#RuntheYear 2022 + Knockaround Slingshot Snow Goggle Review

Disclaimer: I received Knockaround Slingshot Snow Goggles 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!

My 2022 running adventures have finally come to a close! It's been an amazing running year and also a pretty crazy exciting year as far as personal life goes as well. We moved to our dream farm in July, which was a lot of work and also so cool. The snow this winter has been intense but we love it out here.

After running CIM in early December, I planned to take a solid two weeks off of running.  That turned into one week off going as planned and then 10 days of doing bare minimum childcare + laying on the couch with influenza. And THEN a sinus infection followed that! Thankfully the kids are super hardy and were only sick for a couple days; unlike me. 

Finally, I made it back to running and realized I only needed to run 24 miles to "run the year" for 2022. My motivation to run in this icy, cold tundra was struggling but this new-to-me challenge got me out the door! I finished the 2,022 miles yesterday - which was a whopping 717 more miles than I ran last year! Insane. I'm not sure how that's even possible!

Our winter has been very white, snow-blizzardy and stinkin' cold, which created the perfect environment for testing Knockaround's Slingshot Snow Goggles. As a Bibrave Pro, I had the opportunity to pick snow goggles or sunnies (which are also awesome) and figured I best prepare for all the months of winter running that lie ahead. Snow goggles it is! 

Snow dogs on the frozen prairie

I have raced in snow goggles very sparingly, usually borrowing my husband's old goggles, but they would fog up and didn't fit me correctly. The Knockaround Slingshots are my very first pair of goggles that are MINE! That's not to say people in my family aren't mysteriously sneaking off with them though. 

So first off, Knockaround's Snow Goggles are useful for pretty much everything winter! 

Whether it be doing chicken chores for your kids because it's too cold to send them outside (think -35°F windchill)...

Helping the toddler ride his mini snowcat...

Snow blowing out the farm yard on our tractor without a cab or packing them along as emergency winter gear while driving to work in a blizzard. That's all Leo there! He prefers the magnetic yellow lens which are for overcast or low light conditions (VLT = 62%).

The Slingshot goggles have come in handy in so many ways - not just running - this winter! 

A few of the key features are: 
  • UV400 Protection 
  • Anti-glare and anti-fog coating 
  • Revo Sky Blue lens is best for sunny conditions (VLT = 14.5%) plus the bonus yellow lenses for low light conditions. Easy to swap out magnetic lenses! 
  • 45mm elastic strap w/ adjustable buckle

As for running, I have gotten so much use out of the Slinghots and we still have at least three months left of winter! Uffda. Having eye protection makes it much easier to run in our windy, flat open country and in almost any weather. On nicer days, I put the goggles down to run into the wind and then prop them up on my head when I have a tailwind. They fit well in either spot and any icing up has been very minimal, even on my coldest days of running.

The Slingshots are currently priced at $85 on Knockaround.com and that includes both magnetic lenses, a hardy case, and lens cleaning cloth. Definitely worth it! 

For 2023, I'm looking forward to another year of BibRave adventures and now taking on the role of Captain for my first year! I have a great group of cohorts to work with and look forward to all the year brings. On the running front, I will be building up my training base in January and then on to Fargo Marathon training - my first BibRave race for 2023 :) 

May God bless you & your loved ones in the New Year! 

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Race Report: California International Marathon 2022

Running a marathon in December isn't generally something that most Midwesterners do, and it certainly isn't something that I have done before!

To just briefly (or not) touch on training for a late marathon, I will just say it was a little complicated but worked out the absolute best it could have. 

On the downside, I hit the treadmill or drove into town for any major long run or workout during the busier harvest times and especially beet season (that starts October 1st) to avoid getting in the way of the big trucks on our country roads. After harvest cooled down, deer season followed and I still stuck to the town running or treadmill while that was in full swing. Then an early season blizzard and the snow hasn't left since, which isn't a deal breaker. I biffed it once on our trail in the snow and caused some issues in my left knee but, praise the Lord, it eventually resolved with time, rolling and a visit to the chiro.

