Looking Ahead to 2018

killens-pondNow that the new year is almost upon us, and some runners have their race calendars planned out already, I thought it would be helpful to write up my race wish list for 2018.

  • nuun Year Dash (virtual) ~ January 12, 2018 (until January 21)
    • I love virtual races, especially in the winter, because it means I don’t have to drag the family along with me!
  • Angela Ivory Memorial 50K ~ January 20, 2018 (FREE!) Killen’s Pond State Park ~ Felton, DE
    • Course description: A 3.12 mile dirt loop, totally within Killen’s Pond State Park. Roots, rocks, but gentler than most trails. North trail is broad and mostly dirt. Southside trail is single track with some roots and rocks.
    • I ran 7 miles of this race last year before having to leave for a toddler’s birthday party. Here’s my mini race recap.
  • Chocolate 5K Run/Walk ~ February 10, 2018 Delaware Technical Community College ~ Dover, DE
    • My friend Lindsey often does this race, and it looks like so much fun!
    • Post-race festivities include food & beverage—everything chocolate!
  • atTAcK Addiction 5K – E-Racing the Stigma ~ March 3, 2018 New Castle, DE
    • I love this race, since it’s usually around my birthday! In 2018, it’s a day before my 36th birthday, plus it happens to be right around the corner from my in-laws’ house.
    • Proceeds from the event will benefit atTAcK addiction, a grassroots 501(c)(3) charitable foundation established to assist individuals and families impacted by addiction. The organization provides support for recovering addicts and their loved ones, advocates for policy changes, educates families about opiate addiction and treatment options, works to prevent drug use, and strives to end the stigma of the disease.
  • Blue Earl 5K/Shuffle ~ April 2018
    • The Smyrna Clayton Running Club sponsored the first-ever Blue Earl 5K/Shuffle in 2017, and I’d love to return in 2018!
    • It was a well organized race, had great post-race food and beer, and attendance was stellar!
    • Here’s my race recap.
  • Dover Air Force Base Heritage Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk ~ April 2018?
    • This is a tricky one, because I can never find correct/updated information online to register. TriSports Events should have it listed properly, but the entry is from 2015 and says that I am “not allowed to view this race.”
  • Delaware Marathon Running Festival ~ April 29, 2018 Wilmington, DE
    • I PRed this course last year on Mother’s Day. Here’s my race recap. I’m disappointed that they changed the date for 2018, as this is always a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
    • This was a tough course for me because it was so hilly. I may opt to run the Dover AFB half instead, since they’re both in April.
  • Monster Mash Half Marathon ~ October 20, 2018 Dover, DE
    • At the time, I didn’t like the course, but I think it was just my mindset that particular day. I think if I had a pair of sunglasses or a visor, I would’ve been much happier!
    • Here’s my race recap.
  • C & D Canal Half Marathon ~ November 4, 2018 New Castle, DE
    • I ran the first year of this race and loved it! Some think that the out-and-back course is boring, but I loved looking at the water and running in a new-to-me spot.
    • Here’s my race recap.
  • Rehoboth Beach Marathon ~ December 8, 2018 Rehoboth Beach, DE
    • This is my absolute favorite all-time race EVER. Race Director Mary Beth and the countless volunteers are simply outstanding! Here’s this year’s race recap.
    • I’m nervous, because the Angry Toddler’s birthday is December 7, so we may have to schedule her party for a Sunday next year to accommodate this race (sorry, hubs!).

I tend to not race in the summer months, simply because I dislike being hot, and I’m usually marathon training. Do you have any races on your list for 2018? I’d love to hear about them!

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2018 Nuun Ambassador

NuunI’m wicked excited to announce that I’ve been chosen as one of the 2018 nuun ambassadors! I’ve used nuun for several years now, primarily during the summer months when hydration can be an issue. I’ve literally texted my husband mid-run to ask him to pretty-please prep a cold water bottle of nuun so that it would be ready when I got home!

My personal favorites so far of nuun Electrolytes are Cherry Limeade and Lemon + Lime (see a trend here?).

