BibRave Race Review: The “biggest little race” at Grandma’s Marathon!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Grandma’s 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!”

After more than a year without in-person road marathons, and more than 2 years since I’ve raced one, I was super excited to run Grandma’s Marathon as a BibRave Pro. It was a GREAT re-entry to in-person races and I had a wonderful experience. Even better, I checked off a new state! Check out more about my experience in Duluth, MN in the vlog below. Let me know in the comments if you’ve done Grandma’s or thinking about it in the future (I’m planning to go back next year). Have you gone back to an in-person race yet? How has it been getting back out there. Let me know!


BibRave Race Review: The “biggest little race” at Grandma’s Marathon!
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April & May Running Roundup: Spring Showers, May Flowers

Re-energizing with some Spring rest and miles.

Yup, I missed the April roundup so now you get a two-for-one. By the end of March, beginning of April, the year mark of COVID, plus marathon training, plus CrossFit, plus work…had me feeling pretty physically and emotionally tired. Nothing terrible, just more tired and more emotionally sensitive. Work has been really exciting as we build an awesome software product (that came somewhere from the recesses of my brain even though I never imagined myself building software…hello, Data Science unicorn). The result of all that, however, is that I’ve had several 60-80 hour work weeks. It’s fun and exciting when you get to work with an awesome team, and feel fully supported, but it’s still a lot of time and effort. I learned how to give myself some grace and be ok with skipping some mid-week runs. However, being busy is no excuse to forget what your body needs, and your body needs movement. If I missed a run, I definitely made sure to at least get to the gym. Even my husband, who often worries about how much I try to fit in 24 hrs, would often poke me to get away from my desk and go to the gym because he knows how much my body and brain really need it. All in all, it only took a couple weeks to reset my mind and body and feel ready to dive back into the end of training for Grandma’s Marathon. It also helped that earlier in May I was, finally, able to graduate/celebrate my PhD. I officially earned my degree last July but, of course, not much celebrating to be done at that time. Kennesaw State had their first in-person commencement ceremonies since December, 2019 and 2020 grads were all able to participate. I definitely wanted an excuse to 1) wear my fun wizards hat, and 2) have a gathering with all my vaccinated friends and family. Successfully accomplished both. You’re welcome. After that energizing weekend it was back to full steam ahead with the longest training weeks and I’ve now officially reached taper! Less than 3 weeks until race day, and 1 week of that will be at Bike Ride Across Georgia so I won’t be running at all! Once home from BRAG, I’ll have a few days to get some shake out runs and then off to Duluth, Minnesota! Woohoo!

KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

APRIL Stats:

  • Running miles : 133.2; year-to-date : 612.02
  • Cycling miles: 232.17; year-to-date : 573.67 –> Ran the Tear Drop Half Marathon with a PR of 1:48:19 !
  • Crossfit workouts: 19 year-to-date: 70

MAY Stats:

  • Running miles : 170.72; year-to-date : 782.74
  • Cycling miles: 153.87; year-to-date : 727.54
  • Crossfit workouts: 18 year-to-date: 88 –> for test week I hit PRs in CrossFit total, pushups, and did my first “Murph”!

Goals for June:

  • Running miles : 150 miles –> accounting for taper, BRAG week, and post-marathon rest
  • Cycling miles: 500 –> BRAG!
  • Crossfit workouts: 12 –> accounting for travel
  • Yoga: 1 x / week

Current 2021 Goals:

  • Running miles : Still on track for “running the year”. Yay!
  • Crossfit: unassisted pull-ups/kipping pull-ups in all workouts by the end of the year, 5 unbroken double unders

April & May Running Roundup: Spring Showers, May Flowers
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BibRave Product Review: Natural Sun Protection with Tanri Outdoors

Disclaimer: I received an Tanri Outdoors sun-care products 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!”

Even though I am less burn-prone now than I was in my teens and twenties, the amount of time I spend outside, especially during the harsh southern summers, exposes my skin to potential sun damage. In addition, as a tattooed athlete, it’s really important to keep the ink as protected as possible in order to prevent fading. Gotta protect the skin AND artwork!

Finding effective, natural sunscreens that 1) don’t cake on and make me look like a ghost, and 2) don’t immediately sweat off has been a difficult task over the years. I was really excited to give the new Tanri Outdoors sun-care products a try especially since they offer “natural sun protection for runners, by runners,” while also being kind to the environment.

