Category Archives: Running

Winner of the FUEL THE FIRE Giveaway announced!

We’re in the midst of a lot of traveling to spend quality time with family spread out all over these great United States, and before I go any further, I just want to pause a second to say, “Thank you,” to all of the men and women who have fought for our freedoms. For those who have paid the ultimate price by laying your lives down for us, I pray we never forget your sacrifice.  To those who have returned from battle weary, worn, scarred and struggling – I pray for your peace of mind, and once again, I thank you for your sacrifice. 

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Old Glory proudly flying on my porch

I pray for our Country, for her leaders, for peace and that we should always be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I hope that today, on this Memorial Day, you pause to reflect on what this day means. I hope that you pray for the fallen, the wounded, our beautiful United States of America,  and our leaders.

Now, here’s the big announcement…

The winner of the the FUEL THE FIRE Giveaway – Jacqueline W.!!

CONGRATULATIONS!

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I hope you enjoy your goodies!!

Fuel The Fire Giveaway: EnergyBits, Pocketfuel & SpiBelt

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I promised back in March that I would be offering a giveaway, and then all of my plans got derailed by sickness. But, the day has arrived – FINALLY here it is!
I’ve teamed up with a great group of bloggers in a giveaway bloghop. This gives you so many chances to win a LOT of great prizes. It’s pretty simple, too – when you’ve finished entering the giveaway I’m offering here, just scroll to the bottom of this post and you will see the list of bloggers that are participating in this bloghop. Click on any one of them to go on to another great giveaway!

Now, on to the prizes up for grabs… I’m giving away a nice little package to help you FUEL THE FIRE!

If you follow me on Twitter, you may notice I’m often #poweredwithpocketfuel…

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A handful of PocketFuel samples! YUM!

and also like to be #poweredwithbits.
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I often use PocketFuel when I skip lunch to run or workout, and ENERGYbits have been a great source of long-lasting energy during long days and hard runs. ENERGYbits most recently carried me through a taxing 24 hours filled with mommy-duty, working overtime through the night, and leaving straight from work to drive in a kart race, the Mini Corvette Challenge. You can catch that action on my youtube channel – Jenni On The Run.

Thanks to the wonderfuel folks at PocketFuel and ENERGYbits, y’all have a shot at winning samples of both, and, to carry it all in…

I’m adding a lovely pink SpiBelt to the mix!

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You can read my review of PocketFuel here and my review of ENERGYbits can be found here.

Since posting those reviews, I’ve had many more opportunities to use PocketFuel, and I must say – I’m addicted. I fueled solely with PocketFuel during my first marathon and I felt FANTASTIC throughout. I do wish I would’ve had some ENERGYbits with me for that race, though, to bounce back more quickly from soreness. Just as I wish I would’ve had some RECOVERYbits back in February/March to boost my immune system and possibly prevent those tortuous weeks of infirmity. Oh well, what’s done is done. At least I am now well stocked with both ENERGYBits AND RECOVERYbits!

If you’d like to give these wonderfuel products a try, just enter giveaway by visiting the rafflecopter link below! (U.S. residents only!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And when you’re done, come back to hop on over to all the blogs listed at the Linky Tools link below to enter to win more great goodies!

(P.S. Sorry for all of the links, but WordPress doesn’t allow the Javascript that would make it possible to embed the rafflecopter widget and LinkyTools list. Whoever wins this package will be glad they took the time to enter, though. Good luck!)

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Taking the Plunge into Ultras…

Well, not so much of a plunge as it is a baby step. If you didn’t catch it on Instagram or Twitter, yesterday I signed up for my first Ultra! 

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If you haven’t heard of the Bullet Creek50, I highly recommend checking it out. You can visit their website, sign up on Ultrasignup, or find the latest info on Facebook.

There are three distances – half marathon, 50k, and 50 miles. I signed up for the 50k! The swag at this race is unbelievable. .. at the packet pickup they’re giving ALL runners a Camelbak hydration pack, Petzl headlamp,  and Under Armour tech tee!

