September Roundup

September has come to an end, and I have some numbers rounded up to recap my month in running.  As always, you can catch up on my previous months’ recaps here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.  I am not running tonight, but will be attending a yoga class, so let’s take a look at my numbers for September.

I ran exactly 90 miles this month!  September’s 90 miles puts me at 713 miles for the year so far.  My goal is to reach 950 miles this year, and with three months left, I need to average at least 79 miles per month in October, November, and December to reach at least 950.  And, if I average at least 96 miles per month over the last 3 months of the year, I will get to 1000 miles for the year, which would be amazing!  I am really excited to hit the quadruple digits!Photo Sep 20, 9 33 49 AMSeptember was a very busy month, race wise!  The final two races of the Heartland 30k series, the Plaza 10k (10k PR!) and the Broadway Bridge 10k were in September, as was the Labor Day 5k.  I ran with the KC Running Co. Groupies 8 times, including 4 speed work sessions with the Groupies.  I missed most of the long Sunday runs, because of the Labor Day holiday weekend and then the two 10k races on Sundays.  I ran with Mom 3 times, when she was here over the Labor Day weekend, and finished the Labor Day 5k with her as well.  My longest run was 8 miles, on September 27th, with Amy at the KC Running Co. Sunday Groupie run.11994276_10100330663989283_814193399_n12025327_10100333951166753_1263268631_n12026654_10100336840591323_866744501_nI’ve still been seeing my chiropractor about once a week, still working on my right glute and left IT band issues.  I have (I should say, my chiropractors have) been making significant progress, and I’m doing much better… just trying to get that last 10% or so fixed.

I have also continued to practice yoga about once a week, and even got to attend a yoga class on the outfield at the K.  I missed my weekly yoga class twice during September, both due to running conflicts – celebrating KC Running Co.’s birthday at the Leawood store, and then a run and Running Healthy clinic with Golden Harper, the founder of Altra Running.Photo Sep 06, 9 21 48 AMDuring the month of September, I attempted to cut out sweets – pop, candy, donuts, etc.  I was successful for about a week to 10 days, but wasn’t able to make it the entire month.  I have drastically cut back on my sweets, which is a huge improvement, and I will continue to try to limit them, as I do feel better without sugar slogging me down.

The only other thing to share for September is that I treated my body and mind to a wonderful massage, something I get done about once a year, but could definitely use about once every 2-3 months!12016705_10100333951201683_1917265412_nLooking to October, I am visiting my sister in Milwaukee, and hope to get in a 10 mile long run before volunteering at the finish line of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.  I am also running the KC Half Marathon, and hope to earn a shiny new PR!

How was your September? What are you looking forward to for October?

Race Dots Review

I was recently sent a set of Race Dots to try out, and with 4 races on my schedule in 4 consecutive weekends, it was a perfect month to ditch the safety pins and try out Race Dots!  First of all, what are Race Dots? “Race Dots are the simple, elegant and effective alternative to safety pins. Each Race Dot is a unique assembly of two magnets that lock together to hold your race number in place, but they never hurt your clothing.”  (From Race Dots’ website).  The following review is a summary of my own experiences with Race Dots, followed by my opinion of the product.  I was given Race Dots free of charge, but was not sponsored or paid for my review.

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The Race Dots set I received came with 5 Dots, an extra Dot in case one runs away.  Race Dots are sold in packs of 4, 5, and 10, and can also be purchased individually.  The back side of the magnet can also be purchased individually.  Race Dots are made in the USA, and come in many different colors, There are also limited edition Dots, and you can pay to have them customized, too.  The Race Dots are packaged on a handy piece of cardboard that has holes (like on a race bib) for the Dots to comfortably sit in.  I simply discarded the plastic and kept the cardboard to store my Race Dots.  A handy “User Tips” card is also included.

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Race Dots are different from traditional magnets; the design allows the front of the magnet to nest into the back of the magnet, so when the front is set on a race bib properly (using the pre-punched holes in the corners), it secures the bib very snugly.  It’s also mentioned in the paperwork that the bibs don’t interfere with race timing chips that sometimes are placed on the back of bibs, but it does warn to keep the magnets away from your phone, credit cards, and computers.  FYI, in the pic below, I couldn’t put my hand any closer to the back of the magnet without it snapping together… that’s how strong the magnets are!

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The first race I used Race Dots on was the Dot to Dot 10k.  I received my bib the night before the race, and was able to secure my bib to my shirt beforehand, with my race shirt on the floor and me crouched over it with the bib and magnets.  I admit, I struggled a bit.  The magnets are super strong, and it was hard to place the bib where I wanted it while trying to keep the magnets from snapping together.  I finally managed to get it all set, but I was a bit frustrated at how hard it was.  My first thought was that safety pins would be easier.  During the race, the magnets did not budge.  There was no irritation on my skin from having the Dots on, and the weight of the magnets was not noticeable at all.  Having the Race Dots on my shirt didn’t cause any extra bounce, but the top two magnets snapped to the bottom two magnets when I bent down to untie my shoes after the race!

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The next weekend, I had the Labor Day 5k on my schedule.  This particular race did not offer packet pickup until the morning of the race.  I took my Race Dots, and attempted to put them on while wearing my shirt, and it was too difficult.  I ended up using safety pins.

The following weekend was the Plaza 10k.  I heard a couple tips about getting used to Race Dots, and  opted to only use the top two Dots to secure my bib.  Once again, it did take me a little while to get the bib on the shirt, but it was smoother than the first attempt two weeks prior.  The Dots stayed put, the bib stayed put, and I really liked only using two Dots.  FYI, for those who use bib belts, the top two holes of the bib are the only two used, so using two dots works very similarly.  It’s hard to see the Race Dots in the photo below, because the yellow on the Dots blends into the bib, but if you look closely at the runners near me and then at my bib, you can see the yellow Dots!

