Product Review: BUFF Pack Run Cap

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

I’m not the biggest fan of wearing hats while running and typically prefer BUFF’s other headwear options. The reason why: it never fails that while wearing a hat, like a trucker hat, sweat manages to drip down into my eyes and down my face. Not a fan of that at all, so I avoid wearing hats. I’m starting with this point because the Pack Run Cap NEVER allowed any sweat into my face on the days I wore it running and there were some incredibly humid and nasty hot days I that I chose to wear it. How does it do this? It has a reliable and low profile sweatband wrapped around the inner part that does its job and then some.

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Now, you might think if the cap is absorbing all that sweat then it must be getting damp, heavy and not pleasant to wear anymore. Not so! I’ve never had a hat breathe as well as the Pack Run Cap when I know I’ve been sweating in sweltering heat and it remains light as can be. Again, how? Fastwick fabric side panels wick the moisture away and your head can breathe.

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These two features have impressed me the most with the BUFF Pack Run Cap but they’re obviously not the only features of this cap. The upper panel provides up to 98% protection from UV rays. There is an elastic cord at the back for a surprisingly secure fit that never loosened while running outdoors. It also has a reflective tab on the back and reflective logo on the front that adds low-light visibility.

My experience using the BUFF Pack Run Cap was a positive one. I have to say that since I am anti-hat for the most part. For me, it was just so lightweight and it was as if I didn’t even have something on my head. That’s how light it really is! I loved that it was easy to fold up and simply slide into my pocket if necessary. I liked that the material was soft and had 4-way stretch ability so it didn’t tighten too much on one side over another.

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Now, if you don’t like the color of mine, BUFF has other options for you to peruse through. Also, if a full cap is not your cup of tea, they had the same material in a visor too. You can’t lose with the Pack Run Cap. Whether you like it hats or not, this is a nice option! Bonus, if you want 15% off your BUFF purchase, simply go to https://buffusa.com/bibrave and sign up for the BUFF newsletter and, boom, a discount for you! I highly recommend this product!

Any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a note below!

And, as always, happy running!

Race Review: Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

What a race, what an event and what a city! OK, I knew the city was badass already before the race but this was my first visit to Las Vegas that wasn’t just for gambling and drinking. This had purpose and, therefore, I needed to behave and not get too involved with the excess that is Vegas. This is a race I’ve been excited to do for a while; a destination race that had been on my bucket list. And it did not disappoint! Running down the Strip with various bands playing all types of music from rock n roll to old Vegas crooners to Elvis classics, all with the bright neon lights brightening up the course was simply magical. The crowds on the Strip were lively with their cheers and the starting line was electric as each wave was released onto the course with a giant fire display pulsing up from the start line overhang.

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EXPO QUALITY: The expo was easy to get to; just had to jump on the monorail and it dropped you off right by the Las Vegas Convention Center. I went on Friday afternoon and there was no line to get my bib so that was really quick. After that, I perused several rows of race merchandise and Brooks shoes too. Bought the special race designed Brooks Launch and a pair of the new Adrenaline GTS 20s since they were 15% off; couldn’t pass that up! I also grabbed a couple of other items in the merchandise area before heading out to the vendors. I need to make a racing list from this point forward as I realized at the expo I had forgotten a couple of items at home, so a new running belt for storage was needed as well as some fuel for the race. The forgetting of the fuel was more frustrating than anything since I had just restocked at home, but, oh well. Lots of vendors to go through, from Honey Stinger to Geico to Knockaround to many others. Lots of photo options as well in front of signs such as #StripatNight and Vegas Strong.

T-shirts/SWAG: A fun race shirt that was made to match whatever distance you were running for the race. The medal for the race was also pretty cool with a Strip design and at the top a spinning wheel that has the date of the race and the distance you competed at.

Parking Access: No parking really. But most people stayed on the Strip or nearby. And if you lived in the area, Uber/Lyft/taxis were suggested to use to get to the start line.

