If all goes according to plan the medal and shirt in the picture will be added to my collection on Halloween later this month. That's right, I'm running the Tulsa Run again this year.

I know, I know! I can hear some of you thinking right now "Isn't that the race you said you'd never do again?"

Yes, yes it is. But let me explain. (You can read my post from last year here.)

My recap from last year was definitely an open and honest recap of my experience. But, I've learned a very valuable lesson as a runner/blogger. There are two sides to every story. Luckily for me, I have this blog to share mine. Unlucky for race directors, they typically don't get to share their experiences.

In April, I came home from work to a mystery package in the mail. It was addressed to me from an office in downtown Tulsa. I was so confused at first but when I opened it, I found a Tulsa Run shirt from last years race. I also found a hand written note from the race director. He had read my review on Bibrave and noticed my comment about my Tulsa Run Shirt Curse and sent me a replacement one! I was immediately impressed with his effort. No race director has ever reached out to me personally to correct something that was wrong. I follow a lot of run blogs and read a lot of race recaps and you just don't hear about things like that. 

In the note it also said he would like to discuss the race with me so I emailed him and we set up a tie to meet at a local Starbucks. We spent a little over an hour discussing what happened and what they are doing to fix the problems from last year so they won't be repeated this year. 

Here's a quick rundown of issues/updates.

  • Last year they ran out of water at water stops on the course.
This year they have invested in HUGE water station systems and the RD feels more than confident that they won't run out of water with this new system. I had the chance to see it at the Tulsa Run kick off and I agree, it should be more then enough.

  • They haven't had electrolytes on the course in the past.
This year they will have Gatorade on the course! 

  • They ran out of water at the finish line last year.
Turns out, someone had locked the keys to the Pepsi truck that was full of bottled water for the finish line in the truck! They ended up tossing a young man over the truck so he could help get everything unlocked and get more water at the finish line. This year more than one set of keys will be handy. :) 

  • The post-race food at the finish line was less than impressive last year.
This year they have partnered with another company and everyone will receive a box lunch type set up as they walk through the finish line. No waiting on people to fill a plate, no bagel crumbs, just grab your box of food and go. This is similar to what huge races like the Nike Women's Half Marathons do to keep the crowd moving post-race. 

So after meeting with the RD in April we've kept in touch here and there over the summer and I'm really impressed with the effort he and his team are putting into the race. After our initial meeting at Starbucks I had already made up my mind that I need to give this race another shot. So I am.

Later this summer I also found out the the Tulsa Run has partnered with BibRave to be a partner race so I've had to opportunity to share a discount code with all of you.

Bibravetr will save you $5 off the 5k or 15k.

After learning about what went down "behind the scenes" last year and hearing about all the effort for improvements they are making this year, I've decided to give the Tulsa Run another shot. 

The race is on Halloween this year and I'm thinking I want to wear a costume! What should my costume be this year? I'm taking votes, leave a comment below and give me some ideas! 

Question! Have you ever given a race a second chance after a not great experience?

Hello Running Buddies!

Do you remember me? I don't blame you if you are looking at the screen, scratching your head, and wondering when the last time you heard from me was. 

For those of you really wondering that, it was early July! Crazy.

This summer has absolutely flown by (everyone says that) and a lot has happened at the RGR house. No one event or reason has kept me from blogging though. I simply needed a break.

For those who just want a short list of what this Ginger has been up to the last few months, here you go!

  • My last race was in April
  • I took the rest of April, all of May and June off from running
  • In May, I left my job of 8 years
  • In June, I quit my new job
  • In July, I started another new job
  • Also in July I spent two weeks in Wisconsin for training for my new job
  • In Aug/Sept I've been working on obtaining all the required certifications for my job
  • We've been focusing less on running and more on adventure
  • Remodeling the RGR House
  • We decided to be Vegans for 90 days. One more month! 

For those who want a little more detail, keep reading.

Running Update

I'm going to be real honest right up front. Running has taken a back seat to all the other things going on in my life.
In the Spring I made it clear that I was experiencing some burn out and I think that contributed to my lack of blogging as well.
The burn out is still there. We are still running though. Kind of.
We are signed up for two races this fall. The Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run in October and the half at the Route 66 Marathon in November. 

I know that some of you are confused as to why I'm running the Tulsa Run again. I have an entire blog dedicated to that. There is a lot to fill you in on. Stay tuned.

We have changed our training and we pretty much run on our own, just me and the Hubbo mostly with a few runs with friends every once in a while.