As for what went well, this was my first training cycle working with Coach Pooley and the Dakota Distance Project, which I really enjoyed! Training felt well-balanced and always interesting. Running 6 days a week was perfect and there was one week of running 7 days a week - which I have NEVER done before. It turns out that survived and didn't even hate it ;) I did keep up the strength program and pilates that G Personal Training taught me this spring and that helped my body to handle the training days and gradual increase in mileage. Sessions were never super long, which I like, but they were effective and I didn't struggle with any hamstring tightness or hip weakness like I have had in previous years.

Our family also didn't get a major sickness of any sort this training cycle. WHAT?! I had been thinking that before the race and only now dare to say it, now that the race is done. Maybe our immune systems took notes after the terrible bout of the C-virus a year ago and the worst stomach flu I have ever had that happened in the spring. Gosh, what a gift it is to feel healthy!

The 12-week training block looked like this, not including the months of base prior to it: 
01 - 37.10 recovery (Dick Beardsley Half Marathon, prior week)
02 - 50.07
03 - 53.72
04 - 47.31, Blue Ox 26k
05 - 37.10, recovery
06 - 50.07
08 - 60.35
09 - 63.15 *New highest mileage ever PR!
10 - 52.04
11 - 40.36
12 - RACE WEEK: 52.3
This training cycle involved way more races than any of my previous build ups, two of which were races I wrote about for BibRave. As a mostly solo runner, having races and other runners to push me more often was extremely helpful. Even races that were more of a "training run" than race, I still pushed harder with other people than I ever would on my own. That isn't an easy thing to do for spring marathons because we don't have many early races here but, for a fall race, this was perfect. 

The weeks prior to this 12-week mileage chunk involved base-building and then fitness from earlier races. All helpful when it came to racing CIM! Training for Fargo Marathon in the spring averaged 45.3 mpw and this training cycle averaged 49.8, for any of you mileage nerds out there like me. 

Enough of the training, now onto the race!

My friend Amanda and I were so glad to get out of the blowing snow and wind of the Midwest! After our plane finally was able to de-ice and take off from the Twin Cities, we landed in Sacramento on Friday night. 

Ready for our warm California runcation, we walked out of the SAC airport and straight into a surprisingly chilly, wet weekend. 

After a long day of travel, we got to the hotel and said goodnight to this very active city: 

Mission for Saturday: Shake out run (very rainy and SO stinkin' cold!), the race expo + number pick-up and a wonderful Italian supper at II Fornaio. Butternut squash filled ravioli was beyond words... delicous.

Fast forward to race morning - we were feeling some nerves because of the absolute downpour that Saturday was. We were chilled to the bone after that quick Saturday shakeout run, so a marathon in that weather could easily end up in hypothermia. So we prayed that the weather would hold off for the run and went from there.

Early wake up, then we joined our friend Danielle and headed to the bus line to take us to the start line. We wore "throw away" layers to keep our race clothes dry. In hindsight, I really should buy a pack of cheap rain ponchos for races like this! That would have been very helpful this morning. After standing in quite the waiting line that wrapped around the block's sidewalk, we boarded the buses, wet shoes and all.

The bus was mostly cozy and warm until either someone up front cracked a window or the driver turned the a/c on? Brr. I felt pretty damp already and mostly looked out the window. I was nervous to trudge through the streets if the rain kept on like this. When my throw away clothes soaked, I could take off and throw away, but if my bottom layer got drenched, I would just have to hang in there and not stop running + freeze.

We were allowed to stay on the buses until 15 minutes to race start. But then there were the porta potties, too... Stay on the warm bus or start waiting in the porta potty lines? We were in a porta potty line with 7 runners in front of us and only 3 MINUTES until race start. 

I will spare you all potty-related details and just jump to the race itself :)

The elites were in front and then the rest of the groups were separated by self-seeded pacing groups. My fast friends headed up to 2:50 and I tucked myself in behind 3:00.