Aid Stations: The volunteers at the aid stations were 1005 awesome! Shouting out cheers and support at every one. Full of enthusiasm. They were one of the best parts of the entire race. Loud enough to know where water was, where Gatorade was, when there were gels or bananas., just so helpful.

Course Scenery: The Strip was awesome to run down and through, and even heading towards downtown Las Vegas was pretty nice, going past wedding chapels and some smaller casinos. There were some quiet parts on the course as well, not well-lit and more residential, but, where they could, the organizers put bands out in those places as well to keep you grooving.

Elevation Difficulty: Moderate if you did ran the marathon, none at all if you ran shorter distances. The marathon was the only distance that had elevation. When you headed away from the Strip the course had you run over the freeway system and circle back a few times so there were a couple of going uphill, but nothing too strenuous.

Race Management: Plenty of communication in the months leading up to the race. A lot of help at the expo answering questions. As I previously stated, the volunteers were amazing and prepped excellently. The starting line was smooth as was the Start Village, where all runners congregated prior to going into the corrals. The finish line was perfect with not every handout right next to one another; they provided space for you to collect yourself and your free items as you walked along to the exit point.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon was a great race, plain and simple. I had a blast and I would highly suggest that this be the race you aim to run in this series if only for the opportunity to run the Strip at night.

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Race Review: bRUNch 5K

This race review is a little late on my part. I just let life get in the way and do its thing so this kept getting put off and put off. But here it is finally, the review for the 5K I ran a few weeks ago in September.

I skipped this race in 2018 because I was suffering from a right hip issue that wasn’t fully healed by race day so I was really excited to run this year. Especially after remembering the fun time and value the race provided when I ran it in 2017. There were some similarities but also some small differences this time around but, as I said, still a fun race with an energetic group running it for a good cause.

T-Shirt/SWAG: This race provides, in my opinion, some of best swag of any race I’ve been a part of. You receive a pretty nice long-sleeve t-shirt, a tasting glass with this year’s race logo on it, a ticket for a free Bloody Mary at a local restaurant, a ticket for a free post race beer and a finisher’s medal that reflects the race theme, this year being breakfast food trucks.

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Aid Stations: There was one water station just before halfway mark on the course, only accessible when running in the one direction.

Course Scenery: Not too much going on here. The course is a county paved trail and heads out and then turns back at the halfway point. It’s nice that it is relatively secluded on the trail but you do go over a pedestrian bridge that is over a main street below so some noise from that. Now, compared to 2017, there was a new starting point/finish point for the race which I much preferred.

Expo Quality: Packet pickup is at a local running store, Performance Running Outfitters, so you do have the opportunity to check out some sweet runner merchandise and shoes if you so desire after getting your bib, etc.

Elevation Difficulty: Pretty much zero elevation other than the slight incline and decline of the pedestrian bridge.

Parking Access: There were two medium size parking lots to use, but if they were full, which they were when I arrived, there was plenty of free street parking.

Race Management: Really great! Lots of communication via email leading up to race day. Also, I enjoyed the change they did with the brunch this year. In 2017, you had to pay up front for a ticket to a brunch that was at a nearby park pavilion; you could buy a ticket day of but it would cost more. This year they had three food trucks, all offering up different items, staged by the race to cater to people. Loved that! Also, the race benefits the SEED foundation which is a local educational foundation for the Shorewood school system.

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All in all, a fun race with sweet swag, an easy 5K course meant for PR’s and some delicious beverages afterwards as well. They also had coffee and cocoa, provided by a local coffee place, at the end of the race (or before the race if you wanted) and water.

Madison Mini Marathon Training Update

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Madison Mini Marathon race 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!

Well, this is going to be the most boring update you could ever possibly read. Ever since the wondrous month of April where I set personal bests in my marathon finish time and in my 5K finish time, I have done almost nothing in the last six weeks. I ran twice in the  month of May, accumulating just over 13 miles for the month and so far zero miles for the month of June. Why? Because of what is likely a sports hernia.

