Race Review: The Elf Virtual Run

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Elf Virtual Run 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!

SANTA!!!!
Ok, I didn’t actually see him on my Elf Virtual Run but the bling I received for running this virtual race was pretty dang sweet! Before getting to that, though, let’s talk about the race itself. It was a 100% virtual race that could be run anytime and anywhere. So all you had to do was register and wait for your running kit to arrive and ready, set, go!

Race Management/Virtual Support: The RAM Racing team was really great with communication pertaining to when they were mailing out bibs and shirts and when to expect them. They were also extremely apologetic when an issue arose with the medals, informing all that they would be coming later than the other items. Consistent email updates and always ready and quick to respond to questions, should you have them. I can’t say how impressed I was and always am for RAM Racing events and their team.

SWAG: One of the best races I’ve run when it comes to the swag! First, you get a themed customized bib! next, you get a sweet forest green winter beanie with the Elf logo on the front. Third, a quite warm red zip-up hooded Elf sweatshirt, logo on the left breast. And last, you get a very sweet snow globe style Elf medal! The day these items arrived, it really was like yelling out, “Santa came!” Easily a virtual race you should consider running next year or sometime in the future because it is worth it.

My Race Experience: I hate to admit it but I copped out with this run and ran it on a track where I could better keep track and calculate my distance without going over or miscalculating out somewhere random. So, it wasn’t the most interesting with views aside from the train that came by near the end of my race. That was about the only interesting thing, visually. But I did enjoy running a race on a softer surface than the roads I normally run on when I’ve done previous virtual races. So I’ll chalk up my run as fun in the sense that I had control and I came close to setting a 10K PR for myself.

So that’s my Elf Virtual Run wrapped up in a nutshell! Oh, and yes, I did watch the movie later that night after the run! Definitely consider it for next year!

Sponsor Review: Raley’s Supermarkets, SPONSOR of the Napa Valley Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a $25 gift card to review Raley’s Supermarkets 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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Now, that the Napa Valley Marathon is over it is NOT the time to neglect your body and all you did to prepare for that race. It’s been a week since you ran, so you need to make sure you not only rest but keep putting fuel into your body. Specifically, recovery fuel. And, yes, Raley’s can help you in that department as well. Visit their website to see how simple it is to find exactly what you’re looking for and how to spot it in the store. They have every category for you from Clean Label to Gut Health to Organic to Keto-Friendly. And everything in between too!

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Post marathon is an important time for the body. There’s a lot of recovery going on so be sure to take advantage of Raley’s nutrition strategist who provides the necessary tips and information to make your marathon experience not only enjoyable on race day but afterwards as well. I mean, you need to prep for that next marathon!

I hope you take the time to visit Raley’s website and utilize all the free information, tips and advice they offer as well as visit the store and stock your pantry with some great products that fit whatever need you may have in your dietary lifestyle.

Happy running!

Milwaukee Marathon Training: Weeks 5-8

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Milwaukee 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!

Here is another update to the training I have been completing throughout the weeks leading up to what will be my fourth marathon. It’s been up and down with my miles and the unexpected trip that I had to take, which was completed at the start of this week. So, here goes with the details of my training! Oh, and remember to use code “RUN15” to save 15% on your race entry, any distance!!

WEEK 5 – January 14 – January 20

MONDAY: Flew home from CT

TUESDAY: 42 minutes of yoga, 46 minute shoulder workout, 35 minutes on the treadmill for 4.4 miles

WEDNESDAY: 35  min abs workout, 20 min treadmill for 2.66 miles

THURSDAY: 43 min back workout, 23 min elliptical

FRIDAY: 111 min outdoor run for 12.46 miles

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SATURDAY: Shoveled Snow

SUNDAY: Samson Stomp 5K for 3.26 miles

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TOTAL MILES: 22.78 miles

WEEK 6 – January 21 – January 27

MONDAY: 40 min chest workout, bike for 20 minutes

TUESDAY: 43 min yoga, 31 min treadmill for 3.79 miles

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WEDNESDAY: Shoveled snow

THURSDAY: 40 min arm workout, 12 min treadmill for 1.47 miles

FRIDAY:  126 min very cold outdoor run for 12.83 miles

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SATURDAY: 5 min elliptical, 35 min shoulder workout, 20 min treadmill for 2.49 miles

