Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Skirt Sports 13er: A Giveaway!



I dislike the name "half marathon".

When I was training for my first (and second), it didn't feel like half of anything.  It was a whole 13 (point one) freaking miles.  I worked hard for it.  There was nothin' half about it. 

Skirt Sports feels the same way...is it any wonder why I love this company so much?  We really get along.

On June 14th, Skirt Sports is hosting a 13er--not a half marathon.
13.1 ain't half; it's a whole damn race and a milestone we're going to celebrate.
The 13er is taking place in Louisville, Colorado, but for those who cannot make it to Colorado that weekend, Skirt Sports also has a virtual option for the 13er.

And guess what....I get to give an entry away!

For most virtual races out there, you register, pay for a medal and run the race on your own.

You don't think Skirt Sports will host an event that's like "most virtual races", do you?

Of course not.

I'm giving away the Basic Level Entry ($85 value) which includes:
  • $50 Skirt Sports gift certificate
  • Race number bib
  • Finisher's skirt
  • Sponsor swag
The finisher skirt

The winner can choose to run the 13er, 10K or 5K.  The winner can also choose to upgrade to a higher level entry (gift certificate will be worth more) by paying the difference.

If you don't win and would still like to participate in the 13er virtual race, you can use the code SSRRMR20 for 20% off your entry.

Want more information about the 13er?  Find it here.

How do you feel about the name "half marathon"?

You must be viewing this post online to enter to win.  The Rafflecopter widget will not show up in the emailed post.

Good luck, y'all!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a Skirt Sports Ambassador, I will occasionally get skirts, virtual races and other Skirt Sports merchandise to give away.  Skirt Sports provides these items at no cost to me.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Real Women Move


 
I took this picture after a 5am run with my predawn friends.

If you look closely, you'll see this picture in Skirt Sports' banner for their #REALwomenmove campaign.



HOW COOL IS THAT?!

Our feet are almost famous!

You may be wondering what the #REALwomenmove campaign is.

You're in luck.  I'm going to tell you.

The women at Skirt Sports believe that ALL women, regardless of size, build, background or activity level can be fit.  They are on a mission to empower intimidated women and young girls and show them what it looks like to be active and healthy.

It's like the ladies at Skirt Sports can hear my thoughts.  Being the leader of a very large all-female running group, I hear it all the time...

"I'm not a real runner."

Oh, honey.  If you run, you are a runner.

"I can only run a half marathon."

Are you kidding me?  Only?  That's thirteen freaking miles.  Your legs are pretty badass.
The word "only" had been banned from our Facebook page.

I do understand the intimidation of someone starting out, especially in our group with the wide range of ability, but I'll let you in on a little secret: we all started somewhere.

I can remember the day I ran a whole mile for the first time.  I'm positive that I posted all about it on Facebook and had I a cell phone with the capability, I'd have selfied the shit out of that run.

I felt like a BEAST.

Sure, there were others who could run much farther than a mile, and in half the time it took me to do it, but it wasn't about everyone else.  This was about me and my new ability to do something that I never imagined I could do.

Who's ready to join the #REALwomenmove movement?

Check out the Skirt Sport #REALwomenmove website and submit your REAL story then tweet and Instagram your active photos using the hashtag #REALwomenmove and #SkirtSports.  For every 5,000 times the #REALwomenmove hashtag is used, Skirt Sports will donate a Getting Started Scholarship to a woman who exemplifies a REAL woman.  The Getting started Scholarship includes a bra, top, skirt, hat, socks and an entry to her first 5K.

Your turn!
Do you remember the day your ran your first mile?  Tell me about it in the comments.
What do you think about the #REALwomenmove campaign?  I love, I love....

As a Skirt Sports Ambassador, it's my job to promote Skirt Sports events and I am compensated for doing so.  All opinions are always my own.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon Weekend


Girls' weekend with a half marathon thrown in.  That's what last weekend was.

We ran.  We ate.  We drank.  We laughed.

Oh, how we laughed...