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No, I am not making a self-diagnosis here. I waited those first couple of weeks in May doing nothing and then attempted to run. After having pain and discomfort return almost immediately, I shelved myself again and made a doctor’s appointment. The doc did some tests and said it wasn’t a hernia as far as he could tell but that it was likely a sports hernia. I was also given the card of a hernia specialist if I wanted to be absolutely positive of the diagnosis. So, what have I been doing instead? Well, a lot more lifting with upper body (carefully) and some lower body (even more carefully), some bike riding at the gym and, finally, walking. Lots of walking.

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Lots and lots of walking….

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As you can see, I’ve tried to keep my humor up with these walks but it hasn’t been easy. It has been extremely frustrating and I am close to losing my mind. This is not how I envisioned my Madison Mini Marathon training taking place. I am not in the danger zone yet, but it is getting close to where I will not be prepared by mid-August for this half marathon (where I was greedily hoping to set another personal best.) It is Wednesday, June 12, today and I plan to run or attempt to run before the end of this week. This is mainly to see if I have healed enough. If I have not, then I plan to call the specialist to see what is going on and if I will be healed and ready to race by August. Worst case scenario then would be I could run it but it would be for fun and nothing else. Fingers will be crossed. I’m just really sick of walking at this point. And don’t let the smile fool you, haha.

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If you’ve been running and training out there, maybe you’d like to race the Madison Mini Marathon this August! It isn’t too late to sign up! And if you use code BIBRAVE5 at checkout you will save $5 on your entry! Hopefully we will run this together!

If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to ask or comment!!

Happy Running (or walking)!!

Product Review: Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro 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!

Call me a believer in a product I didn’t think I needed and certainly never had a want for before having the opportunity to test it out. It’s a hydration vest. “Why would I want one of those?” “I can map out running routes to come across water fountains.” “I can bring a sport belt with water bottles attached to it if I want.” “This vest thing is going to be cumbersome and annoying bouncing around my body.” These are all phrases and questions I said at one time or another. This product review will explain why I was wrong and, to be frank, an idiot thinking that this was a piece of gear I didn’t need.

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I will address each of my questions above to answer why an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro is a great item to own. Yes, I can map out running routes that take me past multiple water fountains, but wouldn’t it be nice to venture down new paths without being concerned about where necessary hydration will come from. And this vest makes it possible to carry plenty of water for marathon training runs. The included bladder fits 35oz of liquid and you can add a 500mL bottle and a 600mL bottle to the front pockets on the vest.

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Why wear this when I can wear a sports belt that hold water bottle as well as everything else I may need: driver’s license/ID, energy chews, reserve battery charger for phone, energy waffles, etc. If you check out the picture above here, you will see the answer for my ID and charger. A zippered pouch right in the middle that is out of the way but completely secure leaving me no worries of anything falling out or being in the way if I am trying to pull out energy chews/waffles. And where am I putting those items? The two pictures below show the front access pockets that can be used for those items. In the first photo, I am using one of the extra water bottle pockets to store my energy waffle. The second picture shows one of two over the shoulder velcro pouches that held my energy chews. Both easily accessible and my fuel remained intact and not mushed down.

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ADDED BONUS MOMENT: On the top clip in the front of the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro is a whistle. Yes, I said whistle. When using this vest in the early mornings or late evenings, what better option to include in the makeup of the vest itself. Scare away coyotes (or other aggressive animals) while using your pocket space for pepper spray if desired.

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The final question/concern was why would I want something bulky filled with water bouncing around as I ran? The fact is that it IS NOT bulky and bouncing around your back. Honestly, every time I have worn the hydration pack, I haven’t even noticed it being there. It isn’t on too tight but it also doesn’t flop around when running or when trying to get a sip of water. It has been the perfect complement to my runs and other gear options I take with me on long runs. I truly do love this product and am glad I had the opportunity to test it out.

