Road Tested: Orange Mud Transition Towel 2.0

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Transition Towel 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!

Good morning and happy Wednesday!

Is anyone still getting used to the time change with Daylight Savings Time ending? I struggled all last week and I’m still feeling “off”.

Not to be outdone by last week, this week has been an interesting one too. My husband is out of the country, traveling for work. I can hold down the fort when it comes to our household, make no mistake about that. But when you’re used to the divide and conquer method, it’s a bit challenging to conquer solo. Our kids are older so it’s less about parenting little ones (like it was when they were little and he’d travel) and more about just making everything happen for both of them (Scouts, piano, karate, after school activities, etc).

Additionally, he and I usually switch off going to the gym in the early morning hours so I’ve had to adjust my schedule because someone needs to be here with the kids to see them off to school. We make it work because having that time carved out for MY activities is just as important as getting them to theirs.

If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

I’m still able to get to the gym and get my workout done, which is important to me. AND, I have a race this weekend.

After my last race in Atlantic City.

While the weather has cooled significantly over the past few weeks, I am still absolutely gross when I finish with a workout or a run. I’ve said it time and time again, I am a heavy sweater. And not a pretty knit kind.

I sweat hard, no matter the workout. There’s nothing I can do to change it though so I just need to deal with it. Last year when I got my new car, I knew I didn’t want my seats to get gross after my workouts so I threw towels in my car that I occasionally remembered to use.

Then BibRave brought the Orange Mud Transition Towel to my attention! The transition towel is pretty cool because not only does it save the material on your car seats but you can also use it to wrap around yourself and change clothes.

via Orange Mud

I’m bringing it along with me for the Rothman 8k this weekend. After nearly 5 miles I figure that if I’m cold and gross (which is nearly as bad as hot and gross, but not quite), I can do a quick change into comfy sweats.

Since receiving it last month, I’ve used it for every single gym session and run and the towel stands up to my sweat. I’ve also washed/hung dry it at least 10 times and it’s still plush and snuggly.

By the way, while the company is called Orange Mud, this towel comes in a slew of different colors. There a cotton version and also the new microfiber option.

Want to get a Transition Towel? It retails on the Orange Mud site for $39.95. If you order now, you can use code “OMTRX” for 15% off! Also, join us for the Twitter BibChat next Tuesday evening at 9pm est, using the hashtag #BibChat! I’ll be there!

Check out my fellow BibRavePros thoughts:

Lindsey
Mary Jo
Lisa
Matt
Vanessa
Jonathan

Race Recap: Rampage 5K

When I posted about some upcoming races a few weeks ago I mentioned I might sign up for a 5K or something in the midst of training. Honestly, I love race bling so when my RBF and another Skirt Sister/coworker starting talking about signing up we just went for it. The Rampage 5K was part of a summer series put on by a group that does a lot of races in the South Florida area. Their events are always fun (if not always well-organized) with fun swag and good courses.

I picked up my packet on Friday after school. This group is infamous for running out of shirts and I wanted to make sure I got a good one. I live about forty-five minutes from the race site, so I went to bed fairly early Friday night. Being back to work full-time is kicking my butt so it wasn’t that hard. If you follow me on Instagram you saw my fun Saturday morning video asking “When will I never not run on a weekend?” I’m feeling pretty good with my marathon training but, wow, do I miss sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday!

My friends were already at the race site when I got there at about 6:40. We took a quick trip to the bathroom and then headed to the start line for a picture. I was excited to run a race, but also that it was only for three miles. Most of my weekend runs are in the double digits now so a 5K sounded really great.

Skirt Sisters at the start line!

I’m not normally the type of person to set goals for races. Sometimes I’ll plan a pace I want to stick to but most of the time I just want to finish and not throw up. This was one of those races.

The morning was already muggy, as it as has been for most of the summer. I’m used to starting to my runs before the sun comes up, only this race had a later start. It was definitely steamy and my glasses kept fogging up if I breathed or turned the wrong way.

Once we got going it was a fairly simple run. The course was easy and smooth, with a lot of nice scenery. I’d done two other races at this park before that were ten-milers so I was pretty familiar with it the park. There were a couple of times when we had to veer off the sidewalk due to puddles but then I just ended up stepping in mud. By the time Michelle and I hit our first mile I knew we were making pretty good time. Our first mile came out at about 10:40 and I almost laughed! That’s a pretty fast time for us and I was totally ready to slow down and save some energy. It definitely didn’t happen though! We kept pushing through, enjoying the scenery and the morning. I slowed down to take a few pictures of the nature we were running through. I love living in Florida but I’ve come to realize that you either run through a swamp or on concrete. There also might be critters living…anywhere.

