TURTLe-FLIP Watch Out Mitten Review

Disclaimer: I received Turtle Flip Watch Out Mittens in exchange for my 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!

Let's be honest. This winter has really been dragging on! I am currently training for the Fargo Marathon coming up in May and have had a more solid mileage base and logged more miles than I ever have before in marathon training. With a nice balance of strength + pilates work mixed in, I have actually really enjoyed the higher mileage! 

With all of the winter miles, there have been plenty of stinking cold, blizzard-y runs taking place. Plus, this winter has had WAY more winter storms than our usual! But you have to make the best of the weather you're given - and that means dressing appropriately and getting outside whenever I have the chance. 

I received some pretty sweet mail from Turtle Gloves on Valentine's Day: the TURTLe-FLIP Watch Out Mittens. I chose the orange (to match BibRave orange, of course) and with a left watch gusset. This gusset option makes it easy to view your watch anytime during the run, without rolling up sleeves or losing any of your warmth. Turtle-Flip Watch Out mittens allow you to choose a left or right watch gusset to match your personal preference.

I'm a right-hander that always runs with my watch on my left wrist. The Watch Out slot definitely makes the TURTLe-FLIP Watch Out Mittens unique and quite handy on the run (or walk or skating or whatever you do):
The Turtle-Flips are a mid-weight running mitten made with Polartec® Power Stretch Pro® Wicking, breathable, and fast-drying material. They are super soft and very stretchy! I have thrown mine in the washer and dryer probably ten times now and they hold up so well. Very easy to wash and have ready for the next morning's run.

Another Turtle-Flip feature I enjoy is the fingers-out or fingers-in option. I have ran in a mix of weather with these - a huge variety actually! The only time they felt a little chilly along the seams was when it was an actual temp of -17°F, plus who knows the wind chill factor that early morning. It was stinkin' windy (likely another -30°F morning). That was the only time I felt they weren't warm enough. 

Then I have worn them on warmer days, say upper 20's, and, if they feel too warm, I just flip them into fingers-out mode:
For sizing, I went with their recommendation of Small that works for most women and they feel quite roomy, but I would rather that than too tight. The Turtle-Flip Watch Out mittens come in a variety of colors and are made in the U.S.A. - Woop Woop! Check out the colors here and snag that discount code below for 15% off your mittens:

DISCOUNT ALERT: Use TURTLEBIBRAVE for 15% Off your Turtle Gloves purchase.

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Here We Go, Fargo!

Training for the Fargo Marathon, on May 21st, started last week! That has looked mostly like treadmill runs during the week with a couple outdoor runs over the weekend. 

Eventually, I hope to be outside for everything but the crazy cold, icy-packed streets and dark just aren't working for me right now. Soon, though!


If you are unfamiliar with the Fargo Marathon, definitely check out some of my past race reviews (2014, 2016, 2019, 2021) and more on BibRave.com. The course is flat, fast and has plenty of spectators (and music) to distract you from the personal pain cave that you may be running through as you push to a new PR. 
Use the code "BIBRAVECOOL6" to get a free Backpack Cooler when you register for Fargo - I hope to see you there! 
Besides the mostly treadmill-based training lately, the build up to this training cycle has been the most consistent mileage that I have ever had! My mileage isn't huge but the base miles have been 30+ for the past 8 weeks (this week should close in at about 35 miles). 

I have also had a nice mix of strength training in there from Heidi at G Personal Training and that sure keeps thing fresh and fun. I'm hoping these changes add up for the better in May!
    

Training is to be taken one week at a time - life is just crazy and unpredictable with the kiddos, activities going on and family life - but I really enjoy returning to the routine of training. It's the one predictable variable in my life! Ha. Seriously.

Happy running to you and may warmer days be on the way!

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A Gentle Feast: Cycle 3 Term 2

Let me start off this review with an Instagram post I shared at the beginning of Term 2. This is a peek at what our neat little homeschool family "should" look like, with the perfect social media lenses on (actually, it's even a bit messy per those standards here!):
And here's what it usually looks like, in real life!
Learning is messy and there are too many busy young men in this house to pull off the neat "farmhouse chic" vibes. So to keep it real, most days, this is us:
 
Homeschooling itself went very well and we are all thriving in A Gentle Feast's Cycle 3: Reforms, Revolutions, and Reconstruction. Here is a quick rundown of what is working for us:
  • Cycle 3 Curriculum
  • Cycle 3 Morning Time
  • Songschool Spanish
  • E/3rd Grade: AGF Lower Elementary Language Arts (Print Font), Singapore Math 2B
  • W/Kindergarten: Phonics Museum (that I found on eBay), Singapore Math 1A
  • C/Pre-K: Preschool Workbook that I bought online (on Christian Books, I think), homemade Letters & Numbers notebook
  • S/Babyschool: Cheerios, applesauce with spoon to make a mess with, matchbox cars
We have swapped out the Solfa in the curriculum for piano lessons (with mom) for the older three boys, as interest leads. Really I wouldn't start a 4-year-old on piano but I help him a little here and there, if he wants to practice like the brothers. 