This little getaway from reality was much needed by all of us.

Friday afternoon, 4 of us from Columbus, Jennifer, Erin, Sarah and I, drove down to Louisville where my BFF, Carrie, from Madison, Wisconsin was waiting for us.  She flew in on Thursday afternoon.

When we arrived, we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and we all headed to the expo.

Carrie, me, Jen, Sarah and Erin

Let me tell you about the hotel.

We stayed at the Galt House, it was the hotel suggested on the race website.

This place was nice.  I've never stayed at a hotel that had bellmen.  I felt very pampered.

Here is what our room looked like:

Photo from the hotel website.
Down the hallway is the very large bathroom and bedroom with 2 queen beds.  I was afraid 5 of us in one hotel room would be very cramped.  Nope.  We had plenty of space.

After securing our bibs, we headed to Bluegrass Brewing Company for dinner.  The food was amazing.

So was the Cosmo!
Back at the hotel, we all pulled out all of our running clothes to decide what we'd be wearing the next morning for the race.  There was a high chance of rain, so we all wanted the perfect outfit that would leave us with the least amount of chafing.

Sarah and I had discussed her race plans...she wouldn't mind a PR.  Since  I have no intention of earning myself a PR this spring, I told Sarah that I would hang with her for the whole race and keep a PR pace.  With any luck, she would beat her previous fastest time of 2 hours and 18 minutes.

The race started on a nice, wide road, so we weren't too crowded.  Soon, we nestled into a faster-than-planned pace.  Sarah and I took turns saying, "We should probably slow down just a bit." with no results.

It started sprinkling on us as soon as we crossed the starting line.  We ran in the light sprinkle for most of the race.  At mile 8, we turned into Churchill Downs.  There were jockeys practicing with their horses on the track....so cool.

By mile 10, it was raining.  No more sprinkles.  We were completely soaked.  And we failed at slowing down.  We'd kept a pretty steady pace of 9:46.  No slowing down now!

Of course, I was grinning ear to ear.  I love the rain!  We ran by a guy runner who was complaining about the rain.  He's never run is such terrible weather!  Sarah and I were all, "Really?!?!"  We've run in WAY worse.

At mile 12, it started to rain a little harder.  I was loving it!

Sarah was looking strong and she was about to blow her 2:18 half marathon time away!

Finally.  The finish line was in view.

Sarah sprinted.  I chased her.

Then, we were done.

2 hours and eight minutes.


Sarah cut 10 minutes off of her fastest half marathon.  I'm thrilled for her, I'm proud of her and I'm so damn happy that I got to be a part of her PR race.

Everyone in our group was pleased with their races.

After the beer and chocolate milk had been consumed, we walked back to the hotel where the hot shower and dry clothes waited.

We were photo bombed!  I love it!

Soggy Selfie!
By the time all 5 of us were clean and dry, the rain had stopped and we went out in search of lunch.  We ended up at the Troll Pub Under the Bridge.  Good food, good drinks, fun atmosphere.


We walked around after lunch, popping into a few stores, getting into shenanigans...

When in Louisville, wear Derby hats!
We all had a couple of beverages at the hotel before we ventured back out for dinner.  We ended up at Down One Bourbon Bar.  I'm not a huge fan of bourbon...and by "not a huge fan" I mean, I can't stand it.  I'll have a Cosmo, please.  We split a bunch of appetizers and we all had salads for dinner....to balance out all the Swedish Fish that we ate in the hotel room earlier that afternoon.

There was a little more vodka consumption at the hotel before bed and I got to drive home Sunday morning feeling mildly hungover.

That's the sign of a successful girls' weekend.

*******

Finish Line Engravers

My friend Kris and her husband, Aaron, were at the finish line with their company, Finish Line Engravers.  When I saw them, I popped into their tent to say hi.  Kris hugged my soaking wet self and took my medal for engraving.

