Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer Running… Yuck!

I’m over it! I am ready for fall. Summer has made me sleepier than normal and hot. I don’t think I enjoy summer running at all. 

June was better than July and July was way better than August has been thus far lol!

I also can’t decide if I love or loathe this run streak either. I don’t want to run right now and so I loathe it but I know that if it weren’t for the streak I would not be running right now and so I think I love it lol!

The run streak has definitely has kept me accountable.  I can’t say I am killing my runs or even running much more than a mile a day but I am getting out there swimming, I mean running, through the thick humid summer air!

In June I managed to run 146 miles and 101 miles in July.  I am pretty happy with that! Last year I ran 54 miles in June and 74 miles in July, they were two of my lowest mileage months. Looks like I am trending lol!

I’ve been giving myself some grace. Since I am not really training for anything yet I am cutting myself some slack and just listen to my body and not push too hard or too far. 

I am super ready for fall though! Bring on the cool crisp running air!!

How do you stay cool on your summer runs? What’s the best summer running tip you have?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness Review - LeRoy's feedback included ;)

Disclaimer: I received the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

This puppy of mine is so freaking cute I can hardly stand it! He absolutely goes nuts when I tell him he has mail. I knew that the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness had arrived and when we got home I told him he had a package. He seriously knows what that means and made a bee line to the house. He was so excited to find out what had come in the mail for him. 

Watch his unboxing video:

LeRoy is a little pup, he is a soon to be two year old Havanese. I kind of can’t believe he is already almost two!! While he is not cut out for long runs with me (his cute little legs just can’t) he loves to go on my short easy run days!! I typically take him with me on Monday’s. For my run streak this year we have made Monday’s our easy day and so we run one mail to maintain the streak and walk two miles to shake out our legs from the weekend’s long runs. 

Truth be told we haven’t done many long runs this summer, it is so hot and we have been a bit slack since we aren’t in the midst of training for anything. This is how we feel about summer lol:

I feel in love with Stunt Puppy products when we tested out the Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner, we also carry with us all the time the Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl, I actually keep this in my car at all times, but we had not yet tried out the harness. 

We have tried so many harnesses but they all fit LeRoy funny. Again he is little but has a longer torso with short legs. A lot of harnesses are bulk, heavy or are cut weird around his legs and they seem uncomfortable for him. If he could only talk… LOL!

As of late we have just used his collar which I also don’t love for runs because he get excited (like me) and starts off too fast, pulling and then making that heavy breath/choking sound that dogs do! Ugggg it’s the worst!

I was a bit worried about the sizing. I consider him a small dog but there are dogs much smaller. I ordered the size small and it actually fit perfectly. 

It is fully adjustable and so I was able to adjust to make it just right for him. 

He loves it!! I love it! It is now our go to harness for all activities where he is on the leash!

We both highly recommend you check out Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness and all of their awesome products!!

Want to learn even more? Check out what my BibRave Pro Buddies have to say about the Stunt Puppy Go Dog Glo™ Harness:

Emily Brenda Brittany Cassie Eddie Fallon Christine Jessica Ken Kim Lindsey Matt Mer 

Follow all of our adventures on Instagram @leroy.avery and @gooutsidegirl

Monday, July 15, 2019

Science in Sport Review - Fuel for the long run

Disclaimer: I received my Science In Sport Energy + Electrolye and Isotonic gels to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I am pretty religious about taking in fuel for my long runs every half hour. I have learned the hard way that I completely bonk if I fall behind in my fueling strategy. Essentially for a half marathon or longer I make sure that I follow that strategy to a T! I have it down to a science and when I tried out Sports In Science I'd say that so do they!

I was super excited to get to try out the Science In Sport Energy Gels.

I kinda wish I had started trying out SIS before I ran the Black Mountain Monster! I feel like the double espresso might have bumped me up in place lol!!

I had the opportunity to try out the GO Isotonic Energy Gel : Apple, GO Energy + Electrolyte: Salted Strawberry and Lemon Mint and the GO Energy Double Caffeine: Double Espresso. They have a slew of other flavors so be sure to check them all out!! 