BibRave ambassadors had the opportunity to try 4 Tanri products:

  • SPF15 Moisturizer: I used on my face and it feels super light and not greasy
  • After sun restorative moisturizer: I’ve been using after runs and rides, and before bed; also super light, not greasy. Skin, especially around tattoos feels great
  • Mineral sunscreen SPF30: first time I’ve tried a natural sunscreen that doesn’t feel like I’m covered in a white layer of grease.
  • Lib balm SPF 15: don’t forget to protect those smackers! Nice, light flavor without the chemical taste. Kept lips feeling great even after 4 hours running

Additional benefits of choosing Tanri Outdoors suncare products:

  • While chemical-based sunscreens absorb into the skin and take up to 30 minutes to be effective, Tanri mineral-based products don’t absorb into the skin and work instantly.
  • All natural, with no harsh chemicals. No parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances. The only active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium oxide.
  • GMO free, vegan, no animal testing
  • 1% of every purchase donated to preserving national parks and forests.

Tanri products retail for between $3.99 for the lip balm to $29 for the after sun restorative moisturizer. You can use code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off!

Be sure to follow Tanri Outdoors on all your favorite social media channels below to keep posted about their awesome products. Their social feeds are also full of great photos that will inspire you to GET OUTSIDE!

Facebook | Instagram | 

Check out what other BibRave Pros say about Tanri Outdoors:

Angie | Katy | Sherry | Kelsey |

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Make your miles matter: 2021 National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run 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!

Time for some serious and important talk folks. Did you know that #MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women? Until recently I was not aware of the epidemic of violence against Indigenous People. For example, according to CDC, murder is the 3rd leading cause of death of Indigenous Women. In 2016, 5,712 MMIWG2S (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2-Spirited People) were reported, with only 116 of those logged in the Department of Justice’s database. The National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run aims to amplify the voices of Indigenous Peoples and bring visibility to the epidemic of MMIW. How can you help stand in solidarity with MMIW and their families?⠀

Run, walk, get active with @native_women_running in support of @mmiwusa – a non-profit that works on the ground with families who are strongly affected by #MMIW #bibchat #mmiwbr #MMIWG2S #MMIR #timetofly #nativewomenrunning

How does the MMIW mission virtual event work?

  1. ❗️ Visit here and register for the 2021 MMIW Virtual Event⠀
  2. ❗️ Wear the 2021 MMIW Run Shirt or the color red on the day of the event (Every registration comes with a red t-shirt; register by 4/28 if you are in the U.S. to get the t-shirt by 5/5)! The last day to register is 5/5.⠀
  3. 🏃🏼‍♂️  Run, walk, hike, or any movement of your choice for any distance May 5-May 8th.
  4. 📸  Share a picture on social & speak on why you are participating.
  5. Use hashtags #nativewomenrunning #MMIW #MMIWG2S #MMIR #timetofly and tag @nativewomenrunning on your social posts.
  6. 💡 Other BibRave Pros including @bluegrassbamr and @vanessajunkin have pledged to run 10 miles for this race to highlight that Native Women face murder rates at more than 10x the national average and I plan to do the same.

Before heading out on your MMIW Virtual Event activity, please consider using this site to learn what native land you are using. My runs in Atlanta, GA are uplifted by the Muscogee/Creek land we occupy.

Are you ready to make your miles matter?

Register now at: https://runsignup.com/Race/MN/Anywhere/2021MMIWVirtualEvent

Read fellow BRP Vanessa and Stephanie’s blogs about their take on this important event.

Make your miles matter: 2021 National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run
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March Running Roundup: Keep Moving Forward

After completing the Atlanta Half Marathon at the end of February, I took it easy for a week and then had some missed/slower workouts after first COVID vaccine. I don’t care; even being halfway vaccinated makes me so happy. Adam and I will be fully locked and loaded by mid-April in time for some in-person bike events, possible graduation (a year late) at Kennesaw State in May, and planned summer travel. That said, we’ll be wearing masks in public places for the forseeable future due to 1) lack of herd immunity, 2) COVID isn’t just going away – it will most likely continue to circulate like the other coronavirus strains, flu, and other respiratory diseases, 3) people suck and are gross, and 4) it’s not fucking hard.