We don't run 4 times a week anymore, we run 2-3 times a week. We don't really even use our Garmin watches either. I'm really trying to find a balance with running that doesn't leave me with a feeling of burn out. We try to go on a walk 1-2 times a week for some exercise and I'm enjoying that for now too.

New Job(s) Update

In May, I resigned from my job at the College that I held for over 8 years. I guess you could say that that burn out feeling wasn't only affecting my running life. It was a hard choice to make to leave because I had a lot of really good friends and I was comfortable there, but I was really ready for a change. I knew I needed to move on in December when I was in my annual review with the CEO and I was trying to convince myself that I still had the "in it to win it" type attitude. I didn't. 
It became VERY clear when we went to Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon and I was laying on the beach and I seriously didn't want to come home. I know no one wants to leave from vacation, but I seriously looked at houses for sale in Hawaii and looked for jobs while we were hanging out on the beach one afternoon. 

So. I took a job with a PR company and that didn't last long at all. #JobFail  It wasn't exactly what they portrayed in the interviews and every day that I went to work I found out more and more that made me realize it was not the job for me. The last and final straw was that I found out after I completed the training program it would require me to relocate in order to continue on the path they presented in the interview. Well they FORGOT to tell me the relocation part in the interview process! That is a big deal breaker for me right now, so I left.

So I spent most of June off work and job hunting. I got very lucky and through some networking and interviewing I was able to get another job that I started on July 1. So far things are going great at my new job and I'm almost done obtaining all the required certifications I need.

Adventure Update!

You guys! This summer I marked something off my bucket list. We went Skydiving! It was absolutely AMAZING and TERRIFYING all at the same time.
The Hubbo and I have talked about doing it for a long time and we finally jumped out of the plane! 

Lately, I've been focused on having fun and trying new things. Over Labor Day Weekend, instead of going on a weekend getaway, we did a self-made local adventure weekend.

Here was our agenda:
  • Happy Hour with friends - Friday
  • Dinner with other friends - Friday
  • Tulsa Drillers Baseball Game + Fireworks - Friday
  • Skydiving - Saturday
  • Lunch with my parents - Saturday 
  • Ziplining at Post Oak Lodge - Sunday
  • Tulsa Roughnecks Soccer game +Fireworks - Sunday

Just a Ginger Zipin' through the trees!
Fireworks over Tulsa!
Safety First!

What's Next for RGR?

The Hubbo and I are in the process of finishing all the updates on our house. We've picked up some momentum and I really hope to be finished before the Route 66 Marathon in November. Then the plan is to put it on the market for sale in March/April/May of 2016. 

We've also been eating a vegan diet for the last 2 months. On August 1st we decided to do a self-imposed 90 day vegan challenge. So far it's going great! We partially decided to do it because my cholesterol is a little high. I'm happy to report that I had a blood test done this week and my cholesterol improved by over 20 points! 

As for running, I am not 100% sure what the future holds. We may back off from half marathons and focus on 5ks and 10ks or we may just run for fun when we feel like it. I'm really hoping that taking a break from it will help me enjoy it again.

Question! What have you been up to this summer?

PicturePhoto Cred: Mizuno Running
Hello Running Buddies! How is your summer going? I know I've been a little silent lately, but I'm getting back in the swing of things.
After my last race I decided I needed a running break. I guess that means I took a break from my blog as well. I'm slowly getting back in the swing of running and blogging and what better way to do both than with a new pair of shoes?

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Enigma 5 Mizuno Running shoes thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.
PictureShiny and new!
Before I get into my opinion of the shoes, let's cover some shoe specs/facts.

The Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 is:
  • A Neutral Shoe
  • 8.8 oz
  • Available for Men and Women
  • Available in 2 colors for men and 2 colors for women
  • New sock liner for shock attenuation 
  • Built for runners who are training for long distances
  • Retails for $149.99

My Experience and Opinion

I got lucky and my shoes arrived at my house about 2 hours before The Hubbo and I left for the weekend. Whew! I was starting to get nervous that they would arrive after we left and sit on my porch for several hours. But luckily, they arrived and got to go on our weekend get away with us to Kansas City.

