running

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

They’re soft, convertible and made in Michigan. What’s not to love?

When I got the Turtle Gloves’ Turtle-Flip midweight winter soft mittens to try because I’m a BibRave Pro, I wasn’t sure if they’d be warm enough for the Michigan tundra. In the end, I added hand warmers and ended up needing the mittens’ convertible features during my runs.

When they’re in their “regular” mode, the mittens have a pocket where you can put the hand warmer, making sure it’s right by your fingers, but not touching skin. This meant that my hand stayed warm when the temperatures were in the 20s. I’m always cold, so I think I need to order the Turtle Gloves’ warmer cousin, the weather protect heavyweight warm mittens for those days when we run in the teens.

The mittens allow you to flip the top, revealing your fingers for some temperature control.

And if you’re really warm, you can even push the mittens up toward your wrist. A fellow BibRave Pro has used them as arm warmers.

I mentioned they’re soft and they are the softest gloves I own. That was especially handy for the constant nose wiping that comes with the lower temperatures. They stayed just as soft after washing in cold water and hanging out to dry.

Because they’re made in Michigan, the company also carries Spartan and Tigers versions. Another set has reflective features and another the U.S. flag.

If you want to get your own set, you can use discount code TurtleBibRave for 15 percent off your order. You might also consider their fingerless gloves and mitten hoodies.

Do you have a favorite pair of gloves or mittens? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the North Shore Half Classic as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Looking for an early-June half? Several runner friends have recommended the North Shore Half Classic in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., on June 2. And because I’m a BibRave ambassador, you can use discount code BRNS19 to get a free surprise item.

Fellow BibRave ambassador and blogger Lisa Dretske ran the 5K and gave the race rave reviews.

“I really wanted to do this race initially because it’s in a pretty location,” she said. “You run through pretty neighborhoods. I also wanted a challenge and I heard this race was hilly.”

Dretske gave the race thumbs up for organization, pointing to well-mapped out routes and aid stations.

You can read her race review here.

Other runners have also given the North Shore Half Classic positive reviews on BibRave.com, with high ratings for aid stations, scenery, parking and race management.

One of those runners is Frank Nardomarino, another BibRave ambassador who’s run the race several times. In his BibRave.com review, he says it’s one of his favorites.

“Besides being wildly popular by the local businesses and runners, the course is just beautiful running through the beautiful suburb of Highland Park,” Nardomarino explains. “If you haven’t run this race before, you definitely need to add it to your list of must-dos.”

A few other race details:

  • The race offers pacers for the half marathon from 7-minute miles to 15-minute miles.
  • There is no packet pickup on race day, so plan accordingly.
  • There’s gear check and they even include small zip ties in your goodie bag to secure your bags.

Since I can’t travel for at least the next year (two kids in college at the same time will do that), reading these race reviews has made jealous of those who can make the trip. If you’re interested, check out the race site for more details.

Have you run the North Shore Half Classic or 5K? Were the hills as tough as described in the race reviews? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Detroit deja vu

by lachicaruns on

[Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank International Half Marathon on Oct. 20, 2019 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!]

It was just over a year ago when I was celebrating signing up for the Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank Marathon. I was so excited to finally get to run such an iconic race. In the end, I got hurt and couldn’t even go cheer others on because Dr. Awesome benched me.

But I’ve spent this winter healing and cross training and am excited to sign up for the Detroit International Half. A lot of my runner friends have experienced this fun event and I expect several will run it with me come October.

Perhaps you’ll be joining us? Sign up today and use code 2019DETROCKS for 10 percent off!

Don’t want to run a half or a full marathon? No problem. There’s a competitive one-mile race and a 5K.

Want to really spend some quality time in Detroit? You can sign up to run more than one race during race weekend:

The Temptation: 1-Mile + 5K

The Wonder: 1-Mile + 5K + International Half-Marathon

The Supreme: 1-Mile + 5K + Full Marathon

The 5K and 1-Mile are on Saturday, Oct.19. The Full Marathon and International Half-Marathon are on Sunday, Oct. 20. As with all races, there are also lots of opportunities to volunteer.