Don’t you want to run by this?

There was one iffy part where we had to run on a boardwalk that I definitely took my time on. I’m clumsy and the boardwalk was definitely slippery. I’ve also been working my butt off for Chicago and wasn’t looking to injure myself five weeks before. After that it was smooth sailing! My legs were feeling great despite the fast-than-usual pace. The only problem was the humidity. Usually I don’t drip sweat into my eyes for at least seven miles!

As Michelle and I came turned into the shoot for the finish line Ali was waiting to take a picture of us, since she’d already finished.

All smiles here!

After we finished we all checked the results, just for fun on my part. I did well enough in the results, but I’m not in it to win it. I race mostly against myself. Once I stopped my Nike Run tracker, however, it told me that I smashed my previous 5K record! I’ve been running for over five years now and it always feels like I’ve gotten slower, so it was exciting to get a 5K PR of under thirty-five minutes.

Skirts and medals! Medals and Skirts!

Once we’d take our final picture, the three of us headed to Skillets for breakfast. I’d only been there once before but I was dreaming about a waffle and bacon and coffee the whole morning.

So worth it.

For a last minute race, it was a nice little surprise. I’m glad we decided to just go for.

And, honestly, it was a nice warm up for Sunday’s fourteen miles.

Chicago, here I come.

The Road to Chicago

Happy Independence Day/Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a nice holiday/week/summer/day/whatever you’re doing. This past weekend my running buddy and I did our longest run yet for our Chicago Marathon training. It was a tough one, but we pushed through with a good, steady pace. (Even if we did get a little lost and almost had an encounter with an alligator.) Marathon training during the summer definitely has some challenges, but it’s going pretty well. You can listen to me ramble about it below.

High of 90? We got this.

 

Sorry for the TMI. Don’t you just love running?

Post run refreshments are a necessity.

It’s Summer and I’m Lazy

I’ve been sitting here for about an hour thinking of what to write about and also what to name this particular post. I remembered multiple times yesterday that I had a post scheduled for today but I kept getting distracted. I even texted Mer this morning to tell her I was working on it. Only I’d just gotten up and had barely made my coffee. It was 10AM.

I just love summer break, y’all.

I’m the type of person who goes all school year round. This year was definitely a busy one for me with coaching cross country for my first time ever, clubs, tutoring, and all other things that just kind of fall under teaching. I’ve only been out of school for a few weeks, but I already know of some changes that are going to happen next year and some really exciting things that I get to do. Yes. It’s June and I’m already planning for August. It’s how a teacher brain works.

So. I’ve been lazy lately. It’s not a difficult as I thought it would be.

I’ve still been keeping up with my training schedule. I mean, mostly. I’ve had some hip pain so I’ve scaled back a little on my running. This is a huge deal for me, as knowing when to take a step back from something is not my strong point. I’ve also been seeing a chiropractor for the first time ever to work on some adjustments that are really needed. It’s been nice just taking it easy and relaxing. Of course, I’ve also been binge watching the early 2000s show One Tree Hill, just for fun. Yesterday I didn’t even get dressed until 5PM and that was only for a quick visit to the Target a mile away from my house.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well. First of all, I can’t think of anything else to tell you! That’s really about it, sadly.

I can be the queen of go-go-go and doing things until there’s nothing left to do. I know there are a lot of people like that. Maybe I’m telling you to slow down. That if you want to watch TV all day in your pajamas, you can. (Unless you have a job. Go to work.)

Take care of yourself. Take a break if you need to. Last week I wrote about celebrating yourself, which is hard for some of us. I know taking a break and relaxing is hard sometimes, also. We always feel like we have to be doing something. Whether it’s for ourselves or for other people.

The thing is that we don’t.

Lately I’ve been doing nothing for myself. I’m sure, eventually, I’ll get bored of doing it. Eventually I’ll start painting my bathroom or wallpapering the guest room or even (ugh) planning for next school year.

Until then I have six and a half seasons of One Tree Hill to watch.

Do you have any summer plans?

 

Celebrate Yourself

This past Wednesday was my 35th birthday.

Yep. THIRTY-FIVE. I feel weird saying that I’m thirty-five because for most of my life I thought that people in their 30s were…old.

I’m old.

That’s not what this post is about, however. I started running when I turned thirty. I’d previously been on a weight loss journey that didn’t really require any exercise and running a 5K was just a thing I wanted to do. I’d run in high school and it was terrible, so I wanted to kind of prove I could do it. And I did.

