Racing The States Is 8 Years Old!

BTW, I’m still avoiding putting all my thoughts together on our global pandemic. Every day is different. Every day I feel different. Some days I’m calm and positive and others I’m in full-on panic mode, breaking down into tears.

For now, here’s another post I’ve been working on.

COVID-19, an empty, roped-off playground.


When our local municipalities decided to shut down schools and ban gatherings over 10 people, I ended up with a lot more free time on my hands since all of my jobs were impacted. I’ve been keeping busy with random, long put-off projects and one of those was going through my blog.

I went through all my posts to see what was online, in the interwebs. I deleted some, edited some, made sure links were still working, pictures were still there, etc. While doing so, I noticed my blog anniversary had just passed. My first post was 8 years ago, March 1st, 2012.

Looking back, I can see that my writing style is still relatively the same, I’ve just improved a bit. I used to use too many exclamation points and a ton of ellipses…

Okay, maybe I still do that!

This is a perfect representation of me at the time.

Some of my first posts were TERRIBLE; I deleted a few. Some posts I really liked and I’m still really proud of. But I really liked looking back through them all and reminiscing about where I was at those points in my life.

I went through some times of posting regularly and there were other times of barely posting anything.

I really liked that I used to be consistent in my “pre-race prep” and “post-race recap” posts and I used to do a lot more about updating on daily training and running. At one point I did a regular “Tuesday Newsday” which featured weekly recaps of my training. Maybe I’ll start this back up.

Probably not.

I love that my blog has really become a history keeper.  That’s why I didn’t delete a lot of them, even if some of them are embarrassing. It was cool to see my personal history… who I was friends with, who I was dating, things I did, my career changes, life milestones, etc. It’s also a history of what was going on in the world at times. I wrote about the movie theater shooting here in Colorado, the Boston bombings, and now there will be COVID-19 posts.

For those of you that may have not been here from the beginning, here are a few of my favorite posts, most popular posts and a few that I think you might enjoy!


 My most popular post (according to the stats): Conquering the Manitou Incline.
-I first did the incline in 2013 and then again in 2015. I wrote a review of my experience and it’s been my most viewed post.

 My 2nd most viewed post: Ragnar Relay, Snowmass – Post Race Recap
– This was a first-year event for the Ragnar Trail relay series and I got to run for free as a 3W Ambassador. It was a blast and I was hooked!

Least Views: NYRR Virtual Turkey Trot
– I don’t blame you, this isn’t my greatest work nor the best topic.


Here are a few of my personal favorites that I’ve written over the years:

My Rugged Maniac Review 
– I ran this race back in 2012 with my dear friend Shay. To this day, I have never, ever, EVER been colder in my life.

My First Marathon Review (series) 
– I ran my first and only marathon, the Vermont City Marathon, back in 2013. I loved everything about my training and experience. I was at a really weird place in my life at the time, but running was such a constant and controllable thing that I was very proud of my finish.

Wow! Look at that girl! 25 Years Old!

Ragnar Trail Colorado
– This is one of my personal favorite posts. I originally wrote it for a couple of different publications that fell through and left me pretty disappointed. But I ended up posting it to my blog anyway and I still love it.

CTM Band Review
– This was my first gear review after becoming a BibRave Pro and I got creative with the style and it ended up being one of my favorite pieces.

5 Tips for Making Your Bolder Boulder Experience the Best
– This is for people local to Colorado, but still one of my better posts.

Things I Didn’t Know About Running Postpartum
– By far the best post I think I’ve ever written and it’s relatively new.


Notable or historic posts:

Attaining the Runners’ High
– This was one of my first “research” type of pieces but I really just like the story of my pothead roommate getting his first runner’s high.

My First 3W Race, the Resolute Runner 5k … and the rest is history! (If you’re new, I now am a race director for 3W Races).

Boston Bombings – this happened a month before I was to run my first marathon.

Ben starts appearing in my posts

And Layton was born! 🙂


Here are a few other posts that you might enjoy! 

Volunteering at the Leadville 100 

A collection of National Parks posts

My Running Story


I hope you enjoy these favorites of mine and they bring some joy into your day.

Layton and I’s First Race – The Leap Day 5k

I’m still trying to process what’s going with all the COVID-19 stuff. The day the schools closed and governments shut down events, my life instantly changed. I have a lot of thoughts, fears, feelings, and things to say, but I’m still trying to process them all. Yes even over a week into this thing.

