Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl Review

Disclaimer: I received a Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl 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!

As you know I have a new baby. Well he's a year old now so he is well on his way to being a big boy but he will always be my baby. I am not sure I have ever loved a pup as much as I love LeRoy. The truth is I wasn't ready for a LeRoy at first. We had just lost our little Oreo and that was the hardest thing I had ever experienced and I just never wanted to feel that pain and sadness again so I was not ready for a puppy. My husband knew better what we needed and drove 14 hours round trip to get this little fur ball and bring him home. 

He has been my boy ever since! He is by my side 100% of the time when I am home and he LOVES going for runs with me on Monday mornings, playing Frisbee every day when I get home and he loves going on outings with us every chance we get. 

These fun activities wear him out though and he is a thirsty pup afterward. 

I was super excited to get to try out the Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl. 

The last time I took LeRoy to the parkway for a picnic with Tess we took a paper bowl for him. This was fine but we had to be careful not to crush it in the back pack we took. There is no unfolding a paper bowl to make it work as a water bowl lol!

LeRoy is like a little person I swear and when he gets mail he gets so excited. He loves getting mail and knows just what to do! 

The Nano Bowl is so neat. It is folded into a little packet. It reminds me of the letters we used to pass in school. Oh geez I just dated myself didn't I??? 

You can simply unfold it, poor water and the pup has what he wants!!

I showed a friend this video and she said "gosh has he never had water lol" Ummm no he has water all the time but this is new special in my new special bowl water. Obviously its WAAAAAY better ha!!

I now keep his Nano Bowl in the car. That way I have it on Monday's when we run and on any other road trip day that we might take!!

You can also easily attach it to the Stunt Puppy Leash so you have it with you for your longer run, hike, camping trip, whatever!!

We love the Stunt Puppy Nano Bowl and suggest you give it a try too!!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Morning of Hope 5K Race Recap

Casting for Hope is a non profit organization that I was introduced to when my daughters got to High School. 

One of the teachers at their school was a founding member of the organization and the students at the school were big supporters. 

I learned how this organization was formed through a special bond between teacher and student as this student was faced with his mother's cancer diagnosis. 

As a mother this tugs hard at my heart. It is super sad for me that a child looses his mother. I however find myself empathizing with the mother that has to leave her child. I know that I never want to leave my children and my heart breaks for the mom who knows there is nothing she can do, she has fought as hard as she can but she must say good bye to the people she loves. I am sobbing as I think about it. 

I learned more how this young man found support and solace in fly fishing with his mentor and friend. I learned how through this bond they decided to make a difference in the lives of women and families faced with similar circumstances. Together they formed Casting for Hope. 

"Casting for Hope is committed to providing limited financial assistance to women in western North Carolina who are living with ovarian or other gynecological cancers.  But more than that, Casting for Hope is committed to attending to the emotional and spiritual needs of these same women and their families through fly-fishing retreats, fly-tying and rod-building clinics, and other avenues of personal and family re-creation. Our financial assistance focuses on women who are experiencing economic hardships due to treatment costs, while our retreat experiences serve women and their families and friends regardless of financial need. Retreats focus on emotional and spiritual healing in the out of doors, chasing trout with a fly rod, and experiencing comfort by running waters."

Casting for Hope does so much throughout the year and one of my favorite things is the Morning of Hope 5K.

This is one of my favorite 5Ks each year! This race begins with a beautiful Holy Saturday Sunrise Service and Communion. During the service we are reminded of the power and importance of Hope. Hope for tomorrow, Hope for a cure, Hope for the resurrection, Hope for change, Hope for so many things, Hope for whatever each person may be dealing with on this day or in days to come.  I always leave this race overwhelmed with emotion full of Hope and I have loved making this race a part of my Easter Weekend tradition.

The race is run entirely on the Greenway and I love our local Greenway. I love running along the river. It is an out and back and finishes near the park picnic shelter and park area. 

Participants receive a T-Shirt and this year a water bottle. 

I got to the race and planned to maintain a 9:30/9:40 pace. I then turned on my superpower, I hid my watch under my jacket sleeve.

The course is one I run often on the weekends so I was super familiar with it. It is beautiful and runs along the Catawba River. There is a wood boardwalk section that runs along the back side of an area of local buisness that is always super slippery. Aside from that the course is exceptional!

