Saturday, August 22, 2015

ChafeX Product Review

     I first stumbled upon ChafeX at a race expo when I saw it was recommended by Ultra Marathoners.  At that time I had just started to dabble in the idea of running past the 26.2 distance. Seeking knowledge from runners experienced in the ultra distance I joined some groups and discussion forums. Quietly I read comments quickly realizing that any product recommended by someone who runs 100 miles is probably a good one.  If it works that long it can get you through anything. 
   So I let the sales rep explain the product to me. Then applied some to the back of my hand. Didn't really feel like much of anything at that time.  That is good thing! Do you really want to "feel" the product when it's on your skin or do you want it to just work as it's suppose to?  

   Somewhat convinced I bought one however I was reluctant to replace my go to anti-chafing  product. We runners sure can be creatures of habit and difficult to sway from anything we've been using.  

    Now I must admit that product set in my drawer untouched for awhile. The fear of a painful shower after a run because it may not work caused some apprehension about trying it. You all know what I'm talking about!

  Eventually I registered for my first ultra marathon and decided it was time to test anything I may use or need while I was out there. First I ran just a few miles with it applied to my trouble spots then a few more. 


  I went on to complete that 53k with ChafeX as the only anit-chafing product in my pack! 

Disclaimer: These opinions are my own. ChafeX  has not paid me for a review. 
I reached out to ChafeX after using their product for partnership with the They now offer it's members an exclusive discount.   


Friday, August 21, 2015

KinEsys Performance Sunscreen Product Review


     This product has been my secret for the past 2 years. I had tried bottle after bottle of heavy, oily, poor clogging sunscreens that just weren't working when I was running. Most made me feel like I was wearing a plastic bag holding in all my sweat and suffocating my skin.  Others would just wear off leaving me exposed to the chance of sunburn. Then there was also the ones that every particle of dust would stick to.

                                              The search is over! 

  KinEsys performance sunscreen goes on easily with a pump spray, you don't even need to rub it in. Give it just a minute to dry and you a have a nice layer of sun protection that you forget you have on. None of that sticky, oily or heavy feel.  Don't worry about sitting down in your car and leaving greasy stains.

                                               It smells great too!

  They have stepped away form that traditional coconut smell with scents like mango and my favorite vanilla- green tea. The option of unscented is also available. 

   I have run in the sun for 8 hours with the Girl 30 and didn't get so much as a tan line. Woohoo for no runner tan lines. Okay well I do have some funny lines from the days I forgot to apply. If you like less protection choose the 15.  That picture there is my personal stock pile. My entire family uses it now. I keep one in the car, one in my running bag, one with my beauty products and a couple in a basket for friends who come to hang out poolside on the deck. 

  Protect your skin!

I loved the product so much I reached out to KinEsys to become a partner of the They offer the club members an exclusive discount.
Thank You KinEsys. 

Disclaimer: These opinions are my own. Kinesys has not paid me for my review nor have they supplied me with free products.   

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bristol Half Marathon & Relay Race Report

Bristol Half Marathon & Relay 
August 16,2015  

Finishers - 280

Kill The Hill! Wait...what there's a hill?

   I arrived super early after a 2 hour drive and snagged a parking spot just a few feet away from packet pick up, porta potties and starting line. In fact I was so early that preregistered PPU wasn't opened yet but race day registration was in full swing. I had been so busy leading up to the race that I never did my usual research on it. So I walked around the staging area checking things out. BAM it hits me smack in the eye ball. The course map is displayed nice and big with the elevation chart. 

   I have no fear of hills and have run many of races with climbs just as bad or worse but I wasn't expecting it today. I'm not good at hills but I get them done and enjoy the change of elevation on a course.  With that I eventually grab my number and get myself prepared for the race. 

   The crowd makes it's way to the starting line and waits for the cannon to be fired sending us on our way. How cool is that, smoke and all?

  It was a quiet morning as runners were focused in their thoughts. What will today's race bring us?
The course has beautiful park views with even a bit of gravel trail. It is so wonderful to have that break from the pavement and trees block the sun. There unfortunately was a mishap somewhere around the park that sent the front of the pack in the wrong direction. I could see them around the loop and heard the volunteers and other runners redirecting them. This must have been quickly fixed because I was directed correctly and asking around after the race nobody knew what I was talking about. 
  We had plenty of water and Gatorade stops with a couple locations stocking Gu. Oh and someone was handing out pretzels and other snacks. This town had the best police force directing traffic and keeping us safe. They meant business and would not let a car pass even stepping directly in front of one. Above and beyond that they were supper friendly with words and of encouragement.  Thank you!


  Yes that hill was as brutal as it looks.