In particular, the running community and outdoor/travel industry are in a state of limbo. I know there are many worse things in the world than some races being canceled or people not being able to travel, but you see, my daily life and career ARE the running world and outdoor industry and I would like to share my thoughts on that eventually.

Right now, with the inundation of news like cities shutting down, or how long the quarantine will last, and the recession… it’s just too much right now for me. Not to mention the frustration when I see climbers being rescued, people still getting together and running in groups, people still venturing into the mountains to hike or ski….ugh.

I will organize my thoughts/feelings, but until then, I’m going to share this post I have been working on from Layton and I’s first race together. 


I love running with baby Layton! I couldn’t wait for the pediatrician to give the “go-ahead” that he was strong enough for the jogging stroller. We’ve only been on a dozen or so runs together so far but I love watching him look around at all the sights with a big smile on his face while I run!

Since his birth, I have been through some ups and downs with running as I get back into it. I did a few races without him postpartum but recently I finally got to race WITH him! I was really excited about this opportunity and declined all offers of babysitting because I wanted to run with him. On Leap Day this year, Layton and I ran our first race together!


With one extra day of the year, I knew I wanted to take advantage of it. Luckily, the company I work for decided to do a Leap Day 5k and I didn’t have to work it.

The Event:
Being Leap Day and the fact that it fell on a weekend, 3W Races decided to take the chance and host a one time race. They (we) even offered free entries to anyone born on leap day and it was also filled with a ton of LEAPING activities… like leaping over hay bales on the course, the standing long leap challenge, and the high leap challenge!

It was chip timed, had great sponsors, free photos, and really cute swag (one of the other reasons I wanted to do it!). And I didn’t have to work it!

Starting

The Course:
This event was at a new park for 3W Races, Carpenter park in Thornton, CO. This small, cute little park had fantastic views, tons of parking, and was in a great location. However, even though the park was small, the course was actually pretty challenging.

About half a mile into the race, you encountered a steep, packed-gravel hill! While this would still be challenging to the everyday runner, try pushing a stroller up it! There were two other hills on course, though concrete, were still a bear to push the stroller.

 

I did like the course, even if it was difficult. It was a ballon configuration and I liked the way it wound around the park. On the “balloon” part, you ran really close to the expo area and that’s where the leaping challenge was. Once you got back to the two-way traffic, the “string” part of the balloon configuration, you had to go back down the gravel hill and finish up another hill.

Layton and I’s Race:
It had been a while since I had run (probably since the 408k virtual race), so I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of my performance. I just wanted to run as much as I could (versus walking), finish with Layton and have fun.

We got to the event pretty early because I wanted to allow for extra time if diaper changes or pre-run feedings were needed – this was our first race together after all, and I didn’t know what to expect. Once we grabbed our packet, we headed back to the car to stay warm.

About 20 minutes before race time, we got out of the car and situated the stroller. It wasn’t too cold on race day, but it was windy! Because of this, I decided to keep Layton in his car seat instead of putting him forward-facing in the stroller to keep him warmer while I was running. This meant the stroller was a lot more heavy. I did a little bit of jogging around the parking lot to loosen up and get a feel for the stroller.

Then it was race time! I got in the crowd of runners, me and Layton in the stroller. This was a whole different experience for me. I was near the middle of the crowd and my spatial awareness was way off, as I bumped into a few different people, apologizing as I went.

Once the gun went off, Layton and started into a jog and within half a mile, he was asleep. I, on the other hand, was at the first hill, a steep, gravel, windy thing. I was right next to a friend of mine and she helped push the stroller as we, what felt like, sprinted up the hill.

I had to walk at the top of the hill and after that, I switched between jogging and walking through the rest of the race. When we got to the hay bale hop challenge, I carefully steered Layton between the hay bales while I hopped over and continued on!

leap day 5k

Skills.

It was a hard race for me. Between pushing the stroller and not having run in a while, I was struggling. I finished in 36:15.

leap day 5k finish

Finishing

Afterward, I hung around the expo and chatted with some friends and then went over to the after-party for my free beer at Periodic Brewing.

Although the Leap Day 5k is the slowest 5k I’ve ever run, it’s definitely one of my most memorable.