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Still on the fence about trying out the Gear Vest Pro? Give them a try while saving some of your money by using code “BIBRAVEGVPRO” to get 15% off any Orange Mud product! And have faith in what you are buying! Orange Mud provides great customer service and backs their products. Manufacturing defect? Lifetime replacement. Have an accident with your pack? Leave it on the top of the car and take off? They understand and will offer a replacement at a “fair charge.” Also on their website are guidelines and suggestions for proper care and cleaning of their packs and bladders.

I hope you have found this product review of the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro to be helpful and useful in guiding you to getting your own hydration pack if you were in the market for one. Solid product, solid company!

Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

As always, happy running!

Product Review: WIN Sports Detergent

Disclaimer: I received a bottle of WIN Sports Detergent 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!

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Ok, we all have the same problem when it comes to workout clothes. How to get rid of the smell? A specific stain? And some of us would like to do it with a detergent that is a little more environmentally friendly than the common grocery store shelf staple. Here comes WIN Sports Detergent! My workout clothes, used for both lifting and running, other cardio, have needed some serious love from a sports specific detergent and I am glad I had the opportunity to test this out. Let me tell you how it works and what it helped with in my house. The key element to WIN is that it attacks the oils in the clothing; all that nastiness that oozes off your body during exercise and just sits and absorbs into the fabric. WIN removes those oils and the bacteria making your clothes cleaner and smell better hence you are more likely to keep those workout clothes a little bit longer than you might have in the past.

Now how much WIN Sports Detergent should you be using in a load of wash? Well, just take a look at your bottle and make that decision with their help.

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So, if it’s real bad, toss in three capfuls and eliminate that vicious exercise stink and bacteria from those clothes. The key is to use the detergent in hot water with a hot water rinse as well. This was a new thing for me to do because I prefer to wash items in colder water and not bring the heat. But it certainly does help getting rid of the smell.

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Three big reasons that I like this detergent (and that should make you like it as well) are this here: WIN Sports Detergent is color safe. Obviously, hugely important with the variety of athletic clothes we all have. Next, it’s a biodegradable product. So you’re being kind to the environment (not to mention it also does not contain phosphates.) Finally, and this is big to me, there is no animal testing involved with the making of this product.

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Now, and this might seem obvious but maybe not, what else can you and should you use WIN Sports Detergent on? You can use it with success on gear for hockey, football, volleyball, soccer, cheer, gymnastics, dance, lacrosse, and the list goes on. And it works great on grass-stained baseball pants too!

 

 

WIN Sports Detergent, something you should look into and give a try if you’re fed up with smelly and dirty exercise clothes. And if this isn’t convincing enough for you, take a look at some fellow friends of mine who also had the chance to test out the product as well!

Scootadoot

Mindy

Thanh

Organic Girl

Becky

Ken

Corey

I hope that these reviews convince you that WIN Sports Detergent is worthy of a tryout and you won’t be disappointed when using it to eliminate odors and bacteria from all of your workout clothes.

As always, happy running!

Race Review: Sweet Home Milwaukee 5K

This would be what I would consider an entry level 5K for beginner runners. Or, as in my case this year, a very good opportunity to PR your 5K time if you’re in the market to do so. The weather this year was quite chilly. How chilly you ask? Low 30s and later that day it snowed. On April 27. Gotta love Wisconsin weather, haha! So here are the details of this year’s Sweet Home Milwaukee 5K!

Expo Quality: Not really an expo per se. You pick up your packet at a local running store, Performance Running Outfitters. They give you your bib and some fillers in your bag along with your t-shirt. The one cool benefit of having packet pickup there is if you need or want to check out some new sneakers, you’ll be set.

Race Management: Lots of contact leading up to the race, even a final email on the Thursday before the race informing runners that a decision would be made early if inclement weather were to arrive sooner than predicted. Great atmosphere at the race with music and the emcee keeping everyone awake and chuckling before the race and after the race.