The slow start to the month, hitting the 1 year post-COVID mark, and taking on new challenges at work had me feeling kind of mentally exhausted at first. Having the goal of training for Grandma’s Marathon with a PR goal in mind was really essential to keep me motivated. On the worst days, getting on my awesome Peloton Tread, pounding my brains out, and sweating like a beast was incredibly cathartic. I’m so grateful I’m able to have such an amazing tool in my house that has really helped me improve my fitness and well-being. Peloton is inspiring, empowering, but also an incredible privilege.

Me, Adam, and a small group of our cycling COVID pod tackled the Fried Clay gravel grind last weekend. It was a really fun, and challenging 200k (135 m) event, which we tackled by riding the first 80 miles, camping, and then completing the final 60 on Sunday. The 80 mile day included 10 miles of single track/horse trails, and was overall probably the most difficult 80 miles I’ve completed on a bike. The Whistestop Cafe, made famous in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, was around mile 50 and we had the goal to get there before it closed at 4. Seems like it should have been a piece of cake, but I was bonking hard and mashing like a fiend in the 40-50 mile section to make it there finally…at 3:45. #WorthIt

By the end of the month it was time for the BibRave Summit with this year’s theme, BibRave Proud #BRProudSummit . This was the 3rd official summit and the 2nd virtual. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to meet with other BibRave Pros IRL at two previous events, The Running Event conference and the 2019 BibRave Summit in Chicago. Team BibRave has done an awesome job at creating high-value, community centered events even during this time of virtual everything. This year they used platform Hopin, which I’ve used for several virtual professional conferences this year, and it was a great way to engage with other Pros, watch informative content, meet and network with many new folks, and have a lot of fun during the process. We may all be a bit “zoomed-out”, but the BibRave Proud Summit was still a great opportunity to connect with a community that spends most of its time in the virtual/social media space anyway. Even though I’ve never met most of these cool folks, I feel their positive energy in my life on a daily basis. Seeing them virtually just got me even more antsy and excited for the, hopefully near, future where we can all meet IRL again. Thanks so much to sponsors Knockaround and Science in Sport for supporting the summit and sending some great products.

Interested in becoming a BibRave Pro? Applications open up periodically, so I’ll be sure to share info on social media when applications open! Learn more here. You can also learn more about the Summit and the awesome BibRave community on the latest episode of The BibRave Podcast, and you can check out what it was like by searching the hashtag #BRProudSummit.

After the vaccine, and Fried Clay, and improvements in the weather, I found myself feeling much sunnier by the end of the month. Through the highs and the lows of the month, Grandmas Marathon training was there through it all. Marathon training is a steady friend, and dispenser of tough love, exactly when you need it.

ONWARD.

Stats:

  • Running miles : 140.42; year-to-date : 379.92
  • Cycling miles: 155.3; year-to-date : 341.5 –> I’ll be focused on running miles through Grandma’s marathon in June, but March weather had me motivated to get back out on bike more. We also rode an epic 200k (135 mile) gravel event called “Fried Clay”. Spinning my legs is definitely great cross training.
  • Crossfit workouts: 14 year-to-date: 51 -> travel the first weekend, Fried Clay bike event, and reaction after first COVID vaccine had me missing a few workouts. Good news though: I’m doing kipping pull ups with just the smallest band assistance. Very close to consistently getting RX pull-ups.

Goals for April:

  • Running miles : 175 miles
  • Cycling miles: 100
  • Crossfit workouts: 18
  • Yoga: 1 x / week

Current 2021 Goals:

  • Running miles : Still on track for “running the year”. Yay!
  • Crossfit: unassisted pull-ups/kipping pull-ups in all workouts by the end of the year, double unders

Let me know how you’re staying motivated, if you’re training for anything, or if you just need a kick in the butt. I’m here for it all. 😀

March Running Roundup: Keep Moving Forward
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February Running Roundup: winter maintenance and motivation

Even though my birthday falls in February, it tends to be a struggle month for me. The new year has settled in, the late winter, pre-spring blues crop up, and motivation becomes a bit of a struggle. I feel like I’m operating 75-80% on my fitness and nutrition goals, but that 20-ish% of less than ideal nutrition behavior ends up creating plateaus that can spiral into lapses in motivation and loss of fitness gains. Know thyself. I still have progress I’d like to make but it’s very slow going and frustrating, and I feel myself making more concessions and excuses than I’d like. In the end, it’s all completely ok and I’m learning to give myself some grace.