I think my cat, Gypsy, was under the impression that Mizuno sent her a box to play with. She would not leave the box alone. Luckily, she decided I could keep the shoes as long as she could keep the box. Lucky me. :) 

My first impression of the shoes is that, like all shoes, I needed to adjust the laces to fit my foot. I like that they are snug on the back of my foot. I have weird shaped feet. I guess all feet are weird, but mine tend to be more narrow at my heel and wider across my toes. So to make these comfortable for me, I loosened up the laces around my toes and that left the back of my foot with a nice snug fit. The best part about this fit is that I don't get tiny rocks in my shoe like I have in the past because other shoes have been too big in the back by my heel. 
I do think they might run a tad bit narrower than some shoes, so keep that in mind as you are getting fitted for your shoes.

The other thing that I noticed when I put them on is that it immediately felt like I was walking on memory foam! So much cushion and yet still supportive at the same time. 
Here's the best way I can describe it. 

Have you ever worked in retail where you stand on your feet in the same spot for long periods of time and stood on that small black mat for extra cushion? The inside of this shoe feels like you are standing on that extra cushion when you first put them on. It's seriously the best feeling.

I'm a runner that picks comfort over fashion EVERY SINGLE TIME so this is huge for me. Huge!

I've had the chance to run in them 4 times and to wear them walking around all day twice. All 4 of my runs have been my typical 3.1 mile loop that has everything from dirt, pavement, to gravel on the trail. With each run they just keep feeling better and better. 

I like that the shoe is neutral and I like that it is super cushioned. If you want a pair of running shoes that feels like you are running on a cloud, this is the pair for you. The shoe retails for $149.99 which I feel is very typical for a running shoe. 

These are a few pics I took while trying out my shoes.

The picture with the blue tile was from when we were in KC. We were walking around downtown in the Power and Lights district and I kept seeing these cute blue tiles so out came the camera!

The two pictures of me where I'm on top of the wooden beam was my sad attempt at being a shoe model. I think I'll keep my day job. 

The last picture is when I realized that The Hubbo and I wear the same brand of shoes, I immediately had to document it with a picture because that's adorable.  He's been a Mizuno fan for over a year. I guess I'm the late one to the party.

Mizuno is hosting #Bibchat tomorrow night on Twitter. It starts at 8:00pm Central Time and runs for one hour. Rumor has it that they might be doing a giveaway! See you there!

Question! How many miles do you run in your shoes before you get a new pair? 250? 400? 500? To the moon and back?

PicturePhoto Cred: Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa
One week after I completed my last full marathon, The Hubbo and I ran another race here in Tulsa. The Golden Driller Marathon. Well, I ran the half and he ran the full. He's crazy! I opted for the half because I knew I would be sluggish from my full, but definitely wanted to be a part of the inaugural year. 

I'm really glad I opted for the half for a few reasons.
1. It got HOT HOT HOT that day. 
2. We had tickets to a 2:00 PM performance for the Phantom of the Opera and I wouldn't have finished a full marathon in time to go home and shower and get back to downtown Tulsa to see the show with my family.
3. I was just mentally over the full marathon distance.

And now, on to the recap!

The Medal

PictureFull Medal vs Half Medal
Y'all know I'm all about the bling! The one and only lure to running the full at this race is that their medal was bigger than the half medal. Which is the way it should be in my opinion. The bigger the effort, the bigger the reward! 
The Hubbo ran the full and I ran the half so we have both at home. 

I live in Tulsa and see our giant Golden Driller keeping watch over all of Tulsa all the time so this medal was a little more special to local people than it might be to other. That Golden Driller, he's famous you know! ;)

Here he is! Keeping watch over all of Tulsa!

Golden Driller Facts

Here are some fun Golden Driller Facts according to Wikipedia!
  • Born in 1953
  • The Golden Driller is 76 Feet Tall
  • He clocks in at 43,500 pounds
  • He's the fifth tallest statue in the US
  • He's worn a shirt, tie, shorts, and a kilt for various promotions


Parking was easy and free. The earlier you get there the better spot you could get like with any event. There really isn't a bad parking spot at this location. The race was kept small so there won't be overcrowding in the parking lot as well as on the course. Sitting in our car, we could easily see the start/finish line but also had easy access to leave too. 

The Course

Typically when a race is put on using the Riverside Trail system, it typically starts on the east side of the trail. There is a major construction project in Tulsa that should continue well into 2017, so most of the races have been shuffled over to the west side of the river. Which is a little more industrial in parts and less populated too.

The half marathon course had one hill that you went over twice since it is an out-and-back course. The first time you hit the hill at Turkey Mountain is the hardest. But at least you get that out of the way in the first 3-4 miles. The rest of the course is pretty flat. 