I still plan to just run the international half. According to the race’s site, the course traverses “both downtown Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, crossing the border at both the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.” It’s the tunnel that most runners remember, with many later posting photos of themselves halfway between the U.S. and Canada.

If you’re considering the race, spend some time reading through the website for FAQs, in particular about the need for a passport since runners cross an international border twice. I already have my passport at the ready and you certainly have enough time to get one. A course map is available here. More information about the international requirements is available here.

Another important tidbit is that there’s a four-hour clock, which should be enough time for even those of us proud back-of-the-packers to make it back on time. The race does have pacers, and since both the half and full start at 7 a.m., you’ll be sharing them, so you can run with friends who are running the 26.2 miles for most of the race.

With such an early start, a lot of runners make a weekend out of the race. There’s certainly a lot to do in the Motor City — from casinos to the Detroit Institute of Arts to amazing restaurants — but you’ll want to make a hotel reservation soon if you want to stay downtown. One way to make the best of your stay is to join Detroit History Tours. I recently met owner Bailey Sisoy Isgro at an event and found her to be knowledgeable about the city — and a whole lot of fun.

No matter what race (or races) you choose, you’re in for a unique experience in an awesome city full of energy and lots of opportunities for fun.

Have you run Detroit? Any tips? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

A year ago, I write about what to consider before getting a Peloton stationary bike. A few friends have since asked me if I was still using the Peloton as much, and whether I thought it was worth the rather-large investment.

The short answer is yes and yes. Here’s a bit more detail if you’re still on the fence about getting a Peloton:

  • Peloton resources. I have watched a couple of the set-up videos again, especially about the height of the bike to accommodate my height (5-foot-5). But it’s been quite a while and I now automatically just know which settings to use without even thinking about it. As for the Peloton Facebook group, I genuinely couldn’t handle it after a month or two. Those people are nuts about their bikes. Lesson learned: You may fall in love with the bike and may want to wax poetic about each and every one of your rides. That’s just not for me.
  • Comfort. Once I got padded shorts and learned how to properly sit with my bum in the very back of the seat, I haven’t had any problems with pain or discomfort. Lesson learned: Invest in a few basics like proper shorts and shoes. Just like with other sports, it’s always worth spending a little bit of money for the gear.
  • Difficulty. It took a few months, but I can now easily handle an hour-long class. I found it very important to test out  a few coaches before settling on someone whose personality, music and difficulty fit my needs. I’m currently partial to my boo Cosby Rigsby, in large part because he’s encouraging and positive, and plays Latin music. Oh, you noticed he’s good looking? Yeah, there’s that. Lesson learned: There are literally dozens of potential combinations of coaches, music, length and difficulty. Try a few things, then try a few more. You will find the right fit and will enjoy the variety.
  • Shoes. I found my shoes to be a bit uncomfortable and almost gave up on them. Instead, I now wear slightly thicker socks and my feet feel great. I still can’t clip and un-clip with ease, so I just leave my shoes in all the time. El husbando takes them off when he uses the bike and has yet to complain. It works for us. Lesson learned: Some of the classes involve a lot of getting up from the seat and — if you’re dancing with Cody — sometimes even some dancing. I don’t think I could do half what I do on the bike without the stability that comes from the cycling shoes.
  • It’s still biking. Yes, but this klutz also feel a whole lot safer. Since I’ve since had my fourth shoulder surgery, I appreciate that I don’t have to worry about falling. Or being chased by dogs. Or swallowing bugs. Lesson learned: I thought the experience would encourage me to get a real bike. Meh. I don’t see a reason to at this point.
  • Consistency. Absolutely my most-favorite thing about the Peloton is that I can ride it any time of day year-round. I’ve used it before the sun came up and just before bedtime. The bike helped me stay active right after my shoulder surgery and during periods when I’ve been injured and benched from running. And I got a ride in earlier this week when the temperatures were double-digits…below zero. Lesson learned. The Peloton bike has been one of the best things I’ve done for my running. It’s great cross-training that I can easily squeeze in, even on the busiest of days.

