Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Disclaimer: I received an Justin's 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!
Emir and I have long enjoyed te deliciousness of Justin's before they partnered with Bibrave to send us Pros some goodies to try.   Don't get me wrong we enjoy our beers and the occasional splurging when we go out to eat, but in our every day eating, we are trying to be smart and healthy.  It's this quest that led us to Justin's.  A nutty spread is especially necessary in a house with kids but just as necessary in a house of ultra runners.  We often fuel up before a long run with a nutty sandwich.  It packs the calories and protein we need to give us that energy for our runs.  We ended up switching from some other nutty spreads to Justin's because of the all natural ingredients, we know it's a healthier product in general.  It also doesn't hurt that the taste is outstanding. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

a marathon mom 2014

Since I've been laying around dying from the flu for the past week, I've had a lot of time to reflect on my 2014.  Yes a lot of it has been feeling sorry for myself that I haven't run this whole week and being jealous every time Emir laced up his running shoes but there were times I laid there thinking about how grateful I am that most of the time I am able to do what I love, run.  And in 2014 I was able to do that ALOT.  I ran 2360 miles which is by far the most I've ever done in a year. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Nice Stroll through Philly

It's December.  It's getting colder, gets dark way too early and we have seen some snowflakes already.  What does all this mean?  It means it's the time of year when a bunch of runners gather in philly to run the exact route of Rocky Balboa in Rocky II.  Yes, the Rocky 50K!

This year was the second annual event.  Long story short, our friend Rebecca created this event after an article was published that stated Rocky actually ran 31 miles in Rocky II if you piece it all together.  As ultra runners, there's no way we could read something like that and not insist on running it!  You can read the full story in my post from last year the inaugural event.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Merry Christmas from Marathonmom!!

This whole running thing has turned into so much more than me going for runs.  It's been truly awesome.  By far the part that has been the best, most inspiring and just amazing is the running community.  I just don't even have the right words to express how grateful I have been to have you all in my running life.  And I mean everyone including my FB running groups, twitter running chat friends, instagram and of course my blog readers.  To show my gratitude I wanted to host a little giveaway for a Christmas gift for my running friends.  BioSkin has graciously given me a $20 gift card that can be used for any of their products which I am going to give away to one of you via rafflecopter. 

Hurts So Good--Addaday Pro Roller

Disclaimer: I received an Addaday Pro Roller 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!

Obviously as a runner, a marathoner and ultrarunner, I have a roller.  I actually have a foam roller and a stick.  They seem to get the job done.  I curse them while I'm rolling but am usually happy later that I did it.  But once I received the Addaday roller, it was a whole new ballgame. 

I chose to go with the Pro model since it had 3 different types of gears.  I figured 3 were better than 1 type.  There's two gray medium firmness gears, 1 red precision gear and 2 white soft gears.  According to the website Addaday rollers are "great for deep tissue massage, designed to massage like fingers and easy to clean"

I agree with their description completely.  The shape of the gears really dig deep into your muscles much more so than a regular massage stick.  I could definitely feel the difference when I was using it to help me recover from the Philly Marathon.  I also liked having several different options of types of intensity.  I had some extra sore spots that weren't ready for the extra deep so I used the white gears and then other spots really needed the intense massage so I used the gray gears.  And my favorite feature is definitely the little red precision gear.  I have had shin splint problems since the day I started running.  I've never been able to find something that could really dig into those little shin muscles and give me some relief in that area.  That little guy gets in there perfectly, seriously it makes me so happy.  The little things ;-)

I've also never had a stick/roller that I felt I could use on my neck, shoulders and back.  The gears on the Addaday Pro can really get in those nooks and crannies to work out those knots so now I don't have to beg Emir to give me massages all the time. 

And finally, I've found that the shape of the gears are really good on the bottoms of my feet.  Lately I've been having some achiness, I'm sure some form of plantar fasciitis.  Rolling my feet on a flat stick just really doesn't do it.  The curves of the gears really dig in there.

sometimes I just like to hang with my new friend ;-)

There's really not much else I can say.  The Addaday Pro roller is literally great for ANY part of the body and the unique shapes of the gears are perfect for digging deep into your muscles.  I LOVE IT!

Disclaimer: This product has been provided to me free of charge as a Bibrave Pro with no obligation of positive review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Here's links to the other Bibrave Pro Reviews:

Jane - http://www.runthejungle.com/2014/11/addaday-pro-review.html
Angie - http://wp.me/p3CgRX-OW

Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 Philly Marathon--BQ or bust!

