Thursday, December 31, 2015

See Ya 2015!

I started off 2015 with the 1st Annual New Year's Day bRUNch and went rock climbing in January.

February I bought YakTrax and had fun running in the snow with friends.

I turned 29 in March.

April was an exciting month because I started trotting with Georgie!

In May I made a decision to sign up for the Houston Marathon and made a killer Cinco de Mayo Spin Playlist.

I ran a 5k PR in June at Women Running Wild and became a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Certified Running Coach.

July & August was filled with quite a bit of running including a miserable run at the Falmouth Road Race.

Houston Marathon training began the end of September.

I ran 2 PRs in October—5k at Ellicottville’s Fall Fest 5k & half marathon at the Cape Cod Half.

November, I ran a lot.

In December I ran another 5k PR at the Jingle Jog, became a BibRave Pro, signed up for the Buffalo Half Marathon, ran 20 miles & made it to taper!  ...And then I got injured.

815 total miles in 2015.

2016, let’s go!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

BibRave Pro Product Review: XX2i USA1 Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I was recently sent a pair of XX2i USA1 Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Welcome to my FIRST product review as a BibRave Pro!  I was so excited when I found out Pros had the opportunity to review the XX2i USA1 sunglasses.  I had read several blog posts from 2015 Pros reviewing the France1 Dual Pack but honestly the full-framed USA1s are much more my style!

As much as I love sunglasses, I’ve never really bought a good pair of running sunglasses.  I guess I was always afraid I would break them.  The price on the XX2i USA1 sunglasses range from $59.99 to $99.99 but the are offering you guys 50% off with code XX2iRocks.  That’s HUGE!

And for everyone that worries like I do, all XX2i sunglasses come in a hard, protective case and offers a lifetime warranty.  They also come with a soft case that doubles as a cleaning cloth.

When I first put on the XX2i USA1 sunglasses, I was impressed with the fit.  They have an adjustable nosepiece that I didn’t even have to touch.  I often find sunglasses too tight on my big head but these were totally comfortable.  In fact, they are so lightweight and I could barely tell I was wearing anything on my head.

All BibRave Pros received the white gloss frame with blue flash polarized lenses.  I would never think to buy white sunglasses (I'm a black fan) but honestly, they are pretty cool looking and definitely stand out.  I was hoping to change the “temple tips” and “nose pads” to red for Christmas but I couldn’t get the black ones off.  :(  The kit did not come with any directions but I found out how to change the temple tips in the FAQ section of the website.  It didn’t help though.  I think I need to search for a how-to video online next.  I was afraid I would break the sunglasses—or get the black ones off and not be able to put the red ones back on.  Oh well.  I might have my dad give it a try!  I’ll let you know if we have any success!

I got to try my new XX2i USA1 sunglasses on a couple of runs but the biggest test came on Christmas Eve.  I ran 20 miles in them with no complaints!  The polarized lenses were great running along the Cape Cod beaches blocking the reflections off the water.  It was super humid and windy that day and they didn’t fog up AT ALL!  The “venting system” did its job!  I never run races in sunglasses (with the exception of the 2015 Falmouth Road Race – a big mistake!) because I always find them fogging or bouncing or just plain annoying but these were AWESOME.  I am really considering wearing them for Houston—or even better, buying a brand new black pair for the race.

Check out the XX2i website.  They offer lots of frame colors and options for lenses.  Worried that they won’t fit you?  XX2i gives you 365 days to return their product.  

And don’t forget to use code XX2iRocks
 for 50% off your order!

Happy running!

P.S. Georgie gives XX2i “2 paws up!”

Monday, December 28, 2015

Weekly Roundup 12.21-12.27

Week 13 of 16

Guess what!  It’s taper time!!  All the hard work is done.  Week 13 was my biggest week in terms of mileage and long run distance.  Now it’s time to trust my training, rest up & recover.

Christmas Eve recovery mode with @GeorgieGSD
Recover was the word of the week!  I finally received my 2XU Hyoptik thermal tights in the mail thanks to the BibRave Pro ambassador program and I literally wore them for four days straight after Thursday’s long run!  I love compression!  At Christmas dinner, Grandma Eileen called me a superhero in those pants and Johnny told me I looked like a member of KISS.  If you haven’t seen my new tights yet, they are reflective with the big X from 2XU all over them.  Either way—superhero or KISS, I love it!

The week of running started out with my third set of mile repeats.  This time it was back to the treadmill but only had to run 3 of them.  I ran faster than my 4x1 mile repeats the week before so I was pretty happy about that.  Tuesday was an easy 4 miles on the treadmill but after an awesome, super high-energy spin class!  We rode to all Christmas tunes & everyone brought their antlers!