For our Hymn Study, we switched from using the Happy Hymnody resources to going by A Gentle Feast's hymn schedule. This has been really helpful because the sheet music is already in the Morning Time binder and I can play the piano for our hymn study (personal growth for mom right there)! This was a great change for us because the less we use YouTube, the better off we are. It ends up being a big distraction!

The kids and I have enjoyed every book on this Term's booklist. Once again, D'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln was our favorite - one we were supposed to break up into a couple days and ended up reading in one sitting. We just couldn't put it down. As it turns out, Lincoln's living room may have looked a lot like mine!
Another excellent read that we ended the Term with was The Last Brother; an excellent Civil War tale that the boys couldn't stop talking about.
We dealt with some sick bugs over these months and my husband being in the hospital in December but this made me all the more thankful for homeschooling! The boys were able to go to my parents' farm while I was with my husband and, even through sick bugs (like mom having the C-virus), school can still keep rolling! The kids and I were even able to go on trip to Florida with my parents, my brother and his family - including a stop at SeaWorld and Disney World! All in all, we're right on track with the school year.
Ice skating, riding snowcats, wrestling practice and project nights for 4H have helped to pass these cold, long winter months. With Term 2 ending, I'm thankful Spring is on the way! Onward we go into new exciting books, hopefully some thawing weather in a month or two and marathon training for mom, of course :)

Explore the A Gentle Feast curriculum here and feel free to email me or comment here with any questions! Disclaimer: This post contains my A Gentle Feast affiliate link. If you click it, and make a purchase I will receive a commission.

I'm a 2022 BibRave Pro!

I haven't been as consistent in the She Runs By Faith blogosphere as I would like to be but I will be back to regular writing in 2022! I'm jumping back on to team BibRave where I will be writing race and running gear reviews. I worked with them in 2017, 2018 and part of 2019 and can't wait to join up with the team again.



First on the list? Fargo Marathon! I have some big goals in mind for the coming year and look forward to sharing the journey with you here :) Want to checkout all the latest BibRave Race Reviews? View my BibRave profile and search your favorite races from there.

My BibRave race singlet and hat showed up in the mail this week and I'm ready to get back into training & racing - more to come soon!

Race Report: Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon 2021

 After a marathon, you never have to tell me twice to "take time off" from running. I'm more than happy to take a break - two weeks is the goal. My current post-marathon cross training is catching up in my insane tornado of a house! The kids and I were gone for nearly a week, came back Sunday, dumped everything here after church and now it's like a pit. No running. Just right back into the school week and then power cleaning on the side.

And writing a race report, of course! 

...

On Saturday, I had the privilege of running the Blue Ox Marathon for a fourth year - not consecutive - but my fourth year on the full marathon course. It's actually pretty comical. I am at this race every 2-3 years or so and have had a baby boy in between each Blue Ox race... 

2013: 7 month old E
2016: 3 year old E + 1 year old W
2019: 6 year old E + 4 year old W + almost 2 year old C
2021: 8 year old E + 6 year old W + almost 4 year old C + 1 year old S

Thank you, Jesus, that our family has been growing like crazy over the past 8 years! Though I will say this mama is tired and the pattern will likely not continue from here on out. Our hands are full with four boys in the best kind of way :)

...

Training for the past 12 weeks was focused primarily on the Fargo Half Marathon (from two weeks ago) with longer long runs, tempos, and speed efforts thrown in to work for this full marathon as well. I recovered for a few days after the Fargo 13.1, acquired a moderate lower calf strain, and then tapered for the next week leading up to Blue Ox. Thankfully the calf strain resolved itself after icing, compression and easy runs.

Mileage for the half marathon I raced in the Spring was a super low average of 27.5 mpw. For this Fall half and full, the weekly mileage average did increase to 36.4 mpw - still very low for marathon training but better than this Spring. Work in progress here! I'm gradually building up that base while doing my best to recover after baby and maintain a strength work base. 