The full marathoners had a mind-numbing course. They did an out-and-back, with a couple out-and-backs mixed into the major out-and-back! Confused? Yes! Mind-numbing? Yes! Hopefully next year they can come up with a better full marathon course. So glad I didn't have to run that one. Poor Hubbo did though! 

The Swag

This is a small local race put on my my running club. It has the typical local race swag. 

Shirt. Check!
Medal. Check!
Bib. Check!
Post-race food and drinks. Check! 

My Results

I ran the first 6 miles with my buddy Tom and then we had to part ways because he was doing the full and I was doing the half. After I left Tom, I really started to crash. My feet hurt, I was hot, my Garmin quit around mile 7, and I was just mentally ready to be done. I think my experience was impacted more by my current running state. I've been feeling a little running burn out and my efforts show that. But I still finished, and for that, I'm excited! 

Time: 2:54:47
Division Place: 40 out of 49

This ended up being my slowest half to date. I'm not even mad! I was glad to be a part of the inaugural race in my hometown, glad to pick up some more bling, and glad to see my racing season wind down so I could give my body some much needed rest! 

Question! Have you ever been a part of an inaugural race? 

PictureThe Wicked Witch, The Hubbo, and I
You guys! 
It's been almost a full month since I've published a blog! How did that even happen? 
So many things have happened since then. I've ran a marathon, ran a half marathon, updated my blog discount page, and so many other cool things. Today I'm going to tell you all about marathon number 7. Garmin in the Land of Oz Marathon which takes place about 4 hours north of Tulsa, in Olathe, Kansas. (Oh-lay-the)

This is actually my second time to participate in this race, but last year I ran the half marathon. 
This year I ran the full marathon for one reason and one reason only. The medal. You might recall that I wrote this post. 
It's still true. I only ran 26.2 mile to get the Dorothy Medal. It totally completed my incomplete collection! 

Before we get into the recap I have to say that this race was one of my all-time favorite races to date! Not because of the medal, not because of the course, but because I got to run most of it with two new friends and it was a blast! 

The People

PictureTom, Kristy, and I in the corral!
Usually, I start my recap with the medal because it is my #1 favorite part about racing. But not today medal, not today! 

I should start this section by telling you that I randomly ran into Tom ( @toms66stuff ) on the way to Olathe at a gas station. That's not creepy at all! 
I first "met" Tom on Twitter and briefly ran into him at the Route 66 marathon 2 years ago and then ran a few miles with him at Route 66 last year too.  
At the gas station we chatted for a few minutes before I left to get back on the road. I had already walked out when it hit me that I should see if he has dinner reservations and invite him to join us. #SouthernHospitality 
Turns out, he and his wife didn't have plans or reservations so they joined us at dinner and then he and I ran the entire race together the next day. Almost in matching Marathon Maniac singlets. Almost.   

My Twitter pal, Kristy (@pghrunner ) , and I decided a while back that we would both run this race so we could meet in real life for the first time! Kristy and Tom joined me, the Hubbo, and about 30 of our running buddies for dinner the night before the race and we had a great time with everyone. See pic below. 

Originally, Kristy was going to do the half but ended up switching to the full. She ran the first 13 miles with Tom and I at our pace and then picked it up a bit so she could get back to the hotel and catch her flight. We had so much fun! We talked the entire way, ate bananas, and tried to avoid the rude lady on the course. I seriously didn't want the first half of the marathon to be over because I knew I'd have to say goodbye. But, we're for sure going to plan another race so we can meet up again soon. 

Run Gingers Run! Oh and Run Tom!
Kristy and I before the race.
Just me and 30 of my running buddies carb loading...No Big Deal

The Medal

PictureDorothy, Toto, The Yellow Brick Road, and a Twister!
This is it. This is the ENTIRE reason I ran the full marathon and not the half marathon. Even though I was facing a little runner's burn out, I wanted to complete my Garmin Medal collection. Sort of. Last year I ran the half and got a Wicked Witch medal. This year it was Dorothy. In the past, the full medal has been rotating other characters until this year, and it was DOROTHY!
I don't mind that I don't have the Scare Crow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. Those were cool medals too, but if I'm going to do this race twice, I'd rather have Dorothy and they Witch. 
Mission Accomplished! 

