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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Keepin' it real with my "chubbies"

I've never done a #WIAW (what I ate Wednesday) on Instagram because I'm pretty sure no one cares what I ate today. In fact, it might frighten some people, and I like to steer clear of things that scare people away.

However, I will tell you:

What I Read: On the plane trip to Boston, I read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. The fact that I read it cover to cover instead of even attempting to sleep after getting only about three hours of sleep is a pretty good indication that it was a page turner.

What I Listened To: For some reason, this song made me really start to cry while I was running Boston. So of course I kept playing it over and over. I didn't, however, keep crying. Just the first time.

What I Was Told: Ellie came in while I was putting my running clothes on the other morning. I didn't have a shirt on yet, just my shorts and sports bra. She came over and poked my fat roll and said, "I can see your chubbies." Nothing like having someone point out my biggest physical insecurity to start the day. You can count on a 6-year-old to keep it real. You can thank me later for refraining from posting a picture of my chubbies.

What I Wore: A few weeks before I went to Boston, my left lower leg started to ache, so I began wearing my new pair of SLS3 butterfly compression sleeves. They made my leg feel so much better leading up to the race and then were like putting on little leg hugs after the marathon.

I have been wearing them all week, and I love the versatility of the sleeves because I can wear them under pants and it doesn't matter what shoes I'm wearing. It's almost sad when I cover them up though because they are so cute!

Because my leg was still talking to me a little on my 4 mile run/walk yesterday, I will be wearing them during my runs for the next little while. But I might need to get them in additional colors so I can be #runmatchy!

You can find more about SLS3 HERE. And you can get 40% off butterfly compression sleeves or socks like mine (or whatever else you love from SLS3) by using the code Candice40 at checkout! You can also win a pair of compression sleeves or socks of your choice. Check back here for giveaway details on Friday!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

My abs hurt

My abs hurt. Not because I'm doing some fabulous new workout that is sculpting them into the six pack I've always wanted. Pretty much the opposite in fact.

Since Monday, I have only worked out once. It consisted of a three mile walk on the treadmill and one round of 8-minute abs on Thursday. Hardly enough to make it hurt when I gingerly touch my rib cage. The sore abs are the result of constant coughing.

I started to feel sick on Tuesday. I blame my post-marathon weakened immune system combined with being confined in an airplane with all sorts of germs for 5+ hours immediately after running said marathon.

My congestion and achy body soon turned into a full-blown cold. It decided to settle into my chest the last few days, and I have been coughing like its my job the past 24 hours.

On the bright side, if I'm going to be sick, I'm glad it's on a recovery week and that it happened after the marathon.

Since I'm recovering and sick, there was no run for me on Saturday. So we took this rare break in my Saturday long run schedule to let the I Have Run team captain have a chance to run with the support crew for a change. It was fun being on the other side of things!

I am looking forward to running again. When exactly that will happen depends on how my lungs feel in the next few days. My body is feeling recovered and ready whenever this cold decides to ease up a little.

With Boston behind me, the next few weeks will be all about easy, enjoyable runs. It will be nice to have a little time with no training plan to follow. I'll also be adding more strength and cross training to keep myself healthy and injury free.

This video, which is from the Brooks Press Conference I was fortunate to be able to attend before the Boston Marathon, was great in helping me realize how important it is to take some time off to recover after running a marathon:

(PS- If you watch closely, you can see me in the middle of the second row.)

During my down time, I'll be working on a new training plan for my September marathon. I want to focus a little more on speed and hills, both up and down. And between now and September, I have two half marathons that I will use as tune-ups for my marathon.

And because I feel it's my duty to inform you of things I have tried and whether or not you should try them as well, here is my public service announcement of the day:

These are sadly disappointing. I wanted them to be good. The problem is they took the original Cracker Jack popcorn and added the chocolate/peanut butter flavor on top of the caramel (or whatever the Cracker Jack flavor is because I'm not exactly sure). There's too much going on and not enough of it is the chocolate/peanut butter addition. So when you see them at your local convenience or grocery store, keep on walking. You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Boston Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Writing a race report is always hard. Trying to remember everything. Knowing how to start and what to include.

Writing a race report about the Boston Marathon is even more difficult. It's hard to do justice to so many things about it and so much is hard to put into words. So much of what makes it so incredible is the emotion. And emotion is hard to translate into words. But I'll do my best to share some of my experience with you.

This year was different from last year in so many ways:
  • I didn't go with Scott this year. I flew out by myself on Friday (a whole experience and story in itself and the reason I justifiably loath United Airlines now) and stayed with some amazing girls, including one of the few people I'd willingly share a bed with.
  • I was able to attend a cozy little Q&A with Desi Linden and Amy Cragg.

  • I ran a slow easy 3.5 miles with my friends two days before the race. I usually take the two days before the race off completely, but I wasn't able to run on Friday because I was traveling, so I decided to do a nice easy run my incredible friends on Saturday morning.

