Inaugural Jackass Half Marathon

This half marathon was special.

I grew up in beautiful Osburn, Idaho. Just an hour east of Coeur d’ Alene. My running journey began when I left the house I grew up in to run the Rails to trails path just outside the door. That portion of the trail where I was emerging as a distance runner is the course for the Jackass Half Marathon.

This wasn’t a normal training cycle leading up to this race, Covid-19 pretty much turned everything upside down so my mileage was much lower and training while distance education had its challenges. But one of the biggest and hardest concepts that I worked on was my mental ability and strength. An upside world coupled with a chaotic home life ended up being some of the biggest hurdles to jump.

October 3, 2020 I have returned to race course where it all began. It was not only taking a 1,200 mile trip to the start line but also the thousands of miles that have been ran in 14 years of training. This is also a homecoming, it had been ten years.

But race day came and I walked up to that start line solo (because social distancing) and I took one large deep breath and said “breath, you’re excited, just have fun.”

Started out around 7:35, a large amount of people had already started so knowing there was runners I could “catch”. Just got to mile 2 where I found my parents waiting for me, my mother tells me not to go out to fast in the beginning when I passed…should’ve listened better to her. What is different about running during a pandemic is that there is literally no one on the course. You can see someone ahead of you but you are never quite sure if you will pass them or just follow along. The times that I did pass runners while socially distancing, they would pull up their masks for safety. Others just dumped their masks at the start.

Ran through Silverton and made my way through the tiny town of Osburn where I grew up. Passed buildings and places that brought back so many wonderful memories. One of the biggest highlights was having my family for support the entire race course.

Until you get into mile 8, then you go uphill for nearly a mile towards the Sunshine Mine and turn to go back downhill. They needed to find an extra two miles to make that 13.1 course so they had us go up the Big Creek road. Smooth sailing until you get to mile 12 and then the name JACKASS really holds its meaning because it is an awful uphill climb to reach a last right turn to the finish line.

The whole race I was passing other runners, it was motivating to find someone and work to pass them. When I reached the last hill of the finish there was a girl with pink socks that I just HAD to pass. So I used everything in me to try to catch her.

Finish line Feels, 1:53:35

Finished in 1:53:35, 8:40 pace, 40th overall, 9th gender and 2nd in my age group (F35-39). This is a lifetime best for me.

I am proud of this performance. This was a race that I felt I was prepared for, showed up for myself and was ready to deliver. There came a point around mile 10 where I just couldn’t get my legs to turn over and pick up- that is when the decision was made just to hold on, dig deep and get to work.

This race course is made to be run in October because the colors are so vibrant, weather is ideal and it is a slight downhill course. As a socially distant race- there was plenty of aid stations. What it lacks in crowds cheering you on, it makes up in spectacular mountain views and scenery.

The medals are very unique. They are made by the local high school wood and metal shop. It is large like a NYC or Marine Corp Marathon medal but rugged and charming just like the race. Jackass Marathon and 5k is slated to return next October 2021. I highly recommend visiting the quiet little mining town to run.

Huge thank you to my family for their support on the race course. It is a luxury to have water and aid support. Thank you to my husband for making the trip up north for a race with our family, a feat that is never easy. Also a special thanks to my coach, John Raneri of Mckirdy Trained. He didn’t just coach but was a therapist when we navigated this very surreal training cycle. We put the work in and it paid off. So proud of myself and ready to move into the next chapter.

Make the Perfect Fuel Plan with Science in Sport Gels (SiS)

Disclaimer: I received SiS Engery Gels 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 a BibRave Pro I was sent three very different gels to give a try. Each one serves a different purpose, Lisa suggested that I stick with the Orange Isotonic Gel for upcoming race, the SiS Go Electrolyte Raspberry is perfect for the super hot days when I am sweating it out hard and the third is the Sis Go Energy Cola with caffeine. The Cola caffeine is perfect for when you are doing the long marathon runs and you need the “kick” when you are nearing the end.

What can be a huge game changer to your race plan is the perfect fueling routine. I sat down with Lisa Braden a registered dietitian from lbtherd.com who specializes in improved running performance through food and we discussed how to implement Science in Sport gels into fueling routine.

What is the best part about the Science in Sport (SiS) GO Orange Isotonic gel was that it doesn’t require water for your body to absorb it for full fueling potential. We made a plan that I would be using three gels for an upcoming half marathon that I was preparing for. Three of the orange gels would be taken during the course of the race, one at corral, then at 30 minutes, 60 minutes followed by some chews at 75 minutes into the race.