The Fargo Half Marathon went really well two weeks ago and my goal at the Blue Ox was to run a smart marathon and to be happy with how I ran. Going for a PR in the half and trying to PR in a marathon soon after isn't always a great idea, but it was an idea anyways. 

All in all, I just wanted to end 2021 on a good note.

I lined up with my friend Amanda and planned to stay around 6:50 for the first half marathon of the race and to then re-evaluate based on how I felt. That has grown to be a fairly comfortable pace for long distances but this race would be different because I was running with my hydration pack (lack of volunteers/water stations for this year). I have only used my Orange Mud pack for training - never for racing before. That made me a little, or maybe a lot, nervous.

Trying out mom's hydration vest (w/o water pack in it)

The first half marathon felt okay. The pace was fine, I didn't feel overly fresh, but I'll tell you what - I was well hydrated! And I was in great company. Amanda and I were with two other runners for probably the first 11 or 12 miles or so and I really like running in a group. There is power to being in a pack!


But then, as I hit mile 12 or so, I started falling back. Mainly in self-preservation, because my calves/hams and even quads were feeling very fatigued. Not a skeletal feeling but the muscles. I wasn't sure if that is what cramping feels like, as I haven't had a huge problem with that before. They just felt like fire and there was WAY too much race left to be messing with that.

In hindsight, it could have been the fast paces we had been hitting, fatique from the half marathon PR two weeks ago, the extra weight from a full hydration vest OR more hilly terrain than I am used to. Or maybe my mega-low marathon mileage. Choose your poison? I have been thinking this one over, trying to trouble shoot for future races, but I'm guessing it's a combination of all the factors that lead to my burnt out legs. 

Despite the burning legs, I was really impressed to see the first half marathon was a 1:29:12 for this FULL marathon! That is a huge positive in the big scheme of things as a runner. This was my first year breaking a 1:30 half and then I happened to hit a sub-1:30 while in a full marathon! Pretty cool! Also lead to some discomfort later... #talesofapositivesplitrunner


The first half of the race was super speedy, and really I would have loved to maintain that speed throughout, but the reality of my training set in and I needed to shoot for a 7:15 to stay "alive" and well for the rest of the race. 

A positive to running this course before is that I know where the hills are. 
A negative to running this course is also that I know where the hills are. Hehe.

I shifted to a less speedy mindset and locked in to a marathon-shuffle-y pace. By mile 20, I was mad at my hydration vest (yes, mad at the inanimate object) and dropped it with my dad before turning on to Birchmont Drive. My shoulders were sore, I felt like a heavy Babe the Blue Ox myself and I was analyzing whether I actually drank enough out of my pack to make it worth carrying that weight for 20 miles. 

Per one source I had read earlier in the week, "According to a study that was done in 1978 at the University of Georgia, for every extra 5 pounds of weight, you slow down by 1.4 seconds per mile." At this point in the race, I was regretting carrying my hydration vest. But I felt torn, because especially in the marathon, fueling early and fueling often is so important. I tend to lose my want to drink/eat at the end and I didn't want to get in a rough spot there.

Thankfully, dad and my 6-year-old W were watching at mile 20 and I was able to leave my vest in their care! Freedom! I felt lighter but still pretty tired.


On this course, I struggle with the rolling hills from mile 20 and on. I am a big believer in walking when you need to and this tactic has helped me a lot in this course (it wasn't my goal but it happens)! My legs were on fire back in 2019, too :) I made it a goal to run half way up the larger hills, speed walk the other half and then run down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

With cramping, tight hips and leg muscles, this run up half/walk up half/run down strategy helps me mentally and it loosened my tightness, too. I also thought any chance of a PR was shot by this point, too.

"Oh well, just finish. I want to enjoy this, " were my thoughts from that point on.


I ended up hitting two fuel stations that had sports drinks - one from the race and one solely from spectators. The timing was perfect and SO appreciated!

I purposely didn't look at my watch's running time to avoid stressing over my finish time. I just kept putsing away. Saying hi to people, complimenting gals rocking their Zyia leggings (lots of them out there!) and cheering the half marathoners on. And smiling at the spectators - that's always fun and some seem surprised when marathoners are smiling at that point!

Psalm 119:32 was written on my hand and that helped me to focus. And maybe my prayer for the last mile of the race was, "Jesus, move my legs. Please move my legs!" That was a fancy prayer, wasn't it?

For that last little homestretch, the clock was now in sight and I saw a 3:10-something. I can make it! I picked up the pace as much as the ole legs allowed and, watching closely, saw that I crossed just before it switched to 3:11.