The Course

The course was a little challenging this year. Not for the typical reasons though. Sure, we had rain and wind, but the most difficult part was the mud and mud puddles. 
This is one of the flatter marathons I've ran, but it did have  some hills. 
We ran a lot of the race  on a small paved trail system through a wooded area in Olathe, and that is where we ran into the mud. We had no option at times but to run right through it or walk carefully through them. I was glad to have the rain on one hand, because I was getting hot around mile three. Shortly after that is when we started getting some rain. We were really really muddy/dirty when we finished though. I wish I would have taken a picture of my shoes because it looked like I had just rain a wilderness trail! 
The cool  thing about the course, is the last 100 yards or so they turn it into a Yellow Brick Road! 

The Expo/Swag

There isn't really an expo. There is a packet pick up at the host hotel. It does have 3-5 vendor booths, but that is really about all. So don't expect much at the Expo.

The swag was a gender-specific tech shirt which was really cute this year.
I would take a picture to post on the blog, but it's lost somewhere in the laundry pile from hell so this picture of The Lion, The Tin Man, and The Scarecrow will have to do! 

Parking and Aid Stations

Parking is free and there is plenty of it! Just get to the starting line a little early for the closer parking spots and to get in line for the bathroom.

The aid stations were really good! In the later miles they were stocked with water, Gatorade, Gu, other snacks and Vaseline! Some were even handing out plastic baggies for your phone! 

My Results

This was my last marathon for a while but I'm pleased with how the day ended up. Overall it is my second fastest marathon! That's almost a PR, right?

Marathon Number 7:
Time: 5:34:36
Place: I have no idea
Overall Rank: You aren't even reading this anyways 
Weather: Humid, Rain, Muddy! 

Question! What is your second fastest 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon Time?

PictureMeb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi with Scott Douglas
After reading Meb Keflezighi's book, Meb For Mortals How to Run, Think, and Eat Like A Champion Marathoner, I've decided we are exactly the same person. But we'll get to that in a minute. 

Runner's World contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this book and you know I said yes! I've actually never done a book review before, but it's been fun doing something different. I was provided a free digital copy of the book to review  but as always, all opinions and typos are my own. 

Now back to how Meb and RunGingerRun are the same person...

I know what you are thinking. 

Sure, he's male and I'm female. He's African American and I'm a Native American Ginger. He wins marathons and I barely survive them. But I'm pretty sure we're the same person deep down inside. 

In his book, Meb talks about a lot of things.
He talks about his mental process, his training plan, his cross training plan, how he eats, and even how he recovers from a race. 

Reason number one on how Meb and RGR are the same.
He takes time off after a race! 
"I always take a break after a marathon. In the first few days after, I don't have a choice - I can barely walk." 

Umm what? So you mean to tell me Meb Keflezighi, 2014 Boston Marathon Winner, also does the stiff-legged-shuffle the days after a race?! I bet he curses those stairwells the same way I do! I had no idea. Professional athletes make it look so easy. 

He says he make take off as much as 3 weeks after a marathon depending on "how beat up" he is. He does this to help recover and avoid injury. 
So my 8 week hiatus from running this summer just means I'm training like the pros...kinda. :)

Reason number two on how Meb and RGR are the same.
He doesn't worry about missing a mile or two on his training plan!
"It's better to be undertrained than overtrained." 
I can get behind this 100%.
Overtraining leads to injury. Injury leads to missing races and other fun stuff.
Personally, I'd rather sit out a training run or cut one short than miss my entire goal event.

Reason number three on how Meb and RGR are the same.
Meb wears sunglasses on race day! So do I! Albeit for different reasons. Until I read the book, I didn't really give much thought to his signature look. You know, the 5 S's...Shorts, Sketchers Shoes, Singlet, and Sunglasses. 

"I usually wear sunglasses in a race if it's a sunny day. This is not because of the sun but to help keep my head at the right level."
For me, it's all about comfort and to keep the sun out of my eyes. For Meb, it's all about posture and running form. He feels that if he wears them he'll notice when his head starts to drop in poor form because his sunglasses will slide down his face. Who knew?

Meb for Mortals is the title, but is it really for the everyday runner?

That thought crossed my mind when I started reading this. I expected to see crazy workout strategies, diets, and gear that only an elite athlete could come up with. Turns out, it really is a book for the everyday runner or "mortal" if you will. 

He talks about runners who wear a phone on their arm and tells us why it's a bad idea when it comes to your running form. I think it's pretty neat the this book focuses on real habits of all kinds of runners. I've certainly  been that runner with a phone on my arm and now that I see it in print that it changes your running form, I can see why. 

