Gear Review: Stunt Puppy collar

Disclaimer: I received an Go Dog Glow collar to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

Atlas really does do all his own stunts. And now his usual happy face has some ouchies to heal up, but that I what happens when you are a StuntPuppy.

Let me back up a bit… Those who follow my running antics on Instagram or Twitter might have caught all the pictures I post of my trail buddies over the years. My distance and cold weather run buddy is Atlas. Atlas is a Great Pyrenees / black lab mix. He is a fluffy, curly-tailed bundle of energy. His long legs enable him to keep up with me effortlessly, and his double coat makes him #TeamWinter.


Not one for conversation, but great company!

Since I run trails, I always use a hands-free leash. I like to be able to catch myself if I fall. (Rather than use my face.) When I learned about StuntPuppy leashes, I ordered one. We LOVED it. I got so much use out of it. And then our dog, Maggie, chewed up the buckle. Not cool, Maggie! I ordered another one right away.

A couple things I love about the StuntPuppy leash is that the bungee is long enough to give us some space. Atlas isn’t tripping me up at all. Yet, the leash isn’t too long so if I need to step off the side of the trail for a bike, he is in arms reach.


He is a ladies man! Behaved dogs on leashes welcome!

I appreciate dog owners who keep their dogs on a leash. Not only is it the law here, it is just being a good trail steward. I don’t like being surprised by off-leash dogs who run up on me. Yeah, sure. Of course, your dog “doesn’t bite.” Until he does. Or he jumps on me in excitement and knocks me down on a pile of rocks. Or he doesn’t like other dogs and goes after my dog, who tries to run away and drags me along behind him

But I digress… I love StuntPuppy and have purchased a few leashes. When I was asked if I wanted to try out a collar, I jumped at the chance. The Go Dog Glo comes in a variety of collars, but we chose Orange. (Matches my Orange Mud hydration gear!) The Dry Collar matches Atlas’s leash perfectly. It even has a reflective strip to keep him very visible on the trail to other runners and cyclists.


Busy trail? Dog under control!

Atlas has a big head and fluffy, thick fur. The collar sized right down for a snug fit that didn’t tug on his fur. The buckle was easy to fasten without catching all his fur. The Duraflex buckles are rated to 225 pounds of dog-pulling-fury! I have had problems with collars popping off with a strong tug, but this one stayed put through our 4 weeks of test runs.

Just like the leash bungee, the collar was always strong enough to keep him from escaping. The collar was great at not slipping over his head if he made a sudden stop. Sometimes collars start to loosen over time, but this one stayed true-to-size so I didn’t have to stop and adjust it mid-run. The collars adjust from 14 – 21” inches, so there is a range to fit most large and medium-sized dogs.


Photo Courtesy of

There is plenty of space on the collar to add tags. I don’t put them on a running collar since I don’t care to hear the jingle-jangle, but just know that there is space if you choose. I am really confident that Atlas would return to me if he got loose, so dog tags are not much of a concern for me.

Finally, the collar is stinkproof and waterproof. When he got thec ollar muddy from rolling around , a quick rinse and it was as good as new. It even held out to a surprise thunderstorm. The collar didn’t lose shape, become too loose, or fall apart.


Photo Courtesy of StuntPuppy

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Awww… You will be better soon, Atlas!

So why did I say Atlas does his own stunts? At the end of our test window (the weekend to do the up-close pictures of him collar), Atlas decided to try to escape from his kennel. He got his head stuck and roughed up is snout pretty good. Poor Atlas. He will be on the mend and back to running again soon. In the meantime, Auggie Doggie has been keeping me company.


August is on standby!

Atlas loves to run. StuntPuppy products make running with him so much more enjoyable when I don’t have to worry about equipment failure!

Planning my Runcation.

I have mentioned that I am signed up for Rock + Roll St. Louis on 10/15, and I am finally getting around to planning my time in St. Louis. I am working to balance having fun, yet not wearing myself out before the race. I tend to do that. A lot.