Here I am, five years later, training for my second marathon. On Wednesday I got up early to run, spent some time at the chiropractor (because that’s what old people do), had brunch with my bestie, went to the bookstore with another friend, shopped, then had dinner with my sister. Usually my birthday makes me maudlin for no apparent reason except the ones I create in my own brain. I fought that hard on Wednesday. Because it was my birthday, dangit.

For the past few years I’ve started my birthday with a 5K. I just add on however many extra years I am onto it. Wednesday I got up and did a nice 3.5 miles for thirty-five years and it felt great. It was a strong start to my day and really helped keep my emotions high for the most part. Running is obviously a type of therapy for me, and for so many other people.

With social media it’s so easy to get caught up in the thinking that you’re just not good enough. For me, I know that I’m never going to be one of the fast runners. I’m not a person who wants to get out there and go every single day, either. I need rests. I need to sit on the couch with a book or watch television. When I have a good run or if I’m just feeling cute (Skirt Sports for the win), I like posting and sharing. Kind of like this blog post!

Actually, my run on Wednesday was a pretty normal one, though it did feel a lot better than some of my other training runs. My point is that sometimes it’s so hard for us to talk good about ourselves. We know that we sometimes put up a front on social media, and that’s fine. No one has a perfect life. But if we wait for just those perfect/awesome/amazing days we’ll never get to celebrate.

Maybe it’s not just about posted a picture with a funny caption. Make it really is about treating yourself. Not in the sense that you should go out and buy a bunch of junk, but just that you treat yourself well.

I am the queen of self-deprecation, which is ironic because my number one love language is words of affirmation. I mean, really. But by treating yourself well, I just mean to celebrate you. The everyday you. Was it hard to get out of bed today? Did you do it? Awesome! Treat yourself with a cup of coffee. Finish a book? Great! Buy a new one. Did you run? Walk? Workout? You are amazing.

I wish it were that easy, but I know it’s not. We should treat ourselves like everyday is our birthday, right?

We can at least celebrate our little accomplishments. The little things we’re proud of.

A good run.

A workout.

You put on pants one day. (I’m on vacation, okay?)

Leave me some ways you celebrate yourself. I’m going to go celebrate with leftover cake.

How Not to Burnout

I typed that title, read it out loud, and my sister laughed at me, y’all.

Maybe it’s because I am very, very bad at taking it easy. As a teacher, the end of the year is VERY STRESSFUL, OKAY?

I’M FINE.

Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to procrastinate and I’m going to do things right…but here we are again. Some things start piling up and it feels like you can never catch up. Somehow it kind of always works out.

I feel that the same can be said about training, too.

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a little over two months now and things are really coming along nicely. My friend and I are using a Hal Higdon training plan and we’re both enjoying it. As the year comes to a close it’s hard to run together, but I’ve stated before that we have plans to train together this summer. I’m definitely excited and nervous about training during a lovely Florida summer, but at least it will be character building!

One thing I noticed when I first started training was that I was ready to go ALL IN BABY. I’d also started a weight loss journey and I just knew I was going to get svelte and everything was going to be amazing.

That was clearly not what happened. I was tired. I was working out or running every single day, and I wasn’t losing how I wanted to. I got kind of obsessed with closing the green circle on my Apple Watch. It was so satisfying to close those rings! I was so proud!

I was also burning myself out. So. I stopped cross training. I realized that the running and stretching was more important than anything else. As a runner, I know that cross training is important at the right time. I love working out. I love finding new things that my muscles can do. But I hated forcing myself to do things for no reason. (Obviously being healthy is a good reason, but it wasn’t part of my training plan.)

I’ve felt a lot better since I stopped and reevaluated my workout plan. I’ve made it to my goal weight and, with my marathon training, I’m getting read to actually add cross training back into my plan. It’s perfect timing, with summer just around the corner.

Training has been an interesting experience for me. I’ve had plenty of good runs, but I feel like the bad run outnumber them. I’m out there, though. I’m moving and getting the miles in. I’m feeling strong

Except today.

Today I put my pajamas on at 5PM.

You’ve got to take care of yourself.

Setbacks Suck

Lately it’s like a lot of this is going around. Life isn’t always perfect. Training doesn’t always go as planned. Work and family can suck sometimes. Health issues come up, injuries…the list goes on and and on, right?

While I’ve been lucky so far within my training for the Chicago marathon, I know there are always others who might be struggling. So, on the bright side, you’re not alone!