I could go on and on about the cool down-to-earth tips this book gives but let's do a quick rundown of the items included in this book.
  • He discusses his 9 day training cycle when most athletes do a 7 day cycle
  • He gives a list of running drills to help you with form (with pictures)
  • He shares tips with where to do certain works outs. He races on the road so a lot of his workouts are on the road.
  • Detailed 4 weeks of his 5k,10k, haf marathon and marathon training plans that lead to his PRs
  • Race nutrition - When he can't sleep at night before a marathon, he eats!
  • When to take a DNF. He's had three. 
  • Eating in general. Quick summary: No to fast food, yes to coffee sometimes!

I could go on and on with the cool tips and advice that this books includes,  but really, it's a quick, easy, and intriguing read if you're a runner or a fan of the sport. 
If you need a book for your next plane trip or day by the pool, this is a good one to have! 
You can buy a copy of Meb's book here. It's a paperback book that retails for $19.99.
You can follow him on Twitter here.
You can find him on Facebook here.
You can like his photos on Instagram here.

Also - Meb will be running in the 2015 Boston Marathon so be sure to cheer him on! 

Question! Do you plan to watch the 2015 Boston Marathon to see if Meb wins again?

My 7th marathon is less than two weeks away and I'm trying to mentally prepare for it.
I survived my last long run of almost 20 miles this weekend but my training this season has been less than stellar. I'm pretty sure won't be setting any PRs anytime soon. But I willing signed up for this race and I'm going to give it a shot.


Because I like medals.

I collect them. It's not just a collection. It's something I can say that I earned as well. Every step of the way. I know some runners don't care much about medals and we all have different reasons why we sign up for a race, but this is mine. 

When I'm picking a half or full marathon, I go through these questions in this order:
1. Does it have a medal? If yes, move on to question two. If the answer is no to this question, there is no need to move forward to any other questions. 
2. What does it look like? If I think it's neat, cool, unique, etc. Move on to next question.
3. Travel, Lodging, Cost. If it's affordable, move on to next question. 
4. Does it fit in my training cycle? If the race in Oct/Nov or late March/early April, next question.
5. Have I already raced in this state? If no, then its a definite possibility!

Sometime last year there were rumors swirling in my running community that the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, Kansas was going to have Dorothy as the main character for their medal this year.

Quick back story - In the past, the half medal has been the Wicked Witch and the Full marathon medal has been rotating the other characters (Tin Man, Scare Crow and last year it was the Cowardly Lion). 

Another quick story - I freaking love the Wizard of Oz! I've dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween 2 or 3 times, I've watched the movie countless times, and I've seen the musical Wicked 3 times! 

Last year, the Hubbo and I and some of our running buddies drove up to Kansas and ran the half marathon. So now I have the Wicked Witch medal and when it was confirmed that the Full Marathon Medal would be Dorothy and I knew I had to sign up. And I did.

It only makes sense, right? If I'm not going to do this race again, this is a perfect set. 
Wicked Witch + Dorothy
They are an iconic pair like, Romeo and Juliet, Popeye and Olive Oil, or Bonnie and Clyde! 
You just can't have one without the other. You just can't. My brain can't comprehend it any other way.

I don't plan to do another full marathon anytime soon. So I won't be collecting the other characters. Sorry Scare Crow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Man! Who knows if they will be doing the same thing over the next few years.

I don't plan on running any marathons for a while because this is me lately...
And that is how I ended up signing up for another marathon when I had no intentions of training for a full marathon two training cycles in a row. 

I'm just here for the medal.

Question! Have you ever signed up for a race just for the medal?

Happy Good Friday Running Buddies!

I'm off work today, but the Hubbo has to work so I'm just sitting at home relaxing and preparing for my 20 miler tomorrow. 
It's just me, the dog, and the cat. I'm hydrating like a boss and they, well, they are being lazy. 

The Hubbo sent me the pic below of our dog, Zoey, and our cat, Gypsy, a few weeks ago.
This picture is totally staged! They aren't friends, but it's cute when they tolerate each other for a few seconds. 
Don't get me wrong, it's not a hostile relationship, they just prefer to pretend the other doesn't exist. And when Zoey walks too close to Gypsy, she likes to bop her in the face a time or two. Don't worry though, we always separate them and Gypsy doesn't use her claws. Zoey usually just stands there looking confused for a second. 
You can cut the tension with a knife...
Today I'm getting mentally and physically ready for my 20 mile run tomorrow with my group.
Here's my plan for the day...

Step 1: Eat cereal for breakfast.

Step 2: Wear Strassburg Sock off and on today.
Currently In Progress.

Step 3: Hydrate like a boss!
In Progress! Already 17 ounces in.