  • The pre-race dinner was better than I expected and was so fun! I knew from my experience last year (we didn't end up going because we didn't want to wait in the huge line and I was starving) that the earlier we arrived, the better off we would be. Janae and I got right in, ate some yummy food, and got back to our hotel early so we could sit around doing nothing for a few hours before bed.
  • I wasn't injured this year. However, I was reminded I'm a girl the day before the race (5 days early!) and had cramps and achy legs on race day. I had no goal time going into the race and knew I wouldn't decide what my game plan for the 26.2 miles would be until I started running. No matter what, I wanted it to be a positive experience. With the rain and wind and then my added girl/body issues, I knew by the half that I was going to make my focus to have as fun as possible, and I committed to that 110% the rest of the race. I high-fived hundreds of hands, chatted with people running near me, and even took two bathroom breaks because I wasn't worried about time; trying to hold it isn't as fun as it sounds. 
  • Not having my family at the finish line is hard. I couldn't think about it during the race or I started crying. I wouldn't have gotten to that starting line without them, so it was incredibly hard not sharing the experience with them. When I passed the spot near mile six where I saw Scott last year, I got a little emotional. Then at the end, I kept getting teary seeing all the other runners hugging their families as I walked through the finishing chute. 
  • Running a marathon in the rain is hard. I've done it before and I'm sure I'll do it again, but it definitely adds an extra challenge. Throw in a constant wind with some 20-30 mph gusts, and it made it even more difficult for this runner who despises being cold. I would much rather run in the heat! And did you know hand warmers don't  stay warm after they are soaking wet?
  • I shared the race with so many of my friends this year. It was fun thinking about all the other people I know who were running "with" me!

In some ways, it was similar to last year:
  • Mile 15 is one of my favorites. I remember thinking that last time.
  • My split at the half was EXACTLY, to the second, the same as it was at the half last year. What are the odds of that?!?
  • The last five miles are INCREDIBLE. The crowds, the noise, people screaming my name, running through the streets into and around Boston, turning right on Hereford, left on Boylston (which oddly made me cry this time). I felt so strong and happy those last few miles. That is something unique to Boston for me so far. Usually the last four miles of a marathon feel like death.
  • I fueled like a boss again this year. Because the race has a later start, I ate more before the race than I usually do. I had oatmeal at the hotel and a bagel while waiting in Athlete's Village. During the race, I had a GU at miles 5, 12 and 20. I drank water at about every third aid station (there was one almost every mile) and each time I took my GU. I had salt tablets with me but never ended up using them. Between the cool temperatures and the elevated electrolytes in the Salted Caramel GU, I felt like I was OK to skip them.
  • I think all the Newton hills are tough but not killer. The only reason Heartbreak Hill gets all the attention is because it is last so your legs are ready to be done with the hills. Boston overall  is a hilly course. There are only a few short stretches that don't have pretty regular rollers. If you want to master Boston, make sure you are running hills regularly. I need this reminder for myself the next time I run Boston, so I'm documenting it here.
  • The people in Boston are great! From the woman who basically insisted on doing a photo shoot during our easy little run on Saturday to the friendly well-wishers on the subway to the volunteers and spectators, the people of Boston are spectacularly friendly and courteous.
  • Because I was trying to keep some nagging pain from turning into injuries the last six weeks of my training for this race, I didn't do very many speed work, tempos or hilly runs. These workouts really make a difference in how prepared I feel and am on race day. I can't wait for when I run Boston feeling 100 percent trained and ready to race!

Other things that stand out from the experience:
  • Wearing matching shirts makes everything better.
  • My sister is pretty great. She took the time to find me on the finish line feed and sent me a screenshot of me finishing. She has no idea how much this effort meant to me. In spite of what it looks like, I was not walking. And I made a point this year to wait until after I was totally across the finish line to stop my watch.

  • Reminding myself over and over what an amazing thing it is to be able to run the Boston Marathon. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Boston Prep 2015

Since I'm a procrastinator, I still have a lot to do before I leave for Boston. Here are a few of the things I am doing to get ready:

Updating my playlist. There's a good chance I'll just put this song on repeat all 26.2 miles (the video is just an awesome little bonus for you):

Getting notes from my girls. Ellie wrote one of hers over a week ago and held off until Tuesday to give it to me. There have been others written since, and I'm guessing there will be more. I get instructions with each note whether or not it is supposed to go with me to Boston.

Randomly putting things I need to pack in a pile on my desk.

Going to lunch with the two girls who help keep my head on right. Of course Megan brought a "good luck" surprise. I'll be painting my nails this color ASAP. It has kind of become a tradition/good luck charm to paint my nails with the new polish she gives me before my races. And because the picture doesn't do it justice: ROLL = Tootsie rolls; EXTRA = Extra Gum; NAIL = Nail polish. Yes, Megan is pretty much the best.