I’ve yet to try nuun Vitamins or nuun Performance, but you bet your bippy I will soon! You might be asking, “But Becky—what the heck is the difference? Isn’t nuun just nuun?!” Wrong-o! Here’s the breakdown:

  • nuun Electrolytes: When you exercise and sweat, you need to replace the electrolytes that you lose. Electrolytes are tiny electronically charged particles, and the four main electrolytes that play vital roles in hydration and exercise performance are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. nuun Electrolytes contain the following:
    • Sodium maintains fluids balance (360 mg).
    • Potassium prevents muscle cramps (100 mg).
    • Magnesium relaxes muscles (25 mg).
    • Calcium is required for normal muscle functions (13 mg).
  • nuun Vitamins: I don’t know about you, but I’m a slacker when it comes to taking vitamins. I remember to give the Angry Toddler hers, but that’s the extent of it. Each tablet is made from clean, plant-based ingredients and is gluten-free, vegan, soy/dairy free, and safe for clean sport, as well as low in sugar, portable, and convenient. Each tablet contains 11 vitamins and minerals, has only 10 calories, and delivers Vitamin A, folic acid, B6, and Vitamins C, E, and D for health and wellness.
  • nuun Performance: I’m a very visual person, so here comes a graphic! If you’re a middle-to-back-of the packer like myself, you’ll be out on a course for over 1.5 hours during a half marathon. nuun Performance uses the precise ratio and kinds of electrolytes and carbs (plus fluid) that are more fully absorbed during strenuous effort, like running a half or a full! The ingredients are in their purest forms to be more usable, and its powder form allows you to make exactly as much as you need each time.

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Note: Everyone needs a minimum of 30 grams of carb per hour per the American College of Sports Medicine. Weight, gender, duration, and intensity all influence how much more, if any, is needed.

So there you have it! If you haven’t tried nuun yet, then it’s a must! I’m looking forward to exploring the different flavors and options!

RACE RECAP: 2017 REHOBOTH BEACH MARATHON

I’m overjoyed to report that I completed the 2017 Rehoboth Beach Marathon on Saturday, December 2.

My amazing husband, Tom, drove an hour to pick up my race packet and goodie bag for me this year on Friday, since I had to work a full day. I didn’t want to grab my race packet the day of the race, since I’m always frazzled to begin with before race day.

I wrote a permission letter for Tom to pick up my bib in which I praised the race volunteers, and Linda Chi loved it so much that she read it out loud to the other volunteers, since I gave them HUGE kudos for all that they do. Linda even recognized my name from the Facebook group! If you’re thinking about running this race, don’t waste a second more—go join the Facebook group! It’s hilarious, informative, and includes some all-around, kick-ass folks.

The Angry Toddler had a sleepover with Tom’s aunt on Friday night so that we could relax and get to bed at a decent hour. This year, instead of Five Guys fries and Grotto Pizza, we elected for Mikimotos sushi. Mmmm. I got the California Dream, crab Rangoon, and an Oreo cheesecake dessert role.

I got to bed around 10:30 p.m. and actually had a decent night’s sleep! I wasn’t anxious before falling asleep, and I don’t recall waking up a lot during the night. Win-win!

We got up on Saturday morning at 5 a.m. with a plan to leave the house at 5:15 a.m. I quickly ran downstairs, smothered myself in Body Glide, got dressed, and shoved everything into the car. Normally I don’t eat before a race or long run, but I actually felt a little nauseous, so I grabbed a piece of bread and peanut butter, along with some coffee (thanks, hubs!).

Tom drove us the hour into Rehoboth, and even then, I really didn’t feel any pre-race nerves to speak of, which is very unusual for me. I should have felt ALL.THE.NERVES that morning, because my preparation/training cycle for this race was dismal. I ran two 10-milers, a half, and one 15-miler beforehand. That’s nowhere near how much I prepared for my 2015 full.

We found parking very easily fairly close to the start, and I even had time to use the actual restroom beforehand. The line was maybe ten women deep, but it went very quickly. While in line, I listened in to a 33-week-pregnant mom talk about how she was going to run the full. If I ever mention a feat such as this, slap the crazy out of me, please.

Here I am below in front of the starting line. It was chilly out but not horrendous (maybe close to 40 degrees?)