I had been preparing/waiting for the Philly Marathon for what felt like forever and now it's already come and gone in a blink of an eye.  I liken it to a wedding day.  So much anticipation, excitement, nervousness about everything going perfect and then it's over so fast.  Then you enter the post wedding depression where you can't believe it's already over and you wish it wasn't, you wanted it to last forever.  The good news for me is that unlike a wedding, I will get to run a marathon again.  I mean at least I don't think I'll have another wedding ;-) 

There's a lot I want to say but I don't want to bore everyone to tears so I will try to keep it somewhat concise.  If you follow my running, you know that Philly Marathon was my "A" race of the fall season.  And actually I've literally been waiting for this race since the end of March when Emir and I signed up.  After running a 3:49 at OD marathon and a discussion with Coach Caleb, I felt that it was not unreasonable to go for a BQ.  That's almost 8 months of waiting!  No wonder I was a mess the couple of weeks leading up to the race.  So much training, hard work and dreaming of that BQ had built up this race so much.  Don't get me wrong, there were LOTs of great racing in between but this, it was just different, it just felt so big. 

Also, adding to my excitement was that a couple of months ago, my sister Cindy had asked me my thoughts about her trying to run.  Cindy actually has been a runner many more years than me as she started in college while on the swim team and continued after.  She is an experienced triathlete and has run a number of half marathons but never a full.  I was beyond excited that she was considering it.  And in the end she decided to go for it and make the Philly Marathon her first full marathon. 

I couldn't have been happier not only that Cindy was running but that I was a part of her big day!

The weather had decided to cooperate and the forecast went from polar vortex to race day temps in the 40s maybe into the 50s.  I mean cold is fine but then I would have had to worry about layers including a layer that I might have to just discard.  Just makes it more complicated for me.  Anyway my plan was to wear my singlet with arm sleeves however I have had chafage problems with the sleeves that I had.  I mean actually they are more arm warmers and they even tore up my arms recently at the Runner's World Half so I wasn't too sure what to do.  Come Saturday, the day before the race, we dropped the kids off at my parents' house (can't say enough how awesome and supportive they are!) and headed down to Cindy's house (I've mentioned before she lives about a 5-10 minute walk from the Art Museum where most Philly running events take place).  The three of us headed to the expo.  I was shocked since we didn't get there until 3-4 in the afternoon that it was packed!  Last year we went Friday night and it was much less crowded.  Despite the crowd, it didn't take long to get our race stuff.  After that I was browsing some Philly Marathon gear and behold I found Zensah arm sleeves!  They were compression arm sleeves rather than arm warmers so I was thinking that the moisture wicking material might not cause chafing.  And they were neon pink, the same color as my Zensah ultra calf sleeves that I had tested, loved and was planning on wearing for the race so clearly it was a sign I needed to purchase these for the race.  We all browsed a bit and then headed home. 

Zensah Arm Sleeves--were great! No major chafage to report!

standard expo pic
Somehow I did fall asleep.  I did wake up once or twice but was able to go back to sleep.  When my alarm went off at 5, I was jittery and full of energy, totally ready to go.  Why can't I feel like that everyday?!?! 
Feeling ready
I won't bore you with our race morning rituals but I will say that I went potty at Cindy's house but when we got to the starting area, I felt like I had to go again.  We hopped in a line for a porta potty with about 20-25 minutes before the start. 

potty line selfie!
Next thing I knew there was 10 minutes to race time and it didn't seem like there was anyway I would make it to the front of the line before the start.  I was also panicking because I really wanted to run with the 3:35 pace group.  My BQ time is 3:40 however there was no 3:40 group.  After speaking to Coach Caleb he agreed I should hang with the 3:35 group and see how I feel.  Adding to my panic was that in the days leading up to the race, I found out I had a #teamwickedbonkproof teammate running the marathon.  Cara and I connected through our team FB group and then we started conversing about the race on our own.  Caleb gave Cara the go ahead to run with me and see how it goes.  Cara too was trying to BQ however I think her time needed to be 3:45.  Needless to say, I was thrilled!  Not only was I going to get to meet one of my teammates but run the race together.  It was very comforting.  Emir was planning on starting with me as well but neither one of us had any idea what this marathon would be like for him.  He hadn't run a full for a whole year.  Last year was not a good marathon year for him due to injury but he did really well at Runner's World in the half so who knows.  Anyway my urgent need to find the pace group and Cara made me get out of line, which definitely came back to haunt me later.  After the race, once I was back in a normal state of mind, I remembered that last year even though the race started at 7, the regular corrals started after that.  And it was true, my start time was 7:10.  I probably would have been fine if I just stayed in line.  I'm sure I will forget that again next year ;-)