So is a Peloton bike for you? Considering the bike with all of the gear and a year’s worth of classes cost more than my first car, you would think that I might hesitate before answering that question.

Given how much use el husbando and I have gotten out of it, it certainly has been a great investment for us. Going in, I wasn’t really sure whether I would either enjoy using it or whether I would really include it as part of my training plan. But I’m pleased to look back and see how it’s become an integral part of my weekly training plan — a plan that my sports medicine and manipulative medicine doctors both agree is the right one for me.

So, have you gotten a Peloton? Still planning on getting one? Why or why not? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

El husbando and I just got home from a week-long, 25th wedding anniversary Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Magic and I am happy to report that I also did some running on the ship’s outdoor track. The cruise — and the chance to run outside with a beautiful view — were glorious.

If you’re booked on the Carnival Magic, or are considering scheduling a vacation on this beautiful ship, here’s what you really need to know about getting your outdoor runs in while cruising:

Don’t expect to do any speed or significant distance training. The Carnival Magic’s outdoor track, on the ship’s Spa and Sports Deck 12, is on the aft (back) side. This means that the track is very short, so you’ll have to go around seven times for each mile. While handy to have an outdoor option in addition to the treadmills in the fitness center, it also means a lot of running around in circles. Very short circles.

Shot of the Sport Square sign on the Carnival Magic cruise shipBring your patience. I ran in the morning, between 7 and 8, before a lot of people were out and about (even the deck-chair hogs don’t come out in force until after 8!). Still, other passengers meandered onto the track, and many ignored both the unwritten rules of having walkers on the inside so runners can pass on the right, and didn’t mind the big arrows showing which direction to face. I saw full families enjoying being outside, wearing flip-flops, walking side-by-side, also blocking the entire track. I tried giving them a friendly “on your right/left” warning, but it only served to startle them, so I just did my best to go around them. The mini golf course is in the center of the track, too, so you’ll be picking up kids’ wayward foam balls. Remember: you’re on vacation, so just go with the flow.

shot of the Carnival Magic cruise ship outdoor running track

It will be hot. Unless you’ve been training in the south, or were born on the sun, doing anything in the Caribbean is going to cook you. And because you’ll likely be running much slower than normal, you’ll want to wear sunscreen and a hat or visor because you’ll be out there longer than usual. That said, when the ship’s moving, you’ll also benefit from some resistance training because the area is ridiculously windy.

You can’t beat the view. Despite the aforementioned inconveniences, running on the outdoor track means gorgeous views. Whether it’s on a day-at-sea or a port-day, you’re surrounded by blue skies, azure waters and, sometimes, even mountains.

Shot of the wake the Carnival Magic left behind, as seen from the back of the shipShot of the island of St. John's in the Caribbean from the Carnival Magic outdoor running track. It shows boats in the water and the mountains in the background.

But wait, there’s more! The Magic also has an outdoor gym in the area called the Sport Square, with weight-lifting machines and even some spots to do sit ups and pull ups. The area was big enough that I was able to do a shortened version of my post-run yoga routine to stretch. Signage in the area includes some very basic instructions on how to use the equipment, but I didn’t want to risk injury by trying something new as I’m getting back to running after a calf injury.

Shot of the Carnival Magic sport court, which features exercise equipment

Sure, being on vacation is a great excuse to take a break from your training plan. But it’s also a great opportunity to enjoy this particularly welcoming area if you’re fortunate enough to sail on the Carnival Magic, even if only to balance out all of the chocolate melting cake you’re enjoying in the dining room.

Are you booked on a cruise? Have you gotten to run on the Carnival Magic or another cruise ship? Do you have other tips to add? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)