As I’m writing this I’m on a girls beach trip (COVID-safe of course) and getting a much-needed reset, even if a vacation means a small delay to getting back on the nutrition happy train lol. Next week I’ll officially start training for Grandma’s Marathon. I’m really excited for this race and committed to training for it like the athlete I know I am; what would an athlete do, is my mantra for this training cycle. Now I’m ready to take the gains I’ve made in the past year, commit to continued progress (not perfection), and ignite the next phase of my fitness journey. In spite of some lapses I’m proud of myself for maintaining a daily reading habit this year. I just finished reading ‘Bravey’ by Alexi Pappas. It’s an EXCELLENT read and highly recommended. Alexi’s story and writing are funny, heartbreaking, and inspirational. The book is full of amazing quotes including 2 that I’ve added to my vision board for daily motivation:

  • “Before bed, decide tomorrow will be great.”
  • “Good thing I didn’t accomplish all my goals yet, because then what would I do tomorrow?”

ONWARD

Stats:

  • Running miles : 173.9; year-to-date : 339.5
  • Cycling miles: 66.8; year-to-date : 186.2 –> weather is getting better but still really focused on running – will need to find a better balance even while training for Grandma’s. 
  • Crossfit workouts: 21 year-to-date: 37

Goals for March:

  • Running miles : 175 miles
  • Cycling miles: 100
  • Crossfit workouts: 20
  • Yoga: 1 x / week

Updated 2021 Goals:

  • Running miles : Still on track for “running the year”. Yay!
  • Crossfit: unassisted pull-ups/kipping pull-ups in all workouts by the end of the year, double unders

February Running Roundup: winter maintenance and motivation
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January Running Roundup: Habit Building and PRs

In spite of the unsurprising continued and worsening national crises, the world of Fun Size Athlete kept moving forward in January. I feel quite fortunate on many fronts. I joined the Ox100 fitness challenge at the CrossFit gym I belong to, hoping to continue giving myself goals and motivation. The challenge was adjusted this year to be a bit more flexible but the first 30 days was still limited to “detoxing” with Whole 30 or Paleo diet. While Whole 30 has worked well for me in the past (when I have actually needed a good food detox), it kind of backfired for me this year and I found myself feeling pretty terrible for the first few weeks of the month. I had already started focusing a lot on nutrition last year and following macros. Also, Adam and I have shifted to a mostly plant-based diet at this point, so suddenly going back to a very heavy meat-based diet had me feeling slow, bloated, hungry, unsatisfied (insert additional negatives here). I learned that everything has it’s time and place, and I needed to just stick to (and improve) what had already been working for me. By the end of the month I switched back to 90% plant-based, counting macros, etc. and felt better within a week. For the next 2 phased of the challenge I will try to maintain 100% plant-based and hit my macro requirements as much as possible (with special focus on hitting the protein goals). I’m glad I learned to listen to my body.

In spite of not always feeling great, I hit over 100 Peloton runs, and completed 90% of the prescribed workouts (including speedwork!) in the Atlanta Track Club half marathon training plan. I complete most of the workouts on the Peloton Tread+ inside and the benefits have quickly translated to improvements in my outside runs and races. In fact, I PRd the 5k and half marathon distances this month without even planning on it! Every time I head outside for a run I notice changes to my steady state/”easy” run pace, to the point where I’m not even sure what my “easy” pace should even be at this point. Always a work in progress, and I’m here for it.

Stats:

  • Running miles : 167.6; year-to-date : 167.6
  • Cycling miles: 119.4; year-to-date : 119.4 –> it’s too damn cold!
  • Crossfit workouts: 16; year-to-date: 16

Goals:

  • Running miles : 170 miles
  • Cycling miles: 100
  • Crossfit workouts: 20
  • Core: Complete Matty Maggiacomo’s enCORE28 challenge

Updated 2021 Goals:

  • Running miles : 2021 –> yup, I’ve decided to “Run The Year” and I’m currently on track
  • Crossfit: unassisted pull-ups/kipping pull-ups in all workouts by the end of the year, double unders
Roundup of January fitness stats, goals, activities, and accomplishments!
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BibRave Race Review: Hot Chocolate 15k Atlanta

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k Atlanta 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!”