Anyway I found the pacer and then I found Cara!  I was happy.  It wasn't long after that we started.  I don't know if it was that we started in the second corral this year (last year we just jumped into the first one) or I just don't remember clearly from last year but the first 5-6 miles were a CLUSTER!  I felt like I was fighting the crowd that whole time.  I was constantly weaving in/out, having to slow down, speed up, avoid getting whacked.  All of this not only was probably using more of my energy than necessary but also making it kind of difficult to stay with the pacer.  I totally support ANYONE that wants to run a marathon, I think it's amazing and awesome but seriously people can you start in the appropriate corrals?!?!  I never want to impede on anyone's race which is why I don't like to be in a corral that is too fast for me, I don't want to be in anyone's way.  It was very clear that there were a lot of people who should not have been where they were.  I mean come on, how can you start in the first corral and be walking in the first mile?!  It also doesn't help that the Philly course is fairly narrow in those first miles until you get to the Fairmount Park area where it starts to open up and that all the half marathoners are running with the full people.  I think it's just too many people at the same time.   So, I was a bit frustrated by the time we got to mile 7 but good news was I was still on pace.

I was still running with Cara but Emir had disappeared (I learned later that he stopped to pee in the first few miles).  The pacer wasn't too far in front of us.  We were coming upon the section of the course with some hills.  I felt good tackling the hills.  I definitely slowed a bit on the inclines but then picked it back up.  Once they were over about mile 10-11, we were a bit behind the pacer but I felt great that I conquered the hilly parts and didn't feel that it took too much out of me.  Next is my least favorite part, running by the art museum but only being half done.  All the half marathoners go zooming by to finish their race and we head out on our 13.1 out and back along Kelly Drive.   Cara seemed to be enjoying this section.  Reflecting on it, I think Emir and I take for granted how beautiful the city is along this stretch.  For us it's a common training route and it's also the quietest part of the race.  It's really pretty much impossible for spectators to get to this part which I don't really mind the quiet part but in past races I really didn't appreciate the beauty of it.  Cara who is not from the Philly area kept saying "this is so nice, beautiful!"  And you know what?  She's right! 

Falls Bridge--that's Cara right behind me in the teal visor

working hard

As we went along Kelly Drive, Cara and I kind of would go back and forth as to she would be in front then me.  I actually really thought around miles 15-16 she was pulling away from me and that I might be starting to loose steam.  I kept calm.  I had been drinking my Tailwind from my handheld throughout the race and taking plain water as needed at aid stations now I was feeling like I just needed more.  I think I probably could solve this problem by making my Tailwind more potent but I just can't down it when it's super concentrated.  So I've found that sipping my Tailwind throughout the race and taking the occasional gel really works well for me.  And that's what I did.  The timing was perfect as I knew miles 18-21 are HARD.  Those are the most fun as they go through Main street Manyunk which is a HUGE party on marathon day including beer if you want one but there are hills and at that stage of a marathon it can really destroy you.  Unfortunately I had lost Cara on the short turnaround on MLK drive.  I saw her coming down as I was headed back but that was the last I saw of her.  I was feeling bummed about it but I needed to keep pushing to make my goal.  It was also at this part that I saw Emir.  He was only a couple of minutes behind me and looked great, I was really happy about that. 

I decided not to indulge in a Manyunk beer this year as I was on a serious mission.  I've done it my first two Philly Marathons and it didn't seem to matter but this year was different.  How upset would I be if I took a beer and then missed my time because of stomach issues or something like that?!  Not to mention, at this point my bladder was bothering me a bit.  I mean not surprising as I felt like I had to pee before the race even started and all I had been doing was drinking Tailwind and water for the last 18 miles.  Ugh.  Anyway I did the best I could through this section.  I could feel my quads starting to become slightly unhappy on the hills and overall that running was becoming more of a struggle.  By the time I got out of Manyunk I knew I definitely wasn't going to be making it near 3:35 and honestly didn't know what I was going to finish.  I headed back down Kelly Drive for the last 5 miles.  I felt like I was putting in incredible effort but yet my pace wasn't getting any faster.  As the miles ticked off I would check my watch and it just kept getting more and more off pace.  I had the 3:35 bracelet on so I knew those splits but it was way too much math for me to figure out what I needed the splits to be to beat the 3:40 I needed.  The last 3 miles especially were SO HARD.  I just kept trying to put so much effort into it but my body was rejecting me.  I started cramping in my stomach which I actually think was related to having a full bladder in addition to some gas building up.