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I had planned to meet up with folks from the Smyrna Clayton Running Club (SCRC) around 6:30 a.m. and the awesome Ms. Brady from PlowOn Gum around 6:45 a.m. I saw Greg from the SCRC, and Brady managed to find me in the crowd as well. I think I need to work on my selfie skills here.

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Around 6:50 a.m. or so, I decided to try and find the 11-minute-per-mile sign and stake my claim. Lo and behold, I found another SCRC member (Candi) right next to me!

005bShe was running the half, so we chatted until they announced the start of the race, and off we went!

The course was the same as in 2015 from what I could tell, and I started off at a comfortable pace. This time, I didn’t run using my Nike+ Run Club app at all. I just wanted to run with a smile on my face, enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and try to stay consistent throughout. We started off in a residential area, as I weaved in and out of slower runners. It wasn’t all that congested, and I loved hearing the dull roar of runners at the start of a race. Folks were chatting with each other, getting situated with podcasts or music, and finding their flow. I, on the other hand, was fumbling with my bluetooth wireless headphones and wondering why I couldn’t hear my Another Mother Runner podcast episode loudly enough. Duh, Becky, it would be nice if you connected the darn device first. I had unknowingly been blasting the podcast for a minute or two, but thankfully the volume wasn’t up loud enough to distract other runners.

Tom texted me at the 5K and 10K marks to tell me that I was running at about a 10:30 pace, which was much faster than I had anticipated. His exact words were, “Slow down, killer.” In fact, from the 5K mark to the 10K mark, I actually increased my pace from 10:31 to 10:29 per mile. (Whaaaaaaaaaa?!) At the 10-mile mark, I was running at a pace of 10:38, versus back in 2015, when I was at an 11:14-minute pace. I’m not sure what I should contribute to my faster pace, except that for my first marathon, I think I was just trying to be more conservative, since I’d never run the distance before.

SplitsAt the half, I was at a 10:41-minute pace. Still not too shabby! At Mile 22, I was averaging a pace of 11:19, which is still really strong for me that far into a race—considering I slowed down to about that pace already at the 10-mile point in my 2015 full. Here I am toward the very beginning of the race:

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The course delivered all that I had remembered—Gordons Pond Trail and Cape Henlopen State Park were nothing but majestic (except for the occasional runner in the woods peeing), and the surface of the bridge along Gordons Pond somehow felt easier to run on than in 2015. (I’m sure this was just my imagination.)

I remember telling runners on the Facebook page that you don’t run in sand at all during the full, but we in fact sort of did run in sand near the Lewes Beach parking lot! I think I muttered a curse word under my breath as I tried not to get sand in my shoes. I did, however, chuckle at the tiny cups of ice cream that the local Dairy Queen was giving out after you run around the parking lot!

I remembered in 2015 that I stopped at Mile 7 to use the porta-potty, so my goal this time was to get at least to the half-way point before I used one. I knew I wanted to get well out of Cape Henlopen State Park before I stopped for a break. I made it until after the 13.1-mile mark to make a quick pit stop at a porta-potty.

I think mentally, the worst part is the Junction and Breakwater Trail area for me personally. It’s this out-and-back section that seems to last FOREVER, even though it’s only Miles 21–24ish on the course.

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Just before Mile 24, the 5-hour pacer approached me from behind and said some words of encouragement. At that point, I was walking, so I really appreciated her comment/kick-in-the-butt to get moving again. I told her that I was trying to get under 4 hours, 58 minutes, and I asked her how close to the 5-hour mark we were at that point. She said that if I picked up my pace and stayed ahead of her, I’d get in under 5 hours for sure.

After Mile 24, after trying to chew some Jelly Belly Sports Beans as quickly as humanly possible (and it’s not really possible), I decided to go for it all and kick my performance into high gear. I switched from a The Running Lifestyle Show podcast episode to my marathon playlist. This year, I only had a few songs in my arsenal, but all of them reminded me of my husband and the Angry Toddler.

  1. Beggin’ by Madcon
  2. Try Everything by Shakira
  3. Fight Song by Rachel Platten

And that’s it. Yep, three songs. But boy did I mouth the words feverishly to each song. Here I am singing in my head and gettin’ it done.