I took Wednesday off to prepare for Thursday morning’s 2nd attempt at 20 miles. 
[ICYMI – You can read about attempt #1 here:]

Thursday morning was Christmas Eve and the schedule at Mashpee Fitness worked out so I had the day off.  In theory, Thursday was the perfect day to run my long run.  I could celebrate Christmas Eve that night, enjoy a Christmas morning mimosa and eat whatever I wanted for Christmas dinner.  The weather leading up to the holiday weekend was iffy but when I woke up Christmas Eve morning, I knew I had to get it over with.  The temperature was warm.  55 degrees with 100% humidity at the start, 62 degrees with 95% humidity at the finish.  The wind was wicked!  My weather app said 25 mph winds but the gusts by the water brought us to a standstill.  (My dad biked with me!)  The wind actually caused us to re-route a little bit to avoid the water in the later stages of my run.

Overall I had a good run, I guess.  The wind caused me to run with a lot more effort than I wanted so that could work to my advantage in Houston on a calm day.  I stopped for water every mile and a half to two miles because of the humidity.  Around mile 17 I began to struggle.  My hips were sore and my glutes were starting to cramp.  Mile 19 I wanted to stop.  I had my first experience with “booty lock” but at 19.75 I picked up the pace and finished strong.  My average pace was 8:10 but my last 3 miles were 8:37, 8:47, 8:37.  I can’t be too disappointed because I RAN 20 MILES!  

I know after 3 weeks of taper and the excitement of racing with all the support around me, I will be just fine.  I just worry.

Speaking of worry.  I am dealing with an injury and totally in denial.  I thought that I was just sore from my 20 miles but once the DOMS wore off, I was left with a pain in the butt.  Literally.  I had a great (but painful) run on Saturday morning with Lizzie who unofficially diagnosed me with a hamstring origin issue.  I felt this same pain after my first 20-mile attempt and it came and went in the 2 weeks since.  If it is in fact my hamstring, rest is what I need.  I skipped my last run of the week—well I ran 2 miles with G instead of 4 miles alone, shh don’t tell Lizzie (she’s a PT)—2 miles short of my 40-mile week goal.  I’m currently sitting on an ice pack as I type this…

Focus for the next 3 weeks:

·      Taper! – with only 3 weeks to go, I am rewarding myself with an extra rest day (maybe more due to this pain in my butt) and trying to get to bed a little bit earlier every night.
·      Hydration – My goal is to drink a minimum 64 oz. per day.
·      Vitamins – I haven’t been good about vitamins.  In the spring my blood tests came back with really low iron and low vitamin D so it’s important I take my vitamins twice a day!
·      Staying healthy – I will be sanitizing and washing my hands like crazy!
·      Foam roll err day
·      Hips, glutes, and hamstring stretching & strengthening exercises

Other highlights:

·      I signed up for the Buffalo Marathon!  Come run with me!  Register before the price increase on 1/2 & use code BRSkiba05 for $5 off!

Upcoming events:

·      3 weeks until the Houston Marathon!

Monday 12.21.15
5 miles treadmill with 3x1 mile (37:48) <--7:03, 6:58, 6:44
20,630 steps

Tuesday 12.22.15
4 miles treadmill (32:00)
Taught spin class. The playlist: A Holly Jolly Christmas Spin Playlist
17,166 steps

Wednesday 12.23.15
9,758 steps

Thursday 12.24.15
Merry Christmas Eve!
20 miles (2:43:40)
46,531 steps

Friday 12.25.15
Merry Christmas!
8,328 steps

Saturday 12.26.15
6 miles with Lizzie (52:11)
1 mile with G (9:10)
20 bridges
10 clamshell
10 reverse clamshell
10 S/L hip abduction
19,056 steps

Sunday 12.27.15
1.98 miles with G (17:39)
20 bridges
10 clamshell
10 reverse clamshell
10 S/L hip abduction
10 Burdenko rotate + kick
8,548 steps

G mileage disclaimer: None of the mileage reported with Georgie is straight, consistent running. We may run 1 mile in 9 or 10 minutes but in reality we probably covered a 2-3 mile distance with a mix of walking and running.  I stop my watch every time we start walking.