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Bullet Creek50 swag

With such awesome “goody bags,” the hubster even decided to sign up for his first half marathon!

I signed up for the 50k thinking I just may not be ready for a 50 miler so soon from now (I have about 3.5 months to recover and train), BUT there is NO CUTOFF time, AND if a runner can’t finish the distance they signed up for, they WILL get a belt buckle if they finish one of the shorter distances! So, I’m seriously considering emailing the race director to see if I can pay the extra $20 to upgrade to the 50 miler. If it turns out I’m not fit to finish it, I’m confident I can finish the 50k.

Is giddiness normal after completing a marathon? I’ve been overwhelmingly giddy ALL WEEK LONG. My very soul is sparkling and bubbling, like overflowing champagne! Is it due to the completion of an enormous goal? Is it due to how well I felt during, and after, the run? Maybe getting an awesome deal on my first pair of trail running shoes? (Used my REI dividend to partially pay for them, AND my order qualified for a $20 gift card! That deal is going till April 29 – check it out!)

Or maybe it’s due to the fact that the completion of that goal was not an end unto itself, but rather one big step towards a series of goals. I’m on my way towards making my dreams a reality, and learning that I am so much stronger than I ever believed possible!

What are you learning about yourself as you work towards, and beyond, your goals?

I AM a Marathoner

Well, hello there! It’s been a long time, I know. How long? Oh, let’s see… about a month and a half, maybe a tad longer. You see, between sickness knocking the whole family out for a solid month, work consuming so much of my time, struggling to keep the marathon training going, struggling to maintain that whole “work, family, running” balance, and then, well, Spring singing her siren song, calling me outside, let’s just say I have been uninspired to do any writing lately.

However, there have been recent developments that are most wonderfully noteworthy, and worthy to be chronicled.

First of all….

I DID IT!! I finished a marathon!!!

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Jumping for joy at mile 20!

This past Saturday I finished the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in a chip time of 5:22:50!

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Finishing strong!

And I did it in a tutu!

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So proud to be a Marathoner!

I just LOVE the Kentucky Derby Festival marathon and miniMarathon. I did the “mini” two years ago. Both times to run in the KDF have been a joyous delight. Between the fun expo, the nice goody bags, the “scream teams” and music tents along the course, and the energetic crowds that line the course, how could you not love this great event? The crowd kept me going, kept me pumped up…. well, the crowd and the tutu. Yes, tutus ROCK! They DO give you super powers – because they just make the run twice as much fun. Don’t believe me? Wear one in your next race. I dare you! 😉

FUEL THE FIRE: PocketFuel Review & Giveaway Preview

I had talked myself out of running before I even rolled out of bed. My first alarm went off and I got up just long enough to silence it. Two hours later, my “for real this time, get your butt out of bed” alarm went off. I dragged myself towards the kitchen for a cup of coffee and noticed the sun was shining oddly bright this day. Letting the dogs out to do their business, I was shocked at the absence of cold. Sun? Warmth? What is this voodoo?

As I trudged on into the kitchen and started sipping my coffee, I noticed a package on the counter. I LOVE getting packages in the mail. It always feels like Christmas when I get packages in the mail. It REALLY felt like Christmas when I looked in the box to find a huge hunkin’ handful of PocketFuel! These folks are crazy generous with their sample sizes!

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As I flipped through the packets, looking at the flavors and ingredients, my mouth began to drool. I HAD to test these babies out STAT! Oh yeh, I was going for a run!

Since I was skipping breakfast, for my first trial I went with the most breakfast-y flavor – Banana Blueberry. I didn’t really taste banana OR blueberry. What I did taste was creamy, nutty deliciousness.

It was such a beautiful day I even got baby girl out in the jogging stroller.

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She napped most of the run.