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Lo and behold, I finished in 5 hours and 12 seconds. Either the 5-hour pacer was off, or I was, but guess what? I gave it my all. I ran with intention (for Shelby, Lucy, John’ya, and Seb). I ran with joy in my heart. And I did it—I completed my second full marathon! That’s a win in my book.

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xoxox,
Becky

Top-10 Runners’ 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

I’ve been feeling very festive lately (don’t kill me, yes, I have started listening to Christmas music), so I wanted to share a few items that are on my runner’s holiday gift list. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Feetures Elite Ultra Light No-Show Tab women’s running socks:
    Feetures is definitely my go-to running sock. If for whatever reason your socks have holes or die on you, the company will replace them FOR FREE. I’ve personally done this myself, and it was a very quick process.
  2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16s: I’ve tried the 17s recently, and my outsole/midsole hurt like none other. I have heard that you may need to size up on the 17s, which I did not do; however, I’ve put more than 450 miles on the 16s, and they’re just now starting to wear down. I foresee another pair of 16s on my Christmas list this year! I find it comical that in last year’s holiday wish list, I talked about the 17s!
  3. Bart Yasso’s Runner’s World Race Everything: How to Conquer Any Race at Any Distance in Any Environment and Have Fun Doing It: I recently listening to a Marathon Training Academy (MTA) podcast episode where Bart Yasso talked about his new book. I used to be a voracious reader, but these days, if I want to finish a book, it needs to be an audio book that I listen to while I’m running (duh).
  4. Campfire S’mores Gu flavor: I’ve only tried this flavor once, but it was delicious! I never thought I was very picky when it came to running gel flavors, but after my mint chocolate debacle, I’ll be sticky to flavors that I know I love. Espresso Love Gu is still my first love.
  5. Generation UCan Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars: While I have no tried these yet, they are on my wish list! I hear Angie and Trevor talk about them on the MTA podcast, and they sound like a great alternative to gels on long runs.
  6. Generation UCan Fitness Trial Box: This item looks very cool as well. You get quite a lot for $20!
  7. RunnerBox or StrideBox: Both look equally awesome. I know that Meagan from The Runner Girls Podcast loves her StrideBox, and I’m always so intrigued to hear what she gets in hers. I’m not the kind of person that would be bummed out if I didn’t particularly love an item or two in each box.
  8. PlowOn Gum: C’mon now. You know that I cannot write my yearly Christmas list without Plow entering the mix! Plus it’s green—how much more “holiday” can you get?!
  9. Women’s Running Magazine: It’s no secret that if I could land an editorial dream job at any running magazine or publisher I’d be on Cloud 9. But since that can’t happen, I’d be just as happy reading this publication as part of my two-second Mommy downtime routine.
  10. Orange Mud Endurance Pack: My Walmart special won’t last much longer, and I apparently drink water like it’s going out of style on long runs. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Orange Mud; the front pockets look like they would fit my cell phone and nutrition very well!

 

 

Happy Halloween, Runner Friends!

Happy Halloween, dear runner friends! What will you be doing tonight?

Disney’s Haunted Mansion ghost bride, a.k.a. the Angry Toddler, wishes you the spookiest of Halloweens.

I gave myself a treat by ordering a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17s that should arrive on November 2. (Thank YOU, Amazon Prime!) My current Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16s have close to 450 miles on them, and I could tell they were wearing out by some shin and foot pain I’ve been experiencing. (That’s usually my cue that it’s time to find some new Brooks!) I can’t wait to test them out and see how they feel compared to the 16s.

Dely_Bride

Race Recap: Monster Mash Half Marathon 10/21/17

I’m going to sum up this half marathon race recap in three phrases—ears of corn, exasperation, and end in sight. I’ve seen a slight trend in signing up for full marathons and then dropping down to the half distance before race day due to lack of training. I’m placing ZERO judgment here—it’s no surprise that I did the same thing for the Monster Mash race in Dover, DE on October 21, 2017.

I trained fairly consistently throughout the weeks, since I ran during my lunch breaks, but it was nearly impossible for awhile there to get in my long runs on weekends due to scheduling conflicts (work, Angry Toddler’s soccer, and so on) and plain lack of motivation. My heart wasn’t truly into a full, and quite frankly, I was A-OK with that. There was a little pang of regret as I emailed the amazing race director, Kent Buckson, to drop to the half, but it was an extremely seamless process that did not cost any extra.