SUNDAY: Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 20.58 miles

WEEK 7 – January 28 – February 3

MONDAY: Shoveled snow for 80 minutes

TUESDAY: 45 min of yoga, 51 min back workout, 26 min bike, 32 min treadmill for 4.02 miles

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WEDNESDAY: -30 degree temps had me stay home

THURSDAY: 50 min chest workout, 20 min bike, 34 min treadmill for 4.29 miles

FRIDAY: 30 min arm workout, 18 min elliptical, 10 min abs workout

SATURDAY: 142 min outdoor run for 14 miles

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SUNDAY: Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 22.31 miles

WEEK 8 – February 4 – February 10

MONDAY: 50 min leg workout, 15 min treadmill for 1.75 miles

TUESDAY: 47 min of yoga, 33 min treadmill for 3.94 miles

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WEDNESDAY: 55 min back workout, 32 min bike, 20 min elliptical, shoveled snow

THURSDAY: 30 min shoulder workout, 30 min treadmill for 3.80 miles

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FRIDAY: 22 min bike, 24 min treadmill for 2.81 miles

SATURDAY: 151 minute outdoor run for 15.05 miles

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SUNDAY: Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 27.35 miles

And there you have it. I’m not where I would like to be and the last two weeks’ long runs were not very good. Poor would be the best word to describe them. I had a tired leg feeling on both of them and that is not a good thing. Training is smack in the middle and here I am wanting a break. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to be injury related so that is the one positive. But April 6 is still coming no matter what and I need to be ready for the Milwaukee Marathon.

Any questions about my training, feel free to ask!! Happy running!

2019 Samson Stomp n Romp 5K Review: Better Late than Never

Another year of running the Samson Stomp n Romp 5K and another year where Mother Nature decided to show off who’s the boss in winter time. Two weeks prior to this race, the temperatures were in the 40s and there was sunshine. The morning before the race, there was a snow storm that brought in 7 inches of snow and then a freeze blew into the area. Race start temperatures? 3 degrees. With a breeze. Ugh!!

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This year I had to give the race management a five star rating. Why? Sure, there were plenty of reminders to sign up for the race via e-mail and all social media channels as well as the necessary information for packet pickup. But more importantly, the zoo grounds crew staff had this course almost spotless for a hug stretch of it. If I didn’t live nearby, I wouldn’t have guessed that it had snowed so much the day before. Amazing work! Also, with your registration you received free parking and free access to the zoo for the day, so go run and then have some fun!
I give five stars to the aid stations not because I needed to use it, but, because they were out there, offering water and cheering runners on. That is some incredible volunteer work. Standing, not running, around and cheering. Brave souls to do that in three degree weather.
The swag was the customary t-shirt that they have every year but this year it was a bit underwhelming with a weak front design and nothing on the back. The gorilla overall and age-place awards are cool (my yet to be achieved goal) but not everyone gets one of those so I can’t include that in my opinion of the swag.
Nothing for the expo because there isn’t one; just packet pickup.

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The course scenery was fun as usual but was a little sparse compared to normal. I imagine the ice cold temps kept some of the animals inside, but there were still enough of them outside to look at while running by. Also, this course, for just being a 5K, always challenges me with the various elevation changes from going up to down and then the finish which goes uphill as well. A challenge that is always fun to take on.

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All in all, it was another chilly Samson Stomp but I will crazily be back next year, I am sure. I mean, I need another chance to get one of those gorilla trophies!

Milwaukee Marathon Training: Weeks 1-4

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!

Here I am, plugging away at training for the April 6, Milwaukee Marathon and building up those miles. There have been some bumps in the road so far (no pun intended), but nothing too crazy. Just scheduling issues that have caused some runs to be shorter than intended. I also have been having trouble skimming back my lifting at the gym and giving that time to running, although it would be treadmill running and let’s be honest, that sucks. So here is what I’ve been up to the last four weeks. Dates will be included. Also, if interested (and you should be), join me in the full marathon or the half marathon or even the 5K and use code “RUN15” to save 15% off of your entry!