I was scheduled for 6 miles of intervals, but the stroller slowed me down (can someone say FEEL THE BURN! I mean SERIOUSLY – my arms were BURNING a mile in!) especially on the hills. I ended up going a slow 3.24, powering up the hills to try to make up for the decreased distance.

I never felt an energy spike, nor did I ever feel a crash – just a steady flow of energy.

Later that night, at work, instead of being forced to choose between eating or working out, I got to get in a yoga session AND eat some yummy PocketFuel – coconut cherry, this time…

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And this time, I could definitely taste the coconut AND the cherry. Mmmmm mmmmmm good!

On my second day of Christmas, I mean PocketFuel testing, I hit the mother load – CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO. Oh my sweet deliciousness.

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Hello. My name is Jennifer. I’m a coffee addict. I love Starbucks, dark chocolate, and all things espresso. I have been clean for zero days.

Oh yes, I’m sure you guessed it – this is by far my favorite flavor. The only bad thing about this flavor is that I don’t have a one gallon ice cream tub filled with it. Except, well, that’s probably a good thing.

This choco espresso goodness got me through another lunchbreak (that’s actually supper time for most folks) yoga session, and was a nice pick-me-up to get through the rest of the night shift.

I parted ways with Vanilla Haze, gifting it to a co-worker who suffers from Celiac disease. He had never heard of PocketFuel before. I’m happy to report he now likes these little packets of whole food deliciousness much as I do!

For my long run test, I drizzled Chia Goji & Honey over a sliced banana on bread which was a yummy pre-run snack.

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The only thing I didn’t like during my run is that I had to carry a sandwich bag to put my packet in once I emptied it – to keep my pocket clean. This is an issue with gels, too. PocketFuel actually makes reusable pouches, though, eliminating the issue altogether.

Long story short, PocketFuel is a wonderfuel whole food product that has many applications for my (and I’m sure your) life. Whether I’m trying to squeeze too much into one day or cranking out a long run, I don’t have to sacrifice my taste buds or my nutritional well-being on the altar of time. PocketFuel is the rocket in my pocket that keeps me in orbit! 🙂

In addition to providing me with these tasty samples to review here, the awesome folks at PocketFuel have also offered to provide samples for one lucky reader in an upcoming giveaway. Its coming very soon, so stay tuned for a wonderfuel giveaway!

The Long Run, Week 10: Any Which Way But Loose

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As you can see, my long run didn’t go as originally planned… and even the new plan was continuously edited. Between working too much overtime, having a sick baby AND a sick husband (and now am sick again, myself), there was just no way I could dedicate a solid chunk of time to the 16 mile long run that my training plan was calling for. I just didn’t have that sort of time available. What I did have were several short blocks of time. So, I got my run in however, whatever, whenever, wherever possible.

Ultimately that meant three runs during my three breaks at work, and one run, at home, after work. I didn’t get to eat as much as I would’ve liked but I did get to scarf down enough to keep me going.

I PR’d three times – actually probably not a good thing for what was supposed to be a long, easy run, but that is what it took to get the mileage in during my allotted time for breaks. I paid the price for those PRs in three days of IT pain. My legs were tired Sunday and dead Monday.

I wanted to push for a total of 18 miles, but between time constraints and feeling flu-ish, it wasn’t looking like a likely scenario. When I found myself surrounded by singing coyotes with nary a house (safety) around, I turned back early and did my best to keep my fear at bay as I jogged towards home. Considering how my legs felt in the days following, I’ll consider it a good thing I decided to stick to the training plan’s distance instead.

Regardless of not meeting my desired distance goal, I’m proud of powering through a difficult situation and getting my run(s) in. Have you ever faced a situation where you had to break your long run up into smaller runs? Did you feel like it was physically harder than one single long run?

The Long Run That Didn’t Happen: A Bye Week

So last week ended up being pretty much a total bust. We were all sick, out of it, and, to add insult to injury, the weather was G – O – R – G – E – O – U – S.