My race is coming up next month but I found this plan using SiS Raspberry gels to be really good. When I initially started I wasn’t taking enough calories and fizzing out near mile 9 but implementing the extra calories at 60 miles gave me the zip I needed to finish strong.

I had recently wrote a review for the Science in Sport Hydro Tabs. Mentioned that my favorite flavor was the Pineapple & Mango. This is my power couple, the Pineapple & Mango Tabs with the Orange Isotonic Energy Gel. Gosh, the combo is fruitty.

Being that this is a review, I did try the electrolyte Raspberry during a very hot day and found that it was really good. You do need water when taking this gel but again it really goes well with the Pineapple & Mango gels.

Not that this is a reflection of Science in Sport Gels, I am really not a fan of the cola flavor. This was the same with the hydro tabs too. But personally I really steer clear of cola, mocha or anything with caffeine while I am running. It just doesn’t agree with my stomach.

Using the Science in Sport products have been really beneficial to my running. They have definitely made a fan with me. There are some other flavors that I would really like to try such as Tutti Fruitti, Pineapple and Apple (they have variety packs available).

Are you ready to try SiS gels too?

Use the code BIBRAVE20GEL for 20% off at ScienceinSport.com

Check out fellow BibRave Pros reviews of SiS Gels below:

Staying Hydrated with Science In Sport

Disclaimer: I received a Science in Sport GO Hydro Tablets sample pack 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!

Staying hydrated during summer training is really another added element that we often forget when the summer heat starts to rise. It is important to stay hydrated but to keep up with the training it is even more important to add some extra electrolytes for an added power punch.

During moderate to intense workouts you can lose a lot of sweat and sodium. Essentially you need to replenish with water and adding the Science in Sport Hydro Tab will replace those missing electrolytes so you don’t fall victim to dehydration. Dehydration brings on fatigue and really that slows down your recovery.

My sample pack included the flavors lemon, cola and Pineapple Mango.

Normally I steer clear of adding anything to my water but I really fell in love with the Pineapple Mango Hydro Tab. The taste was refreshing and slightly sweet, it didn’t feel chalky and pleasantly did NOT leave a funny taste in my mouth. It worked well both during workouts and afterwards.

Not only did I use this with running but I found them very effective and beneficial when working outside when it was especially hot.

Some things to consider that I found interesting- it has zero calories, does contain Sucralose (which is an artificial sweetener) but is totally suitable for vegans. Sorbitol is another ingredient so those with an avocado allergy beware. Cola does contain caffeine and tastes like cola candy. Lemon is more like lemonade and not that Gatorade lemon flavor.

When sharing about the Hydro Tabs I found that many other runners have been using their gels as well and have had great results. So I am looking forward to adding some of those to my workouts as well, I will get back to you on my findings.

They are affordable too, just $11 per pack of 20 tablets. And for a limited time, you can try them with the BibRave discount code: BIBRAVE 20 for 20% off your Go Hydro Tablet order on SiS website here: https://www.scienceinsport.com/us/shop-sis/go-range/go-hydro-tablets. There are several other flavors avaliable including Pink Grapefruit and Berry. 

Let me know how you like to stay hydrated in the comments. Or if you have tried another Science in Sport product that you loved, I would like to hear from you.

Des Linden Spring Step Challenge With FitnessBank

Disclaimer: I received a $50 dollar gift card to review Fitnessbank as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) at Bibrave.com to review, write and discover other race reviews.

Watching Des Linden compete in the Atlanta Olympic Time trials was amazing. It was even better to be able to step along side her afterwards with the Fitness Bank Spring Step Challenge. The first month I was able to step along and see how I stacked up against some other runners which was a lot like Strava but with steps. Then Des joined the group and it was fun to follow along with an elite runner.

What is Fitness Bank? It is a step counting App where they track your steps, you EARN on the steps you make. Make all your steps in a day, rise up on the tracker leaderboard and earn money for all of your hard work.

It is the right step forward no matter what.

What I liked most about the Fitnessbank App was being able to follow along with my friends that also joined the challenge so that we were competing with ourselves along with the larger group. That brought another level of competition to the whole experience.

Another great feature is that you don’t have to invest right away to participate in the challenges, you can participate, get some motivation, win some prizes and then sign up and start earning. *You are putting the effort in, you can really make it worth your while. Yes, they are a real bank so you are really earning some cash (member FDIC).

What I didn’t like about Fitnessbank app was that the steps were an average daily and it would sync at weird times so when I would check sometimes it didn’t quite add up until I figured out exactly how it worked.