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Parking/Access: The race is held on the Milwaukee Lakefront at Veterans Park, which has a decent amount of parking spaces and then street parking is also available in the area. I had no trouble getting a spot and it seemed a lot of people had no trouble with the street parking.

Course Scenery: The race runs along the lakefront so you have plenty to gaze out at as you complete the 5K. Also, you’re running through the park so all spectators can cheer you on from all the picnic tables that are spread about.

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Aid Stations: One water station a little beyond the one mile marker point (via your own tracking since there were no actual mile markers on the course). Both sides of the course had tables with volunteers handing out water.

Elevation Difficulty: None. There is zero elevation hence why it makes for a nice starter 5K for someone.

T-Shirts/Swag: You receive a long-sleeve cotton t-shirt and a pretty sweet medal that doubles as a bottle opener. You also receive a free beer ticket which this year got you a brew from local brewery Third Space Brewing. You also get a ticket for a free Bloody Mary at local restaurant Stubby’s Gastropub. At the finish line there was water, a banana and apples.

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Overall: The weather notwithstanding I enjoyed the race. Yes, I have some bias since I set a PR for myself in the 5K distance but the communication was good, the swag was good for the price and course was nice to run on. Also, they had a food drive being put on by the Hunger Task Force that was connected to a raffle. You could donate items of food or a monetary donation. I would definitely consider doing this race next year. The weather has to be better, right? Haha!

 

Hope you have enjoyed this review and happy running!

Race Review: Lucky Leprechaun 7K

This is the fourth year I’ve run this race and this year had the best weather, by far! Sunny skies and upper 30s – low 40s temps made for a pleasant race. Afterwards though, the wind picked up a little bit and that made post race socializing last about as long as the free beer lasted, lol! And for the third straight year, I was able to lower my time, so that was pretty cool.

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The overall feeling I have about this race is that it is pretty good with great management, but it could be better. One of the biggest reason I run it (and best reason, really) is that it supports the MACC Fund, an organization that benefits children fighting cancer. Great cause to run for! Now I’ll get into the rest of my review which will give the explanation why I give this race 4 stars and not five.

T-shirts/Swag: You get a free cotton t-shirt which has looked the same for every year of the race. Ot needs a change; something, I don’t know. But something to mix it up. The end of the race provides you with free coffee/hot chocolate, a local company’s chips, water, banana and two free beer from Miller Lite (and, yes, you can choose green beer if you like), but that’s all. And I consider post race food items to not really be swag. There’s no medal. No glasses. They do hand out green beads as well as chocolate coins, but come on. This race needs a medal. It could be great!

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Aid stations: There is one water aid station on the course approximately in the middle of the course and that’s appropriate for this distance.

Course Scenery: I like it. Some of it takes place in a park; some of it on a main street in the city’s village area; and the rest of it takes place through residential neighborhoods. The trees aren’t in bloom yet obviously, but I still enjoy where we run.

Expo Quality: Not much to write about here. I give it some stars because you pick up your packet at a local running store so there is opportunity to shop if you like, but otherwise that’s it.

Elevation Difficulty: This course has some slight inclines and declines throughout it and then one major incline you have to run up before circling around a bit and then heading down the same path on the way back, so that’s nice.

Parking/Access: Parking is easy as long as you know what you’re doing, get there early and know the side streets where parking is simple and allowed.

Race Management: They are great. Yes, they send a ton of reminders to sign up even after you have already signed up but they include plenty of updates to any possible changes in course or weather as well. They keep you up to date with the packet pickup and provide a cool countdown to race day.

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One last thing that I most assuredly should mention is the post race party. There is a DJ at the finish line blasting away and the emcee is full of energy as he yells out cheers for the finishers. Then, across the street is the main sponsor of the race, Leff’s Lucky Town, a local restaurant/bar that invites all to come over and eat, drink and listen to a band set up in an outdoor tent. The after party is pretty fun to chill out and hang with friends.