The day before the race, I went to packet pick-up, which was at a simple white tent set up next to Miles the Monster (see pictures below). The race began at the Dover International Speedway, so to get to the packet pick-up area, you had to drive around the perimeter of the Speedway. I frankly had no idea if I was going the right way, as I couldn’t see any other cars around, but I figured I’d take my chances. I finally found it; luckily the line wasn’t too long, since I took my lunch break that day to pick up my bib. I kind of wish they had a small expo set up with items to purchase, but they didn’t have anything at all to offer.

The goody bags themselves (not the contents) were from the Rehoboth Beach Running Company, which I found odd, since the race wasn’t put on by the RBRC. Nevertheless, the bags contained a full-size Snickers bar, an awesome car magnet, some cute gummy Halloween candy (which I saved for the Angry Toddler), and a few flyers. When I shuffled over to grab my race t-shirt, they didn’t have my size listed on my race bib, so I asked for a medium. The volunteer held up a shirt that looked just about the Angry Toddler’s size. I laughed sheepishly, turned a nice shade of maroon, and asked what an extra large looked like. It looked humongous, so I grabbed a large and ran back to my car.

Side note: I’ve been feeling that “I’m-not-a-real-runner” feeling lately—whether it’s because I dropped from the full to the half, or I feel like I need to lose weight, or I haven’t been running as much as I should—so I stupidly compared myself to other runners picking up their bibs, and I was nervous that the large t-shirt wouldn’t fit nicely. (It does fit, thankfully!)

My mom was in town from New Hampshire that weekend, so she stayed home with the Angry Toddler on race morning while hubs brought me to the starting line. We got up at 5:45 a.m., and we left the house to go to the Speedway around 6:15 a.m. The race was supposed to start promptly at 7 a.m., and we live less than ten minutes from the Dover International Speedway. It was pitch dark and around 50 degrees or so at that point. Here I am before the race posing in front of Miles the Monster.

BeforeOh, did I mention that we danced the night away the night before at our annual Freebery family Halloween party?! I wore black heels, and of course one gave me a blister on my right heel. It hurt a little (even with a Band-Aid), so that was in the back of my mind on race morning for sure.

I used the porta-potty once before the race start, we listened to the opening ceremonies, and then I left hubs so that I could walk to the race starting line inside the Speedway. Hubs went home to go wake up the Angry Toddler and my mom to make sure that they were ready to meet me at the finish line. Here’s a picture of the race track as we walked inside the Speedway.

Track

I saw a few pacers around and lined up a little bit behind the 2:15 pacer. My goal was to beat my last half PR of 2:15-and change, but I also knew that I hadn’t been running as much, so I just wanted to enjoy the race, since I’ve never run on this course before and it’s in my home city.

We started promptly at 7 a.m., and we ran the first mile on the track. I didn’t start my Nike+ Run Club app, since I’m still trying to do Tina Muir’s #NoWatchMe while racing. I quickly found the 2:15 pacer about half a mile in and tried to keep up with him and a few others following him. We ran out of the Speedway, down near where I live, around the center of the city, and then out toward what I’ll lovingly refer to as the “corn field area”. The entire course was flat (for the most part, but I’ll get into that later), and we were running into the sun, so I really wish I owned a pair of running sunglasses or had thought to wear a visor!

I kept up with Greg (the 2:15 pacer) for about five miles or so. Come to find out, he’s part of the Smyrna Clayton Running Club! Our president, Sarah, was positioned along the course in a few spots to cheer us on and take pictures, so that was an awesome surprise. Thank you, Sarah! I’d love to see any pictures that you took!

Around Mile 4, we chatted for a bit, but I’m so not skilled in talking and running, so I tried to make my responses short and sweet. I’m so sorry, Greg! In my mind, I really wanted to talk more, learn about how you became a pacer, what races you’ve run, etc. but I was too afraid that would require me to respond back—hah! I really hope you didn’t think I was rude! I knew I needed to take my first Gu around that time too, so I used that as an excuse to slow down at a nearby water stop and take my fabulous S’mores Gu gel.