I know it’s hard and you don’t feel like you’ll bounce back, but I feel like there’s always a bright side to whatever is happening. Maybe that’s silly and too optimistic of me, but I like to think that way. For example: the end of the school year is very stressful and my students have completely checked out on me SO I focus on the fact that the school year is (THANKFULLY) almost over. Sorry, parents.

A while ago I posted about my weight loss/healthy eating plan and how I prepacked all my snacks for Disney and took all my workout clothes. Everything was great, in theory. I live in South Florida so I packed shorts, not counting on it being in the 40s every day. I did not workout. At all. Also, I got some sort of stomach bug and didn’t eat anything. Setbacks, man.

As far as my training goes, things are right on track. Any setback I’m experiencing is purely on me. My running buddy has been out of a commission for a few weeks and keeping myself accountable is the hardest part right now. There are days when I come home from work and I just want to nap so hard. Last week I even took a self-prescribed break from training. I only ran two out of the four days I was supposed to. One of those days was to be five miles and I totally skipped that one because I was babysitting over the weekend. Kids are exhausting and five miles was definitely not going to happen. (The other time was because I went to see Infinity War, for the second time, on a school night. No regrets.)

Things happen. Life happens. Sometimes we can control it, most of the time we can’t. What we can control is how we react to our setbacks and how we overcome them. I am constantly learning that as an athlete, teacher, and human. Not every run is the best, not every lesson is going to be my greatest. There are going to be times when we just want to give up when we hit a bump in the road. Chances are, though…if you want it, then it’s worth it.

Hey. You got this.

The Real (?) Thing

As I write this post, I’m sidelined: sofa city, sweethearts. Why? Last weekend’s 5K ended with
this happening at the literal FINISH LINE:

Yeah, ouch. (Jsyk: the doc said it was a mild sprain, and that two-ish weeks off should be
good. I have a very sexy ankle brace to wear, too. Meeeeeeow.) Honestly, though, my pride
was probably more bruised than my ankle; nothing like crashing and burning suuuuuuperpublicly!

But the funny thing is, in the aftermath, I’ve felt SO legit. Like this was my ticket into the Real Runners’ Club or something. Because when I explained why I was limping, or wearing a brace,
people nodded knowingly, as if to say, “She’s one of those people. She runs on purpose.” Is
running really that extreme of a sport these days, when on tv we regularly watch people with
2% body fat tackle giant monkey bars over a pit with ACTUAL FLAMES spurting out each
side? (If someone could explain to me what is actually happening on American Ninja Warrior, I
would really appreciate it, kthnxbai.)

Well, regardless of whether one sprained ankle really is enough for membership in the Real
Runners’ Club, I’ve had a hard time thinking of myself as an athlete since I started running.
Probably it’s my inner Fat Kid shaking her head in disbelief at the idea that I’m doing anything
that’s more strenuous than diving into the latest Maggie Stiefvater novel. All I know is that when
someone does refer to me as an athlete, I have to stop myself from looking behind me to see
who that person is talking about.

Do I have nagging self-esteem issues? Of course; who doesn’t? Although I’d love to say
running has somehow managed to instill supreme self-confidence in me, I’d be a liar if I did.
But something that has changed since I started running is my ability to appreciate what my
body can do for me. Sure, my thighs might jiggle more than I want them to, and my tummy
might not be practically concave anymore like it was in my twenties (sigh), but those thighs and
that tummy? They carried me through all the races I’ve run. Suck it, self-esteem issues.

What do I hope you’ll take away from this? Other than, “Wow, she sure does have good taste in
reaction GIFs”, I hope you’ll remember to be a little kinder to yourself the next time you’re
questioning your athletic ability (or your appearance, or whatever). More than likely, the hot
mess that you picture in your head is not what everyone else is seeing when they look at you.
Unless you’re featured on peopleofWalmart.com, that is.

Life Moves Pretty Fast…But I Don’t

I’ve been running for about five years now and when I first started I never dreamed that I’d be sitting here, putting pen to paper (in a sense) about training for a marathon.

I signed up for my first marathon in February 2016 after my stepfather passed away unexpectedly. My best friend and running best friend had been thinking about it for a while, so I went for it. I felt, at that time, that it was something I just had to do. Looking back, I’m glad I took the chance. I did a recap of the Space Coast Marathon after Mer saw some pics on Instagram that I’d posted because I actually hadn’t really made it known that I was running a marathon! I wasn’t prepared for this race at all. Michelle and I had signed up for it and then training fell to the wayside.

I honestly don’t even remember developing a plan or anything for Space Coast.

So. Now we’re doing things differently.