BibRave Pro Product Review – Handful Bra

Disclaimer: I received The Closer Bra from 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


If you read my last post, I talk about things I didn’t know about running postpartum. The number one thing I did not know about was running with larger breasts. You may laugh, but this is serious! (It’s okay, you can laugh. I’m laughing).

I was GIFTED with smaller breasts. I’ve never had any issues with running and pain in that area. I’ve survived from the beginning of my running journey with super cheap, Walmart brand sports bras. This was great for my wallet but bad for these new jugs that I received from growing and feeding my baby.

I’m actually NOT complaining. I love my new size.

However, I didn’t know how to RUN with them. My first run postpartum, I mistakingly put on my old sports bra and went out the door. Boy was that a bad idea! I didn’t know that larger breasts bounced that much! Holy moly! Is this what other women have been dealing with their whole lives!?!

Take 2: My thought was to just double up the bras! And cue the chaffing….

Okay. Take 3: I had this other, tighter sports bras in my drawer. It was still Walmart brand, but definitely the tightest sports bra I had owned. Let’s try that! Okay…it’s on. Now, how are you supposed to breathe!? Sure, they didn’t bounce anymore, but I could barely get the thing on and off, let alone take a full breath.

You don’t really need to breathe while you run, right?

Something has got to give!

Insert: Handful Bras, The Closer. Thank you, Handful. You’re the breast, I’m mean BEST!

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Handful is all about providing comfortable, cute, and functional gear for women. You know the whole made BY women, FOR women thing!

Found on their website.

They make a handful (see what I did there) of different types of sports bras from high impact, to everyday wear. All of them are chafe-free, quick-drying, and have pad & stash pockets (places to keep keys or add cups to the sports bra).

I specifically got The Closer to test drive. This one is for high impact activities (like running) and zips up the front, making it easy to get into but still providing the support I need.

I’ve taken the Closer on a few runs and absolutely love it!
-It is tight enough to add the perfect support for running impact.
-It zips up the font, making it super easy to get into (and out of once it’s all sweaty)!!
-But it’s rarely sweaty because it dries really quickly.
-It’s actually pretty cute and stylish!
-It comes with removable cups which can give you a little more oomph, if you’re looking for that, or cover up the “headlights.”
-I didn’t experience any chaffing with The Closer (Disclaimer: I do live in a dry climate, so it generally takes a lot of running and a high humidity day in Colorado for us to experience chafing out here.)
-I also really love the material! It is very breathable, which is great so you don’t feel overheated from wearing too many layers, especially during the winter!

Bonus: It works great for breastfeeding!

There’s only one, tiny little thing I don’t like. I like that it does zip up, but sometimes, under the right shirt, the actual zipper itself looks funny; it creates a bump under the shirt!! I know, that sounds silly and it only happens under really lightweight, flowy shirts, but sometimes it looks weird! HA!

Overall, if you’re looking for a high-quality sports bra that actually works, is easy to get on and off, doesn’t chafe, and goes with your stylish running clothes, look into Handful bras. You won’t regret it.


Check out Handful Bras here.

See The Closer here.

Save 15% on any Handful Bra with coupon code: BIBRAVE20


Here’s what the other BibRave Pros are saying:

Slacker Runner | Fun Size Athlete | Amanda | Riley | Run Strong Run | VanessaRunning for my LifeRun Nerd GirlBarking Mad About RunningMaiPretty Lil Mudder | The Celiathlete |

Things I Didn’t Know About Running Postpartum (Plus Tips!)

Fair warning: This post is for my women readers! Sorry gentlemen, you can read if you want, but there’s nothing here for you.

Disclaimer: If you are considering running postpartum, no matter how soon after giving birth, always check in with your doctor before starting any exercise program. I have some tips below that worked for me based on my experiences, skills, and knowledge. I also read a TON and I am a personal trainer, certified RRCA Run Coach, and a high school coach. I am NOT a doctor or nurse.


Right before I became pregnant with Layton, I was running about 20-30 miles weekly, 5-6 days a week. I was right at the end of coaching the 2018 Cross Country season and was in pretty decent shape. During pregnancy, I had a really hard time running. Mostly, I was just tired and didn’t have the energy, but I also didn’t like the feel of my belly from the impact of running and didn’t want to invest in a belly support strap, so I took to the elliptical and walked a lot.