If you've never heard of Finish Line Engravers, it's brilliant, really.  They hang out at finish lines to engrave names and finish times into the back of finisher's medals.  Before Finish Line Engravers, I was writing my finish times in Sharpie on the backs of my medals.  Not anymore!

Medal engraving costs ten bucks and you can pre-order on their website so you don't have to carry money with you during the race.

Kris and Aaron will be at many race finish lines in the next few months.  Check out their upcoming events page to find out if they'll be at your next finish line!  It's quite a list!

*******

About my outfit: I'm wearing the Lioness Skirt and the Runners Dream long sleeved shirt.  I was hoping to wear the Katherine Tank, but it wasn't warm enough.  I'll have to tell you all about that another time.  I've worn the Runners Dream many times and I've already talked about how much I love it.  It's my favorite long sleeved shirt.  Before this race, I'd only worn the Lioness Skirt for 4 miles on a dry day.  Sure, I'll wear it for 13.1 miles in the rain!  Why not?  I'm a risk-taker like that.  My bet paid off.  I was completely comfortable for the entire rain-soaked race and there was no screaming in the shower for this girl!  I'm loving the Lioness and can't wait to wear it again.  It hasn't been warm enough at 5am in Columbus yet.
Want a new skirt?  Save 20% at Skirt Sports with the code SSRRMR20.


Let's Chat!
Have you ever run the Kentucky Derby Half or full Marathon?
What's your favorite color Lioness Skirt?  I have Surf and I also like Flirt.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ORRRC Half Marathon Recap


The Ohio River Road Runner's Club Half Marathon is my favorite.  Since the first time I ran it 4 years ago, it's held a special place in my heart...partly because I've earned 2 PRs (personal records) there (2012 and 2014), partly because it's a small race and there's no elbowing my way through the crowds (or being elbowed), partly because of the post-race food and showers and partly because it's cheap.

I love this race and I will run it every year as long as my schedule allows.

This year, the ORRRC Half was extra special: my husband decided to make it his very first half marathon.  It was also my first race as a Skirt Sports Ambassador.

My parents came to visit for the weekend to stay with the Little Ladies while Randy and I went to the race, which is a little over an hour from our house.

Randy and I left just before 6am to head to Xenia, OH.  We were about half way there when he turned to me and said, "I think I forgot my watch."

Rookie.

I checked his bag and, sure enough, there was no watch in there.  I, being the awesome wife that I am, offered him my watch so he could make sure to keep his pace conservative on the hills in the beginning of the race.  He's new-ish to distance running and doesn't trust himself to keep his desired pace by feel alone.  I knew he had been secretly hoping to beat my PR time of 1:57:48...and I knew that I had no intention of coming close to that finish time this year, I would be running for fun, so the watch would better serve him.  I remember last year when I told him my PR finish time...he was ecstatic for me.  He told everyone who would listen how beastly his wife was.  He was so proud.  It really was adorable.  I hoped that he would beat my time.  There's no competition between us.  That would be silly; his legs are a good 12 inches longer than mine.

We arrived at the Xenia YMCA and picked up our packets and visited with some friends until it was time to head to the starting line.

Moms RUN This Town from the Columbus and Dayton chapters!
Randy and I lined up together at the start and stayed together for the first mile or so, but he soon pulled ahead, running with our friend, Allen--who came to Xenia for moral support for a few of us, not to run the race.

Around mile 4, I passed by Allen who had sent Randy ahead and was going to head back to the starting line to get his bike.  He told me that Randy was holding a steady 9:20 pace and was looking good.

Of course, I had no idea what pace I was running since I didn't have a watch.  My guess was between 9:40s and 10ish minute miles.

I ran for a while with a fellow MRTT member, and then another MRTT member and then I found myself alone, just running, cheering for the runners who had already reached the turn-around and were on their way back.

After I reached the turn-around, I got to cheer for the runners who were still on their way to the turn-around.  I just ran.  With a smile on my face.  I love this race.