Many of us may be fatigued by the thought of ANOTHER virtual race, but the Hot Chocolate 15k race series kept things sweet and safe. Running isn’t cancelled for sure. After taking last year off from the Hot Chocolate Race in Atlanta, the virtual race this year had me excited for my 4th running for chocolate. It was an amazing present to myself to be able to run the race on my birthday, from my front door, while still sleeping in!

I signed up for the race about 6 weeks ago and immediately started receiving helpful emails with training schedule and tips for race day. Even though the race would be virtual, it was nice to feel like I was actually training for something. Even better, I live close to the real course and was able to create a modified course from my house that included a warmup mile and most of the actual course, while cutting out the parts I don’t like anyway. Win!

We experienced most of the real course simply from a door-to-door route!

About a week before the race date I received my swag bag package with all the famous Hot Chocolate series goodies: chocolate (of course), hot chocolate packets, medal (with a secret chocolate compartment, and the cozy hoodie. Every year I think Hot Chocolate series does a great job improving on the swag based off of participant feedback. The hoodie this year fits and looks great (my husband very much approved). It also has a detachable hood which I think is an amazing improvement as I don’t like to run with a hood flopping around. I think in the future, I’d love to see them offer a vest option and maybe some gloves.

Overall, I really enjoyed being able to run a “race” without having to travel from my house. I also very much enjoyed sleeping in, as well as being able to choose the best day to run based off of weather (a true bonus for those of us who know that the ATL race has some notorious weather patterns lol). Having taken last year (2020) off from the race, being able to do the virtual race this year really got me excited for prospect of racing Hot Chocolate 15k in person next year, and maybe traveling to a new city for it instead. Aren’t we all ready to travel?!

Have you run a Hot Chocolate race in the past? Did you run the virtual race this year and what did you think? Are you ready for racing IRL??

Be sure to follow Hot Chocolate 15k Race on all your favorite social media channels below to keep posted about future race opportunities.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube |

You can find my review of the Virtual Hot Chocolate 15k Atlanta on BibRave.com here.

Will run for chocolate! Even during COVID, a virtual race experience can still be a SWEET experience. Here's my review of the Virtual Hot Chocolate 15k Atlanta #bibchat #runchat #hc15k
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5 Reason I LOVE My Peloton Tread+

When that slightly off, possibly body shaming but not really body shaming, Peloton commercial came out around Christmas 2019 many of us stuck up our noses at the bougie-ness of it all. However, when COVID closed down our favorite gyms (which we pay for but rarely attend) in March 2020, I think all those same judge-y folks (myself included) were wishing we had at least bought some Peloton stock when it went public in December.

For myself, owning the bike itself was never really a need or interest. My husband and I almost exclusively ride outside all year round, and if I’m really desperate I’ll throw my bike on a trainer. Plus, spin class was never really my think once I started to ride “real” bikes outside. I did appreciate from early on how the Peloton bike was a game changer for giving folks, especially women, the confidence to change their fitness, and the content seemed fun. While I did not want a stationary bike I was pretty jealous of my friends who were enjoying some cool themed rides. This recent YouTube parody video from The Holderness Family really sums up the Peloton fervor accurately:

In the first few months of COVID I downloaded the Peloton app (3 free months) and really enjoyed the content. I used it for some outdoor runs, stretching, yoga, and core work. As someone who works in tech as a data scientist, I think the app and the content are incredible, diverse, fun, and highly effective. In my opinion, Peloton is a CONTENT company more than a fitness equipment company. After many months of running on a $400 Amazon treadmill and jealously watching more and more friends get their Peloton Bike delivery, I was determined to join the Peloton cult…I mean community with more than just the app membership.