 I ran what I felt like running and I ended up with an average pace of 8:55/mile and I felt great!!

I ended up winning 4th Female Overall which was super exciting!!

I love this 5K and I look forward to it every year!

If you are ever in small town Morganton, NC over Easter I recommend you give it a run!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon - Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Publix Savannah Women's Half 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!

Oh WOW what an incredible weekend!! 

As you know I have been not so well since my marathon weekend in March. I have had some asthma related bronchitis with a cough that has just settled in long term. Seriously I am going on almost a month now. 

With this going on I decided before I left town that I would take it easy at this race. I really wanted to experience all of Savannah and enjoy every minute. *Spoiler: Somehow of all the things I enjoyed I totally missed Forest Gump that everyone else got pictures with!!!! HOW did that happen?

Tess went with me which was an added treat!! A little mommy daughter time is always super special! 

We loaded up Friday morning and hit the road! We didn't leave quite as early as planned, we were on the road around 7:40 and we had steady rain almost all the way there so we took our time, had a few pit stops along the way and made it into Savannah just before 2pm.

We drove straight to the expo. The expo was located at Kehoe Iron Works which is a cool venue location in Savannah (would make for a beautiful wedding venue). Compared to other races I would say this was a smaller expo. There were several vendors and all the most important things were there so I thought it was great! We checked in, got our bib and headed down the stairs to get our gift and then move through the vendors there. 

This is the first half marathon I have done that you did not get a race shirt. I am on the fence with how I feel about it... One one hand I have several race shirts that I never wear so maybe it would have just gotten lost in that pile, on the other hand, I just feel like I have to have a race shirt lol!! They did have shirts available for purchase so if I really wanted a shirt I could have easily picked one up. 

They did however have a very nice participant gift! We were given a great duffel bag which will is certainly much more usable and most half marathons I have done don't do give aways quite like this so that made up for the lack of shirt for me!

The expo also had several other vendors giving away 13.1 stickers, cups, makeup remover wipes, and so much more!

Tess and I left the expo and had some time to kill before we could check in at the hotel so we drove around and checked out one of the historic cemeteries and then headed over to Tybee Island. 

The beach was rejuvenating for these water sign girls!

We then headed back to downtown and got all checked in at the hotel and freshened up! We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and I was very happy with the location and the hospitality! I was 1.3 miles from the start line of the race.

Tess and I headed to dinner around 6pm. We planned to go to the Pink House and I called ahead to make a reservation to find that they were closed from renovations until Monday. We found our plan be at Garibaldi's! I highly recommend! I also highly recommend reservations... We didn't have any but they just so happened to have a table for two nestled in a quaint window in the corner of the restaurant and it was perfect! I loaded up on cheese and pasta and Tess had a steak! 

We then walked around just a little in Savannah after dinner then headed back to the hotel and made sure I was ready for race day. 

I slept well and got up at 5am to get dressed, have coffee and head to the start. I had planned to leave the hotel at 6:15 to walk to the start. Luckily I met some other runners heading to the start as well and walked with them and got to Forsyth Park with time to spare.

*Insider tip - Bring or wear bud spray. That didn't occur to me and luckily I was not super bothered by bugs but some runners were and most locals had bug spray and/or wipes!

I meet up with some Skirt Sisters at 6:50. 

I met up with my friend Crystal from home.

I then meet up with my fellow Bib Rave Pro Samantha for the race start! 

The energy was so beautiful there! So many women gathered together in this gorgeous city was incredible. 

I decided since I was still under the weather I would start with the 2:30 pace group. I wanted to take it easy and settle into a comfortable pace and not feel pressure to keep up with anyone. 

I took two puffs from my inhaler about 30 minutes before the race. We then lined up and were off!

I pulled away from the 2:30 group within the first mile but I figured they were just a few steps behind me. I again decided not to look at my watch at all during the race. This is my new magic trick/secret super power I think.

I kept a comfortable pace to keep my breathing under control. I was still coughing a lot and still wheezing even after using my inhaler so I did not want to exert myself. 

The course was breathtaking (no pun intended). We ran through the live oaks with Spanish moss draped across the canopy, we ran on the old cobble stone streets, we ran through quaint neighborhoods and through several parks. 