3:10:55

YES!!! The race didn't feel great (though it was more pleasant than 2019!), my pacing definitely wasn't perfect but a PR is a PR. I was glad to stop running and definitely hobbled more than after most of the marathons I have ran. Those legs just wouldn't loosen up. 


Amanda set a blazing fast Course Record and came in first! After spending some time on the ground, it was time to get up and hit the shower. Then off to a delicious lunch with our families! I actually had a BIG appetite after this race. Not the usual for me!

Marathon #14 was a good one. A memorable one. And a fine ending to 2021 racing. There are definitely things to work on for the next racing season. I'm thankful for the health and growth that God has blessed me with this year and for having my dad and W there to cheer me on. My mom gets the super-grandma award for staying back with the other three boys! Raising a young family really does take a "village" and I'm thankful for mine!


Lesson takeaway from this marathon: Avoid racing with a hydration pack at all costs if going for speed/time goal. Consider a handheld water bottle if the situation ever arises again!








Race Report: Fargo Half Marathon 2021

Fargo was my last 13.1 for 2021! I'm making it my goal to write up a race report BEFORE moving on to the next race. Considering the 26.2 is coming up (tomorrow), I better get these race-report-writing fingers in gear.

The kids and I took off without Leo to make it to the race expo before the 5k started. The expo seemed so normal! It felt great to be back in the hustle and bustle of the race environment. Even with a "smaller" event this year, Fargo is still a big race for our area. I didn't lose track of the kids and I did pick up my race number - that was a successful trip for me.

Afterwards, we found the campground, checked in and Leo drove in with the camper just in time. He set up, we hit the playground and ended the night with a campfire. No s'mores this trip but Oreos did suffice. The Lindenwood Campground was only 5 miles from the race start/finish, which was great, though the interstate was pretty loud all night long. Camping was still a fun adventure for us and their playground was amazing.

We did turn the heater on that night in the camper. Race day was set to be in the 40-50's, which was chilly at first but perfect running weather. Fargo Marathon is usually a May race (Covid changed that this year) and this weekend has actually been the Grand Forks Marathon in previous years. The cooler weather is a huge plus for chasing Fall PRs. 

I felt a little "meh" going in to the race. Tired from life but feeling a little tapered. Training has been creative this cycle, mixing half marathon and full marathon training. I usually don't run 20-milers for half training but needed to for the full. I don't usually run AS fast for strength days in full training but needed to for the half. 

So either this mixture of half & full training was going to be super helpful OR I was going to end up running mediocre at both distances. It was a great experiment :) 

Going in to the half marathon, I felt 100% healthy and uninjured! Just lacking a little energy. Maybe needed more coffee.

...

Pre-Race Nutshell: I enjoyed the time visiting with friends, seeing running faces that I have missed, and the lack of bathroom lines in the Fargodome just rocks. They have bathrooms for days. A runner's dream. 

When it was time to line up, I snuggled in behind the Elite fast people and in front of the 1:30 or 1:40 pace group. 

Overall the run was pretty uneventful, in a good way! What I love about running Fargo is that I was never running alone. I always had a pack to run with or someone to chase. When I train solo for the majority of my runs, having company during the race is a great motivator and really passes the miles quickly.

Fueling went well. I had one Clif gel with water around the 7-mile mark and I think that was it for gels. (This is why I should write race reports asap! I can't remember all the details now) At the other aid stations, I took mostly sports drink because I am always in need of calories, even in a half. Breastfeeding a baby makes me a calorie monster for long distance running! ALWAYS. HUNGRY. Always. Thirsty.

Splits were fairly even with my main "crash" being around mile 11. Nothing went over the 7-min mark and that was a big improvement from this Spring's Summer Rocks Half Marathon!


I felt tired but strong overall and the pace felt good. Comfortably hard! For the homestretch, I had a sprint left in me and actually felt pretty fresh doing so. Didn't trip/fall = success.

Finish Time: 1:26:30. The final sprint was worth it to finish in an even time like that. It makes my type-A personality smile :) 

They had a nice spread of great food at the finish line: donuts, donuts, more donuts, toll house pink cookies (my favorite), chocolate milk, chips, fruit, the works! I love a good finish line buffet! I waited for a friend to finish, we stretched and recapped the race before heading out.

Back to the campground - shower - eat lunch - and to the Zoo we went! Running the half marathon left some gas in my tank and going to the zoo was really fun. 

I call this zoo friend, "My Monday Face":

Camping with kiddos is chaotic but the memories are worth it! Leo made pancakes for Nat'l Pancake Day the next morning and we headed home. We were glad to head home, too.