I can’t remember the last time I was sick. I also can’t remember the last time we had sunny, warm, break-out-the-shorts-and-blind-everybody-with-my-pale-as-a-Cullen-legs weather. To have nearly a solid week of both at the same time was enough to make me absolutely miserable.

Though the week ended with a hacking wheeze, I’m thankful I at least kicked it off with a good start. Since I had pretty much settled into my new work routine, I instituted “Mommy-Daughter Monday.” Normally, during the workweek, since we work opposite shifts and I go to sleep a mere three hours before her usual time to awake, Mr. Incredible drops Baby Girl off at his parents’ house on his way to work. Mondays, however, are easy for me to wake up early since I’m able to go to bed at a decent hour the night before.

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So, this past week, for our first “Mommy-Daughter Monday,” I took Baby Girl to Toys ‘R Us and got her a playpen and foam mat. She has recently gotten VERY mobile and hard to contain! She’s liking her new play space, but I have a feeling we’ll need to expand it before long – she likes to be on the go!

Tuesday, the beautiful, warm weather arrived. Thankfully, I did get a run in this day, despite being sick. Baby Girl was feeling good, and it was warm enough for her, so I left the house with the jogging stroller, picked her up along the way, and got her out for about 4.5 miles of my nearly 6 mile run. I think she pretty much napped the whole way.

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It was all downhill from there. That night, I left work an hour early. I called in sick the next day. I would have done so again the next day, but don’t want to use all of my sick days so early in the year. I just loaded up with DayQuil and Pepto and prayed for the best.

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Friday came and went and I don’t even remember it. Saturday… sweet Saturday. By then I was finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I really wanted to get out for a run, and it was nice enough for Baby Girl to go with me… Awwww, but I didn’t go. Mr. Incredible wasn’t making such an incredible recovery, so I stayed in to hang with him.

I thought I would get all my household stuff handled on the weekend, and possibly start afresh Monday (if the weather were nice enough for Baby Girl, being that Monday is our day now). Even that plan had a monkey wrench thrown in it when I could not for the life of me go to sleep. The house got clean and I got exhausted. I ended up crashing after Church and lunch. Thankfully I slept that night and was able to have a great Mommy-Daughter Monday. It was too chilly for her to go out for a run, but part of it was spent grocery shopping. Who needs P90x when you’ve got a squirming 20 lb baby strapped to your chest while you squat, lunge and contort yourself through two hours grocery shopping?

So, tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday are looking to be good running days. The weather will be a tad on the chilly side, but nice for solo runs. My health has been regained. The rest did my body good – my foot feels fine again.

Do I feel bad about missing out on training? It would have been nice to enjoy another fair-weather run, but… feel bad about missing out on training? No. Not at all. I actually started my training plan a week early, so I was already trying to decide how to adjust it. A bye week just gave me the rest I needed, time with the family that we all needed, and got my training schedule back on track. Now, let’s see if I can keep it on track! 🙂

How about you? Did last week treat you well? How is this week shaping up? How is training going?

The Long Run, Week 8: Say Hello To My Little Friend

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Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb.

Source: Mayo Clinic

My little friend’s name is Neuroma. Morton’s Neuroma. And he can be a big pain sometimes.

Take this past Saturday for example. After WEEKS of zero pain, Mr. Morton inexplicably decided to remind me of his existence. It started with some soreness on the ball of my foot Thursday, leaving me limping in to work. I tried switching insoles, then took all of the insoles out. The relief was minor. By the time I set out on my long run Saturday, I was prepared for three hours of torture.

Surprisingly, my foot hurt more when walking than running. As a matter of fact, the pain completely subsided for much of the run. Now, AFTER the run was a different story. After 15 miles of pounding the pavement, I had a red sore spot on the topside of my foot… and could barely put weight on it. THAT may have been more from my dropped metatarsals/hammer toes/lack of padding on underside more so than the neuroma, though. I have a veritable cornucopia of foot problems, apparently.