While many women may buy themselves a nice pair of designer shoes when they get a new, fancy job I went out and ordered myself a fancy treadmill….the Peloton Tread+. I’ve had the Tread for over 2 months now and here’s my top 10 reasons why I LOVE it:

I don’t just run…sometimes I stretch/yoga too lol!
  1. New content every day. When I wake up for early morning run every day, there’s always a new selection of content to choose from to get me through whatever workout on my schedule for that day. I can choose by length of time, focus (endurance, speed, hills, etc.), music, instructor, etc. It never feels repetitive…unlike running the same 5 or 10k loop around my neighborhood everyday. In a COVID world where every day feels like Groundhog Day, fresh content to start each morning is key.
  2. Effective and efficient speed work. Depending on my prescribed training workout I either follow the Peloton instructor queues or just use them as motivation while I follow specific workout queues on my Garmin watch (i.e. hitting interval or fartlek sets). Either way, setting a speed on a treadmill and then committing to it is a really great way to work on cadence/turnover, form, and maintaining a steady pace. I’ve noticed my cadence and pace on outdoor runs in particular have greatly benefited from all the time on the Tread.
  3. Less decision paralysis. Getting up at 5am when it’s cold and dark and trying to figure out where to run is really daunting. Add in the challenge of figuring out what to wear and the likelihood of just staying in a warm bed increases. Now, I get up, throw on shorts and a singlet, and head down to the garage to run “nowhere”. #NoExcuses
  4. Say ‘no’ to cold, dark mornings. So much less gear and clothes required == much easier convincing myself to get out of bed.
  5. Safety. Continuing the theme from #3 and #4, as much as I love my neighborhood, no matter where you live I think most folks, women in particular, are not super excited about running by themselves in the dark at O’dark thirty. One thing that I think cannot be understated about Peloton is its effect on empowering women to feel safe running and cycling. That said, I’m acutely aware that the bike and tread are expensive, luxury items to which many people do not have access. Considering what we’ve seen in the last year, I think Peloton can be an even more powerful tool in the homes of more women of color. In their recent “Peloton Pledge” the company stated a goal of “increasing accessibility to our products and content in underserved communities,” although it’s unclear how they plan to achieve that, I’m interested to see what happens moving forward.
Yeah…I even started getting the apparel. Basic Bitch Level 100 achieved lmao.

I could probably write a much longer list but I’ll continue my Peloton Tread+ sing-a-longs/sufferfests for a few more months before coming back with a part 2 of this list/review. If you have any questions about the Peloton Tread or Peloton in general, please chime in. If you end up joining the Peloton community with either the Bike or the Tread (or both!) you can enter my referral code: BZCYNU during purchase, and get $100 towards bike accessories.

Have you experienced the “5 stages of Peloton”? Chime in with your favorite Peloton classes, stories, instructors, etc.? Plus, find me and follow me: FunSize_Athlete. Happy Running/Pedaling!

10 Reasons I LOVE My @onePeloton Tread+ #bibchat #runchat #treadmill #marathontraining #runnersafety #inhalethegoodshit #exhalethebullshit #pelotontread
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December Running Roundup: 2020 Year in Review and Moving Forward into 2021

I’ll avoid using one of the overused adjectives used to describe 2020, but yeah…it’s been a bit of a year to say the least. Considering everything going on in the world, the end of 2020 has me feeling extremely grateful. In many ways, some of the negatives one can attach to 2020 actually benefited my personal life, health, and professional life. My husband and I cook together 3-4 times per week. The forced work from home, lack of social distractions, and end of in-person school requirements freed up my time from a terrible 35 mile one-way commute to school just in time for me to hunker down at home and focus on finishing a dissertation. Starting in March, the only things for me to do with my life were work/PhD dissertation and workout. This led to me finishing my PhD in July and getting in the best shape of my life, resulting in getting a new and awesome job as a Data Scientist at a startup company and crushing a 100 mile race in 22 hours and 48 minutes (goal was sub-24 hrs). I am forever grateful and humbled by my circumstances and the people in my life, and in awe of the parents, teachers, healthcare workers, food service workers, etc. who are the true rockstars of 2020 and beyond. I strive for better knowing that the challenges in my life are mostly by choice, while many others do not have that privilege. #NoExcuses

Here’s a wrap-up of December, the best of 2020, and looking forward to 2021:

Embracing all that is 2020. If you can live your best life in 2020, than surely anything is possible?