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

The very next weekend was the Broadway Bridge 10k, and once again, I used Race Dots to secure my bib to my shirt the night before the race.  I used the two top holes of the bib and used only two Race Dots, and I was able to fasten my bib fairly quickly, and fairly easily.  Race Dots are definitely something you have to kind of practice a few times before you become efficient, or at least that’s my take.  The bib stayed put through the race perfectly.

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Final thoughts: Race Dots work.  No safety pins are needed to secure your bib!  BUT, that being said, would I spend $20 on a pack of Dots?  Probably not.  I, personally, don’t mind using safety pins, and I don’t mind putting safety in holes in the shirts I wear to races.  I pick shirts that I won’t mind if they get dirty at the race, if safety pins leave holes in them, or if they get snagged or ripped while running on the course.  Now I’m not saying I’m going out there with the goal of beating up my gear, but I go into the race knowing that anything is possible, and my shirt, shoes, pants, body, etc, may get beaten up for one reason or another.

I do think Race Dots could be a great benefit to those who have expensive race singlets or triathlon bike kits or wet suits they don’t want to put safety pin holes in.  Or for winter running when you wear a thick jacket and want your bib on the outside.  Or they would be a fun novelty race item for those who have extra money to spend on things like this.  But for the average joe runner, they are cool, but not a necessity.  I’ll continue to use Race Dots when I am able to pick up my bib before the race and secure my bib to my shirt prior to the race, but probably for races that have packet pick up immediately before the race, I will stick to the ease of safety pins.

Broadway Bridge 10k Race Recap

And with the Broadway Bridge 10k this morning, the Heartland 30k Series is officially over!  This fall, KC Running Company put on a 30k series, consisting of 3 10k races in 4 weeks around the Kansas City area. The Dot to Dot 10k was first, on August 29 (race recap), followed by the Plaza 10k on September 13 (race recap).

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The Broadway Bridge 10k and Half Marathon had an early start time of 7:00am.  I was up way before the sun came up, and found this sweet present from Jasper when I woke up.  Let me explain: I always lay out my race clothes the night before the race, pin my bib on, and set out my shoes, watch, and other accessories.  My shoes were sitting next to each other by the ottoman in my living room, and when I went to get dressed, I found a little orange mousey and a tipped over shoe.  He seemed pretty pleased with himself.

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Amy and I arrived at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts around 6:15am, and the sun was just starting to color the sky.

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Photo courtesy Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

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We walked around a little bit, used the bathrooms (a must before any race), and lined up to start.  The National Anthem was played on a trumpet, which was something unique, and as always, gave me goosebumps.  Shortly after, the race began, uphill, of course.  The 10k course was probably the hilliest course I’ve ever ran on (233 feet of elevation difference), including Hospital Hill (199 feet of elevation difference), Rock the Crossroads, and the KC Half Marathon.  It was a hill hell!

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I don’t usually take pictures while running races.  I do while running with the Groupies, but haven’t taken one while in a race.  I knew, after the first mile, that this race would not be a PR.  But, with a pretty big PR last week at the Plaza 10k, I was just fine with settling in for a nice hard run, and was able to take in the sights.  This course was a really pretty course, including running over the Broadway Bridge to the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport. I couldn’t resist taking out my phone to take a photo of a breathtakingly beautiful sunrise.

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Miles 1 to 2.5 or so took us from the Kauffman Center to the Broadway Bridge, around a bit of the airport, and then back up the Broadway Bridge, which is at more of an incline than you’d think just by looking at it!  Mile 3 was entirely uphill, or so it felt.  I rounded the corner after the 3 mile water stop, and basically looked straight up.

I walked up that hill.  It was steep.  For those of you familiar with downtown Kansas City, the insane hill I’m speaking of is on 7th St. between Broadway Blvd. and Pennsylvania Ave.  The hill continued to go basically straight up on Pennsylvania Ave. once we turned south.  Insane. Hill.  And what goes up… must come down.  That downhill was also so steep, I don’t know how anyone could possibly get up that hill in the icy wintertime!  It was so steep, my knees and hips hurt while running down, while I was focusing very intensely on not tripping, because I would have rolled and tumbled ALL the way down!

Photo courtesy Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

Around mile 4.5 or 5, we crossed over a bridge and headed back north toward the Kauffman Center.  The view of the city was so pretty, that I grabbed my phone for another quick picture of the skyline.  The last mile plus was generally uphill again, all the way to the finish line!

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I finished the race with the slowest 10k time of the three in the series.  I got faster time, though, than my previous 10ks before this series (the Groundhog 10k was my previous PR before the Heartland Series).  Overall, I was happy with my time, considering the hills, and that I walked probably about a half mile up up UP one of those hills.

Photo courtesy Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

I met up with Amy and Mark after the race, and we were awarded our Broadway Bridge medals and 30k medals, and were able to pose for some photos in front of the backdrop.

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I also met a reader who came up and introduced herself, which was really neat.  After some chocolate milk, water, and recapping our races with friends, Amy and I headed back to my apartment.

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The first thing I had to do when I got home was put all my 30k series medals on, and have Amy take a picture.  I got’s so much bling I got’s a neck ache!  We rolled out, compared pictures, and I put my bib in my bib book.

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Later on, after a short nap, Amy and I pampered our legs and feet with a pedicure, ran some errands, then when I got home, I promptly put my compression sleeves on! Jasper approved, I think.

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I’m SO glad I did the 30k series, this was the first race series I’ve ever done.  It was challenging, fun, and very rewarding to accomplish, especially with my KCRC Groupie friends.

Next race, the KC Half Marathon, in 4 weeks!