The thing that really kept me going was well that I REALLY wanted this but also the crowds.  As I got closer to the art museum area, there were just tons and tons of people.  They were screaming for us runners and most of the time by name as we have them on our bibs.  In my head I was saying "you have to do this, you don't want these people to think you suck!"  And I'm not exaggerating when I say the last mile was HELL.  Based on my "I'm on the last mile of a marathon" math, I still couldn't figure out if I was going to be under 3:40 but I knew it was going to be close.  I really tried to kick it into high gear.  I mean what the hell it's the last mile.  I could tell I actually was running faster but it was so hard and taking so much effort.  Literally about .5-.6 miles into it, my head started pounding, I felt lightheaded and nauseous.  My body couldn't handle it.  I backed off a bit but in doing so I was convinced that I was not going to BQ.  I felt like I was barely moving any more.  I passed the 26 mile marker and looked down and my watch said 3:39, I mean I think it did.  And I was like that's it, I didn't do it.  Those .2 felt like forever and like I was barely moving.  I hit my watch as I crossed the line and I could not believe it, 3:39.43.  And I said it with no emotion as literally I had no strength to be happy at that moment. 
face says it all.  Couldn't hide my feelings

Able to smile for a second once I realized I got my BQ
I got my medal and some water.  Then Emir appeared!  I was so happy but my stomach was really hurting.  He finished less than a minute after me, a 26 minute PR for him, amazing!

After a bit and ahem releasing some pressure, I started feeling better.  We made our way to the food and what, soft pretzels?!?!  Thank you Philly Marathon!!!  Finally, a Philly race does the right thing and has Philly pretzels after the race.  Those babies never tasted so good! 

oh yeah!
Then we found a spot to wait for Cindy.  I checked the runner tracking on my phone and saw her pace was really good at her last check point.  She had started in a corral that started 20 minutes or so after the start.  Cindy was hoping for lower than 4:40 for her first race.  I personally thought she could run faster but she does have issues with both her knees.  Next thing I knew she was calling me.  She had finished in 4:07!  All of the sudden I just was feeling overwhelmed.  Cindy had done amazing in her first race and said she would do it again!  Emir had finally had a great road marathon, the kind of race he really deserved with all the hard work he puts in.  And me, finally all of the sudden I realized "holy crap, I just dropped another 10 minutes off my time and I got a BQ!!!" 
PRs for all!
What a great weekend I had with Emir and Cindy.  We really enjoyed some nice time without the kids, you know actually getting to talk without being interrupted every 5 seconds and of course all had a great race.  I'm also so grateful I got to meet and run with my teammate Cara.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I LOVE being a part of #teamwickedbonkproof and times like this make me love it even more.  And FYI Cara got her own sub 4 PR!  Not the BQ she was hoping for but still a GREAT day for her.  I'm looking forward to running more races with her in the future!

celebration time
I really wouldn't change much about this race.  One thing I would have done is just stay in line for the potty as I do think that did cause me some discomfort in the last miles.  I can't change the logistics of the race, so I really couldn't have changed how much bobbing and weaving I did in the early miles which might have cost me some precious energy.  While I definitely had a faster first half, I don't feel that I went out too fast.  I felt comfortable the whole time.  After doing Philly several times now, I feel like the course is one that is most times going to be a faster first half.  Having to run through Manyunk miles 18-21 just really make it hard to negative split.  What I was feeling at the end was just me putting a full effort into this race. I felt awful at the time and for a little bit after I finished (like 15-20 minutes) but I'm not left feeling "could I have done any better?"  You know what I'm talking about.  Those races where you do your best time but then don't feel trashed at the end which then you start thinking "maybe I didn't run as hard as I could"  And you might wonder why would I even contemplate this since I got a huge PR and a BQ?  Well it's hard not to when despite achieving the BQ time, I know that I probably won't actually get into Boston with that time.  More than likely I need to run about a minute faster.  So while so happy with my performance, it left me feeling a little disappointed.  But reflecting back on everything, I am confident I gave it all I had and did the best I could.  All this means is I get to run another marathon in the spring to take a little more time off so that I DO get to run Boston 2016.  I mean I really can't feel bad when I've taken 16 minutes off my marathon time this year! 

As for my post marathon depression, it will be short lived as the Rocky 50K is this Saturday!!!!! 

PS I would like to plug my upcoming interview with UR sportswear.  It will be live on Youtube Thursday 6pm EST.  You can find it here

And now enjoy our post race photoshoot ;-) :