If you would have asked me 6 months ago, all I would have been able to tell you about my foot pain is that I had a very odd callous and a bunion. The first doctor I went to a few years ago basically scoffed at me when I explained I wanted my nearly life-long foot pain checked into since I was making it a goal to run a marathon. After a quick glance at it, he told me I needed to file the callous and nothing could be done for the bunion until it causes unbearable pain.

THANKS. For nothing.

I am so grateful I ended up finding a doctor who, WONDER OF WONDERS, actually took an x-ray! What?! What voodoo magic is this “x-ray” you speak of?

So, my new doctor discovered my little friend, Morton, and his “running” buddies (har har) – Hammertoez, DroppedT, NoPHAT, Buni, and Arthur (that’s my little pet names for what collectively adds up to what I like to call… My Funky Foot).

For the confused, that’s Hammer Toes, dropped metatarsals, no fat to pad my foot, bunion, and arthritis. 😉

So, that made for seven of us out there running. I’m not one for social runs… I’m more of the quiet loner. Naproxen usually keeps my annoying little friends at bay, but doesn’t seem to be doing the trick at the moment. I’m thinking I may need to go back to the doc for another round of shots so I can leave Morton and The Funky Five in the dust.

How about you? Do you live and run with foot issues? What do you do to manage it? Have you ever had a doctor scoff at your running goals?

FUEL THE FIRE: Cedars Frostbite Race Recap & EnergyBits Review

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This week’s scheduled 14 mile long run coincided with The Cedars Frostbite Half Marathon, an insanely inexpensive and fairly local-to-me race that runs through the Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, TN.

For this race, I fueled SOLELY with EnergyBits, which is 100% pure organic spirulina algae. These one-ingredient bits of real food contain the highest concentration of protein in the world, over 40 nutrients, and have nearly twice the antioxidants of goji berries. EnergyBits meets FDA regulations (I tried to do some fact checking on the consumer-unfriendly FDA website, but gave up after two hours of searching only produced a non-comprehensive database (that may or may not have even been what I was really looking for) that I couldn’t access because the .xls spreadsheet had “too many cells” for my iPad to handle). Anyhow, moving on…

EnergyBits algae is grown organically in fresh water tanks. I was impressed by what NASA has to say about algae: “1 kg of algae has the nutritional value of 1,000 kg of fruits and vegetables.” Apparently astronauts and Olympians have been eating algae for decades. And here I just thought it was a hippy thing!

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Honestly, I probably never would’ve tried EnergyBits if not for their wonderful Brand Manager, Jonathan, reaching out and offering a free sample. I normally use gels for fuel, and I was fairly content with them… except for the sticky mess they make when I put the empty packets in my pocket. When Jonathan reached out and I started learning about EnergyBits, I became excited at the idea of an organic, real food alternative. And…. well, I struggle with eating enough fruits and veggies, so this could really help me in that department, too.

THE GOOD

Yes, I’ve already stated lots of good, but here we go with some good I personally experienced in my own little trials. Originally, I planned to test EnergyBits on a short run, and then my race. but then…

Life happened.

Sometimes it sucks when “life happens” and sometimes something great happens. This time, something great happened. My first trial ended up being 13.1 miles on the treadmill early in the morning before working my 7 am shift. I took 20 bits just minutes before running… and I forgot all other forms of backup fuel in my locker downstairs. I was not about to quit my run to go get any gels, so I decided that this would be a truly good test.

I never felt an energy spike. I never felt an energy crash, or lull of any kind. Throughout the entire run, powered by only 20 bits at the start, I felt like a well-oiled machine. Just a steady energy flow. My knee gave out before my energy did!

So, I felt extremely confident in my choice of fuel leading up to the Cedars Frostbite Half Marathon…

It is one of the last stops on the Tennessee Running Tour race schedule, and all of the races on their calendar have the same fee – $20 with a tech tee, or $8 without. I sprang the extra $12 for the tee, and ordered mine 2 sizes larger than usual. I’m glad I did, because it is perfectly oversized, soft and supremely comfortable. I’m wearing it now as I lounge around, icing my ankle and typing this.