   You are about 7.5 miles in, fatigue is setting in and the climb starts. The road bends and turns enough that you can't see when the uphill ends. You just keep moving and eventually get there. The reward is a nice mostly downhill to the finish. 

   There awaits you is a nice medal, great photo ops and a nice post race spread. Delicious pancakes and crispy mouth watering bacon. The awards ceremony was just getting underway by the time I finished so even finishing this race at the back of the back there were plenty of people still hanging around. 

  The Bristol Half Marathon does a nice job with this event, just needs to fix that little course error. Cheerleaders and Minions kept the spirit up. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Camp Chingachgook Challenge Half Marathon Race Report

Camp Chingachgook Challenge
August 15, 2015
Lake George, NY

Finishers Half Marathon - 279
Finshers 10k  - 118

I love when I can make a race a family event!

   I think part of growing up on Long Island is a visit to Lake George. My parents took us when we were kids and now I had the opportunity to bring my daughter and mother. We went up very early Thursday morning and spent the day at Great Escape. Then spent the rest of time doing things around the Lake including a ride on the Mini Ha Ha, white water rafting and visiting the shops. 

  The hotel was just a 5 minute drive to the starting line. Arriving at The lake George Elementary School by 7:00 am was more then enough time to prepare for the 8am start. Packet pickup located inside the school gave us a comfortable place to sit and hang out with real bathrooms. Woohoo that's a BONUS!!! There were also a few portable toilets near the staring line located directly in front of the school.

   Our race director welcomed us as we gathered at the starting line . He talked briefly about the course, volunteers and history of the race. He gave a shout out and made a video for the course record holder Shaun Evens who is running across the country pushing  Shamus Evans.  

   Be inspired to inspire.

   It was made known that all the volunteers on the course were CIT kids from Camp Chingachgook. They are 16 & 17 years old in the Counselor in Training Program. I don't know what you were doing at that age but I certainly wasn't standing in the heat for 3 or more hours handing out cups of water and cheering for runners. These kids had amazing spirit!. Giving children of that age a positive goal oriented event to take part in will hopefully inspire them to do great things. It kept a smile on my know the saying, "you never know who is watching that you'll inspire". I made sure to interact and thank as many as I could. 

Thank you CIT Kids!!!

  The mostly shady rolling course had views of Lake George and some of it's great homes along the water. Take that ride on the Mini Ha Ha if you can before the race. You will see the front of the homes while running that you notice while on the water. It is a bit of a winding road that is open to traffic so always be aware. The field did spread way out at the pace I was running. 

  I found everyone to be extremely friendly and chatted with some runners along the way. There is something to be said about a RD's happy and positive attitude trickling down through out the entire race. The time passed rather quick and while this was a very slow race for me the finish line came up rather quick. This time I had my family waiting for me. 

   While they were waiting for me they enjoyed the Lake Views at Camp Chingachgook and watched runners jump in the lake.

  A nice post race buffet was put out for us that included grilled hot dogs, chicken, beans, coleslaw and watermelon. My whole family was able to eat sitting at shade covered picnic tables.  Let me add that after finishing just under three hours there was still plenty of food left. This has a been big an issue at many races.  There was also plenty of people still hanging out enjoying the day.  

  It was a great day and an extremely well managed event. I would highly recommend this race. Have you ever seen a cowbell as the medal? The running YMCA person on the tech shirt is so cute. 

Thank You to everyone who was in this event. Well done!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sweltering Summer Ultra & Marathon Race Report

Sweltering Summer Ultra & Marathon 
August 8, 2015
Pittsfield, MA

Finishers- Marathon 34
Finishers- Ultra 49 

Running in circles will open up your world!

   That doesn't seem to make sense or does it? Let me explain. I set out at 2:45am for the 3 hr drive to Pittsfield MA to run in circles for 8 hrs.  I never mind the drive during these early hours it's peaceful and I get to watch the sunrise. 

   I had carefully read all the pre-race instructions and was confident that this was the perfect place to run my second ultra. A stark difference from the amazing landscapes of Italy was just what I needed to test the limits and challenge myself in another way. Could I mentally keep going knowing I could pull myself off at any second? The car was never more then 1/4 mile away and everyone is a finisher no matter what distance you stop at. Truth is when race day came due to this nagging knee pain I thought I'd just run a half marathon so I could get closer to my 100 half marathons goal. The problem is from the minute I walked up to get my BIB and glanced at that field I knew something different may happen. 
                          There were early starters out there already logging laps! 

  They planned to be out there for more then 8 hrs to complete their goal. I was amazed by their determination! Kudos to the awesome race director Benn Griffin for accommodating them to do so. It's not enough that he has created a race that brings runners of all abilities together he went above and beyond to make it possible for all of us to reach our goal. 

            Every runner had a personal aid station spot with volunteers filling bottles. 