Goal for at least the first 10-12 miles: Keep it reeled in, stick to my "no faster than" pace, mine being being around 6:45-6:50. Thanks to Coach and Amy F for the wise pacing advice on this course - it was very needed! The continual rolling hills of the first half made pacing a little hard to read but I made a conscious effort to slow down if I peeked and saw a 6:3-something. Too soon for that. 

At the start, the actual 3-hour pacer sign was a ways ahead, just in the way the group was lined up. I thought about trying to catch up with them but stuck to the pace plan because they were FLYING. The group was big and, the closer I got to the group, the more boxed in I was. Aid stations were only on the right side (news to me) so after accidentally being on the far left side of the pack and needing to cut through the group to grab fuel once, I learned my lesson and stayed hooked to the ride side of the road. Some runners were super grumpy and serious - I'm not used to seeing that! Most are such fun, happy people.

So I sat by the back of that 3-hour group and waited, and waited. I wasn't sure when I was going to make a move but I knew moving too early would cause another blow up like Fargo Marathon this year (never again - that hurts!!!). I fueled much more than usual before/and in this race and this made me feel strong the entire time. Even when I didn't feel like taking in fuel, I took it anyways. That was also a little annoying because I could not leave that right side of the road! Not ideal for the hips, but a necessary evil, just for the time being.

A quick snapshot of fueling for this race:
  • super early breakfast of 1/2 bagel + PB + Banana, Nuun tab from Amanda with breakfast and graham crackers to snack on for the bus.
  • 1 UCAN Pineapple Edge Gel about an hour prior to the race while on bus, 1 UCAN Pineapple Edge Gel about :40 min prior... still on bus, and then a last minute Clif Mocha with caffeine + water sips while in porta potty line right before race.
  • Then gels at approximately mile 6 (vanilla/no caff), mile 10 (vanilla/no caff), mile 14 (vanilla/no caff), mile 18(mocha/ caff), mile 22 (vanilla/no caff)
  • at stations where I WASN'T taking a gel (need water with those gels), I drank the lemon-lime Nuun. I'm not sure I skipped a single aid station, at least that I can remember, until the very end of the race! Took 6 Clif gels in all, 2 UCAN.

The time came around the half marathon mark. My eyes saw us cross the half clock at 1:31... oye... trust the process, don't freak out (turns out it was 1:29:21 per the stats). I was feeling spunky and just naturally my legs decided it was the time to leave the 3-hour pack. They must have slowed a hair and I was ready to pick it up a hair.

Feeling strong and smooth, with just a slight twinge here and there from the lop-sided running on the aid station side. I tried to sit patiently and wait for the rolling hills to settle down. Surprisingly I didn't feel like any of the hills were difficult, there were just a lot of them and they kept on coming.

It's funny how you can make a "fast friend" in the short length of a race. I met Miriam from Toronto while in the 3-hour pace group. She is a mom of two, husband was racing as well and she had already broken 3-hours before. A happy, pleasant runner to be by! We had some short conversation and headed down the race course, past the 3-hour pace group and the mob of runners gradually spread out from there. This was a great time in the race because I was able to run on either side of the street now :)

Miriam was having a little knee issue but we traded off passing each other here and there. I told her what Amy F had told me about this final push, the gist of it was: don't underestimate how fast you can run after the 18-20 mile point.    

The miles kept flying by and I was feeling good; still holding some back. The dreaded mile 16 came, where Fargo started feeling terrible and I crashed. Then mile 18 (time for caffeine) and then a hill/bridge around mile 20. Okay, I guess negative splits work? I'm feeling tired but still fine.

Negative split strategy for the final 6.2 miles was two-by-two. Look at the miles in groupings of two. I like even numbers.

Around mile 23, my already black toenail felt like it starting to lift off. Good thing I KT-taped it to my foot. Runners do the weirdest thing. The toe was throbbing and quads were feeling the fire but I didn't feel like I needed to slowdown. Keep the legs firing.