Hiking super pregnant

When Layton was born I was super eager to get out there and run again! I missed it. I missed being active. I missed the joy and relaxation of a long run. I missed putting on music and running along the creek by myself. I missed trail runs and the sounds of the trees and the birds. I missed the feeling of my heart pumping and my legs working hard.

I went for my first run just under four weeks postpartum. Yeah, it was a little ambitious, but I was feeling relatively good (and had doctor’s permission). I started my run shortly after my doses of ibuprofen and Advil were on board and right after feeding my little one.

Holy moly; that mile was hard.

Yes, one mile.

But it was oh so wonderful…and not pretty at all.

Let me paint you a picture… My running clothes didn’t fit anymore so I wore Ben’s shorts, my shoes had holes in them because they were old but stretchy enough to fit my wider feet, and I couldn’t figure out how to move my new, stiff body. I probably looked like Pheobe from friends (if you know, you know).

I started running a couple days a week, slowly building up the miles. I felt like I had a whole different body that belonged to someone else, a body I didn’t know how to work. My joints we stiff, my core was weak, and my feet hurt! Not to mention my endurance was gone. There were so many things going on with my body that it surprised me!

No one talks about pregnancy, birth, after birth or all the gross, uncomfortable things that go with it. It’s such a faux pa to talk about it all with those that haven’t gone through it (and even those that have) and when it comes to something less common like RUNNING postpartum, there’s even less info out there and people to learn from.

So here’s to hoping this post finds someone that needs to hear it.


Here are 7 things I didn’t know about running postpartum:

1. I didn’t know my breasts would hurt when I ran. Or that they may leak too. 

Okay, in all fairness, this may only apply to me and a low number of women. I was “gifted” with small breasts. When I got pregnant, they grew…. and then they grew again when I started breastfeeding. I had no idea how painful running with larger breasts was – seriously, don’t you laugh! Cue the double bra or the super tight one that you can barely get on. Then you feel like you can’t breathe, nevermind trying to get out of the thing when you’re done! UGH! It was a serious conundrum for me to figure out. Some women have already solved this problem before children, but if you’re like me….

Tip 1: Invest in a good sports bra (or two). Seriously, go get a better bra. It’s worth it. Due to my small size pre-pregnancy, I had a ton of cheap Walmart brand sports bras that worked just fine for me at the time. Postpartum, they were not strong enough. The one sports bra I did own that minimized the impact was a challenge to get on and off, it was so tight, and I couldn’t breathe!

I recommend trying Handful Bras. They are chafe-free, quick-drying and they look good too! I have The Closer which is great for high impact activities. Because you need more support for running, and sometimes with that comes a tighter fitting bra, The Closer zips up the front, making it easy to shove the new milk sacks into a bra. It’s also relatively easy to breastfeed with!

Tip 2: Go for your run right after you feed or pump! Get those suckers as small as possible so that you can minimize the pain and chance of leaking.


2. I didn’t know my joints would change. Pregnancy comes with a whole bunch of new hormones and bodily changes. One of those new hormones is relaxin, which allows your hips to become a little bit looser in order to birth that watermelon. It also affects ALL of your joints. Unfortunately, you don’t go back to normal as soon as your bundle of joy pops out, so you’re left with a bunch of weak, loosey-goosey joints and your muscles are taking more impact than normal. And it doesn’t feel great.

Tip: Stretch! All of your joints are still getting back into place, your muscles are going to need a bit more recovery than normal. Whether you were an avid stretcher before baby or not, now’s a good time to make stretching post-run a good part of your routine. This will help your muscles recover while your joints are still “healing” and getting back to normal.

Stretching under the watchful eye of Layton


3. I didn’t know my feet would change. Before pregnancy, I had very narrow feet and wore narrow shoes. Once baby Layton was here, my previous shoes no longer worked for my feet! My feet are now wider and splay out a lot more.

Tip: Go get fit for shoes at a running store. Go through the whole process, even if you’ve done so in the past. Have them watch you run and use all their fancy gadgets and do-dads. Let them give you recommendations on the type of shoe you need and try not to assume or revert to your old shoe. Then, try them on and go for a run! Most stores let you at least run around the store and some let you run outside. A lot of stores have generous return policies if the shoes just aren’t working for you. Take advantage of those things to get in a good pair of shoes for your “new feet.”