The Fargo Half Marathon was SO fun and getting back to the race atmosphere was a blast! Running a PR was a great way to end my half marathon racing for the year. On this end of training, I feel like running the marathon mileage (longer long runs, longer tempo runs, more mileage), benefited my half marathon race. 

Now for the last part of the experiment: Will the half training speed be beneficial for racing a full two weeks later? (Sidenote: I feel WAY better than when I have raced full marathons two weeks apart!)

Blue Ox Marathon, coming up tomorrow.



Race Report: Summer Sole 10k

Running has been an adventure this year. That's for sure! And, really, a lot of fun.

We're celebrating Baby S' FIRST Birthday this Saturday! It's insane... where did the past year go?! Getting to know this little man and now seeing his toddler antics come out is really a lot of fun. He only stops moving when he's sleeping and enjoys ninja kicking/punching people and random things around the house. Any chance that having three older brothers influenced his behavior?

As far as running goes, my body usually takes that first year postpartum to get back to where I left off in the last season - before the pregnancy. If that makes sense.

The goal over this past year and running season has been to gradually build mileage, to continue strength training and to not get injured (like after baby #3!). Praise Jesus, I have been more physically "sound" this running season than ever before! Definitely more sleep deprived, definitely more stressed (aren't we all? thanks, covid), definitely more on my plate than ever before yet the year has gone surprisingly well. 

After coming back to running after having our second boy in 2015, I had written on the blog that my goal was to get comfortable with the 7:00-7:30/mile pace. Over the years, that goal became much more attainable! Then training for the marathons in 2019, my tempo pace goal was usually 7:05 or so. Low 7's. It didn't necessarily translate to the marathon that year (ended up 7:18 avg) but my body did adapt and become more efficient at low 7's. 

Isn't it amazing to see what our bodies are capable of? 

After our fourth boy, I have been whittling away at that "comfortable" pace zone and didn't hurry back into the long long distances, technically. No marathons at 7 months postpartum this time! I have enjoyed shorter races, track workouts and building the confidence to run in the 6/min miles for long stretches. It's not so bad... I would dare to say it's getting to be fun.

Don't they say that running is 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head? ;)

Anyways. Running Goal for the rest of this year: Race smart, run the pace confidently and stay physically sound (and mentally, emotionally sound is nice, too).

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Time for a quick 10k race report! 

I wasn't feeling great when I hit the hay on Friday night before the race. Woke up with a sick, unsettled stomach that morning - nerves, maybe? I wasn't sure but figured I would go for it. I hitched a ride with a friend and her mom; company always makes things more fun! 

Long story short, my stomach never did settle. It just hurt. No matter what I ate or drank; no matter how many times I was in the porta-potty line. Gross, I know.

The paces pretty much say it all! Ouch. Started out at the pace I wanted and couldn't maintain it at all. One thing I did maintain was not throwing up. I am proud of that! I was hoping to practice the 6:30 pace I wanted to run for Fargo's Half Marathon, though that plan changed quickly.

Hung on, barely, and finished! 
 

 First female and a PR! But not the race that I was going for. I was happy with the day though because it was 100% the best I could run, given how I was feeling! I really hoped that this wasn't a preview of how pacing would go for the Fargo Half - maybe I wasn't fit enough to keep a 6:30-something going? If I couldn't keep at it for a 10k, a half wasn't really going to work out. 
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Plot twist:
After hitching a ride home, I ended up running a fever and having some major mastitis set in. I forgot how painful that is! I spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday laying down, trying to rest. Tylenol kept the fever down and lots of hydration, rest and nursing baby helped the mastitis to chill out. 

The mastitis did resolve in a couple days and was thankfully WAY less painful by Monday. But whew. That is so not fun! (I was so close to going to the ER over the weekend!) As for what my body was fighting on Friday night leading up to that, I don't even know. But I am thankful I was able to push through the race. I know it's the prayers that helped to heal me without getting antibiotics and even lunch brought to us from our church family that helped me to recover - it takes a village and I'm so thankful for ours! 

So, race report in a nutshell, sometimes you do your best to train and race day just doesn't work out. That's part of life and part of running - it's not a failure, just a bump in the road of long-term improvements. 

I try to learn something from each race and with this one I'm not quite sure what it is. Maybe: 

"Beware of a teething nursling. You CAN get mastitis at 11 months postpartum"
or 
"Take off sweaty sports bra ASAP after races or workouts while lactating"

Good enough - those are the lessons learned this time! Mastitis aside, this was still a great experience overall.