This week’s mileage: 38 miles
This week’s G mileage: 3 miles
December Totals: 137 miles
2015 Totals: 812 miles

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I signed up for the Buffalo Half Marathon!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Buffalo Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

What: Buffalo Half Marathon

Where: Buffalo, NY

When: May 29, 2016

What are the 3 things I love most?  Running, Buffalo and my family.  I’m so excited I get all three in May!

After PRing at the Cape Cod Half during Week 4 of Houston Marathon training, I decided I wanted to find a half marathon in the spring to train for and go for another PR attempt.  A text message from my cousin Melissa & an opportunity within the BibRave Pro ambassador program lead me right to the Buffalo Marathon.

Buffalo is a great city for running.  According to their website, the course is “13.1 miles of fun!”  It’s a great course.  Relatively flat.  “A scenic view of downtown’s waterfront and its major landmarks.”

The timing for this race is perfect for me.  It’s the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  I have the long weekend off work.  A 12-week half marathon training plan would start March 7th, which means I could pretty much take all of February off from running if we have another winter like last year.  And did I mention how BEAUTIFUL Buffalo is in late May?

I’m extra psyched because my cousin Melissa will be running her first half marathon!  She is currently on her THIRD 6-week, 20 pound weight loss challenge at the Transformation Center by Body & Soul Fitness and she’s killing it.  I’m so proud of her.  Her sister Michele is the cousin that's running her first half in Houston with me.  Like I always say, running is contagious!  I love it!

Cousin love at Niagara Falls with Melissa & Michele

I can’t wait to blog about the training, share my favorite things to do in Buffalo, and tell you all about my full race weekend experience.  I’m really hoping to see some family out there cheering for us!  (…and maybe even convince Michele to sign up for half marathon #2!!)

If you want to join me at the Buffalo Marathon or Buffalo Half Marathon, register here before the price increase on January 2nd and use discount code “BRSKIBA05” for $5 off your entry!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Weekly Roundup 12.14-12.20

Week 12 of 16

First of all, please take a minute and click on the link below then like the photo from the Houston Marathon Facebook page to vote for me!  I am in a contest to win a #HouMarathon prize pack!

Back to Week 12...
This week I took a step back before the hardest week in my training (which happens to be Christmas week!!) and after a tough long run last week.  I can’t believe I have one more week of hard work then my 3-week taper begins!  Some people hate it—but I totally love taper time!

I had to rearrange my running schedule a little bit because I was invited over a client's house for wine and Christmas on Wednesday afternoon.  So much fun!  But this meant Monday easy run and Tuesday night mile repeat night!  This was tough.  I wasn’t quite recovered by Monday from my 20-miler attempt so I had to run my intervals on Tuesday night.  Tuesdays are my long days at work and the motivation to run on Tuesday nights is very low but I got it done.  I got home Wednesday night and took G out for a night mile run/walk to continue with the Christmas theme and look at all the neighbors pretty Christmas lights.

By the way, have I ever mentioned that my 7:30am group training group is the BEST?

Georgie and I got out again on Thursday morning but it was misty and raw out so I skipped my run which meant treadmill again on Thursday night.  It really was a rough week in terms of motivation.  I am getting SO CLOSE but I am also starting to feel the effects of training.  I was SO TIRED all week.  Literally thought I could close my eyes in the back office at work and sleep the whole day away.  Thanks goodness for clients.

I rounded out the week with a Friday morning 5-miler and 14 miles on Saturday.  Even thought it was probably the coldest run of the fall/winter so far, I felt much better on my long run this week.  I had the company of Wendy on Saturday morning as she joined me for 7 miles.  I parked at work and ran the 2 miles to her house, 7 with her and finished up with 5 on my own.  It’s been awhile since I got to run with Wendy so it was nice—she’s super speedy and athletic and a 50 YEAR OLD GRANDMA.  My group training group calls her Wonder Women—so inspiring!

Other highlights:

·      I was selected to be a nuunbassador for 2016!  What does this mean?  Discounts & goodies in exchange for sharing the #nuunlove!  Did you know that I put nuun in my water bottle during spin class?  My favorite flavor?  Watermelon.
·      I received my first product in the mail as a BibRave Pro!  Georgie was first to try on my new xx2i USA 1 sunglasses but I was able to wear them on Saturday for my long run!  They were great.  Didn’t fog up, didn’t bounce around but also not too tight on my head.  I barely noticed I was wearing them.  I love that you can change the adjustable nosepiece & “temple tips” and I’m looking forward to changing them to red next week for Christmas week!  Full review coming soon…
·      ICYMI: Run Jen Run’s Guide to Choosing a Good Pair of Sunglasses

Upcoming events:

·      4 weeks until the Houston Marathon!

