Orange Mud Makes Your Run Easy

Disclaimer: I received the Orange Mud P.F.V 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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One of the main things that makes runners annoyed as can be is having to carry a bunch of stuff with them Ok, ok, maybe it’s just me that gets super annoyed. I am a pretty minimalistic runner. I hate having to carry my phone, keys and water on me. That’s three more things that I have to carry on top of already wearing shoes, shorts and a tank. So when I saw Orange Mud’s new Phone, Flask, Vest I jumped on the opportunity to give it a shot.

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When I got the vest I was a little confused on how to wear it. It seemed small and a bit uncomfortable. Luckily, Orange Mud has a bunch of pictures to show you how it works. I started to fiddle around with it and decided that the best way to see if it works is obviously to go for a run. I threw on my shoes and packed my phone, keys, a BibRave Buff and the water flask in the vest and took off.

At first, it felt kind of weird. I realized that I did not tighten the straps on the side or the back. Once I did a little trouble shooting, the vest stopped bouncing while I ran and the flask’s straw was out of my face. The vest sits up pretty much covering your chest. The flask is the biggest compartment, but there is another on that holds your phone. I have an iPhone 6s and it fit in there perfectly. Over the right shoulder is another area to stash something and below the flask is a small pocket for your keys. in the back is a pocket where a larger item can go. I was able to stick my rain jacket in there.

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I am really impressed by the design and features of the Orange Mud P.F.V. It is simple and holds all the essentials. It takes a little bit to get used to the way that it sits on your chest but after you get passed that point you can enjoy the run without having a bunch of stuff bouncing on you. The price is a bit on the high end, but considering your are eliminating 3-5 other items I would say that it is worth it.

If you want to try the PFV out, let me help you out with the price! Use “BRPPFV” code at checkout and receive a 10% off discount. Try it out and let me know how you like it in the comments below!

#KeepTheRunOn

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5 Thoughts Going into Grandmas Marathon Week

We are five days away from Grandmas Marathon 2017. Runners are in the final stretch of their training, mental preparation, race day scheduling, and allowing the excitement and the nerves to begin to build more and more as we head down the week. I am no different. Here are my thoughts going into the marathon week:

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Sprint training on a closed road.

Thought One: Unable to gauge training. The reason I say that is because I have been in training mode since December, and I ran the Illinois Marathon back in April. My training miles are good, my speed seems like it is exactly where it needs to be, but mentally when I look at my spreadsheet I am not necessarily seeing a trend.

Thought Two: Excitement for running Grandmas Marathon. I am getting pretty amped up about this race. I know I have to get over some of the mental hurdles, and one physical, this week but I am getting more and more excited by the day.

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Feeling after a morning 7 miler.

Thought Three: Speaking of physical hurdles, I got a small groin issue. Last week I pulled my groin while running. I was stepping onto a curb and got distracted and had a weird stride. I don’t think it is anything major, but I did have some issues running the past few days. Hopefully my continuous stretching and icing will have already healed it.

Thought Four: Are my expectations reasonable? Last November, I ran a marathon in over 5 hours. The day after my November marathon I decided that I am going to run a marathon in 2017 under 4 hours. That would be a PR of 45min. I ran IL Marathon in 4:16:23 back in April. Are my expectations for Grandmas Marathon too high? I feel like they are not but there are doubts.

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Running in the evening means Brilliant Reflective on everything.

Thought Five: Let’s get it done! This week I want to focus on forgetting the first four thoughts and just saying, “Let’s Go! I have put a ton of training into this and now is the time to show up and get it done.” My though through the race will be, “Keep The Run On”.

I am ready to go out there and make this race a great one! There is nothing better than the feeling that a runner gets, at any level of competition, before and after finishing a race. There are no words and you cannot describe it. You must feel it for yourself.

KEEP THE RUN ON

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Bucket List Race

I am spoiled that the Midwest offers so many great races throughout the year. Even narrowing it down to Minnesota, there are a bunch of awesome races. Twin Cities Marathon is constantly on top for best urban marathons, Get In Gear is an iconic race that has been around for 40+ years, and Bemidji and Mankato both put on great races. For me though, one marathon has been on my bucket list for a while.

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Running around the lakes in MPLS

Grandmas Marathon in Duluth, MN is an iconic race that runs down the shore of Lake Superior from Two Harbors into Canal Park in Duluth. The race went from 150 participants back in 1977 to over 18,000 participants in the three races that they have every June. Here are the five reasons why this race has been on my list for so long.

