think it will be a big help making the year amazing!

2018 Review

I now realize that 2018 was still a good year, just a very different year. Last last year (or 2017 as some might call it) I ran almost exclusively halves so it was a year of constantly chasing and coming close to my PR. This year I only ran 1 real half and it was a planned easy race. When I first started looking back at 2018, it freaked me out I had no shiny new PRs to show for it and I kind of felt like I didn’t accomplish anything. Upon further review, 2018 just had a different structure than normal with lots of different types of races and accomplishments.

Stats

15 races overall

4 obstacle course races

2 mountain races

My first Spartan Trifecta!

My first 50K (distance PR)

3 Ragnar

3 new states (VT, NJ, OR)

While my road races weren’t the best, I am really happy to look back and see how much I’ve improved strength-wise. Past me would have never imagined being able to actually do the obstacles I did at the Spartan races. I also ran up Mount Killington TWICE! I didn’t have the best time running at them, but I also worked on fueling and endurance during multiple stage and ultra events. Even though 2018 wasn’t the best year for my running, this was at least due to a clear issue with training consistency, which gives me hope that with that fixed 2019 will be an insanely awesome year!!

Race List

  1. Hangover Classic 5 Miler
  2. Rhode Races Newport “Half”
  3. Rhode Races Providence “Full”
  4. Spartan Sprint MA
  5. Covered Bridges Half
  6. Ragnar PA
  7. Tough Mudder 5 Miler MA
  8. Foam Glow 5K
  9. Spartan Super MA
  10. Under Armor Killington 25K
  11. Spartan Beast Killington
  12. Ragarn ADK
  13. Ragnar Wawayanda Lake
  14. Reebok Boston 10K for Women
  15. Silver Falls 50K

AfterShokz Trekz Air & #GiveGoodVibes

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium 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!

The only downside I’ve found to Aftershokz is that other people don’t know how awesome they are, so they don’t know they can still talk to me! 😂😭

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They also are comfy to just wear around your neck!

I never use to use headphones while running or really life in general. I don’t know if my ears are a weird shaped or what, but almost all earbuds fall out of or hurt my ears. I love that I don’t have to worry about this factor at all with Aftershokz since they just sit on the side of your head. It also allows them to still be comfy when wearing ear warmers or a hat as they aren’t being shoved into your ears. I was able to wear them comfortably on a run with an ear warmer headband, a face mask (pulled up), and head lamp.

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You couldn’t even tell I was wearing them

I also really don’t like being unaware of my surroundings (while running and overall). This is definitely part of the reason I never really used to wear headphones. Even my gaming headset is one I purchased specifically because it allows you to hear outside noises. But since I also don’t like blasting my music through speakers so everyone around me has to listen with me, I pretty much only listened to music in my car. I love that Aftershokz allow me to hear what’s going on around me (on my run, at work, while doing chores) just like playing music through speakers, without everyone else hearing it too! When I gifted a pair to my mom she couldn’t believe how you didn’t hear them at all if you aren’t the one wearing them with how clearly you do when you are the wearer. They are also SUPER light and really well shaped so you don’t really feel them and get more of the effect of feeling like you’re just listening to speakers.

I’m also very impressed with the battery life and even more impressed with the charge time. I think I’ve only had to charge them once or twice, but can’t even remember the exact amount with how quickly they charge. That’s an important factor in gear choice for me because I am forgetful and can’t have high maintenance gear, but also HATE when I can’t use what I had planned.

I have now given a pair of Trekz Titaniums to both my mom and boyfriend as gifts because I really feel like Aftershokz are a product for everyone. I originally gifted both sets for during physical activity, but both of them told me they also love using them in their offices at work to be sure they don’t miss visitors’ knocking as well. I feel better that my mom now can hear her surroundings when she goes for walks by herself. And I love that my boyfriend can have his music motivation when running with me but can also still talk with me without having to leave one earbud out.

I even tried wearing mine to my first race of the year! It was great to get to listen to my podcast during the spectator-less sections of the race, but then cheer and be cheered during the more populated parts. Like I stated at the beginning, the only issue was some people thought I had regular headphones on and didn’t talk to me when they seemed like they wanted to. Oh and one guy shout-talked to me “so I could hear”. 😂

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New Year’s Race!!

Here are the links to both if you want to check them out for yourself!

Trekz Air

Trekz Titanium

Training & Updates 12/17 – 12/23

So I may have had a mini crisis over 2018 after thinking the year over the other day (I’ll go into detail in another post once the year actually closes out) and decided to step up my game for the last little bit of the year. I’ve always wanted to do a streak and a few of the reasons for my crisis could have been helped via run streak, so I decided to start a 2019 goal early! I actually started the 16th, but am happy to report I ran 2 miles or more everyday this past week! Since my previous mileage had been super spotty I took it nice and easy on most of the days, which is fine because the goal is just to get out there consistently. My week ended up looking like:

Monday – 4.01 miles / 11:09 pace

Tuesday – 2.70 miles / 9:02 pace

Wednesday – 2.30 miles / 10:58 pace

Thursday – 6.54 miles / 9:51 pace

Friday – 2.04 miles / unknown

Saturday – 3.36 miles / 8:27 pace

Sunday – 2.01 miles / 10:58 pace

Total – 22.96 miles

Weirdly, I ran on a treadmill everyday except one. Normally I avoid treadmills like the plague but I’ve also been too lazy to put in the extra effort it takes to stay super alert while running at night. Tuesday was another Zwift run, which was super fun! But unfortunately the WiFi at my gym won’t let me make every treadmill run a Zwift one. It’s making me thoroughly debate finally getting my own treadmill. I definitely felt a bit of tired and achiness in my legs/feet toward the end of the week when standing at my desk (this was also the first week I had my standing desk ❤️) but doing less Friday and Saturday fixed that by Sunday.

In other news:

I am a Tiux Ambassador again for 2019! Feel free to use the code SAMRTIUX for 20% off purchases from their site.

I am also a Rhode Races Newport Ambassador this year! I’m super excited since I love the Rhode Races series and their Newport race is my absolute favorite half marathon! If you’re a 50 stater I’d definitely recommend this race for Rhode Island and if you have any questions feel free to ask me 🙂 I don’t have a discount code yet, but keep an eye open for that soon!

BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer and Headband

Disclaimer: I received the BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer and Headband 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!

While I love Winter running, I generally hate Winter gear. The gear that is supposed to keep me warm smothers me and causes me to sweat so much I become drenched and even more susceptible to freezing. I’ve had gloves and buffs get so wet they froze solid later in the run.

After trying the New Original BUFF earlier this year, I was excited to get to test their new DryFlx fabric to see if it was just as magical and could solve my cold gear problems. Turns out, it is and did!

I was able to keep warm using both my headband and neck warmer on a variety of runs without them causing me to sweat! One of my biggest dilemmas at the start of Winter is whether or not to wear ear warmers. I hate the wind and cold air blowing in my ears, but also hate the inevitable ring of sweat headbands will leave around my head. I threw on my BUFF headband on a warmer, windier day to see how much it would cause me to sweat and was extremely happily surprised to find out it didn’t at all! It’s honestly really cool how well the fabric keeps you warm and protected from wind while still managing to let your skin breathe. I wore both on a below freezing run as well and didn’t get a single chill. It also felt easier to breathe through than other buffs when in face-mask mode.

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Another feature I really liked was they added elastic to the ends of both product. It’s on the inside so it doesn’t catch on your hair, but gives a slightly snugger fit. I am super picky with ear warmers because I refuse to have to keep pulling them back over my ears every 5 minutes the entire run. There is elastic on one side of the headband that’s perfect for securing it over your ears. The neck warmer also has elastic, of slightly different sizes on each end. (My guess would be for different sized heads/faces.) This elastic was a huge game changer when I wore it as a face-mask. Normally I have a very difficult time keeping a buff up on my face, but I didn’t have to fix the DryFlx BUFF once!

Lastly, as you may know, I’m all about COLOR, reflectiveness, and really anything to make gear more crazy (and safe, I guess). Well the DryFlx comes in THE MOST NEON GREEN (and BLUE and some boring colors 😜) AND has a reflective design!!

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I was told I looked very ninja turtle and I love it!

If you want to check them out for yourself:

BUFF DryFlx Headband

BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer

They also have a hat version!

BUFF DryFlx Hat

Sabre – Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap

Disclaimer: I received Sabre – Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap 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!

Shortly after I started running at night a lot, I also found out you no longer needed a permit to carry pepper spray in MA so I went out and bought myself some. I had been recommended it tons of times before, but didn’t really know much about it. It was only after buying it that I was told if you carry pepper spray you should spray yourself with it to get a feel for it since you most likely will get hit with some upon using it..

When I heard about Sabre’s pepper gel and it’s ability to cut down on blow back I was very excited to try it out! While I still haven’t sprayed normal pepper spray to be able to compare the two, I tested the pepper gel and had no issue at all! It shoots a small laser-like stream only in the direction of your choosing! It kind of reminded me of silly string 😂 It also is colored red so you can easily see the stream and “tag” the threat. I find this particularly comforting since I am terrible with faces. I can barely describe the stranger I just had a full out conversation with, never mind identify someone after a situation like being attacked.

I only had time to test mine in the dark after work so check out the awesome picture by my fellow BibRave Pro below!

I was happy to find Sabre’s pepper gel didn’t take a ton of force to spray. It didn’t take too little either, but the cap has an easy twist to lock/unlock system for added safety.

The hand strap was also a really nice feature which I didn’t originally think much of. You don’t realize how much effort it is to hold something your whole run until you don’t have to hold it. My old spray just expected you to hold it, but Sabre’s holder keeps it snugly in your hand without you actively having to hold it so you honestly could forget it’s there.

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Overall I’m really happy I made the switch so I can confidently use my safety product instead of having to worry about a safety product making me possibly more unsafe, like normal pepper spray.

Check it out for yourself on their website: https://www.sabrered.com/pepper-spray/runner-pepper-gel-adjustable-hand-strap