While I was researching running vacations, I also asked a few friends for recommendations on what to do in St. Louis… and also, what to do on a runcation in general. I have a couple friends who always seem to be jetting off to somewhere for a race, and figured I would get some pointers.

My friend, LaRisa, is doing Tulsa Run 10/28, which is around the same time I will be in St. Louis. That race sounds really fun – and this year is it’s 40th anniversary, so I am guessing the swag will be extra cool.

First up is considering what race you want to run. We all have different reasons for signing up for a race. Course? Location? BQ-rate? Weather? I factor in everything.


Start line in St. Louis

I think the most important factors for me in signing up for Rock and Roll St Louis was the race series and location. I have always wanted to do one of their races, and St. Louis is the closest race to KC. The swag for the races has always made me jealous. The medals?? YASSS.



As far as location goes, St. Louis will be an easy commute. Instead of driving, I plan to ride the Amtrak. I have never taken a train before and it seems like a fun idea. I won’t have to stress about driving out. I can just sit back and relax. And I plan to get there in plenty time to hit packet pick-up, eat, and get a good night’s rest.




I plan to stay at a hotel close to the course, and bonus: it has a view of the Arch! I like to stick close to the race so I don’t have to worry about a long drive over in the morning. Since I am riding the train out, I won’t have a car to get around.


In Tulsa, there are a lot of hotel options as well. LaRisa stayed in the Brady Arts District but added that Guthrie Green is nice as well.

One factor that Tulsa Run has going for it is the course. LaRisa had good things to say about the race course. The race seems inclusive of all ability levels as it includes 15K, 5K, and 2K, as well as a 15k/5k combo option. (Running the combo will get you an special ribbon to go with your medals).


LaRisa post-race in Tulsa

The Rock and Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis includes a 10k in addition to the 13.1, as well as a 5K the night before. Running the combo will earn you an extra medal. There are bands all along the course to keep you pumped.

Being out of town, there is a certain level of apprehension, maybe? You need to plan well and make sure you pack everything you might need. I always remind myself that I can purchase many supplies, if I forget them. But one year I did forget my water bottle and had to pick one up at the expo.

One they that can make you feel at home is hospitality from event staff. Smiling faces along the course. People jumping in to help you if you hit a bad spot. LaRisa said she had run the Tulsa Run twice before and said the race directors and volunteers were great. That definitely makes a difference with your race.


St. Louis course includes some amazing views

Something both races can boast about is their after-party. LaRisa said Tulsa’s a lot of fun. (A DJ and bounce houses!!) And although I haven’t done a R&R Race – I am really looking forward to partaking in all the post-race fun. The band Fastball is headlining!

Interested in signing up? Run with me by using   BIBRAVE15 which gives $15 off the Half, valid until 10/8. Run with LaRisa by using bibravetr for $5 off your race entry.

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock and Roll St. Louis race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”


Curse words make you faster.

Let’s talk about something fun for a bit: Mantras.

Whether you use them to get through a tough training session, or to push for a PR at a race… most of us probably have a couple go-to phrases that we like to repeat to ourselves. I have a potty-mouth, which I censor for this blog, but for this post, be prepared to cringe.

The first one I use is for my race alarm on my phone. (Sometimes I even write it on my inner-arm in Sharpie as a reminder). “Let’s Fuck Shit Up.”







The story behind this mantra is that Shalane said this to Kara at the Olympic Marathon starting line in London. It resonated with me. If you are more PC, you might say, “Let’s Shake Things Up,” I suppose. But I like the aggressive version. It is like an on-switch for beast mode, yes?




Next up, I have a bracelet with “Relentless” engraved on it. (Which is a nod to my blog name). The other bracelet I have is a bit more edgy. “HTFU” which means “Harden the Fuck Up,” since I would feel awkward having curse words on my jewelry. I even wear this bracelet to work on days that I am struggling. (Lupus is a bitch.) It is my own little nudge to not give up. For cyclists, they are likely familiar with HTFU as one of “The Rules” from Velo. (They also brought us the fabulous equation n + 1, which can be applied to running shoes as well as bicycles.)