In October I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon. Michelle signed up with the lottery and, even though I’ve only been yelling about how I didn’t want to run another marathon, the FOMO (fear of missing out) was real! It took a few weeks before I finally decided to sign up with a charity team. I chose The American Heart Association to honor my stepfather, seeing as he was the reason I decided to run a marathon the first time.

The title of this post is a nod to Ferris Bueller, of course. My family is coming with me to Chicago so we’re definitely planning on doing some touristy things while we’re there.

This time I am definitely, definitely going to be prepared. There. I’ve put it on the internet, so it’s going to happen! I just finished Week 4 of my training plan and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m doing intervals to help build up my strength because, honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve ran for longer than a few minutes at a time. At this point I’m not ready to set any goals for the race, because I just want to focus on my preparedness. I’ve even put up a calendar!

I’m trying to focus on getting a workout in everyday, but I know I’m going to need to scale it back a little. I’ve been kind of obsessed with closing the rings on my Apple Watch which really does nothing but make me happy. I might do a walk or light stretching instead of a cross training or more intense workout. It’s early on in the training schedule so I definitely don’t want to tire myself out or injure myself just yet. Or, you know, at all.

Training would be going better if I didn’t always stop to take pics for Skirt Sports. 🙂

The best thing about working with your running buddy is that you always have motivation and accountability. Michelle and I plan any short, weekly runs we can do together and keep each other up-to-date with our weekend runs. We both use the Nike+ RunClub app which notifies your friends when you go for a run.

For me, accountability is key. If there isn’t someone who knows all about what I’m doing and where I’m doing it, chances are it’s not going to happen. I’m looking forward to Chicago and seeing what I can do. My time for Space Coast was nearly seven hours, so I know I can do better than that. I’m feeling strong and we’re only a few weeks in. I know that summer will really test my commitment as the weather will be dreadful. Michelle and I have a place we like to do long runs at, so we’ll definitely be meeting up to get some training runs done.

I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me about this a few more times before October. If you have any training tips, I’d love to hear them, too!

Why I Run

I get a lot of different responses when I talk about running. Some people think it’s really cool that running is something I do. Often times people get this look on their face like they want to say something rude, but are holding it in really, really well. Most of the time the response is “Oh, I hate running!” to which I always want to reply – “Me too!”

Truth is, I don’t feel that way about running. I actually love running a whole darn lot.

When I was sixteen I joined my high school’s cross country team because a friend wanted me to. The only thing I learned was that I was very bad at running. So bad that it would scar me for years and I wouldn’t even try it again until ten years later.

That time I was training for a 5K with some girls from work. I was at nearly my heaviest weight, but still trying. I never did manage to run a 5K without walking that time, but I still had some fun…I guess.

I feel like, with this story, the third time is the charm. I mentioned a little bit about it in my About Ash page, but I started running after I turned thirty. A couple of my friends and I started the Couch to 5K program and were keeping each other accountable through texts and Facebook. It was slow-going at first, but I remember the first time I was able to run five minutes without stopping. It was amazing. I was so impressed with myself and my body for doing something that I couldn’t even do when I was sixteen!

When the successes starting to pile up I got more excited about running. Being able to run 3.2 miles was a huge success for me and one that I would have proudly stopped at had I not had my friend Michelle pushing me to do more.

It’s not the distance that I love, though. I mostly run alone so I get to pick my distances. During the week I don’t run more than 2-3 miles simply because I’m pretty tired when I get off work. I know that’s a lousy excuse but I really love sleep.

When I’m out there, even if it’s a bad run, I’m still amazed at what my body can do and has already done. To me, running is not only physical, but also a mental sport. There are so many times I’m beating myself up, but also trying to beat myself, if that makes sense.

I love the feeling I get when I know I’ve pushed myself through the miles. I’ve been struggling with my runs lately, but I know that it will get better if I keep going.

I also know that I have to keep going. Honestly, running is good for my sanity! When I’m having a tough day at work and I just need to go– I run. Just me, music, and nature. Sometimes I’ll stop and just stand in nature. (Sometimes I take some really weird picture for Skirt Sports, too.)

The quietness and the peace I feel when running isn’t something I can really put into words. No matter if there are cars buzzing by or if I’m stopping to pet cats in my neighborhood. Not even if I’m struggling with the run and I just want to be home eating snacks…if I just take a deep breath and close my eyes everything goes away for just a moment.

Running keeps me balanced. It keeps me sane. It helps me know that I am capable of amazing things, but also that I’m not always perfect.

I run for me.

Why do you run?

Being a Skirt Sports Ambassador means I’m always on the lookout for secluded spots so strangers don’t see me taking pictures of myself. 😉