Step 4: Stretch and Foam Roll.
Eh, we'll see if I get to this one...
Step 5: Play Laser Tag with friends.
Totally doing this today! What should my player name be?

Step 6: Eat a turkey sandwich and apple for lunch.
Nom nom nom!

Step 7: Eat something for dinner and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

And this will be me tomorrow after my run...

Leave a comment! How do you prepare for your long run?

In less than three weeks, I'll hopefully complete my 7th marathon. My plan is to run the Full at the Garmin Marathon in Kansas and collect my Dorothy themed medal. I ran the half here last year and received a Wicked Witch medal, so it only makes sense that I add Dorothy to my collection, right? 

Oh the things we do for bling! 

I never really do weekly training recaps but I feel like once or twice a training session I tend to blog about my training. I don't do weekly recaps for a couple reasons.

1. I think seeing post after post after post of someones miles/splits can be boring and mine aren't that impressive. 
2. I pay for my training plan and I don't know if my running club would appreciate me posting it all over the place.
3. I never really stick to that plan anyways.

With that being said, I will share with you all that this is supposed to be my peak week. Supposed to be.
I haven't really been doing a stellar job at sticking to my training and this is the first training session where I've really slacked on my miles.

I didn't run Monday because I got a massage. Remind me someday to tell you about my love/hate relationship with massages. It's mostly a hate relationship...

I ran 4 miles Tuesday and it was HOT! It was close to 90 degrees after work. 
I plan to run a tempo run with my group tomorrow after work. Fingers crossed!
Saturday is our longest run of the session. 20 miles. 

Then I'll slide into taper mode.  It kind of feel like I've been in that mode since January. But hopefully, come Saturday, I'll get the job done. I'm already mentally prepping for that day and asking myself all of life's serious questions...

Compression socks or no compression socks?
Do I tape my feet or not tape my feet?
Do I take 4 or 5 packets of nutrition with me?
Do I take my iPod along or no?
And OMG, what am I going to wear? What's the weather going to be like? 
In other news...

I've been seeing my Chiropractor again. We have an on-again off-again relationship. Right now we are on and I'm happy with how my appointments are progressing.
I've had two this week and I have 3 scheduled for next week.
Today we did some Active Release Therapy and Dry Needling.
I've had the needling done before and it didn't really bother me, but today..OUCH! 
He's working on two separate issues. My plantar fasciitis has been acting up and I have a compressed nerve on the inside of my foot. 
I'm not too worried about these issues. I've been dealing with my plantar fasciitis for a while now and he seems to be confident that he can fix up the nerve problem. So if everything goes according to plan, I should be able to show up and run the Garmin Marathon in a couple weeks.

Leave a comment? How's your training going? 
iPod or no iPod?

PictureAt the lab and no tears!
Getting blood work done isn't exactly my idea of a good time.  Unless you're a vampire, no one really just likes the site of blood. But sometimes a few vials of blood can provide you with a wealth of knowledge you didn't have before.

That's exactly what happened when I decided to give Inside Tracker a try.

Disclaimer: I received a membership to Inside Tracker thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Inside Tracker is a company based out of Boston that uses your own blood to tell you what habits or focus foods you need to add to your lifestyle/diet to live a healthier life and perform better. They look at several different bio-markers and tell you if you're in the optimal zone for each one or not. If you are not, they give you in-depth tips and a long list of foods to add to your diet to improve those areas. 

Spoiler Alert! I had several areas that were not in my optimal zone! 

The process sounds simple right? Here's a quick overview of the process:
  • I set up an account on Inside Tracker's website. 
  • I found a local lab
  • I set up an appointment online to visit the lab and have my blood work done. 
  • I fasted for 12 hours and went to the lab. 
  • They took my blood. 
  • I didn't cry once!  
  • I waited 2 or 3 days and got my results back. 
  • Then I freaked out...

Side Note - If you try this out, you should probably skip the freak out step. 

I ignored the email that notified me that my results were ready for a full day. I didn't want to open it. 
Turns out, the email doesn't actually have your results in it, but tells you to log into your account to see your full results. Imagine that...

I was hesitant for a few reasons. Do you remember my whiny baby post? Yeah, that. I've been struggling with running since September and failing to use nutrition to control my PCOS. So I was nervous to see just how bad things were. No one likes bad news, right? But bad news or not, I needed to know. I needed to get informed so I could take steps to get better, to get healthier. 