Monday 12.14.15
4 miles treadmill (32:00)
17,155 steps

Tuesday 12.15.15
6.5 miles treadmill with 4x1 mile (49:35) <-- 7:13, 7:08, 7:03, 6:58
Taught spin class
20,665 steps

Wednesday 12.16.15
1.15 miles with G (10:28)
11,063 steps

Thursday 12.17.15
0.83 miles with G (6:58)
2.5 miles treadmill (20:00)
Power Water
16,331 steps

Friday 12.18.15
5 miles (38:58)
19,503 steps

Saturday 12.19.15
14 miles – 1/2 with Wendy! (1:51:30)
34,560 steps

Sunday 12.20.15
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
9,075 steps

G mileage disclaimer: None of the mileage reported with Georgie is straight, consistent running. We may run 1 mile in 9 or 10 minutes but in reality we probably covered a 2-3 mile distance with a mix of walking and running.  I stop my watch every time we start walking.


This week’s mileage: 34 miles
This week’s G mileage: 2 miles
December Totals: 99 miles
2015 Totals: 774 miles

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Run Jen Run’s Guide to Choosing a Good Pair of Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I was recently sent a pair of XX2i USA1 Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Your first thought clicking on this blog post is why would Jen be writing about sunglasses as winter approaches?  I don’t need sunglasses on cold, grey days. 

Right?  Wrong!

It is just as important to wear a good pair of sunglasses in the winter.

Not only are the reflections off of snow, ice and water super strong in the winter, sunglasses also serve to protect your eyes against wind, dust and dirt.  And did you know that squinting actually causes you to expend more energy?  Who wants to waste energy by squinting?  UV rays from the sun can cause cancers, cataracts (effecting the eyes ability to focus), and macular degeneration (damage to the retina).  It is unknown how much UV rays it takes to cause damage to your vision but the more exposed you are to it over time, the greater your risk of developing these problems later in life.

I used to buy the cheapest sunglasses I could find for running—who cares about UV rays, polarized vs. non-polarized, or even what they really look like.  As long as they fit my face and didn’t bounce around while I was running, I bought the cheap ones thinking I would break them soon anyways. 

But to be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever broken a pair of sunglasses?!  Actually I lied.  I did break one pair—a  $5 pair from Walmart fell out of my locker at work and cracked.  Oops.

So what should you look for when choosing a good pair of sunglasses?

If a pair of sunglasses is uncomfortable, they will sit in the case on my shelf and I won’t wear them.  That pretty much sums up my whole style philosophy—shoes, socks, clothes, hats, etc.  Comfort over anything else.  But for real, if a pair of sunglasses are too tight and giving me a headache or too loose and bouncing around or even just sits funny behind my ears or on my nose, I won’t wear them!

So fit kind of goes along with comfort.  How do they fit?  Are they adjustable?  Do they feel heavy on your face?  Are they too small and pressing against your face?  Are they big enough to act as a shield to light and debris?  For outdoor activities, I like a pair that wraps around my face and big enough to trace my eyebrow lines.

There is nothing worse then a foggy pair of sunglasses!  After the Falmouth Road Race this year, I swore I would never wear sunglasses in a race again.  BUT I was just reading about the XX2i USA1 Sunglasses and did you know they have a venting system (aka holes around the lenses) to keep the lenses from fogging?  So cool!  I can’t wait to see how that works.

UV Protection
Do your sunglasses protect against ultraviolet light rays?  Look for sunglasses that say they block 100% against UVA and UVB.

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized
Polarized lenses are great for reducing glare.  They also make it difficult to look at your iPhone screen!  It’s personal preference.  Just make sure they block against UV!

Of course with all the #selfie Instagram pics, Twitter posts & Snapchats, style is important!  Sunglasses come in a number of colors and styles from full frame to the sportier half-rim type, so make sure you choose a pair that makes you look good!

Sunglasses also come in a variety of price ranges.  An expensive pair of sunglasses doesn’t always mean they are better.  Do your research.  Try on a few pairs.  Your fellow runners & specialty running stored can be great resources for brand recommendations.

What do YOU look for when picking out new sunglasses?

I am currently testing out a pair of XX2i USA1 Sunglasses.  Stayed tuned for a full review coming soon.  But in the meantime, check out the XX2i Optics website and use the discount code XX2iRocks for 50% off your order!  That’s HUGE!  Don't miss out!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Weekly Roundup 12.7-12.13

Week 11 of 16

Well, I will start out by saying I fell short this week.  My goal was 38 miles and I only ran 36.  I go back and forth with feeling disappointed for not sticking with my plan and then feeling happy that I DID do everything in the first 10 weeks.  I started out marathon training listing all the challenges I will face along the way and so far I have been dominating. 