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If you should be in the Milwaukee area around St. Patrick’s Day I would suggest signing up for this fun run with a festive atmosphere. It is a good time!

Milwaukee Marathon Training: Weeks 9-12

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Milwaukee 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!

This was the stretch of training where I was supposed to make big gains in strength, pace and mileage. And I don’t feel like that really happened in this time frame. The training for this  marathon has been difficult and I can’t place why. I’m not suffering from any injury (at least nothing in the lower body) but my long runs have been pathetic and weak. There was a stretch of three weeks where my long runs had slowdowns in them from tired legs to ill-timed bathroom breaks. Very frustrating to say the least. I’ll let you think about my training and feel free to comment and tell me I’m paranoid. Or tell me I have reason to panic. Whichever, haha.

Week 9 – February 11 – February 17

MONDAY  Chest workout 31 minutes, treadmill 23 minutes  2.68 miles

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TUESDAY – Shoveling snow 62 min, Yoga 30 min, treadmill 33 minutes  3.95 miles

WEDNESDAY – Shoveling snow 18 min, Bis/Tris 50 min, Bike 27 min, Elliptical 22 min

THURSDAY – Back workout 45 min, treadmill 41 min  5 miles

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FRIDAY – Elliptical 6 min, Abs 40 min, treadmill 20 min    2.40 miles

SATURDAY – Long run 163 minutes   16.08 miles

SUNDAY – Shoveling snow 30 minutes/REST DAY

TOTAL MILES: 30.11

WEEK 10 – February 18 – February 24

MONDAY – Chest workout 40 min, Treadmill 30 min  3.64 miles

TUESDAY – Yoga 41 min, Treadmill 34 min  4.35 miles

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WEDNESDAY – Bike 21 min, Shoulders 45 min, Elliptical 11 min

THURSDAY – Arm workout 45 min, Treadmill 36 min  4.38 miles

FRIDAY – Long run 160 min  16.25 miles

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SATURDAY – Rest Day

SUNDAY – Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 28.62 MILES

WEEK 11 – February 25 – March 3

MONDAY – Leg workout 42 min, Treadmill 31 min  3.60 miles

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TUESDAY Yoga 46 min, Abs workout 43 min, Bike 19 min, Treadmill 25 min  3.15 miles

WEDNESDAY – Bike 30 min, Elliptical 35 min, shoveling snow 18 min

THURSDAY – Bike 26 min, Treadmill 42 min  4.87 miles

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FRIDAY – Long run 127 min  13.63 miles

SATURDAY – Shoveling snow 20 min

SUNDAY – Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 25.25 MILES

WEEK 12 – March 4 – March 10

MONDAY – Bike 22 min, Treadmill 38 min  4.76 miles

TUESDAY – Yoga 43 min, Leg workout 45 min, Treadmill 30 min  3.81 miles

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WEDNESDAY – Abs workout 41 min, Elliptical 33 min

THURSDAY – Bike 23 min, Treadmill 32 min  4.06 miles

FRIDAY – Long run 141 min  15.04 miles

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SATURDAY – Bike 22 min, Great Milwaukee Pi Run 5K  3.11 miles

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SUNDAY – Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 30.78 MILES

This was an interesting stretch for a couple of reasons. I missed upping my miles the way I wanted to in two out of the four weeks, therefore, week 12 ended up being lower than it probably should be in the total category. And the second item to notice is that I had to stop all upper body workouts at the gym due to left shoulder/elbow pain which has been a problem leading up to me making the decision to simply put down the weights and rest. Time will tell if this is the right solution or not.

I hope you’v enjoyed checking in with my training for the Milwaukee Marathon. You can still join me, if not the marathon, in the half marathon or 5K! Use code “RUN15” to save 15% off your entry! It isn’t too late!

If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, please send them my way!

Happy Running!