At the 2:30 point of the race, I looked at my watch and thought "Amanda and Danielle are almostt done!". If I can really hit this sub-3 thing, I only have to run for less than 30 minutes. If I can hold this pace for a 30-minute-or-less tempo run, I can be DONE! That must be the glory of running 2-hour-something marathons. You get done sooner.

I ran by two situations where guys were dry heaving and puking on the side of the road. Don't look at them. It seems like dry heaving is contagious and once you start, you can't stop.

People dropping, walking, injuries. Don't look! Just run.

HOME STRETCH!!! As we ran down the final shoot, I think I was actually saying out loud to people, "we made it, we made! we did it!". Arms may have been pumping a little. I can't remember what is real or what was just in my mind at this point.

The final turn is in sight - huge smile, maybe crying a little or mumbling or who knows what. I see 2:59 on the clock and didn't bother to compare with my watch.

Just SPRINT (that's when the tongue comes out)

The legs felt tired but fast. 5:57 for the final third of a mile and then...


I felt great, for having just run a marathon, and was so happy with how the run itself went. I was pretty sure I finished sub-3 but didn't want to celebrate that part yet. Negative splitting and redemption for my terrible pacing debacle at Fargo earlier this year was already a huge win for me. Thank You, Lord, for carrying me through.

The watch said 2:57 - still a little skeptical. Better find Amanda.

She was exactly where we planned to meet up and was visiting with Heather (from @heatherrunz) who had just ran her 15th sub-3 marathon. WOW! It's awesome to finally meet the runners that we stay in touch with on IG!

Amanda ran her 2:49 PR, I ended up with a 2:57:17 PR and Danielle ran a 2:47 PR. What a day! One that could have been so cold, wet and rainy but God gave us this perfect day to run hard and get the job done.

I am so blessed to have great friends like this, an amazing family that held down the fort with our four munchkins, countless people who have blessed me & prayed for me during the marathon itself/training process and our coach & supportive team.

Very thankful. To God be the glory.   

Running sub-3 is awesome and I want to keep picking at that. Pacing smart is key and it's way more fun to run faster for a lesser amount of time. This was the perfect way to end the very long 2022 racing season! 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:30

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Race Report: FM Friday Fright Night 5k & Halloween Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry for the FM Halloween Run 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!

This past weekend was full of racing and a lot of cousin fun! The kids and I headed to Fargo for the Fargo Moorhead Halloween Run weekend which kicked off with the Friday Fright Night 5k that night. The race started at 6:30 pm and I took my youngest with me to lessen the load on my kid watchers. 

As we lined up, I was thinking "I wonder why I'm the only one with a stroller here". Then we got running and I realized why. Ha. Scary people actually pop out of the woods while you run down the path during this race and, as the sun went down, it was pretty creepy! Thankfully my fourth born is my fourth born. He's a tough little stinker and said in a calm voice, "I'm scared", and then he was good. 

So maybe I'm the world's worst parent for taking him (let the perfect parents out there cast the first stone) with but we were sure blazing saddles! Hopefully going fast enough that he didn't have much of a chance to be more scared. 

We ran hard and then stopped in the middle of the path. LOST. I waited for the guys behind me to catch up and then just stuck with that group. 

The Friday Fright Night 5k was not well marked out and being a mostly dark race didn't help things. S and I blew past the finish area and thankfully a giant taco waved to us to turn around and come back. When we finally crossed that finish line, we were at a 20:41, which is almost a stroller PR for me I guess? My watch also finished at 2.9 miles, so who knows what happened on that run! 

S got his candy at the end of the run and he was as happy as a clam.

The little guy and I headed back to my brother and sister-in-laws house for more cousin fun and PIZZA! Then to bed and I was headed back to the race on Saturday morning.  This time the entire crew stayed with my family.

I lined up with the 1:30 pace group and planned to hang with them until the last 4 or so miles of the race. There shouldn't be any getting lost with a pace group! This was originally set to be a workout for California International Marathon training but I really wanted to push it the whole length of the race.

I dressed as Mando for the 5k (S was my little Grogu) and the Mickey Mouse onesie was the costume of choice for the half marathon. There wasn't a test run for this costume so I just went for it. It is super soft but I felt like a giant puffball running! 