WEEK 1: DECEMBER 17 – DECEMBER 23 

MONDAY: Biceps and triceps workout for 42 minutes; 23 minute treadmill run for 2.54 miles

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TUESDAY: Yoga Class; 30 minute treadmill run for 3.53 miles

WEDNESDAY: Shoulder/traps workout for 43 minutes; 22 minutes on the elliptical

THURSDAY: 56 minute back workout; no cardio

FRIDAY: Long Run Day: 1 hour 50 minutes for 12.49 miles, outdoors

SATURDAY: 30 minute chest workout; no cardio

SUNDAY: Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 18.57

 

WEEK 2: DECEMBER 24 – DECEMBER 30

MONDAY: 31 minute treadmill run for 3.54 miles

TUESDAY: Christmas Day equals Rest Day

WEDNESDAY: 48 minute treadmill run for 6 miles

THURSDAY: Biceps/Triceps workout plus 30 minutes on the bike (forgot orthotics)

FRIDAY: 16 minute abs workout; 20 minutes on treadmill for 2.33 miles

SATURDAY: Time constricted long run: 91 minutes for 10.13 miles

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SUNDAY: Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 22.02

WEEK 3: DECEMBER 31 – JANUARY 6

MONDAY: 52 minute leg workout; 10 minutes on the gym bike

TUESDAY: 33 minutes on the treadmill for 4 miles

WEDNESDAY: 35 minute chest workout; 13 minute treadmill run for 1.71 miles

THURSDAY: 40 minute back workout; 16 minutes bike

FRIDAY: 35 minute shoulder/trap workout: 20 minute treadmill run for 2.33 miles

SATURDAY: Long Run Day: 138 minute outdoor run for 14.60 miles

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SUNDAY: Rest Day

TOTAL MILES: 22.66 

WEEK 4: JANUARY 7 – JANUARY 13

MONDAY: 47 minute biceps/triceps workout and 17 minutes on the treadmill for 2.05 miles

TUESDAY: Yoga plus 33 minutes on treadmill for 3.92 miles

WEDNESDAY: 35 minute back workout; 20 minutes on the elliptical

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THURSDAY: 45 minute chest workout; had to fly out of town that afternoon

FRIDAY: 90 minute outdoor run for 10.13 miles

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SATURDAY: Rest Day

SUNDAY: 84 minute run for 9.62 miles

TOTAL MILES: 25.72

So this represents my first four weeks of training for the Milwaukee Marathon that is scheduled for April 6. I know I need to increase the mileage and decrease the time spent lifting weights. Always hard for me mentally to commit to that routine but if I want positive results in the marathon, I need to step it up with my training. And remember: code “RUN15” gets you 15% off your race entry!

What do you do for your first few weeks of marathon training? And how much strength training do  you do, if at all?

Please feel free to comment; I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions!

Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

I Signed Up for the Milwaukee Marathon!

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!

OK, I’m  not gonna throw any bunk your way and tell you lies or make you think I’m ignorant. I truly am excited for the Milwaukee Marathon in April, 2019. And the biggest reason I’m excited? It will be my fourth marathon but it will also be my first in the state I now call home. I feel like it should have been the first but, alas, it was not. But here I am now with the opportunity to run this race as a BibRavePro (and I did choose the distance; I could have picked the half or the 5K if I wanted), and I want others to join me and see all that Milwaukee and its surrounding suburbs have to offer to the visiting public. I will also freely admit that I picked this race because it is near where I live and, honestly, it will  be nice to sleep in my own bed the night before a marathon. No surprises, just wake up and head on down to the start line. That’s going to feel real good come race morning. Then there is the fact that I can train in some of the same neighborhood’s where the course takes place. I like knowing what to expect or at least have a general idea of what type of elevation I can expect to encounter out there.