In testing out these products I have also done some extra research on electrolyte and fueling and interestingly enough I have listened to several podcasts lately that all were discussing fueling for the long run. I love it when the universe aligns like this! Many nutritional experts also recommend following my same strategy for fueling, in taking 100 calories every 30 minutes for long runs. The thing that I have learned that I didn't realize is that the fuel is not processed the same way food is when you are eating a normal meal for example. The product, rather than being digested, is absorbed to provide you with the quick energy response you need for your endurance activity. Makes sense!! So the easier the product is on your stomach the better! 

The product is different that a traditional gel. It's hard for me to call SIS a gel. The product is not thick and gel like really at all. The consistency is thinner and more drinkable than a gel. Gels that you typically pick up at your local sporting good store are thick and require more of an active swallow to get them down whereas the SIS product goes down a bit more smoothly like a liquid. 

I was a little worried on the flavor options I had to try because I always select the chocolate/vanilla type flavors over the fruit flavors of gels. I will for sure be ordering those flavors to give them a try! I was however pleasantly surprised. The flavor of the products was great!! I of course had a couple of favorites so here is my personal preference in flavor in order:

GO Energy + Electrolyte: Salted Strawberry - SOOOOOOOO Good!!! Kind of like a strawberry margarita!!! Without the alcohol of course lol!! I'm some what of a saltaholic, which I know one day will get me, but still this one was my absolute favorite!! Salty and Sweet and hit the spot oh so perfectly!!

GO Energy Double Caffeine: Double Espresso: I also love coffee so this one I was sure would be a favorite! The package says to take 30 minutes before activity. I was worried I may have too much caffeine with my normal pre-run coffee so I waited and took this along for the run! I definitely knew when it kicked in!

GO Energy + Electrolyte: Lemon Mint : Super light and refreshing! 

GO Isotonic Energy Gel, Apple: Tasted like a non sour jolly rancher lol!! I am not a huge apple flavored things person, although I love apples, it's weird I know. It's the same way I love chocolate and cookies but not chocolate chip cookies lol!

With all of the energy products I felt that they were a great solution for meeting my fueling needs. When I shared that I was trying them I received lots of feedback from other runners that this is the product they use and love too!! 
I had absolutely no GI issues with the product and while the packets are larger than other gels they still fit perfectly in my hydration vest, handheld and skirt pockets!
If you are in search of a product that is easy on the tummy, packed with everything you need to fuel your next big endurance activity I suggest giving Science in Sport a try! Use code ‘TRYSIS25’ for 25% off!

Check out my Instagram Contest too for a chance to win one of two great giveaways!!

And if you want to learn more and see what others are saying about this product check out these reviews from some of my fellow BibRave Pros:

Monday, July 8, 2019

Charlotte Firecracker 5K – Race Recap - July 3, 2019

Pushing a jogging stroller is HARD! I give major props to all you momma’s running with your babies!! 

Elizabeth and I signed up to run the Charlotte Firecracker 5K again this year. 

We ran it in 2016 and 2017

This year would be different though, we’d have a cute little firecracker with us and a jogging stroller. 

I told Elizabeth that I would push the stroller. 

Whew, that was harder than I expected!

We love this 5K, it is the perfect way to start our Independence Day celebrations. We typically do this race for fun and so we dress up in red white and blue and enjoy seeing everyone else dressed up too!

The course takes you through a quaint neighborhood and so many residents come out to spectate. 

Many will have sprinklers at the street for you to run through, some write words of encouragement and patriotism in sidewalk chalk on the streets, kids fill up water guns and squirt them at the runners as they jolt by, all of them cheer!! It is great!! 

July evenings can get pretty hot in NC so all the water fun along the course is welcomed by the runners! 

There are ample water stations too!

The race concludes with a great big pool party at the neighborhood pool with pizza and beer and tons of vendors set up with other fun goodies. 

All participants get a race shirt and finisher medal and they are always super cute!

If you are in or around Charlotte for the 4th of July I strongly recommend this super fun race! 

Come on out and join us here next year!