Another good point, for me, was the small crowd. I don’t know how many runners there actually were, but it was a small pack of runners from my view. I was near the back of the pack at the start, and you see how close I was to the starting line.

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This was nice as it allowed us to really thin out on into the race. Not being stuck in the midst of a crowd allowed for greater enjoyment of the forest, and running in general.

I absolutely loved that, just past the first aid station, not quite 4 miles in, we turned onto a dirt/limestone/gravel/mud road that made for a much nicer trail than road.

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We stayed on that for a few miles and I had fun squishing along and jumping mud puddles.

The feeling of being off the pavement did wonders for my legs and put a smile on my face. My right ankle had been stiff and sore (the reason I’m icing it now) causing my left hip to hurt for all the compensating it was doing. Leaping, hopping, and just enjoying the mud seemed to ease the pain and was refreshing.

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At mile 6 I took my second helping of EnergyBits. I had swallowed 20 or so little discs of algae without chewing about 20 minutes before starting the race. I knew an aid station was coming up after the 6.5 mile marker, so I decided to experiment… and chew my bits.

THE BAD

First, the bad with the race… Nothing much to report here, except for only two things.

1. When I entered online I forgot to change the year on my birthdate on the electronic form. I caught the error on my confirmation email (it had my birth year as 2014). I immediately emailed the contact listed on the Cedars Frostbite website, notifying them of the issue. I received a reply that my birth year would be updated in their files. Last night, I saw an email from a different person with Cedars Frostbite, asking for my age. I emailed back, but today, when I went to check results on the board, I was listed as “unknown” for the age groups. Honestly, it didn’t matter on this day, as my time would’ve put me in the 20th spot in my age group, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future – DOUBLE CHECK ALL FORM FIELDS BEFORE CLICKING THE SUBMIT BUTTON!

2. They ran out of pizza. Huge bummer. I actually got to the counter just in time for the last slice. I felt bad for all the runners still coming in. There were some cookies, oranges and lots of bananas still left, but nothing beats pizza after a long run like that. It’s so good, we stopped on the way home and got a couple for supper!

Now, then, I’ll address the only bad thing I found about EnergyBits – the annoying rattle of the bits inside their tin. I noticed a few looks from other runners as I rattled along, but I just acted oblivious. About 2 miles in, my head was sweating, so I pulled my beanie off and stuffed it in my pocket (so now you know why it looks like my belly is pooched out in that photo above!). That nicely muffled the noise. On my next run with EnergyBits I will try putting cotton balls in the tin to keep the bits still and silenced.

THE UGLY

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Picking them out of my tin left my fingers covered in green, but that wasn’t really that bad. I just wiped them on my jacket – it’s getting washed after this run anyhow. I had been warned about the taste. Some say EnergyBits taste very GREEN, others call it earthy. I’d agree with earthy. It’s really not bad. The really ugly part was my teeth!

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So, THIS is why I say “It’s ok to swallow!”

As I chewed, they seemed to grow in my mouth, becoming a big wad of cow cud that stuck in my teeth, coated my mouth and made my lips green. (Hmmmm, sounds great for a Shamrock Shuffle!) I was picking at my teeth for the next 3 miles, trying to clear them out and get every bit of nutritious goodness into my belly where it could do some good. By the time I finished the race, my teeth were mostly clear of all the algae, but my tongue was still green!

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SUMMING IT UP

Coming in at 2:18:08, I finished the run in the 2:15 – 2:20 time range I had HOPED for. My 13.1 treadmill run two weeks ago took me 2:25:00, and that was with my knee acting up in the final mile, causing me to mix in some walking. I didn’t know how many hills this course would have and how big they would be or how they would affect me… or how my knee would behave. My knee was fine throughout the run, thankfully. This time it was my ankle and hips, but I pushed through. The hills weren’t bad at all – nothing like the ones I train on. I did walk some on the hills, though, trying to find relief for my ankle.