At about 5 1/2 miles in I saw my friend Crystal. I knew she had planned to start with the 5:15 group so I thought I would settle in and stay back behind her. As I got closer to 6 miles I was gaining on Crystal and so as I pulled up beside of her I told her I couldn't talk and breath easy but I was going to run with her for a bit. Somewhere between miles 7 and 8, maybe at an aid station I lost her. I have later learned that she was dealing with the worst case of chafing I have ever seen. She wore a skirt that did not agree with her at all!! After seeing the pictures I am surprised she was able to keep running. Ouch!

Throughout the entire race I had been following two girls and letting them pace me. They were a very consistent pace that felt very comfortable to me. For most of the race they stayed a few steps ahead of me. 

Do you do this at races?? I seriously always do. I find someone who makes the run look easy, I settle in behind them and just keep in step with them allowing them to pace me.

I had initially decided that since I felt good I would try to run to mile 6 without stopping. I had my watch set for the 3:1 intervals and so I planned to transition to intervals after mile 6. I did walk through the aid stations to get water but resumed running as soon as I had taken my sip. I was carrying my Nuun and Gu but I grabbed a water at each aid station. At mile 6 I decided I would get to 6.5 miles or half way before I'd take a walk and then I ended up not taking a walk break until about mile 7.5. 

These ladies I had been following, toward the end, were playing boomerang with me. I'd see them ahead of me, then I would loose sight of them, then I'd realize they had fallen behind me, they'd pass me then I'd pass them, and so on and so on. 

I didn't take all of the interval breaks but I did take about every other one. Just before the Mile 12 mark I took a walk break. I suddenly felt the creep of an asthma episode coming on. My chest was beginning to tighten and I was beginning to struggle to get air. Only. One. More. Mile. I thought. 

As I approached Mile 12 the ladies ran up along side me and asked if I wanted to finish with them. 

Runners really are amazing people. So encouraging, so motivational and this was the energy I needed at that very moment. 

I of course said yes and got back in stride. I ran beside them for a moment but my shallow breaths made it hard to speak and thus I couldn't explain that I was unable to speak as I had to choose speak or breath at that point. I told them I was going to settle in just behind them and I followed along for a bit. I believe they stopped at the last aid station and so I lost them again but I am forever thankful for the boost they gave me!

I finished strong with my second fastest half marathon 2:20!!

At the finish we were given our medals and a bag from Publix with a fruit bar, orange, banana and water inside. 

I was feeling frighteningly unable to breath, my air way was severely restricted. I moved through the finish coral and grabbed my inhaler. I took only one puff since it was still so early, normally I wouldn't use my inhaler less than every four hours. It really is a terrifying feeling not being able to breath. It's not like exertion and heavy breathing (I wish) it's not being able to inhale at all! After using the inhaler again I began to be able to breath. 

The after party was great there was music, Mimosa's, etc. 

I then headed back to the hotel to shower. Tess and I then went out for some post race pizza and ice cream!

We had an amazing time!! I am already looking forward to running this one again next year!! It is a must do!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Is it Friday yet??

Race weekend is fast approaching. 

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Publix Savannah Women's Half 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!

I am blown away at how quickly it became spring! 

I have been on the struggle bus the past few weeks recovering from a nasty go round with Bronchitis and Asthma! 

The week before my marathon I was feeling a little under the weather. After marathon weekend I was feeling even more under the weather but still kinda ok. I assumed I was reacting to the changes in the seasons. We were getting all sorts of high pollen alerts. I was signed up for a 50k March 23rd and I showed up planning to crush it but within the first 5 miles I had a massive asthma attack! I couldn't breath and I couldn't speak! SCARY!! Luckily I used my inhaler and  was able to catch my breath. It was a perfect storm. I dropped the race at mile 7 and will get my 50k some other time! At the aid station my coughing non stop began and I coughed non stop for the next several days. On the Monday after the 50k I visited the doctor and was diagnosed with Bronchospasms as a result of my Asthma Exacerbation and Bronchitis. I was given a steroid pack, instructed to use my inhaler ever 4 hours and a cough syrup. I felt so terrible. 

I am still feeling bad. I have a cough that just will not go away! I have been able to run 3 miles on the regular so I hope this weekend I can knock out the 13.1! 

I am sooooo looking forward to this race! Savannah is gorgeous, there are so many amazing things to do and Tess is going with me!