During the race, I have a lot of phrases going through my mind. One that is usually on repeat “Move Your Ass.” Tough love. It works for me anyways. I am a lot more supportive of my sons when they run, mind you. I tell them “Kick!” and “Dig!” and “Don’t You Give Up!” And Bowie sometimes gets a “Move Your Butt!” when he kicks at the end.

What mantras do you have?

Triathlon 101: Gear for the SWIM.

I think a good place to start with Triathlon 101 is to talk about gear… and since swim is the first leg or the race, we will begin there.

Our expert for swim is Jennifer Harrison! (You can find her bio at the end of this post).

Let’s talk about what gear we need from head to toe. Here is a general swim gear checklist:

  • Race Day:
  • Swim Cap
  • Googles
  • Swimsuit or Trisuit / kit
  • Wetsuit (for open water, water temp dependent)
  • Speedsuit (again, for open water, water temp dependent)
  • Tri-Glide or other wetsuit lubricant

DR: It seems many triathlons tend to supply a color-coded swim cap. And really… If I need to provide my own, I tend to just pick ones that I think are neat. And it is a bonus if it will pull over my long hair. Do you have any personal preference for swim caps? I know they make them from different materials, but I have not experimented much.


My favorite TYR swimcaps

JH: They offer latex and silicon caps.  Latex are cheaper and more popular.  I personally like the latex ones  – I find that they are not too hot or not too loose.  I do not like caps that are loose!  And, latex caps are less expensive so races usually offer the latex ones.  Silicon ones tend to be heavier, hotter but also less restricting.

DR: I have also heard that some athletes wear two swimcaps, to prevent their goggles from being pulled off. Do you find that to be a problem? (Now I am worried about getting beaten up in the big races! Maybe I am lucky I tend to do ones with smaller wave starts!)

JH:I do not personally do this, but many do.  If you do this, make sure you practice it in training first.  Also, make sure you like the double caps and do not get too hot in the water.  BUT, many people like the security of the double caps to ensure their goggles stay on.

DR: Speaking of goggles… I have been thru a lot of pairs of them to try to find the magic pair that won’t fog up, won’t leak water, and won’t leave raccoon rings around my eyes. It seems like since we all like different goggles, it is probably specific to the swimmer, and personal preference on fit. Do you have any goggles that you like in particular?


My TYR swimcap and goggles on the long course

JH: I absolutely LOVE Speed Women Vanquishers.  I have like 30 pairs.  I used to be superstitious and buy a new pair before EVERY race.  I don’t do that anymore, but I still have many pairs.  Goggles are a personal preference, but finding the right pair is imperative!

DR: I have purchased TYR anti-fog for my goggles. Do you have any other tips to keep them from fogging up?

JH:Throw it away!   The secret is Johnson’s baby shampoo – put a drop in your goggles before you get them wet – and then rinse them out in the pool and they are GOLDEN!   Trust me on this!  NO anti-fog stuff – it will ulcerate your eyes if you don’t get all the stuff out – not good.


Photo courtesy of Jaime Berry

DR: How about different lenses for a pool swim versus open water, where you might get more glare from the sun?

JH:All swimmers should have a clear pair for very dark/cloudy days and then a mirrored pair or tinted pair for sunny days.   And, always carry both pairs for your races!

DR: Do you have any tips to keep the goggles from letting in water? I usually wet them a bit to get a good seal, but that tends to give me rings around the eyes.

JH:  We all get rings around the eyes – no getting past that if you want to keep the water out.  So, it is a balancing act.  I like my goggles tight, so I live w/ the raccoon eyes.  To me, way better than water in the goggles  – especially “dirty” lake water.  So, it is usually one or the other.


Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ann Neumeier

DR: Let’s talk about swimsuits for a bit. I think many athletes just getting started often wear a swimsuit for the swim and then throw on a t-shirt and shorts for the bike and run. And for short races, that is a good option since chafing won’t be as much of an issue. However, if they chose to move onto longer races, they will want to invest in a trisuit or trikit. Do you have a preference for a one-piece versus a two-piece kit? I like to wear a one-piece trisuit when I can because I find it more comfortable. Often, the tri-tops ride up while I run and I have to pull them back down a lot.


Photo courtesy of Susan Cho Oyler

JH:Correct, the one piece is also very aero-dynamic and does not move much from racing.   I like the 1 piece too sometimes, but I find that they are hot sometimes.  I actually race in the 2 piece more just because I like to have the ability to lift my top up if I am hot.

DR: A wetsuit probably isn’t something an athlete needs right away, but sounds like it is really vital when doing a Half Ironman or Ironman. (People seem to get really upset when the water temperature is not wetsuit legal). What advantages are there to wearing a wetsuit? At some point, it might take longer to get it back off than it would save in the water, right?


Photo courtesy of Lindsey Dillon

JH: An athlete – regardless of their swimming ability, is always faster in the wetsuit and also spends less energy swimming when in a wetsuit.  IF the wetsuit is legal, always wear it, no matter how short or long the race is.   Even if the athlete swims “easy” in the wetsuit because the water is so hot (76 degrees is HOT) – the athlete will expend less energy and be overall faster in the wetsuit.  

If the athlete practices getting the wetsuit off, it is fast and very limited time is lost.  However, the GAIN by wearing the wetsuit is priceless.

I always wear it – always when legal.   



Photo courtesy of Jaime Berry

DR: Can you tell us about the rules for wetsuits and water temp?

JH:USAT dictates this -→

As per USAT rules, if the water temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit or below then wetsuits ARE allowed. At 78.1 to 83.9 degrees Fahrenheit participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion; however, wearing a wetsuit in the temperature range will mean that the athletes are ineligible for awards.

DR: I think the first time I put on my wetsuit, it took me an hour (haha! Kidding!) . I used Tri-Glide like I was spraying myself down with Pam! Do you have any tips on how to get a wetsuit on without dislocating a shoulder?

JH:It does take awhile to get into a wetsuit, but if it is taking the athlete an hour to get in the wetsuit, the wetsuit may not be the best fit.  It may be too tight and thus too restricting.  Suit Juice is a GREAT product for lubrication.   Body Glide also works out well.


Photo courtesy of Kendra Krueger

DR: Do you have any experience with speedsuits? When would you wear one of those? And how are they different from a wetsuit?

JH: A speedsuit is what an athlete would wear OVER their tri kit for non-wetsuit swims.  They provide no buoyancy but they are aero-dynamic and “speedier” in the water.  They are very tight and offer a limitation of gapping from the TRI KITs.  I would recommend using them for all non-wetsuit legal swims.  My favorite is the ROKA.

DR: So once we are dressed and lined up in the water and ready to race, I like to splash the cold water on my face so that it isn’t as much of a shock when I dive in. What is your biggest tip for a successful swim?

JH: A few good tips:

  • KNOW the course.  If you can, swim the course the day before (parts of it, of course) and know how the sun will be during your race.   No surprises!
  • Know the buoys and how the course will flow.
  • If you are a timid swimmer, let the gun go off, let the swimmers go and wait just 5 seconds and go.  You will get cleaner water and less commotion.  It is worth it for 5 seconds.
  • Make sure your goggles will not fog up.  I mentioned using Johnson’s baby shampoo to clean out the goggles before you start (and fully rinse).  Do that!
  • Warm up in the swim for 5-10 minutes with a few 10” pick ups if you can.  The swim is always a very fast and hard start, so prepare your body for that!

Thank you, Jennifer! If anyone has any questions on swim gear, please feel free to reach out. We will talk more about swimming later when we cover the swim course, transitioning to bike, and training for the swim. Next we will continue our gear talk with bike gear!