All my little personal pains aside, this is definitely a race I would do again. It had a friendly, laid-back atmosphere and was family-friendly. There was a big playground near the start/finish, so I know in the future baby girl could be having fun with that while I run. There are also lots of trails to explore. On this day, Mr. Incredible enjoyed about 5 miles of the hiking trails while I ran. It really meant a lot to me that we both got to enjoy the great outdoors.

As for the EnergyBits, I’m sold on them. Once again, I experienced a steady energy flow and never felt like I needed something extra. On my treadmill run, I was absolutely starving afterwards and INHALED my breakfast. This time, though, the second portion of bits sustained me even after the run. I took my time stretching, I ambled over to the results printouts, I shuffled through the crowd to get a plate of food… all without feeling hungry, much less starving like before. Hunger came a little later, but by then I had my pizza in hand… and a bagel with peanut butter… and a banana… and a peanut butter Clif bar… and later a few more slices of pizza at home. Hmmmm, maybe next time I should eat a few more EnergyBits post-run and see if that helps the pizza craving?

STAY TUNED

I know as I increase my distance to the marathon, and onwards to my plans of running Ultras, I’ll need more calories to fuel my run. So, I’m experimenting as I go, and I’ll share with you what I find as I test more products. Hopefully, I’ll find some more companies as generous as EnergyBits so that I can share more than just words of experience. So, keep your eyes peeled for more to come in the FUEL THE FIRE series!

And, stay tuned for a FUEL THE FIRE giveaway in March! I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers for a Blog Hop Giveaway in March, and I’m putting together some goodies for you so that you can FUEL THE FIRE in you! If you want to give EnergyBits a try, then this is a giveaway you will want to enter as the friendly EnergyBits team has offered a sample to include in the prize package. If you’d like to know more about EnergyBits, visit their website at www.energybits.com.

So, tell me, did you run this weekend? How did you FUEL THE FIRE?

Fantastic Friday: 10 Things I Love About Winter

Ten things I love about Winter …because sometimes I need a reminder.

10. Soft, fuzzy socks & pj’s

9. Curling up in a ball under a warm heavy blanket on the couch

8. Soups & chili – The ultimate Winter comfort food. Sure you can eat ’em during Summer, but who wants to?

7. I love when I look out the window and see a big, fat Cardinal perched on a branch. Amidst the dreary landscape, that bright pop of color just livens up the moment.

6. The warmth from a steaming hot cup of coffee in my hands (even better if it’s Starbucks…. Even greater still is if I’m in Seattle at Starbucks). This is something I enjoy year-round, but the pleasure is heightened during the cold of Winter.

5. Wearing layers. I don’t get to dress up often, but when I do it’s fun to play with layers. Summer is too hot to really get to do this, unless I want to pass out from a heat stroke. While Spring & Fall allow for layers, it still tends to be a bit warm for it. Winter, however, is perfect for it!

4. Winter is the time for feasting. From Holiday parties to simply warming the house while baking goodies for family and friends, Winter is the time to eat, drink, and be merry!

3. Snow. We don’t get much of it, so it really is a novelty that I can’t get enough of. A few weeks ago, I went on an EARLY morning 4 mile run before work and my little world was covered in snow and ice, sparkling like diamonds under a full moon. It was absolutely enchanting.

2.FIRE. I LOVE FIRE. There is nothing more comforting than cozying up to a crackling fire on a cold day.

1. It’s so much easier for me to run in the cold. I want to stay warm, so…. I RUN. Training is easier for me to stick to when I know I can run at anytime day or night since I don’t have heat advisories to work around. This is why I scheduled my first marathon for Spring – I set myself up for success, knowing I would stick to my training plan through Winter.

So, there you have it – a few of my favorite things about Winter. What do you love most about Winter?

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