Let’s be honest with March and April. The entire world was turned upside down, literally. My running routine was basically non existent with my kids home 24/7 and an extreme change to my husbands work schedule. There were some days where I wasn’t able to get out and run (it is still like this but it is getting better.) Chasing my kids around produced a lot of steps.

What made this Spring Step Challenge really fun was that even though I couldn’t get a run outside my steps around the house and chasing the boys still kept me in the game and that really helped me stay motivated to keep moving. So even when life gives you lemons-you can still make lemonade with the FitnessBank App.

I encourage you to check out Fitnessbank.fit or look up FitnessBank App in the App Store.

Tips For Running With Mental Toughness

Running is a struggle lately. Something that is such a strong and engrained habit has hit a wall. Being a seasoned runner, it has been difficult finding the motivation to get out and get moving.

I had spent last Saturday morning waiting in line at a local grocery store looking for essential grocery items we had not been able to find with the Cover-19 pandemic going on. It was a stressful being in line waiting to go in, even worse when you are in the store and people are choosing not to follow social distancing guidelines. The whole experience gives me anxiety.

After dropping the groceries at home, I headed out for my marathon paced workout. With the current events going on in our world right now, the motivation was hard to muster up. Two miles into my warmup I had to use the restroom and decided to text my coach:

“John, I am struggling mentally with today’s workout so I am just going to run the 11 miles for enjoyement.”

The warmup finished and my watch starts beeping-telling me that I need to start running at my marathon pace. Beep…Beep…Beep. And I hear the beeps and I say to myself “just try one mile…you can get through one mile and if you don’t feel good after that mile you can walk.”

2.5 miles later I am finished with my first rep. Wow! I did it, I can go home now, this is a win for me. Two miles of easy pace before the next rep, this is okay, take it slow.

Beep…Beep…Beep.

Fine, I will try this again– I will start this second rep. I am so grateful for the first rep that even if this second rep sucks, at least I tried. Give it one mile.

Spoiler alert: I nailed the second rep and it was faster than the first.

Running is self care for me and I wasn’t going to go through the next two hours of time being anxiety ridden and upset. By texting my coach and acknowledging that I am struggling was also, in fact, giving myself grace. Finding the mental strength in running has been a goal for me and this moment was where training isn’t about the physical part…it is the mental side.

You’ve got to train your mind to be stronger than your emotions or else you’ll lose yourself everytime.

There is this piece of paper taped to my kitchen cabinet. It has been there since January and it reads:

You are NOT battling a race plan. YOU are battling YOUR feelings. You CAN’T control how you FEEL. But you do CONTROL how you act.

This workout was proof that I am getting there. Progress is being made and growth is a process. But here are some points that I have recognized as helping me move forward.

  • Be gentle with yourself.
  • It is perfectly okay to admit you are not okay.
  • You don’t have to be perfect for each workout.
  • Reaching out to someone you trust for help is strength.
  • You are allowed to change your plan/workout.
  • Take walk breaks to reset and ground yourself.
  • And ALWAYS give it ONE mile.

This is a difficult time we are going through, we are having to weather a storm. But it is a part of our process and it is really pushing me to work towards goals. Running is still a struggle but I keep persisting.

You do not wake up and become the butterfly–growth is a process. Maybe this cage has been a cocoon all along.

Stacie Martin

Do you have a way to battle these kinds of days or workouts? I’d love to know if you have any other tips or tricks that work for you. Please comment below and share for others that might need this information.

Stop Messaging Me About Weight Loss

This is a really hard blog post to write. Mostly because I know that I am not alone in this feeling but also because I think that a lot of women don’t talk about it openly because we have a friend or family member that does this and we are just trying to keep things “nice.”

I am constantly bombarded with messages from other women who tell me that they can fix my weight, help me lose weight, help motivate me, help me with my nutrition and make me accountable to a better healthy lifestyle. Has this happened to you? It seems like it always happens when I am feeling really good about myself.

I want to change this conversation, it is not okay for someone to message me about my weight, size or fitness. It is not okay for someone to message to tell me that they can help me lose weight. In most cases whoever is messaging me- I have never met, a complete stranger on the internet. What is alarming is that they don’t even look at my feed…notice that I am a runner or maybe that doesn’t even matter…maybe they think I need to lose weight.

One of the things that makes this really hard is that we are constantly seeing images of what is socially ideal. It is thrust upon us in advertisements, books, movies, EVERYTHING. Where the conversation needs to change is amongst each other first.

If we really what to change what is beautiful we need to see women at all stages of life thriving. Thriving regardless of size, shape, speed, etc.