BIO: Jennifer Harrison has been racing for 20+ years and has competed in over 200 triathlons from sprint to Ironman distances. Jennifer also coaches fulltime and runs a triathlon company called JHC Triathlon Coaching.  Jennifer lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Jerome, and her teenage twins, Graham and Morgan.

Triathlon 101: My First Race

In a couple weeks, I will be giving a demo session called “Triathlon 101” to athletes young and old, to introduce them to the sport of triathlon. I will be bringing lots of gear and hope to encourage a lot of sign-ups for this racing season!

I thought now would be a good time to share some knowledge here as well. While doing my Cyclocross 101 series, I brought in some experts to weigh in. I will be doing that here as well when I get into the nitty-gritty details.

So let’s get started!

Triathlon sounds like a lot harder than it is. The name alone sounds scary. And then thinking about swim-bike-run? I immediately thought about drowning, brain-eating amoeba in the lake, wrecking my bike, and about 20 other terrible scenarios.

I can tell you, none of those have happened to me. (I have fallen on my bike, but that happens to everyone while learning to clip in and out. Really! It wasn’t that bad!)

I was hanging out at the protein shake bar at the local gym when the guy who runs the parks and recreation department started talking about the new triathlon they were putting on. My ears perked up. I am a running… No way I could do that, right? But then they told me it was just a short swim. IN A POOL! And a 10 mile bike. And a 5K. Hey – I can do that!

I started hitting the Baldwin City pool in the morning during free lap swim. That happens early in the morning and was mostly attended by senior citizens walking up and down the lanes. Not such a scary audience to practice in front of.


Ready to ride over to my race!

I quickly figured out that I didn’t REALLY know how to swim. I hadn’t had lessons, so my swimming was all head-above-the-water Tarzan-style. So I starting Googling and You Tubing, reading up on breathing and rotation and flip turns. I only had a few weeks to learn, so I focused on just getting the breathing down.
Then I realized I needed a trisuit, cap, and goggles. I ordered some clearance gear online and at least LOOKED like I knew what I was doing in the water. When you are just getting started, fancy gear isn’t a necessity. A trisuit was just a nice-to-have, since many just swim in a swimsuit and throw on a tshirt and shorts for the rest of the race.


Waiting in line to swim and making a weird face.

My next step was digging my bicycle out of the garage. I had a nearly 20-year-old hybrid bicycle that I had been riding on rail trails. It wasn’t cool or fast, but it was functional. My husband helped me tear it apart, then we sent it to a friend to be sandblasted and powdercoated flat motorcycle black. We spray painted the wheels fluorescent pink and I was ready to go. I bought a retro helmet to match since I had never worn a helmet riding before.


Before I knew it, it was race day and I pedaled over to the pool, with a small backpack of gear, to do my first triathlon. I learned a lot that day. (To be honest, I learn something new at every triathlon). But that race was such an ideal start for me. A pool swim is a lot less daunting that open water. I was out on a course with top-of-the-line triathlon bikes, road bikes, hybrids, and even some mountain bikes.

I survived the swim. I dropped my chain on the bike course 3 or 4 times and learned to fix my own bike on-the-fly. I was smiling from ear to ear on the run. (The course ran by my house that year and my kids were cheering for me!)


I was one spot away from 6th place, which would have earned a medal… (I blame my bike chain for that). But I was definitely hooked and started training.

So that is my triathlon beginning. I hope to inspire more to start the sport! Stay tuned for the series of posts!


Gear Review: XX2i Optics

In my Beat the Heat post, I mentioned that I received a pair of XX2i sunglasses. These are a total change for me since they have polarized lenses and I have always had regular lenses. It is like a 3D surprise every time I put them on! The colors change and it takes my eyes a second to adjust. This isn’t a bad thing at all, though, and I am sure once I am wearing them on a consistent basis, I won’t even notice.


Polarized lenses are coated with a special chemical film that helps reduce glare when sunlight is reflected off of water or a solid surface. By neutralizing glare, polarized lenses help you see objects more clearly, Polarized lenses also help reduce the harmful effects of UV light which can help prevent cataracts!