I'm not even sure when I saw Allen again...mile 10, maybe?  He was on his bike this time--taking pictures.  Allen is a great spectator and I'm thankful he was there to document some of this run for me.
Randy at mile 10ish.
Photo taken by Allen
For the next couple of miles, Allen rode back and forth between me and his girlfriend, Sunshine, chatting and taking pictures.


Bike selfie!
He was waiting for me when I turned the corner to run up the hill to the finish.  He took a few pictures then hopped back on his bike to ride with me for the next half mile or so.


Randy was waiting for me at the finish, he took a few pictures as I ran up the last of the hill then I crossed the finish line in 2:6:56.

I was happy to see him at the finish.

I'm thrilled to say that Randy beat my PR time by 15 seconds with a finish time of 1:57:33.

Way to go, Babe!

I've asked him if he'll run another half.
He hasn't decided yet.
About my outfit: I'm wearing the Runner's Dream long sleeved shirt and the Vixen Capri skirt.  The Runner's Dream is my favorite shirt and I'd very much like for it to come in lots of colors and patterns.  I'd buy them all.  The belly and back of this shirt is non-see-through mesh for maximum breathe-ability and conservative coverage.  The Vixen Capri is so freaking fun.  The capri have a light compression so there's no chafing in the lady bits or the thigh area and the skirt is flouncy and very girlie.  The first time I put them on, I couldn't help but to shake my hips to make the skirt bounce.

I've washed and worn both garments many times and the high quality material doesn't lose its shape or color.  I keep telling you, friends, I'd much rather have a few good-quality pieces than a drawer full of cheap clothing that I can't wear.  Happy shopping when you save 20% with this coupon code: SSRRMR20.

Have you ever run the ORRRC Marathon or Half?
Want to join me next year? (waggles eyebrows)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fearless and Free

A few years ago, my word of the year was Fearless.

That was the year I tried new things, I tried out trail running, I got muddy, nature touched me.  I took a flying leap out of my comfort zone and I'm better for it.

Fearless is still one of my favorite words.  I like to think I'm pretty fearless.  I'll try just about anything...unless it involves heights or spiders.

OK, so, I'm selectively fearless.

Let me tell you about a fearless woman whom I look up to: Katherine Switzer.

Photo from the Skirt Sports Website

For those of you who haven't read up on the history of running (horrors!), Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967.

Why is this important?  I'm glad you asked.

In 1967, The Boston Marathon was a men-only event; Katherine registered using her first and middle initials with her last name, showed up and started running.  When the race director, Jock Semple, found out that a woman was on the course, he found Katherine and tried to push her off the course (pictured above).  As you can see, another (male) runner helped to guard Katherine from the angry race director and she was able to finish the Boston Marathon.  Katherine considered stopping, afraid that the race director had been hurt and not wanting to "mess up" the prestigious Boston Marathon, but then she thought to herself, "If I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26-plus miles. If I quit, everybody would say it was a publicity stunt. If I quit, it would set women’s sports back, way back, instead of forward. If I quit, I’d never run Boston. If I quit, Jock Semple and all those like him would win." (source)

Photo from the Skirt Sports Website
It wasn't until 5 years later that women were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon.

Katherine paved the way for women, like myself and many of my friends, to be able to participate in marathon events today.

Thank you, Katherine.   Because of you, I have the freedom to be fearless.

In honor of her fearlessness, Skirt Sports developed a clothing line named 261 after Katherine's bib number in the 1967 Boston Marathon, dedicated to fearless women everywhere.

Skirt Sports is hosting a Virtual 261 Fearless Run on April 18.  If you're in the Boulder area, you can join an in-person run at 7am, or register to run virtually 2.61 or 26.1 miles. Race registration includes a Skirt Sport gift card and swag. (We love swag!)

How will you celebrate your freedom to run?  I think I'll run 2.61 miles over and over and see how far I get.

Disclaimer: Part of my job as a Skirt Sports Ambassador is to spread the news of awesome Skirt Sports happenings.  I am compensated for my time with Skirt Sports clothing at no or low cost.  All thoughts and opinions posted on this blog are my own.