  1. The Community: I was recruited to University of Minnesota Duluth for Track and Field and even though my time there was short, I could understand how much the city of Duluth loves this race. Marathon Weekend is like Christmas and 4th of July for Duluth. Every store, every restaurant, everyone supports and loves this race
  2. The Course: The race starts in Two Harbors and follows the scenic route of HWY 61. Running along the shore the entire time, the race has plenty of things to see while you run. An awesome part of the course is to be able to see Canal Park many times as you are running but that also kind of sucks. I have never run a point to point course so I am excited.
  3. Big Time Race: This race has all the feel of a small-town marathon but it comes with a big-time race atmosphere. Every single hotel is sold out (make sure to get your accommodations early), the Canal Park area is completely blocked off with stands and tents, and the course has plenty of entertainment that will allow you to keep your spirits up.
  4. Perfect PR Race: The total race elevation drops throughout the race so I am excited to have a decline. I am also used to hill runs so this should give me a little bit of an advantage. The weather is typically cooler but sunny. Even though I don’t believe that MN weather can be predictable, I will cross my fingers.
  5. BibRave Running: Ever since I started running for BibRave, I wanted the opportunity for Grandma’s Marathon to come up. I knew that they were a partner in the past and I was hoping that they would partner up again this year. Once they did, I was pumped that I had the opportunity to sign up.
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Soaking wet after a 13 mile run

The race is less than a month away and I am feeling very confident and very excited to run. This is the first year where I am doing two marathons in the first half of the year so I am nervous to see how that affects me but I am feeling optimistic that the miles that I have been running are going to pay off in a big way.

What is your Bucket List Race? Comment below!

Keep The Run On

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Need a PR Race? Run Illinois Marathon!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Illinois 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!

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I had the privilege of running the Illinois Marathon on April 22nd. This was an important race for me for two reasons. One, I have never run a Spring race and training in the winter in Minnesota is one hell of a challenge. Two, this was my redemption race. With a disappointing finish in my marathon in November, I was eager to make this race count. I accomplished what I set out to do and that is to PR the Illinois Marathon! Training is the typical reason why you PR, but it is all about the race in the end. There is a reason why some of the fastest marathon times are done on a super flat fast course in Berlin. I owe a lot to Illinois Marathon and here is why.

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Pre-Race Weekend: Everything prior to the race weekend was done by the book. I was receiving valuable information regarding the race, partners, medals, lodging and occasional runners humor. Right as I signed up, I looked through the entire site and could find easy and helpful links for getting my lodging sorted out, figuring out race details, and learning the course. The team behind the marathon did an awesome job with their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts to keep them updated and answer any questions that anyone asked. Week before the race I received a digital packet that had absolutely everything you can think of in there.

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Race Weekend Events: The first thing I did when I got into Champaign, IL is go to the expo. There were a billion volunteers there. Well not a billion, but they were everywhere. They had lines on the floor directing you where you needed to go and the volunteers had awesome foam fingers that pointed in the direction where the expo was. Everyone I talked to was fell informed and had an answer to all my questions. I was running the I-Challenge so I had to pick up two bib, get two string bags, and get two shirts. It was painless. Afterwards, I walked around the expo, bought some last-minute things and took a picture with Abe Lincoln. Once again, everything was well laid out and easy to navigate.

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Race One: On Friday night, I ran the night time 5K. It was my nice warmup to the marathon which was happening the next morning. The course went through the University of Illinois and finished by running into their football stadium. Once again, there were a ton of volunteers there and everyone was super helpful.

 

Race Two: On Saturday morning, I ran the Illinois Marathon. The morning started out great. There was plenty of space to warm up. Volunteers were giving out coffee and bagels, every runners dream. There were plenty of portable bathrooms, and there was a truck that took your gear to the finish line. At the starting line, I found the pacer that I wanted to run with and at the gun we were out for the run. This course is EXTREMELY flat! It is a very fast course to run. It was easy to stay with the pace group, but there was a bit of congestion when we came into the park area in the first 13.1 miles. The race really opened up after the half way point when we dropped off the half marathoners. Along the entire route there were awesome volunteers, drink and food stations, aid stations, and bathrooms. It was an awesome run through the University of Illinois and the surrounding areas and it was pretty freaking awesome running out of the tunnel of the stadium and seeing yourself on the big screen.