Monday, July 1, 2019

How to pack for an Ultra Run: My 12 Hour Ultra Packing List

When I finally came to realization that I had indeed signed up for another ultra marathon, I think I had actually been in denial for a while, I decided I needed to do some more research so that I could equip myself with all the tools I would possibly need for the event. 

I had signed up for the Black Mountain Monster 12 Hour Endurance Run, after two failed attempts at a local 50K, in my third and possibly final attempt to get the 50K under my belt! 

For the past two attempts I kind of went in to the race as if it was a marathon. Ultra-running is different than a marathon... 

This race was a looped course of 3.125 miles. I grilled my friend Kim all about last year’s race. She and I had both signed up to run it last year but last minute they had to delay the race due to the weather and so I had to defer to this year. She did the 6 Hr. race and knew the course and could give me the inside scoop specific to that event. Since I deferred I switched my race to the 12 Hour to be sure I had all the time I would need to get to 50K. 

I also started to read all the blog posts I could find about endurance events and looped courses. I came across several versions of packing lists but I could not find one that was all inclusive so I made my own! 

Truth is I packed way more than I actually needed but I am so glad I did. At any time I could have needed any number of the things I packed. Having all of my gear there gave me a sense of security and as I shared in my race recap I absolutely loved being on a looped course!

The first thing I packed was several changes of clothes. I wasn't sure if I'd get supper sweaty and need a fresh change or if I would get cold and need something to keep me warm. I wasn't sure if I'd get hot in tall over the calf compression socks or would they get soaked in the rain and feel heavy? If I just got wet would I want to change, would I want a rain jacket if it poured the rain? If my shoes got muddy I might want to change into another pair, or if my feet got tired I'd want to change. I felt sure I would want to change after the race into something dry. In addition to what I had planned to wear for the race I packed a pair of running capris, a long sleeved shirt, a pull over hoodie, a running rain jacket, two other Skirt Sports Skirts, another tank top, second sports bra, a t-shirt, another pair of my running shoes, two changes of Crazy Compression Socks, one tall one short, two Buffs, a pair of gloves (??? not sure what I was thinking lol!!!) and my Oofos. I also packed two small beach towels. I rolled everything up and packed it all into my dry bag that I use for Kayaking. The one thing I needed and forgot was to pack a few plastic disposable grocery bags to put any wet clothes in. 

Something I found to be extremely efficient when packing for a race, to help ensure I don't forget something, in addition to having a list, is to lay out the outfit you are packing (if you do a flat me pic you are doing this anyway), then place all the items in one stack and roll the outfit up together and tada, you are ready to go! 

These pics are from the Asheville Marathon (I refused to do a flat me for this race.... Superstitious!!) 

For the rest of my gear I used the Rubbermaid Brilliance containers. My husband used to work for Rubbermaid so we have an abundance of these and they were PERFECT. Clear so I can easily see which one I need and gasketed to keep them water tight! The torrential down pour that was this event really put them to the test! 

For Hydration I took a case of bottled water, I knew they would also have water but I wanted to be able to fill up my bottles and mix with my Nuun. I took two handheld bottles and kept them full with half Nuun Sport with Caffeine and half just regular Nuun Sport. I also took several cans of coke. I had all my electrolytes in one container. My waters and cokes I took in our big Yeti Hopper. I didn't take ice. I was carrying everything myself to the start so I was trying my best to keep the weight down. I also don't usually drink things super cold so I didn’t really need the ice. Kim and John had ice in there cooler if needed. I listed my hydration vest on the list but did not take it after all. The handhelds were perfect for the looped course. I just switched them out every other lap and used the water on the course to re-fill in between as needed. The Coke was nice around lunch time and supper time. I liked the fizz honestly. My belly did get a little upset a time or two and the bubbles from the coke helped me burp and then I felt a bit better. 