Main goal for this race was to go sub-1:30 and to have some fun.

The weather was perfect and my legs felt ALL the grind of marathon training. This has been the first week ever that I have ran 7 days in a row and that actually went really well. I didn't feel any freshness to my legs (last night with the stroller probably didn't help either) but I was able to hang with the 1:30 pace group. 

By the last few miles, the group spread out a little and there was only one bobble where I wasn't sure to turn. Thankfully the 1:30 pacer was just behind me and confirmed the turn I was questioning! There were quite a few turns on the course.   

My Mickey hood didn't want to stay up while running but I did put it on for the finish! I won't say I felt strong throughout the race but I was happy that I could grind through that pace on tired legs. Crossing the finish line in 1:28:32 was fine by me! 

I swapped into some regular clothes not long after crossing the finish - that Mickey suit is NOT sweat wicking and I was drenched (gross!). Overall this was an encouraging workout and another brick to stack on for marathon training. For running both the 5k and the half, I received a bonus Monster Medal as well - so that was pretty cool. The kids thought they were pretty gnarly! (I gave one to almost 5-year-old C for sharing his costume with me)

When I run mostly solo, having a group push me along while I don't necessarily "feel" like running a specific pace was helpful. And this was a nice practice run of running with a pace group for CIM - where I hope to hang with that sub-3:00 pace group by the skin of my teeth!

 If I can keep that 6:40 average pace on untapered legs, can I hold a 6:50 for twice as long after a peak and taper in this cycle? We'll find out soon. No matter the outcome, this training cycle has had some major breakthroughs and I'm excited about that! 

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Race Report: Bemidji Blue Ox 26k 2022

I went back to one of my favorite semi-close to home races this past weekend and this time with all four boys + my parents to cheer me on. That was pretty special! Leo isn't able to make it to October races due to the sugar beet harvest but it sure was great to have this group with me. 

Watching mom take off!

This year was a little different than the previous times I have raced the Blue Ox, in that I ran a 26-k's instead of 26.2 miles. The race weekend ended up with the most beautiful Fall weather you could ever ask for. As far as I can remember, I think this was the most beautiful Blue Ox Marathon I have ever ran! 

As far as the course goes, I basically skipped the first 9-mile loop and a mid-race out-and-back with this shorter distance. The 26k distance served as a nice training brick for the California International Marathon coming up in December and was an amazing experience. 

While some of my 26.2 race years here have been downright miserable in the end, I pretty much loved that 26k! 

Amazing fall photo that my mom took!

My goal going into the race was to keep an even 6:45/mile pace, essentially practicing and gaining confidence to hopefully keep that pace for the full marathon in California. I debated on wearing headphones for this because the full marathon distance can get so lonely at this smaller race. Thankfully I decided against it because the 26k was anything but lonely! 

After only a few miles mostly solo, I was running through the half marathoners and had their company (and a ton of people weaving - mixed feelings on that!) for the rest of the race. I do enjoy running with other people and it was nice cheering each other along! 

Splits that were a lot more even on paper than they actually felt! 

As we hit the rolling hills portion of the race, Coach Pooley told me to run up at a 7.5 effort and then speed up to a 9.5 on the way down. That worked beautifully and this was the first time ever that I didn't walk or really even struggle on those hills! Lets hope that translates to stronger hill legs for the upcoming marathon - and maybe I can come back next year and kill the hills running the Blue Ox full marathon instead :) 

The Psalm I thought of throughout this race (and in the course of life in general): Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24. There is no use in shrinking back and being intimidated by hard things to come. Face them head on, with the strength, courage and hope that comes from only our Lord Jesus Christ.
What we don't see: my left big toenail, deciding it hates me (I didn't even know!)

Almost everything went off without a hitch in this race! There was no need to carry my own hydration this year, as their aid stations were back to normal now after covid. The biggest troubles were trying to weave around half marathoners while running on the side of the highway with traffic and a teeny road shoulder to squeak by on. 