Respecting the Legs

A conversation came up on a run recently about stretching and massaging tight muscles.

Since my friend and I are distance runners, we were speaking specifically about our legs.

Our legs have a big job: get us from point A to point B...both points are usually double digit miles apart.  Our legs should be pampered when they're not running.

But they're not.

We both admitted that we're really good about stretching and using the foam roller to massage our tired, tight muscles for a while, but then everything feels really good and we get out of the habit...

...then our legs remind us that they need some pampering.

Usually, that "reminder"comes in the form of pain or aches or stiffness.  So we start stretching and foam rolling again until we feel better and we get out of the habit.

It's a vicious cycle.

One I plan to break.

From now on, friends, I will stretch after every run and foam roll my weary legs at least three times a week.  I know I should foam roll every day, but....baby steps.


Respect your legs, friends, and your legs will take care of you.

Who's with me?

Do you stretch out your muscles regularly?
How about massage?


Monday, April 6, 2015

A Lot of Excitement

March ended on a busy note and it doesn't look like my family's schedule is going to calm down until May!  This mama better keep the calendar close and hold on for dear life.

Last week was Spring Break for the Little Ladies and I and we took the opportunity to travel to Massachusetts to visit with my grandparents and other extended family.

Cheers!
We had "tea" with my grandmother every morning and Randy and I took the Ladies to Boston for a day to walk the Freedom trail to see some of the historical sights since they are becoming interested in American history.

USS Constitution - we got to board the ship and tour the lower deck!
North Church
One if by land, two if by sea...
Bunker Hill Monument selfie

Right before we left for the east coast...in the midst of my packing and list-crossing, I got a really exciting email: I've been asked to become an ambassador for Skirt Sports! (squeal!)

 
I've written about Skirt Sports before.  I love, love, love their clothing and I tell everyone who will listen how much I love the company and the apparel.

A little bit about the company: Skirt Sports was dreamed up in late 2003 by Nicole DeBoom because she wanted to look pretty when she ran.  She then brought her dream to reality by creating flattering, cute, high-performance running skirts in late 2004.  These days, Skirt Sports offers a wide variety of clothing specifically designed to fit and flatter the female body.

Any female body.

Photo taken from the Skirt Sports website.

One of the things I truly love about Skirt Sports is that their sizing doesn't stop at a Large.  Or even an Extra Large.  The ladies at Skirt Sports believe that if a woman wants to be active, she should have something cute and comfortable to wear. Skirt Sports clothing is available from a size 0 to 22.  Most skirts have light compression shorties, capris or pants underneath to keep the chub from rubbin' and the skirt covers your bum so you don't feel that you're baring your secrets to the whole world.

Also, they're cute.  So stinking cute.

I just placed my first order as an ambassador and I'm spinning in excited circles for the mail man to drop off my package so I can wear all of my awesome new clothes!

You may be wondering what being an ambassador means.  Simply put, it's a job.  I provide a service, I talk about the company publicly, and wear their clothing (which I do anyway) and in return, I earn awesome Skirt Sports clothing at no or low cost.

Disclaimer: All of the Skirt Sports clothing that I will be reviewing from now on, I will have received for free or at a hefty discount.

I also get a special coupon code to share with all of YOU!  Enter the code SSRRMR20 at checkout to save 20% off your entire order (excludes clearance and Flash Sales).

My order includes the Lioness skirt, which has shorts underneath.  I currently have skirts with capris and a skirt with pants underneath, so it will be fun to try shorts. 

I'm wearing the Vixen Capri at the St. Jude Marathon.
Photo credit: Jonna Stumpo
I'm also getting a sports bra.  I've heard awesome things about the Skirt Sports bras, including that the Jill bra (for the bustier ladies) was rated number one by Runner's World Magazine.  I ordered the Kelly and I'm looking forward to letting y'all know how much I love it.

Your turn!

Have you ever worn Skirt Sports clothing?
How about a Skirt Sports bra?  I can't wait!!