The week started with a quick 5 mile run which started about a minute after my final client of the day and ended about a minute before it was pitch black out.  I refused to run on the treadmill on such a beautiful Monday in December!  Because on Tuesday, I did just that—an easy 4 on the treadmill.
Night running w/ @GeorgieGSD

I randomly took Wednesday off from work which was PERFECT.  Not only did I get to catch up on sleep, I was able to take my time with my “Workout Wednesday” of 3x1 mile repeats.  I circled the block a bunch of times and was pretty happy with my effort.

I had a rest day scheduled for Thursday but was able to get the pup out the door in the morning for a short run.  I worked Friday and snuck in a short solo run and a short run with G at night to look at all the pretty neighborhood Christmas lights.

Then there was Saturday…

I have been thinking about this run a lot.  Long story short I only ran 17.91 miles on a day I had my first 20 planned.  I felt defeated and physically could not go any further.  And if you know me, I would never stop at 17.91—I would at least round it off to a solid 18!

I felt great for the first 12 miles.  My mom rode one of my favorite 6-mile courses to start before swinging back to my parent’s house to swap riders and pick up my dad.  It was perfect, I was able to drop some layers and take a quick bathroom break!  It was quite warm that day and I started out overdressed.  My dad and I headed towards West Falmouth but there was a road closure forcing us towards Falmouth Heights and my usual long run roads.

Mile 10.5 I started to feel a cramp in my stomach.  At mile 12, I fell apart.  I thought I was going to throw up.  With every sip of water and every GU Chew my stomach was rumbling more and more.  I did throw up in my mouth a few times—Sorry, TMI—and I ended up stopping around 14 and again at 16 to take a breather.  My 3rd stop was at 17.91 miles.  Every time I stopped, my glutes started cramping.  My dad asked me what I wanted to do and I honestly didn’t know what to do.  I went back and forth with him and decided that I needed to just stop.  I tried walking the final 2 miles home but I didn’t make it very far before I sat down on the curb and called my mom for a ride.

It was a good choice.  The last mile I ran I was experiencing clammy/feverish feelings in my head and my dad made a good point that maybe my body was actually fighting something.  It wasn’t worth it.  I have another 20 miles scheduled in 2 weeks so I will give it another try.  That my friends is why I always suggest a marathon training plan with two 20-milers.  It’s a mental, confidence thing really.

So what happened?  It could have been a number of things.  Like I said, maybe my body was actually fighting something.  I also ate a bigger breakfast then usual.  I was rushing around in the morning taking Georgie to doggy day care that I didn’t eat until the last minute and it was way too close to run time.  (Side note: it was wonderful coming home after my run and resting on the couch for a few hours while knowing G was in good hands!)  Doubtful, but it could have been the new flavor of GU Chews that I tried.  Who knows.  But I do know what I WON’T be eating before my next long run.  And back to Strawberry flavored GU products until Houston training is through!  :) 

Anyways, week 12 here I come!

Other highlights:

·      Corral assignments were emailed out for the Houston Marathon!  I'm an A while my dad and cousin Michele will be starting in Corral B.

Upcoming events:

·      5 weeks until the Houston Marathon!

Monday 12.7.15
5 miles (36:58)
20,474 steps

Tuesday 12.8.15
4 miles treadmill (31:30)
Taught spin class
10 push ups
17,178 steps

Wednesday 12.9.15
5 miles with 3x1 miles (36:29) <--6:54, 6:45, 6:32
Long walk with mama and G (~60 minutes)
22,499 steps

Thursday 12.10.15
1.25 miles with G (11:31)
Taught spin class
Power Water
10 push ups
20x lunges
30 squats
16,526 steps

Friday 12.11.15
2.25 miles (18:09)
0.5 miles with G (4:48)
14,502 steps

Saturday 12.12.15
17.91 miles (2:30:36)
40,173 steps

Sunday 12.13.15
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
11,385 steps

G mileage disclaimer: None of the mileage reported with Georgie is straight, consistent running. We may run 1 mile in 9 or 10 minutes but in reality we probably covered a 2-3 mile distance with a mix of walking and running.  I stop my watch every time we start walking.

Marathon training got me like...

This week’s mileage: 36 miles
This week’s G mileage: 1.75 miles
December Totals: 65 miles
2015 Totals: 740 miles