My new shoes


4. I didn’t know my gait would change. When I first returned to running postpartum, I could not run with good form to save my life! I tried, oh boy did I try, but I literally felt like my muscles were not listening to my brain. This is due to all of the above… your stretched out joints, your new feet, your weak core…it’s all making your running form go to shit.

Tip: Start training your core as soon as you can (i.e. as soon as your doctor says it’s okay. This is one thing you should make sure you’re not starting too early). Depending on the type of birth you had and whether or not you have diastasis recti, pending doctor’s orders, start training your core again. I waited five months before doing any real ab exercises and yoga postpartum, per doc’s orders. I noticed a huge change in my gait once yoga was a regular practice in my routine. Your core is your powerhouse and all movement originates from your center. Once your core gets stronger again, your form will return back to normal.

Yoga with a baby is a new challenge


5. I didn’t know that it’s super challenging to run with a stroller. I love running with Layton in the jogger! I couldn’t wait until the pediatrician said it was okay to take him on runs with me! But I do remember my first run with the jogger; It was way harder than I thought it would be – especially up the hills! And RACING with the jogger is a whole different ball game as you add in more people to avoid!

Tip 1: Switch sides/hands often.  Since you have to hold on to the stroller, your form tends to be altered when one arm isn’t swinging. Your foot strike also tends to be a bit different. When the sidewalk is wide enough, I actually run off to the side a little bit, switching hands and sides every once in a while. Running off to the side allows for a more natural footstrike and switching hands makes sure you’re not developing an imbalance on one side of your body.

Tip 2: A jogging stroller doesn’t have to be expensive! I got the BabyTrend Expedition jogging stroller and it came with my car seat for only $130 (and by “I got,” I mean, my Mom gifted it to us…THANKS MOM!)

And for the love of your baby, use your safety strap! My friend told me a horror story of him chasing his stroller down the hill! (Shudder) I’m terrified this is going to happen to me!

He loves it!


6. I didn’t know it would feel like I have never run a day in my life! It really did. My first run postpartum was only a mile but it felt like 100 miles and my lungs felt like they were on fire!

Tip: Ease into it slowly! If you were running 50-mile weeks before baby, you should probably start off with a wee bit less. Remember that first training advice you ever got? Yeah…start slowly! The 10% rule is real (only increase your weekly mileage and/or your long run by 10% each time).


7. I didn’t know HOW hard it would be – mentally. I did really well with getting out for runs the first few months postpartum. I ran a few races too, but as I got back to work more and more, and Layton got older (i.e. didn’t just sleep all day), I’ve found less and less time to get out for runs – even with him in the stroller. Part of that is the winter weather but I also work full time and do not have child care during the week. When I do get out for runs, I’m pretty much starting at ground zero every time since it’s so long in between. It’s HARD to stay motivated and keep up a fitness regimen when your only free moment is after baby goes to bed and you just want to watch Netflix.

Tip: Don’t be hard on yourself! Believe me, I get it, it’s hard not too! I am on the struggle bus myself to get a weekly running plan going. If a running buddy motivates you to meet up for a jog, do it, here’s my kick in the butt to reach out to your BRF (best running friend). If a race motivates you, sign up for that half marathon! If the scale kicks your butt; use that!

But above all, go easy on yourself; after all, your body MADE a baby; you GREW a human being! And you did squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of your body. So there’s that.

Peace! Just kidding! Celebrating running TWO miles a month or so postpartum.


Extra – Things that didn’t happen to me, but I have heard happen to other women postpartum:

1. You may pee when you run. I didn’t, but you might.

I only add this one because all my friends joked about it with me. This is all due to your pelvic floor and the muscles being stretched out.

Tip: You know the drill: pelvic tilts, squats and yes, Kegels.

2. Mom guilt is a thing. Some women get it, some women don’t. For some, it’s really hard to take time for themselves, feeling guilty leaving the little one at home (even though they are with someone else). I get it! You want to be there all the time and be the source of comfort if something goes wrong and you feel like you do it best.

Tip: Remember YOU are a person too! I know everyone now only asks about your baby and comes over to see the little one, but YOU are still a human being and you deserve a few moments to yourself. KNOW that you are not less of a mother for getting out for a run!

And don’t feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

Happy trails to all your running moms out there! I hope your journey is fun and not too challenging.


I want to hear from you! What was your biggest challenge of returning to running postpartum?  Comment below!