Around Mile 5, I just couldn’t keep up with the 2:15 group anymore. Only two or three people were around Greg at that point, and one woman dropped back with me, so I didn’t feel so bad. I knew that in my mind that was the definitive moment when I wouldn’t be able to get a PR, but there was so much race left that I couldn’t worry about it too much. I say that, but at the same time, I know I walked way more than I should have after that point. I wasn’t in pain (although my left hip was getting tight), I wasn’t completely winded . . . I was just well, lazy?

I’m beating myself up now thinking about this race, because I had so much more in me that I didn’t use. I didn’t push myself at all, and I didn’t run to my full potential. I have zero excuses for that, too.

Around Mile 8 I took my second Gu. I have no idea why, but I thought that chocolate mint flavor would be tasty. It was not. I actually felt nauseous, and it was way too sweet/sticky. The S’mores Gu before that was delicious, so I’m not sure why this one was absolutely revolting. I barely gagged it down, and I felt like I walked all the more to recover from it.

I was definitely playing mind games with myself at this point. Five more miles to go?! Why did it seem like such a long distance at that point? C’mon, Becky, you’ve run a full marathon before and used to do the half distance while training like it was no big deal!

Needless to say, I texted hubs around Mile 10 to make sure they had left the house to get to the finish line on time. I tried texting him before that in the land o’ corn, but I had no cell service! I—like many runners do—starting doing the math to see how fast I’d have to run to make up some time and possibly get close to a 2:15 race. I would’ve had to run sub-10-minute miles, which I knew wasn’t about to happen. Around Mile 12, I saw the woman who had dropped back with me what felt like eons ago, and we did the walk/run/I pass you/you pass me game for the rest of the race. Just before Mile 13, there was a bridge and the only hill/incline of the race. Of course I was flinging expletives in my head at the point, because all I wanted was a fast, downhill finish! I can’t complain though, because the rest of the course was nearly pancake flat. (Thank you, Delaware.)

At Mile 13, I finally gave it my all. I ran like my life depended on it, and I crossed the finish line in 2:21:45. Not my best half time, but not my worst either! My average is around 2:22, and I was 26 out of 43 women in my age group. Here I am with hubs and the Angry Toddler after the race.

After_Fam

The race medal was in the shape of a bat and absolutely huge! I love it! We couldn’t find any post-race food aside from water and bananas, but I didn’t feel like eating anything anyway, which is unusual for me. I sort of felt sick to my stomach still, and all I wanted was to chug some water. We walked around for a few minutes so that I could shake out my legs, and then we went home to eat breakfast. (Thanks, Mom!)

Overall, although I cursed the course (boring, too much corn, not enough spectators), I really do think I’d like to do this race again, perhaps as a redemption race. If I do it again, I’ll take my own hydration with me, bring different Gus, wear a visor or sunglasses, and play some music instead of podcasts. I’m not sure why I didn’t think to listen to music during my slumps, but it just didn’t dawn on me. Hey, lessons learned, right?!

Bike-o-rama

Thanks to my awesome mother-in-law, I’ll be the new owner of her old bicycle at some point in the near future. I rode a bike when I was a kid of course, but I haven’t ridden one probably since our honeymoon in Key West in 2014!

Since hubs’ work schedule includes weekends now, it will be nice to have a different mode of transportation for the Angry Toddler if I get an attachment like this. That way, we can ride around together without feeling unsafe. Granted, I’ll stick to side streets that are less populated because I’m a nervous Nelly, but I think she’ll love it!

We tried out our old jogging stroller last weekend, and man I forgot how grueling running with a toddler is. We literally ran less than a mile to the park, and my arms were tired. Of course that means I just have to build up my strength, but I’m a wimp and don’t like difficult things. (Not to mention the fact that the Angry Toddler kept asking if we were running or walking—like she couldn’t tell the difference in speeds. Psshttt.)

I digress . . . I also want to look into investing in a bike stand that turns your road bike into a stationary version! That way I can cross train on bad-weather days or for days when I don’t want to deal with fighting cars on the road.

Do you bike often? Do you use a stationary stand? I’d love to hear your experience with biking and any tips/tricks that I need to know!