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I plan to keep you updated (and myself accountable) with a training log this time around. I won’t be crazy in depth but will include everything I am doing as the race gets closer and closer. But I won’t be punctual…since training has already started so I owe you two blogs to cover the last two weeks. I will only be getting in 16 weeks of training due to my erred judgment in how much time there was until April 6. Oh well. I am putting more effort and concentration into it this time.

Another reason you should think about joining me for the Milwaukee Marathon on April 6? Well, how about that swag that comes with this race. If you do the half marathon or the full (with me) you will receive a sweet quarter zip fleece and a tech tee! If you do just the 5K, you will receive only the tech tee.

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What about a medal you ask? They have never disappointed in the past and I don’t see that happening this year. It really is a nice one!

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And of course, there will be…..

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The post race party might be what I am looking forward to the most and not because of the free beer you receive at the finish. No, this year the party will be held at the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena’s, the Fiserv Forum, outdoor gathering place! Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 10.26.55 PM

So, lots of exciting aspects to the Milwaukee Marathon in Milwaukee on April 6, 2019! And, most importantly, when you sign up for your preferred distance be sure to use code “RUN15” to save 15% on your entry!!! Don’t miss out and be sure to follow my blog not only for my training updates but to see what else the Milwaukee Marathon can offer you!

Happy Running!!

Product Review: Let’s Go Zwifting!

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift RunPod 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!

So, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about when I say, “let’s go zwifting!” Well, I don’t blame you. The word sounds bizarre but, then again, so is the concept until you use it and then everything changes! How much does a run on a treadmill suck? Let’s be honest, running by yourself or even in a gym on a treadmill is boring. There’s nothing to really drive you other than maybe a goal you have if you’re really training for something. How often do you find yourself competing with a fellow runner at the gym? Ah, I got you on that one, didn’t I? The Zwift RunPod and its corresponding apps provide an amazing experience that totally changes the “boring” treadmill run.

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First, the basics: what you will need. You will need a RunPod (attached to my shoe above) and you will need to attach it to your running shoe in approximately the same place as mine. You will need access to a treadmill. And you will need a device to use Zwift, the program, such as a iPhone, tablet, PC, etc. Once you have all that established and the Zwift app and Zwift companion app downloaded,  you will be able to join other runners around the world running together. Yes, around the world. Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 11.01.57 PM

Put the battery in your Zwift RunPod, attach it to your shoe and start running on a treadmill. This will enable you to pair your pod with whatever device you have downloaded the app on and will also calibrate the pod to match your strides. Then you are all set to join a group run or just run on your own. Some of the group runs take place in London (which is really cool) and others take place in a fictional land called Watopia. Ok, that may sound odd but where else can you run past and through an active volcano?

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This was one of several screenshots that I took during the course of my run on this particular day. Now, I’ve done a few solo runs and enjoyed them but I was curious as to what a group run might like. So, using the Zwift companion app where there are listings for the group runs (various distances, locations) I found one and entered its queue. Then, you wait. Or, as in my case, I jumped into a solo run just to pass the time until the start. They even provide you with a countdown so everyone can join in. Like I said, runners from around the world compete with you on the same course.

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After the group run is finished and you’ve completed the distance, you are able to see how well you performed among all the other runners who joined the group. This is actually one of the best things I like about Zwift. It really did turn my treadmill run (or as we all call it, the “dreadmill”) into something more engaging and exciting. I was into my run and that’s not always the case on the treadmill.

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Now, with the pics I’ve posted here you probably noticed that my avatar is wearing the same thing in all of them. That’s because I wasn’t able to really venture into too many different styles because I hadn’t run enough with the pod yet. The more you run, the more you unlock for your personal avatar. More clothes, colors, haircuts, styles and more. Just another really cool way Zwift keeps you involved and entertained is what it normally a stagnant treadmill run.

Also, there are so many other great features of the Zwift RunPod. You can create a running meetup with a Zwift companion (just like any social media app, you find friends.) You can import custom running workouts should you be training for a specific distance. You can create a custom workout for yourself and then you can add it into a custom training program. All within the app and with the pod. You can chat with runners if you like and, who knows, maybe you’ll make some new running friends who join you every morning or evening on a virtual run together. That’s the power and awesomeness of the Zwift Runpod and app. Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 10.26.49 PM

Definitely check out the Zwift website and if you like what you see, then use code BibRave15″ good for 15% off the cost of the Zwift RunPod at Zwift.com. It is good for 1000 Pods only though.