Here is how I am going to start:

  • Set clear boundaries with others in commenting, conversations about my weight, size, appearance or nutrition.
  • Stop comparing myself to others.
  • Starting celebrating my accomplishments big and small
  • Stop putting resources into keeping an “image” and putting that energy in what I can be and what goals I am pursuing.
  • Stop using photoshop and filters *See the real me, all the time!
  • Support your fellow sisters, brothers, humans. Give a shout out, message someone or give a comment on someone’s photos that is positive and not about the person’s appearance, weight or size.
  • Self talk with myself that I am enough, I am fit, I am beautiful and I am strong.

Stop measuring yourself with the wrong measure. You have the control of how you measure your self worth.

This is a struggle. But I want to forge a different path in moving ahead for myself, for others behind me, an example for my kids. I will make mistakes but making a conscious effort is where I can start.

My body has accomplished some really amazing things. It has held three babies, birthed two, hugged those who were hurting and cheered on countless others in times of joy. My body knows hurt, pain and sadness but it also knows happiness, joy and fulfillment. It has carried me countless miles and the weight fluctuates with each accomplishment, disappointment and the moments in-between. Sound familiar? I am positive your body has a similar story.

Every mark or pound has a meaning and our bodies tell a story and stories are beautiful.

Lisa Braden, @lb_the_rd

Do you connect with this? Do you have a friend who shares these thoughts? Leave a comment or share this post. Let’s work together on stopping the messaging about weight loss.

Also see my post about Overcoming Comparisons

New York City Marathon 2019

There is nothing like the New York City Marathon. There was so much anticipation going into this race with all of my research running through the city that never sleeps. This is my documentation of the race for the 2019 year.

SUNDAY is race morning, I was up at 3:00 a.m. (*time change and I’m from the west coast so this feels like midnight). I met with Andrea from Wahoo Running for our bus ride at 4:30 a.m. and we headed out to the start village on Staten Island.

We waited and waited and waited until we were able to go into the corral at 9:10 a.m for our start time at 9:40. I’ve been up six hours now.

Cannons blast, Frank Sinatra is singing and we get going up the huge Verrannzanno Bridge and it is difficult to keep my cool as the NYPD helicopter is flying next to the bridge and the city skyline is in the distance. Everything is going according to the plan that was set by my coach, John Raneri. Dropped down and head into Brooklyn when the noise just gets louder and louder of the people cheering and bands playing. It is so overwhelming, it hits you that this is in fact happening “this is it, I am running the NYC marathon.”

Here’s the thing, it doesn’t ever get quiet…it gets louder and louder the further you get into the race. I can’t even fully describe in accurate words the experience of the sounds and energy that is coming from the crowds and fellow runners. It hits you in your chest, the enormity of what is happening.

It should be noted that the only time it is quiet is when you are running over a bridge. There are 5 bridges total and it adds up to nearly six miles of the race.

Somewhere in Brooklyn around mile 8 my hips start to lock up-took note and tried to maintain the 9:12 pace that I was running. PULASKI Bridge came at the halfway mark. where I tried to reevaluate where I was at and if I could surge. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot of Queens because the mental battle that was taking place had all of my attention.

This went through my head at first “You are not going to make John proud with these paces” followed by “Your friends will be disappointed you didn’t make your goal. You are not running the race you had envisioned. Your husband says you are not happy running.”

I get to the QUEENSBORO bridge (mile 16) and the pain in my hips has traveled to my quads, there is no way running this speed for another ten miles is going to work. This was the New York FREAKING marathon. It is a privilege to be here, this is amazing. It is not a day for speed but I’m going to make it the best run ever.

*NOTE: I stopped taking my splits at this point. I refused to look at my watch the rest of the way. This is pivotal, changing my attitude to a positive and grateful mindset made the tension melt away. Running even though it was painful, much more enjoyable. Coming down that bridge to an overwhelming loud road of the crowd was were I started running MY RACE. And from that point on I remember everything, the signs, the inspiration that overcame me seeing disabled runners and the people cheering. I soaked in and relished that moment in time.

Central Park was wall to wall people cheering. Running through it you feel like a football star running into the stadium. Having my name clearly printed on my bib made it easy for people to start screaming for me by name.

You round the corner and make it up the last hill that is lined with flags and I see that mile 26 sign, the journey is coming to an end. I made it. Crossing that finish line I was overcome with feelings of gratitude, John will be proud, my friends excited and content with how it all played out.

I was the best race I’ve ever ran, not the fastest, but one that shook me to the core, reminded me what I love doing this so much. After much reflection my self worth is not measure by the time on the clock. What has happened in training the last six months has been transformative. What I love most about the marathon is how it peels back the layers of myself, it becomes apparent what strengths I’ve gained and the parts of me that need more work.