And then stopping a car from pulling out in front of me at the final stoplight, a mile or so out from the finish line! I put my hand up to signal "STOP!!!". In hindsight, good thing the person actually did stop because my legs didn't stop running either. Had it gone the other way, I may have been Blue Ox 26k roadkill... Hopefully volunteers will watch that intersection next time though I do understand that recruiting volunteers is no easy task. 

1:48:13 and an automatic PR - this is likely the only race course I will ever run as a 26k :) I wanted to finish under the 2-hour mark at least and it happened! The pace felt good, hills weren't terrible and I wasn't limping away at the end of this one. And the other thing - I felt like my legs didn't have much power at the Dick Beardsley Half last month and I ended up beating the time I ran there during this 26k effort (1:27:07 at the half). So that's encouraging that the training progress is being made!

After congratulating my fast friend who won the half (and I missed out on celebrating with another friend who won the 10k on Friday!), the family & I headed to find food and the Paul & Babe playground. We couldn't miss out on this perfect park-playing weather! 

Happy 10-Year Anniversary, Bemidji Blue Ox!

6:39 per mile, not 6:29 ;) 

Race Report: Dick Beardsley Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry for the Dick Beardsley Races 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!

The Dick Beardsley Half Marathon has been a bucket list race for me and I was so excited to finally get there this year. Our family made this one last camping trip for the season and that went off without a hitch (minus blowing a tire on the way down!). My goal since racing Fargo this spring was to work on pacing smart - possibly even negative splitting :) 

After parking the camper, I took a couple of the boys with me to the race expo. The expo was small and mainly featured packet pickup and the Friday night spaghetti feed.

We went on a wild goose chase after packet pickup to find a new spare tire for the drive home. It took a while but we eventually found something that would work and then headed to supper. The night got late but eventually the crew went to bed. 

I ended up forgetting to take a "flat runner" and snapped this quick on race morning: 
I enjoyed the company of one of our camp neighbors on the way to the race and ran into my friend Chels there also. The Dick Beardsley was smaller than I expected but it was very easy to find people before and after the race; and that I like! 

We talked for a while and then jumped into the line up. This race did have pacers available for a variety of goal finish times.

 Line up was quick and then we were off! We started and finished in the Kent Freeman Arena, which goofs with the watch pacing a little, but it's worth being able to wait in a nice cozy arena before the race. 

Free Race Pictures!

This race course usually circles the lake but had to be changed to an out-and-back this year, due to road construction. I had been told that the course had rolling hills and, being from the super flat lands, I wasn't quite sure what was meant by that. Just how rolly are these rolling hills :) 

My original goal was to hang by the 6:30's for the first half and the buckle down if I could for the last half. 

Spoiler alert - my pace goals didn't happen! I was running and thinking I was on pace - yet my watch was telling me a mix from 6:30's to 7:00's. Oye! My level of exertion just wasn't matching the pace, so in that first half of the race I decided to ditch the pace goal and run based on effort. It did feel like we were going up and down constantly!

The rolling hills didn't lend well to my pacing goals but this race should sow some benefits for the next races to come. My splits felt fairly even overall in spite of the climbs and downhills and I was encouraged that my legs didn't feel burnt out throughout the entire race. Even with the smaller race size, I had the company of another runner for most of the race, which was nice. Makes the run feel much easier!

I enjoyed the last few miles and crossed the finish in 1:27:44. This wasn't a PR but didn't feel like a failure either! I grabbed a cookie that the kids could eat and took some ice cream for myself (it was SO good!) at the finish line. 

Overall, this felt like a smart pacing effort and, as CIM training goes on, the "power" will come. Currently, I feel like my lungs have a lot of "umph" but my legs didn't have any speed - though this was officially marathon training week 1 (of 13), so that's a great start! 

Our final elevation gain for the Dick Beardsley Half was 317 ft, which is a whole lot more than I'm used to running and should serve me well for some upcoming October races! This course was beautiful and I do hope to race there again to circle the whole lake. 

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