Getting a pedicure. Goodbye calluses, hello Boston toes.

Rocking my compression sleeves. My stress/anxiety/taper madness has decided to settle in my lower left leg. Not just my calf or my shin; the whole lower leg. It is almost better because otherwise I would be having flashback anxiety about a stress fracture repeat of last year, but I really think it is just my body temporarily freaking out because I'm subconsciously stressing about the race and consciously trying to rein in the anxiety I always have before leaving my girls. It makes it both easier and harder that they will be with Scott while I'm gone. Easier because there are less things to worry about and it keeps some of my extra crazy anxieties at bay, but harder because he won't be with me to talk me down when it starts to spiral.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm tired.

I'm tired.

Spring break + extra kiddos = a very messed up sleep schedule. It's taking its toll on all of us. I made Ellie take a nap one of the mornings because she was so tired she had a meltdown because her pancakes wouldn't stay on her fork. It took less than a minute after she crawled into my bed at 10 am for her to fall asleep. Deep breathing kind of asleep.

With a marathon one week from today, my focus for the next week will most definitely be on getting lots of sleep. On Friday, I'll be on a plane to Boston. Once there, I will do my best to get enough sleep, especially since I always have a hard time sleeping the night before a race.

When I'm worried about or interested in something, I read everything I can to find out and learn more about that thing. A few races ago, I wanted to find out how my sleep was affecting my running. This is one great article that helped calm my fears about lack of sleep the night before a race but also reminded me that lack of sleep over time can be very detrimental to my training and my life in general. My family can also testify to the affect it has on my life when I'm not getting enough sleep.

So I'll try to make sure I step off the plane in Boston well-rested.

No matter how sleep deprived I get though, I can always find the humor in some things. Like these...


Bathing suit season is quickly approaching. Sigh.

More #truth

Seriously science.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter, true love and Chic-fil-a first timers

We did all things Easter over the weekend. There was coloring eggs and an Easter egg hunt.

And the Easter bunny came. 

Their book sets were the highlight for them. The Party Cake Peeps and Bubblegum Peeps came in a close second. For the record, the Bubblegum Peeps are the bomb.

Then we watched some General Conference. With the obligatory Conference Bingo cards. Two for each of my girls to increase their odds of getting a bingo. It is a highly effective listening tool, for the record. And totally worth the prizes they earned (thank you Target $1 Spot).

My favorite thing from the Easter bunny. I traded my Cadbury Creme Eggs (yuck) for Ellie's Cadbury Caramel Eggs (yum). And Scott professed his love for me when he gave me his.

My runs this week have been shorter because I am in full taper mode. We have two extra kiddos this week while their parents are out of town. It is spring break, so yesterday the kids came along on scooter and bikes while I ran. It was fun until it started to snow. In April. During spring break. Lame. 

So naturally we spent the rest of the day doing things indoors. First a museum and then Chic-fil-a. Our extra kids had never been to Chic-fil-a (so wrong). It was a hit. Especially the ice cream cones. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Shoe's The Thing

I guess technically I'm tapering. I ran 22 miles on Saturday and this week's long run was 14 miles. So that also means the taper crazies are on the horizon.

I thought I might be getting an early jump on things when my calves and shins both hurt after my Monday run. Then I decided to check the miles on my shoes. I can't remember the exact number, but I know it was in the 470s. Most of my Kinvaras have been retired around 450 miles. And most of the time their retirement coincides with some sore calves and shins after a few runs. So I think it's time.
The worst is when the shoes still look pretty good, which this pair does. And they are a little sentimental because the hubs bought them after I first qualified for Boston because they are blue and yellow (BAA colors) and I wore them to run Boston last year. They might be a pair that gets a permanent spot in my closet because I can't bear to part with them.

When I began wearing Kinvaras several years ago, I did some research on how much mileage you can typically expect out of your running shoes because I was switching to a more natural running shoe and knew it was different depending on how much cushioning the shoes have, how often you run, and other factors.

Here's what I found:
  • Your body will tell you when you need new shoes. Clearly I have found this to be true. You'll start having little aches and pains, like shin pain, tight arches, sore knees or even achy hips.
  • Most running shoes last between 300-600 miles. Because that is such a big range, it's important to consider the factors that affect it. Lighter runners tend to get more mileage out of their shoes than heavier runners. Also the weight of the shoe is a factor. Typically you will get less mileage out of a lighter racing shoe than a heavier trainer.
  • Keep an eye on the tread. When the outsole begins to look smooth, it's time for a replacement. However, keep in mind that the outsole will wear out faster if you run on pavement than if you run on trails or grass, so don't let this be your primary determining factor when replacing your shoes.
  • Keep an eye on the midsole of your shoe. As you run, the midsole becomes compressed over time and you eventually lose the cushioning in this important part of your shoes.

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