It's important to point out that Inside Tracker is not meant to treat or cure diseases or medical conditions. But it just so happens that the top prescribed treatment for PCOS is diet and exercise so I found it to be a helpful tool. 

This tool is something that I've wanted for a long time. I've tried to find a nutritionist before but felt that due to my hormonal endocrine disorder they would never be able to tailor a meal plan that would really fit my needs. What do I need to eat? I remember thinking "I just wish somebody would tell me exactly what I should eat." 

Then finally, I logged in.
I was surprised and not surprised at the same time.
I saw some results that I expected and a couple that totally floored me. 

I had no idea...

Let's take a quick look at the different bio-markers they test.
The ones in Green are the ones that were in my optimal range. The ones in Orange were borderline either getting close to too high or too low. The ones in red, well, those need the most work. 

Iron, Liver, ALT (Liver enzyme), Magnesium, Creatine Kinase (Muscle Health), Folate, Potassium,
Sodium, Zinc, White Blood Cells

LDL, Triglycerides, Ferritin (Iron Storage), Glucose, hsCRP (Inflammation Indicator), Total Cholesterol, HDL, Calcium

Testosterone, Vitamin D, Cortisol, Vitamin B12

My Results

Any of the markers listed above in orange or red will need work to get in my optimal zone.

I wasn't shocked to see my HDL, LDL, and Testosterone were in need of work. Those are typical results of women with PCOS. But I was shocked to see that my Testosterone had gone up 5 points since my last labs were completed!
I spent 6 months on a medication that was supposed to help reduce my testosterone and it made running almost impossible for me. Since getting these results back, I've scheduled an appointment with my doctor to talk about what's going on and my treatment options. 

The other result that I was shocked to see was that my Vitamin D level was low. Umm, hello! I'm a Ginger and that is our one and only super power! We are super proficient when it comes to Vitamin D and in fact, we need less of it than others! 

In reality, this test was done in early March and I attribute my low VitD level to it being the winter months with less sunlight available.  So if I re-test this summer, I suspect this wouldn't be an issue. 

What Now?

Now that I know which areas I need to work on, I can visit another part of the Inside Tracker Portal and start looking at focus foods that I should incorporate to my diet. It's called the Food Basket. It has over 7,500 unique foods to suggest to you and even gives you your suggested caloric needs for each day based on the information you provided. Mine is around 2160 a day based on my activity level. And yes, Dark Chocolate is on the list! 

I filled out a simple food questionnaire to let them know if I had any dietary preferences or restrictions. For example, when I'm creating a food basket I can tell it that I don't like fish, or that I'm a vegetarian/vegan, or that I want to eat a Paleo diet and it will tailor the suggested foods to meet those needs. 
It also suggested that I add a few vitamins to help out. 

Let's take one of my bio-markers and look at their suggestions to help me improve it.


My calcium was too high. 
It gave me a quick list of foods I could add including: peaches, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, kiwi, lima beans, lentils, squash, black beans, tuna and cod. 
It gave me a list of foods to eat less of: Whole milk, Cheddar cheese, pancakes, and ice cream. 
The tip it gave me was to eliminate any supplements I'm taking that include calcium. 

Bonus - One tip it gave me to help my cortisol level was to each dark chocolate! (70% cacao or higher) I've never heard of a diet tip that included eating chocolate! 

Is It Working?

It's probably too early to re-test and see if my levels have improved so I'm basing this answer off of my recent training runs. But I have been adding focus foods into my diet for a couples weeks now. 

My energy has been slowly getting better but the biggest results that I can tell so far is that my running is getting stronger. I just made a few simple tweaks to my diet and I've already seen a big improvement and had stronger runs lately.

I recently ran my longest run of this training season, 17 miles, and it was good! It was one of my best long runs I've had in months. I've had a few good 10k runs with my group as well. Even some of my volunteer coaches and the Hubbo have said they can tell I'm running better lately. 

Also - usually Sundays are a rest/recovery day but the last two Sundays I've found myself wanting to get out and do a fun activity. We went for a bike ride and we went on a hike. Before, I would just prefer to rest all day and work on my Netflix marathon skills. I like that my energy is increasing and helping my motivation to creep back in for fun activities. 

If you want to check out Inside Tracker for yourself you can visit their website and look at the different packages they offer. I was given the Ultimate package. 
They start at $49 and range to $499. Two of their packages are available worldwide. 

If you want to see what my fellow BibRavePro Tom thought about Inside Tracker from a male's perspective, check out his blog here!

Question! What is your favorite super food?