For Fuel I took enough grub with me in case I got somehow stranded in tent city for weeks lol! Truth is though I didn't know how my belly was going to do so I wanted to make sure I had something for however I was feeling. I took ten GU Gels, ten Honey Stinger Waffles, four packs of Sport Beans, Oatmeal Pies, Pay Days, Salt Stick tabs, and my all-time favorite Tortillas with Nutella!! I spread Nutella on the tortilla and then roll them up and slice into small pinwheels and keep in a zip lock. I put Bananas on the list but didn't take them. I also had a small container of peppermint candies in case my tummy got a little upset. My stomach did get upset and I felt crampy for a couple of loops and it was pretty bad by around mile 13. Kim had some dōTERRA Digest Zen and I took that once when my stomach was really cramping. It was miraculous how well that worked! I am buying some of that stuff for sure! It was like within and instant my stomach cramps were gone! They never came back either the rest of the night. 

At the race I had a GU to start, after each two laps I would come back to our tent, eat something, I alternated between the Honey Stinger Waffle and my Nutella Tortillas, and I'd grab a GU to have on the go for the next lap. I repeated this process the entire race. At lunch time I had a small Cheese Quesadilla from the race aid station and at dinner time I had a slice of Pizza that my friend Nikki's husband brought. 

I would not change a thing about how I fueled and hydrated. I essentially got in 100 calories of fuel every 45 minutes along with about 12 oz. of fluids Nuun Mix and a little regular water. 

I made my own first aid containers too. I took A&D Ointment, Aleve, Anti Monkey Butt (I haven't really used this much so I'm not sure I'd take this again), Band-Aids, Bio-Freeze, Blister Pack, Body Glide, Bug Spray, Contacts, Deodorant, Duct Tape, Emergency Blanket, Foam Roller (left it in my car), Foot Roller, Hand Sanitizer, Ibuprofen, Imodium, KT Tape, Lip Balm, Moleskin, Pepto, Safety Pins, Squirrels Nut Butter, Sunscreen, Tampons, Toilet Paper, and Tums. 

Of all of these first aid things I took I only used the Bug Spray, Lip Balm and Squirrels Nut Butter. Better safe than sorry!! 

At about mile 20 I started to feel some chaffing under my sports bra so I re-applied the squirrels nut butter to all my chaffey parts. I ended up with one chaffed line around my rib cage from my sports bra. This is typical for me so I expected it. It wasn't as bad as it is in other races so I was pretty happy.  

I had another container for my lights. It would get dark in the 12 Hours so I took Knuckle Lights, my Nathan Luna Fire Chest Light, a small lantern for at the table, a head lamp, matches (I mean you just never know lol) and extra batteries. I used my Nathan Luna Fire and it was incredible! Perfect for this race! 

I also packed my Aftershokz, a battery backup for my phone, Sunglasses, Go Pro, and extra zip lock bags, none of which I used. It rained so much I kept my phone off and in a baggie in my pocket. There were so many people to chat with I never needed my music and it sure wasn't sunny lol! Again I am glad I had all this with me just in case. 

Better to have everything you may need and not use than need everything you don't have!  

I packed all my containers and stuff into my Patagonia Black Hole Back Pack. This pack is also weather proof and held all my containers perfectly! 

Luckily Kim and John took the tent, pop up tent, camp table and cooler with ice. Had I gone solo I would have also needed those things. I did take a camp chair but I never sat down after I started running. It was good though for when my daughter and husband came. 

The one thing I would do differently is have a dedicated container for my car key. After my 12 hours of running I was so out of sorts I could not recall where in the world I put my key!! I found it but it took my digging several times through all my things in the dark to FINALLY remember I had put it in my rain jacket pocket so I wouldn’t forget (palm face plant lol). 

My packing list I'm sure will be tweaked throughout the years as I do more and more of these type events but I really felt like I had everything I could have possibly needed. 

It really was a HUGE help to me being this organized for the race! I hope it is as helpful for you in your next big event!

Best wishes on your upcoming adventure!!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Black Mountain Monster Race Recap: My First Official Ultra

Well dang it!! I had my entire recap written up but somehow I lost it!! So here is my second attempt to recap this amazing event! I hope I give it as much accolades as I did the first time I jotted all this down. 

Oh man there’s so much I want to say about the Black Mountain Monster 12 Hour Ultra! You can read all about my training and lead up to the event here.

On the Friday before the race my friends, my husband and I all headed up to Black Mountain for packet pick up and some yummy dinner! We met at Vertical Runner for the packet pick up and then we headed to My Father's Pizza after!