If  you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out or if you just have some comments. I’d love to hear from you!

As always, happy running!

I Ran the New York City Marathon!

Oh boy, it’s taken me some time to finally write about this run, this event, this marathon. So much to take in that day. The start. The race. The grind. The finish. Everything was so amazing. If you like there is a version of a race review for you at BibRave.com. Check it out and other races I’ve reviewed should you have interest in trying them out! So, from here, let’s start from the beginning.

Saturday was my day to visit the expo and, wow, what a fun time that was! So many vendors to browse through. The excitement of picking up my bib. The great gear at the New Balance satellite store. And finding my name on the runner’s wall in the Bronx section! (Appropriate being a Yankees fan)

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Sleeping that night was difficult but the night before a race is always tough for me. Too gigged up. I had all of my gear ready rock the next day, even my AfterShokz Trekz Air, although I wasn’t sure I would even use them. (I didn’t)

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And then the morning came and quickly. I managed to wake up, eat and get dressed. I hustled down to catch the subway but just missed it. So I had to wait 16 minutes for the next one, which in turn made me miss my slotted Staten Island Ferry time. Good thing they weren’t being strict about that (which I had heard the day before they were not) and I was able to jump on one just as I got off the train when I did arrive at the ferry station. After the hour long ferry ride, there was another line to wait in; this time for the bus to be carted over to the start line village.

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The starting line village was impressive. I wasn’t expecting all the amenities besides the usual bag check area and porto potty’s, which there were plenty of those! No, there was several tables set up with various services and sponsors. Bagels to fuel up as well as Gatorade gels lined up to eat then or grab for the race. Dunkin Donuts provided coffee. Another table had hot chocolate for people. And there were medical tents set up for any last minute wraps or creams, etc that may be needed for the runners. Really cool. After munching on a bagel and a small water, I made my way to my starting corral.

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After some time to stretch and loosen up , we started to move our way to the start line. We then were revved up by the announcer as everyone was just all jazzed up to get moving across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. And, after a loud booming blast, we were off and running. I knew the bridge was going to be slow going for the start so I took it easy and snapped off a couple of pics just for the memory of the moment.

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Once coming down from the bridge into Brooklyn, the race was on! I enjoyed every minute of it. Going through all those city streets with so many people screaming and shouting was so motivating. Each time you moved onto a new borough you had someone yelling out welcome to wherever (I distinctly recall a woman welcoming me to Queens and a DJ welcoming everyone into the Bronx.) The weather was nice and I had a good pace until mile 19 when I suffered some pain in my inner hamstring. That caused me to have to pause along the rest of the way (usually on inclines) and stretch out the area. That ended up costing me some time and ultimately the mental goal I had set for myself; not by much but I still missed it because of these stops.

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And then the greatest part of the race (of any race, right?) was heading into Central Park and going for that finish line. What a moment! What a feeling! All those people again cheering wildly giving that extra push and motivation. Seeing friends and family along the route was a thrill and exciting and just so supportive. Crossing the finish line was a wonderful feeling and I certainly grabbed that right away.

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I was exhausted. I left a little something on those streets, I can honestly say that. I lowered my head to accept a well-earned medal. Then it was a struggle stretching out some of those muscles as I walked along to pick up my post race bag of water, etc and then further down to get my personal bag since I used the bag check option. After that was when I started to cool down from the race. The sun was setting and that added to the chill. I had my heat wrap but that only does so much. I sat for a brief moment so I could give my back a stretch before heading out of the park. What a day, what a day.

If you are given the chance to run the New York City Marathon, do not pass it up. The only reason not to run would be because of injury. Otherwise, just for the experience, you owe it to do it if possible. I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to run this race. Lifetime moment for sure, and when else am I going to get my name in the New York Times!

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Happy running!