My plan for Friday is to get up and go for my run at 5 like usual. When I get home I will jump in the shower, get ready and leave. Hopefully no later than 7am. We will get into Savannah about noon and head straight to packet pick up! Afterward we will grab some lunch at some cool local hot spot and then tool around town and see some sights, maybe even drive out to Tybee Island. We will then check into our hotel, maybe see some more sights or rest, whatever we feel like and then grab dinner at another local hot spot! Then we will head back to the hotel to get some good sleep!

Saturday I will wake up early and go through my typically race morning routine. I plan to walk to the start line. I looked over the course map and it looks like where I am staying is where most of the parking areas for the race are anyway. Looks to be about a mile walk so that will be my race warm up! 

I am looking forward to meeting up with some other BRP's at the race and then I will likely take it easy for this run so as to not exacerbate my asthma again. I am no longer taking any medication nor do I want to lol!

I plan to take lots of pictures unless is pouring rain. It does look like there is a chance of rain but I am good with that! All those live oaks will shelter me I am sure!!

After the race the plan is shower then PIZZA! 

I can't wait for the weekend to be here already! Is it Friday yet?

There is still time to get signed up!! Registration Closes TOMORROW!! Use Code Use Code BIBSAV20 for 20% off registration!

Monday, April 1, 2019

A closer look at The Closer Bra by Handful

Disclaimer: I received The Closer Bra by Handful to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was super excited to test out The Closer Bra by Handful

Truth be told I haven't bought a new sports bra in who knows how long. Mine have been ok or so I thought...

I know that we are told a bra should never have a birthday but I love birthday's so I just naturally assumed my sports bras did too! 

I tend to wear the compression style that keep everything in it's place. You know the pull over your head and good luck getting off after a long run kind. I have one front zip bra that is my least favorite to wear. Mainly because it is has very oddly formed cups and messes with my natural shape and it is super thick with kind of itchy fabric. Another sad truth I still wore that bra because it was expensive and so I was not about to just get rid of it. Instead I'd wear it on my easy days or short run days. 

Another sad truth. I always, always, ALWAYS chafe at the band line around my chest.

I actually have a permanent scar there from the years of distance running and chafing. This does not occur on a three mile run but anything up over ten typically creates a not so pretty band that burns like you know what around my rib cage. 

I have tried almost all the anti chafe products too like Body Glide, Monkey Butt, Vaseline, to date the best thing I have personally found is A&D ointment but even still I chafe, not as bad with the A&D but still I do.

I received my Handful the week before my Asheville Marathon Weekend Challenge Races where I would run a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. 

What better opportunity to really give the bra a test drive than that right?? 

Ok OK so I am a teeny bit superstitious, nothing new on race day, so I did throw it on for a one mile run that week before so it would no longer be "new".

The first time I wore it I knew this was something special. It is completely different than any of my other bras. The material is so smooth, literally like butter, and feels so good on!

The bra does come with removable pad/inserts and after the first mile run I decided I did not want those in. I am just not a big padding girl and the material was doubled in the front and so I felt that was sufficient for coverage.

I wore the Closer for the half marathon and I was absolutely amazed to find my self back at the hotel getting ready to shower with NO CHAFE AT ALL!!! Nothing at all, no line, no burn, no nothing!! 

I was so amazed that I decided to hand wash the bra, hang to dry and wear it again the next day for the full marathon!!

The next day I wore the bra for the full and I did experience a little chafe spot where the bottom of the zipper met my body. I do have to share though that the spot was about an inch long not the entire width of my chest (side to side) and that for the marathon I wore my hydration pack which was tightened to my chest and was the actual likely culprit of this rubbed spot. I did not have on my hydration pack for the half marathon. 

The zipper does have the added fabric to keep it from rubbing your chest however with my pack chest straps pulled taught I feel certain it made it so the bra did not move as naturally as it otherwise would have. 
Still to only have an inch spot as compared to an approximately 8" chafe line is a win for me!!

I absolutely love the front zip, it really makes a difference getting out of the bra after a hard workout!! 

For sizing I am a 34DD and typically wear a small or medium top. I opted for the Medium Bra and it is perfect!

I highly recommend the closer bra. This bra has quickly become a race must have for me!

I have actually already ordered another handful bra and am planning to phase out some of my older bras! My sports bra drawer is getting an upgrade!!

You can try out Handful too at an incredible discount! Use code "BIBRAVE" for 10% off!
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