Kim and Nikki were planning to pace me and John was running the 24 Hour. 

After dinner we headed over to the race start and set out a regular tent and a pop up tent that John and Kim brought to serve as our home base. We then headed down the mountain and got some sleep. We planned to drive back up in the morning. Black Mountain is only about a 45 minute drive for us. 

The course was a 3.125 mile loop that is a combination of single track trail, wide trail, grassy trails, some gravel, and a short stint of paved path. Upon the completion of each loop we would pass by our tent.

We got up to the race with planety of time to spare, grabbed our gear and headed to the tent.

I had worked the night before to pack up all my gear! I will share another post in the future about this. It worked out incredibly well!! When we got to the race start we set up our table and chairs and hung out for a bit before heading to the starting coral.

My friend Kim S. was also there running the 6 Hr. event so she and I started off together and hung out for the next several loops!

I actually lost track of loops... The loops, miles and hours all seemed to blend together pretty quickly!

I specifically remember being about 10 miles in and feeling as though we had just started. I seriosuly felt like we were still on the first mile.

My husband reminded me that I would be running longer than I typically work in a day and it was so hard for me to full grasp that but honestly the time flew by!

I loved the fact that every 3ish Miles I was near my gear!! Having never done an endurance event like this before I had no idea how to plan and I had no idea what I was doing but I was super organized with my gear and very quickly developed my system on the course! Every two passes around the loop I would stop at our tent. I decided to fuel with what I knew so I packed everything I might need! This was a good plan because my stomach as per usual did cramp up one or twice during the event. 

Before the race I had one waffle and a cup of coffee at home. I had a little bit of a tortilla with Nutella before starting the race and took a GU with me to take as I began my second loop. I carried my water bottle with 1/2 Nuun Sport and 1/2 Nuun Sport with Caffeine. This proved to be a good combo. 

Every other loop of the course I would swing out to our tent, swap out my water bottle, fuel with either the Nutella tortilla or a Honey Stinger Organic Waffle, grab my bottle with GU for the next lap and head back out.

Kim came and stayed from the start until 4 PM when she could begin running with me (after the 6 Hr event had ended). She was so helpful at the tent, she would have my bottle ready for me to go back out and was willing to help me with anything I needed. Next year she has to run this with me the whole time so we are taking applications for next years crew lol! We will have to have auditions though, you will have to be as good as Kim! LOL!!

There was one main aid station at the tent city and a table set up with water containers on the trail as a re-fill station. 

My Nuun mix bottles lasted me 1 1/2 loops and I filled up with water and the water station on the trail 1/2 way through my second loop which would easily carry my to the every other pit stop I would make. 

There were porta potties just before coming into tent city which was also super convenient. 

Each loop we made we crossed over the timing mat. I loved being able to see my time and loops on the screen they had displayed each and every loop I made. 

This video makes me cry everytime I watch it! The girls voice, the song, the fact that there I was doing the thing I wasn't sure I'd really ever be able to do and Kim's voice full of joy and emotion for me...

The weather forecast was 100% of rain for 100% of the time. Luckily the rain held off until around lunch time. 

The course was muddy from the start and the air was cool with a ever so slight mist in the beginning. I found it to be perfect!!

I also pretty quickly developed my strategy for on the course. My goal was to FINALLY get my 50K after two previous failed attempts. I listened to so many ultra running podcasts and read so many endurance run race recaps and blogs leading up to the event. The overwhelming pattern I saw was to start slow and then slow down. That really is kind of a hard concept to grasp but I knew I wanted to be able to sustain for the long run. Kim S. and I decided to start toward the back of the pack. For one reason, I didn't want to get pushed or trampled and for the second reason I did not want to deal with getting left in the dust as soon as I started. 

If you read my ultra preparation post you will understand where I was at mentally and emotionally going into the event. 

The first lap I established my pattern. I would run at a conversational pace and I would walk the hills. I did that every single lap and surprisingly all the way to the end my laps I stayed pretty consistent. You can clearly see my lunch and dinner breaks in the lap details.