Stats:

  • Running miles : 168.6; year-to-date : 1,754
  • Cycling miles: 172.2; year-to-date : 3,451
  • Crossfit workouts: 21; year-to-date: 205

Peloton Tread+: While some women buy themselves a pair of Jimmy Choos when they get a new, fancy job, I bought myself a treadmill. Of course, go big or go home, so I bought the Peloton Tread+ with the slat tread design. It’s amazing to run on, provides great motivation to get in my early morning workouts, and eliminates many choices I really do not feel like making at 5:30 am each day, i.e. what to wear, where to run in the dark by myself, etc. It’s an amazing piece of equipment. I was definitely a bit judgy of the Peloton crazy but I totally get it; yes, I’ve even had a cry session one morning while running Bec’s 60 minutes NYC Marathon simulation run. I’m not the only one! P.S. If you get a Peloton bike or tread, use me as a referral and we’ll both get Peloton store credits. 😀

Tony Banovich Roads, Tracks, and Trails Memorial Run: My December daily running average was 5.4 miles, keeping me over my goal of running an average of 4.3 miles per day (Tony’s daily average during his run-streak). I’m really glad I had the motivation to keep up the miles during the holidays. It also gave me the confidence to commit to the 2021 goal of “running the year”, i.e. 2,021 miles in 2021, an average of 5.5 miles per day.

Best of 2020:

  • Cookie baking class with awesome friends at Haute Cookie for my birthday
  • Volunteering at the women’s personal hydration station on Peachtree Street for the US Olympic Marathon Trials.
  • Defending my dissertation and earning a PhD in Data Science
  • Getting a new, custom gravel bike and then riding said bike on rail trails all over Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and New Hampshire
  • Joining OxFit Crossfit gym and learning that my body is capable of even more than I had imagined
  • Crushing my sub-24 hour goal at the Yeti 100 in 22 hours and 44 minutes
  • Starting a new job and new career!

Ahead in 2021:

  • If/when in person-IRL-chip timed races happen I’d like to keep the PR train moving. I’ve already accomplished more than I expected by Jan 2 with 5k, 10k, and half marathon PRs this morning at the Atlanta Track Club Resolution Run this morning. I went with the goal of running as a fun run/training run for 10 laps/13.1 miles around the track club offices and ended up running my first sub-2 hour half marathon, with most at conversation pace. Whoopsies. Between strength training, Peloton workouts, and continued changes to my body composition, I often have no idea the true state of my current fitness until things like this happen. Just means I need more aggressive goals for 2021 I guess lol.
  • Publix Half Marathon Covid-friendly edition, Feb 28, at the Atlanta Motorspeedway. Another half marathon PR perhaps?
  • Bike Ride Across GA (BRAG), June 5-12. The 2020 event from Chattanooga to Columbus, GA was canceled obviously, so hoping for take 2 this year, same route.
  • Grandma’s Marathon – June 19. I’m registered to run this iconic race in Duluth, MN (new state!) as a BibRave Pro. They’ve limited the half and full marathon fields to 50% capacity so I’m hoping the event is able to take place, although I’ll feel much better about it if I’m able to get a COVID vaccine before traveling there.
  • KSU Graduation? – May 10. I technically earned my degree last July but never had the full graduation/PhD hooding ceremony experience. As of now, they’re saying that graduates from spring, summer, and winter 2020 will be able to take part in official graduation ceremonies this Spring. I want to wear my fancy pants regalia, dammit!
  • San Juan Hut System Bikepacking trip? – August. There’s tentative plans to do this 6 day bike traverse from Durango, CO to Moab, UT with a small group of friends. It’s definitely a bucketlist trip, but feels relatively COVID friendly, so hoping this one can happen as well.
  • NYC Marathon? – Nov 7. I was supposed to run the 50th edition in 2020 but, as with everything else, that didn’t happen. In fact, I’ve now been part of not one, but TWO, canceled NYC Marathons. SMH. Those of us who were supposed to run last year will be randomly placed into one of the events between 2021 and 2023.

It definitely feels like a privilege to be able to plan ANYTHING at this point. However, my attitude is that it’s likely 50/50 any plans actually happen so might as well keep moving forward, plan for the worst, hope for the best, and embrace anything in between. How are you tackling 2021??

Peace, love, and many happy miles. ~Jessica “Fun Size”

Check out my December Running Roundup and 2020 Year in Review: Keep Moving Foward!
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