Have you had a similar race experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Overcoming Comparisons

One of the hardest things to constantly overcome is the comparing yourself to others. The feeling of not being enough and the second nature of jumping to comparing. It is a slippery slope that needs constant attention, so that you don’t go sliding into the abyss.

It can get so ugly, it starts off with clothes, job, finances. Then it gets even more dark and twisted as a parent when you have kids and the comparison game moves to breastfeeding, schools, etc. Then social media presents everyone’s best self and that is fuel to the comparison fire where reality is rarely presented *HIGHLIGHT REEL.

I struggle with posting my paces and finish times because I don’t want to people to decide what type of runner I am or compare my numbers to theirs. It feels like people are judging a book by its cover when they see XX miles with XX:XX pace.

Why am I so insecure about posting a mile/pace/time? So much is going on behind those digits that you don’t even see, it isn’t present nor explained. It is incredibly isolating, it brings up emotions of “I am not good enough” or “at least I am faster than him/her” or the dreaded “I could be doing more.” It is mentally unhealthy.

What the numbers don’t show:

  • that I was up four times with a sick kid and only slept four hours
  • I was emotionally exhausted from something that occurred before the run
  • Something major has taken place and I am processing everything during the run
  • I haven’t properly fueled my body for this workout
  • Yesterday’s workout was a doozy and today my legs are still recovering
  • I hit every stinking red light on this run and completely forgot to hit start a few times
  • I forgot my ear pods, my phone died, no music.
  • It was a struggle to just get out the door and I crawled to make that first mile even happen.

The numbers don’t show all of these factors, it just shows DISTANCE, PACE, TIME. But that is also how it goes with life, you only get things at face value and not the work/struggle/joy/frustration that happens behind the curtain.

NOTE TO SELF: Stop over explaining yourself. Just stop. There are no magic words that will make everyone happy with every decision you make. Just live your life and do your best. Don’t waste so much time justifying yourself.

Nanea Hoffman

The hardest part is to wrap your brain around that it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to explain yourself each run or give excuses or explanations as to why the pace was faster than normal or slower. People don’t need to see behind the numbers, just digits, and giving your best for that day.

What you need to remind yourself when you begin to compare:

  • Everyone goes through the same emotions, highs and lows at different times. But WE ALL go through the emotions.
  • We all toed that start line with anxiety, fear, exhilaration. No one can escape these feelings, recognizing that we share this can battle comparing.
  • Being vulnerable and showing my time is actually an act of courage and letting people see who I really am and how hard I am working. (super scary but the outcome is worth it.)
  • I want to change this conversation and you can too. When you stop comparing and start putting your authentic self forward, you are showing others that it is okay to step out of the comparison shadow.

It is all the same distance, don’t apologize for your process and celebrate that we are all happy strong people who showed up for ourselves. It can be really difficult but going forward with grace for others and practicing not comparing yourself can only bring a freedom. Freedom to be yourself and to accept others as they are.

Do you struggle with comparisons? Do you have another way to combat the war on comparing? Let me know in the comments I’d love to hear it.

Welcome to Retro Running Mom

Welcome! I’ve given it some thought and came to the realization that it is time to start a blog where I can document this journey that I’ve been on for awhile now. It would be beneficial to have something that I can look back on to see how far I’ve come and where I want to move forward.

This is a place where I talk about training, positive body topics and changing the conversation for women in creating a more positive and empowering relationships with each other.

Just to give you some of the basics, I am a stay at home mom of two boys who are 20 months apart. I started running in 2006 and completed my first half marathon in that year. Took a few breaks and came back strong in 2011 and ended up running my first marathon in 2013. Two back to back baby boys, I tried to keep up running during the second pregnancy but ended up stopping. AGAIN returning in 2017, I went into 2018 running two marathons and then kept chasing that marathon bliss into 2019.

Its the beginning of 2020 and I’m slated for my 6th marathon in May, Mountains 2 Beach marathon where I hope to accomplish my sub-4 marathon goal.

Let me get specific with my numbers:

Personal bests: 5k (24:02), 10k (52:01), Half-Marathon (1:54:40), Marathon (4:16:15).

Also, I have a team that is helping me reach my running goals (and honestly a lot of my mental goals too). I am coached by John Raneri at MckirdyTrained.com, my nutrition plan is made by Lisa Braden at LBtheRD and strength training with Kevon at Recoverperformwell.com.

You can find me on all social media platforms under RetroRunningMom.