Unfortunately my Garmin died about ten or so hours in and so I lost several miles but my official report also indicates my official average pace so I was pretty spot on.

I LOVED the course!! As I mentioned before there was a mix of single track trail, wide trail, grassy trails, some gravel, and a short stint of paved path. the bulk of the course was through the trees with a few shorter tints on the grassier parts that were more open. 

I took my headphones thinking I would need them to keep me powered up but I never even got them out. I had the company of other runners all along the way.

I was pleasantly surprised to also see a few volunteers along the course giving high fives to the runners and remind me that I was "killing it".

My daughter and her friend came by and saw me around lunch time which was great!

I then grabbed a quesadilla at the main aid station which was delicious and headed on back out!

The rain began right around that time. I stretched out my arms to welcome it and it was as if this song, this lyric, was stuck on repeat in my head: 

"Let the rain fall down and wake my dreams"

It is as if the rain rejuvenated me and gave me energy to power me through the rest of the race. 

The rain poured down the rest of the day and night. The mud puddles turned into small ponds and the dirt paths turned into mud slides.

It was amazing!!! I loved it!! I felt so alive and had so much fun!!! I felt like a little girl splashing around in all the mud puddles!!

In the first lap most everyone gingerly skirted to the sides of the puddles that had already formed from the night before but by the second pass we were all just charging through them!!

At 4:00 pm my friends Kim, Nikki and Sandra joined me, I was around mile 24. They ran with me until the second to the last lap.  

It poured and poured and poured.

I still had not decided if I would stop at the 50K or keep going. Kim felt certain I could get 40 miles. That felt like pressure to me a little bit but I decided I would keep moving for the full 12 Hours to see how many miles I could get. I am so thankful for that gentle nudge to keep going and again I was reminded of the question "I wonder what would happen if I didn't give up". Stopping at the 50K, although a huge accomplishment, would be selling myself short so to say. 

Nikki's husband Josh came and brought Pizza and cupcakes for dinner. That was a nice surprise!! 

I never sat down the entire 12 hours and I tried hard not to stop for long either. I had read in a blog post somewhere to just keep moving and that tip served me well. 

My Husband came around 8pm to cheer me into the finish!!

It started to feel as if we were swimming. The rain barely let up the rest of the evening.

I of course did not take many pictures because of the rain but it was intense! Even still I loved it!! 

It's true what they say:

As we approached the second to the last lap I saw that I was 6th Female. I had already lost more time than I wanted to when we stopped for pizza and my runner girls needed to stop for more lights and chargers but I really wanted to stay in 6th and shoot for a couple extra miles before the cut off so I kicked it into high gear and took back off for another lap. I ran the entire last lap! I knew I would only make it one or two more miles before the 12 Hr cut off and I was right! I got to the one mile mark in 11 hours 34 minutes and 58 seconds. I never saw another timer after that! I feel certain I made it to the second mile within the 12 hours because I made it back to the finish line and the clock reflected 12:23:02! 

My official time and miles:

Deanne Avery
Time on Course 11:34:58
Overall Place 17.
Gender Place 6.
Distance 44.750 miles

I ran a total of 47ish miles overall in the 12:23:02 time to get back to the start. 

I maintained by 6th Place Female out of 33 and 17th place overall out of 71 runners!! I could not believe it!! 

I feel like I totally could have gotten 50 miles. I only needed 6 more miles and there were 4 laps that I took pretty slow, most likely stopping a little longer than I needed to. I can't wait to see what I can do next year!!

I honestly would not change a thing about this race! I wish I had camped the night before and the night after. Maybe next year. 

After we left the 24 Hr race continued for a while but around 3am they had to make the call to cancel due to rapidly rising water. 

The race organizers were awesome!! Directions were clear. The course was well marked and well maintained. I give this race a BIG 5 GOLDEN stars!! 

I can't wait until next year, I hope it rains again too, maybe not quite as much but enough to bring back all the fond memories of this race!!

I think 12 Hour Ultras are now my favorite. I also think looped courses are now my favorite!! The Black Mountain Monster will forever hold a special place in my heart!! 


Check back soon for my upcoming post on how to pack for the 12 Hour Ultra!!

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