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After The Race: After the race I was given an awesome medal, a water, a blanket and shook hands with one of the race directors. I got a sweet picture and was off to the stadium concourse where I got all the food I can ever want. Bananas, chips, pasta, pizza, granola, fruit, water, and sports drink. It was a great way to hold down the extreme hunger that I had after my race. Once you exit the stadium you are greeted with a block party. There is a band, tons of food and most importantly BEER. Every runner got a nice cold one from a local brewery.

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Final Thoughts: This is a race that I will be back to run. Every marathoner’s dream when it comes to the quality of the race and the speed of the course. This has to be one of the fastest courses in the Midwest, maybe right behind Chicago. If you are looking for a Spring race where you know the race director and their team of volunteers is going to kill it and you are going to be able to run straight and flat, the Illinois Marathon is for you.

 

Keep The Run On

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IL Marathon: The Redemption Story

When I signed up for the Illinois Marathon, I knew that it was going to be a redemption race and that I was going to be putting a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. After running a career worst 5:06:52 at the Madison Marathon in November of 2016, I was determined to shatter that and hopefully break a PR. I am very excited to say that I crushed my PR and ran an amazing Illinois Marathon on April 22nd. Breaking my PR by over 20 minutes felt awesome and running a 4:16:23 (Garmin time) 4:17:32 (Course time) was a great feel of relief and excitement. Here is what I did not kill my PR and have a great race.

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Step One: Training is the key to a successful marathon. Not a revelation, I know that. This was my 7th marathon and out of 7 marathons this was the only one where my training was above 80% successful. I measure success by the number of scheduled workouts that I completed. I have always taken training as an inconvenient chore that I did not want to do. This time was different. Everything from the training season to the type of training was changed. Mentally, I was ready and wanting to train hard. Physically, I followed the routine and avoided disruptive activity. Training plan was new and different. Shorter so that I wouldn’t get burnt out, but more intense causing my workouts to be more difficult. I also focused on the time I was running per day or week rather than the number of miles. This allowed me to continue to be interested in my training, avoiding injury, and ultimately feeling ready and great during the race. From a cardio stand point, I had some gas left in the tank, from leg feel/strength I was ready to be done. I hope that the 20% that was left on the table will allow for an even better performance.

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Step Two: Nutrition is one of those tricky necessities that typically take the back of the priority list. I chose and worked hard on keeping that towards the front of my list. I reduced a lot of unhealthy habits and increased monitoring what I ate and drank so that it would positively impact my training. Healthy foods, smaller portions, smarter snacking and reduction of alcohol intake all played a role in a more successful marathon.

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Step Three: Mental preparedness was a crucial factor in my training and racing. Very often, I would image different scenarios during the run. What would I do if I felt dehydrated, what to do if I have an injury, how do I substitute a workout if my muscles are hurting? I thought about these things before the race which ultimately helped during. I remember during mile 9-14 my knee was not feeling the best. I could assess whether I thought it was pain that was injury driven or if it was a temporary pain. I decided it was temporary and it paid off.

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Step Four: Knowing your course and race is extremely important. I used BibRave.com to read about reviews of the race and what others have thought about the course. Also, the Illinois Marathon had an amazing website, app and expo. I could get a ton of information from their website and app before the race. They communication was also on point. I got emails updating me on all things race weekend. Going into the race, I felt like I have already been on the course and knew where the turns were, the aid station locations and even when I needed to get on my toes for the “hills” (I run in Minnesota so the hills that the course had do not qualify as hills).

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Step Five: Running smart will ultimately get you where you want to get to. Running smart means you run what you’ve trained for. Your pace stays at what you planned for. You eat, drink, carry and wear what you have already planned for. I did exactly that. I knew where I wanted to be with time. I knew what pace I needed to reach that time. I knew that this was a fast course and that I would want to take off but I didn’t. I stayed true to what I wanted to accomplish. And damn am I proud of that. For once in my running career I felt like I did exactly everything the way that I wanted to do it.

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It is unreal how something can come together if you follow what you have planned for yourself. I planned my training to run between 4:10:00 and 4:20:00, I planned to run at a weight of 195, I planned to lose the headphones and extra gear, and I planned to run a smart race. When I was able to accomplish all of those, I succeeded in accomplishing a huge PR and getting the redemption race that I wanted.

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Grandmas Marathon, you are on the clock. I am coming for you!

Keep The Run On

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