  We had DJ ?confusion? pumping out the beats to keep us moving and an aid station filled with all kinds of goodies. Even some really fancy pizza..too bad I can't eat like that when I'm running because boy oh boy did it look so good. Spectators were spread out along the sidelines calling out names and numbers with words of encouragement and praise. 

So what about the "opening up your world" thing?  Everyday you walk by people, mostly paying them no mind at all. It's just another body moving past you. 

Now imagine if you will, crossing paths with that person 40, 60 or more times.  The perceived monotony of the unrelenting laps builds a bond between the people circling. Each time you pass each other you feel an understanding for what they are feeling. You get to run next to the fastest person, the youngest person the oldest person and the slowest person. They all inspire you and you do them. It will truly give you an appreciation for everyone out there. It lends itself to the opportunity to exchange words and stories with people we may never have in a simple passing. If you want to be inspired run in circles, and do it at the Sweltering Summer Ultra & Marathon. 

I met so many amazing people and loved chatting with each and everyone of them. This race was epic in its own way. The sense of family is unparalleled to any event I've ever attended.  I hadn't met anyone before that day but left feeling like we are all one big family. Those who know me well know that something I look for in races is an involved race director. I want to be able see him/her and know who they are. I'm passionate about running and I love a RD who is just as passionate because it will resonate in the vibe of the event. Those are the races I want to be at!
Benn and his team of volunteers did an outstanding job from beginning to end. The special touches he does like announcing new registrations or providing us with handmade medals set him apart.


I managed to hit my goal of 50k thanks to everyone involved. The time passed much faster then you could ever imagine. For those whose first question is, "is it boring" the answer is "NO WAY" . Sure to follow is the second question, "did you get dizzy"...from the circles nope. I was however feeling a bit lightheaded with a runners high.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Triple Threat Half Marathon Race Report

 Triple Threat Half Marathon
August 2, 2015
Rockport, MA

Finishers 1 mile -161
Finishers 5k - 155
Finishers Half Marathon - 593
Fishers Triple Threat - 127

Doing whatever it takes can be crazy!

   Last year two of my Northport Running Club teammates, Elizabeth, Erica and I took a nice relaxing trip to Massachusetts to challenge ourselves and go a bit out of our comfort zones by running three back to back races at this Yukan Run event. We arrived Saturday enjoyed a nice meal together and turned in early. Race morning we were greeted by cool temps for August. The rolling course through the towns and along the water was a refreshing change of scenery.  We all finished the race happy with our performances and feeling great.  
Triple Threat 2014

   Fast Forward to this year. The plan was to leave very early Saturday morning with my travel buddy and stay overnight making the 4.5 drive more manageable. Due to circumstances out of her control we found out Thursday she could not go. Not only is it great to have company on these adventures it also splits all the costs of the travel and overnight stay. Running half marathons every weekend is far from cheap. Whoever said running is a cheap sport just doesn't get it. 

                                     NOW WHAT !?!

   Go alone right? That works but it doubles the cost and well in my mind that money can go towards another race. I'm not willing to give up the race so decide I will just drive that morning. Why not? If I can run for 11 hrs I certainly can sit on my butt for the 9+ hrs it will take me to get there and back in the same day I run the 17.2 miles. See when you have a goal that you so badly want to achieve your mind plays tricks, you get a little crazy and will stop at nothing.  
  At 3:30 am I hit the road for this solo road trip to run races I've already run just to complete another half marathon. Thanks to the empty roads I made it there in just over 4 hrs, grabbed my BIB and prepared myself for the race. I sat there thinking there is no need to run the 1 mile or 5k this year but I did it anyway. There is much comfort in knowing you are surrounded by people just as crazy as yourself. 

  The Triple Threat Half Marathon is a well run event that offers some stunning water views along a slightly hilly course. Little shade on a hot sunny day opened the opportunity for the towns residents to show there support of the event by placing their sprinklers outside. The little kids armed with hoses eagerly hoping you will let them spray you are what I call course angles. Water stops were frequent enough for me to forgo carrying my usual handheld water bottle allowing me to carry and test out the GoPro for the first time. 

 It was a very different race this year with a finishing temperature of 90 degrees. The heat had me moving very sluggish but I took my time and got all three races done. Life time half # 67 followed be 6hr drive home is crazy.  

All finishers of the Triple receive a cooler bag. 

   The two things keeping this race from receiving 5 gold sneakers are first the open roads. While the volunteers did a terrific job directing traffic it is just never safe to have cars driving next to a bunch of focused runners, many of whom wear earbuds with music blasting. It also takes something away from the race experience. 
  The second was the limited amount of finish line refreshments. While there was plenty of ice cold bottled water very little else was there by the time I finished. Fruit would be a great addition.