The xx2i sunglasses came with a few frame options, and I chose the BAHAMAS1 tortoiseshell because I am kind of retro like that. I find them to be a very flattering shape for my face and I like the subtle brown tones.


While they are billed as a “lifestyle” product, meaning most people probably use them for leisure and every day, I went ahead and put them thru the paces on the running, biking, softball, and every-day mom stuff.


First, I didn’t have any issues with them sliding down my nose when I got sweaty. This is a big win because as someone who wears glasses all day, I am really annoyed if I keep having to push them up.

The frame shape and size worked out well for running. I felt I had good eye protection. I am really not a fan of over-sized frames, so these were a good style-fit for me.

For biking, I think most would prefer a slightly larger lenses to keep bugs out of the eyes. When I ride trails, I have found that I need a bigger lens to keep out the bugs or I have to stop frequently to squirt water in my eyes to flush out gnats. That is no fun at all because it burns to get bugs in your eyes! I think these sunglasses would do a great job for recreational riding, but if you are planning to hit the trail for hours, that might be an issue for you.


The polarization did come in very handy for softball. I think I could pick up on the ball against the sky faster. I also got less glare for the sun hitting my eyes. I really did like them for fielding and batting.


Finally, I spent some time doing mom stuff in them. I wore them to afternoon-long soccer tryouts and baseball games. Eye protection is so very important (and hey, who wants premature wrinkles from squinting!), so I always have a pair of sunglasses handy.

I was recently diagnosed with a “freckle” in the back of my left eye. I have go back every few months to make sure it doesn’t turn into something scary, so I am really vigilant about trying to protect my eyes. Sunglasses are just one thing you can do!

You can score your own pair at a discount courtesy of Bibrave Pro! Use xx2irocks to get 50% off your purchases at!


Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2i sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Beating the heat.

The heat index is over 100 today in my neck of the woods, so it is the time to start talking about safely training in the heat. Many people, understandably, will resort to treadmill, indoor track, or indoor crosstraining like swimming or rowing… But those stubborn folks who continue to run and ride outside need to take special precautions. Running early in the morning or late at night might help a little, but it is still pretty miserable (and dangerous) then.

There are lots of graphics that talk about how much to slow the pace based on temperature and heat index, so I won’t even go into that. Instead, I will talk about a few ways that I try to train as safely as possible. Since I have autoimmune, I really have to be careful and listen to my body. My heating and cooling systems are just not as efficient. Also, if I am in the sun for any length of time, I get horrible itchy sun blisters. (Lupus is just the gift that keeps on giving).


First, we all know hydration is key. For track workouts, we fill a giant insulated jug with ice and water, and try to keep it in a shady spot. (Bowie has evening track practices twice a week – so I am sure to make sure he always has water available). For runs and rides, I fill up all my insulated bottles as well as my hydration vest. (Shameless pitch for Orange Mud here because they are just the best!)

If you will have an extended workout, you might consider something a bit more than just plain water. I like to use Nuun Hydration tabs. One bottle of Nuun, another bottle of cold water, and I am good to go. (They even make a new “performance” product that can be used for nutrition /fuel.)

Next, apply sunscreen before you even go outside, and be vigilant about re-applying once you are on the go. Make sure you apply under the edges of your clothes. (I recently reminded myself of this after I got a super-bad burn from where my shorts slid up while sitting in a lawn chair. I had a 4” bright red band around my thighs were supposed to be.) Be sure to hit the backs of your ears and back of your neck! There are a billion sunscreens out there, and everyone has a favorite… but as someone with lupus, I need one with Zinc.

For clothes, I like light, breezy layers. I like to feel like my skin is breathing and the sweat is being wicked away from me. Wrestling my way out of a tight, sweaty top isn’t much fun. Right now, I am liking Rabbit Race-her Back and Bunny Hop tops with Hopper and Catch Me If You Can shorts.

(I just joined their running team, but I am not selling anything! I swear!) And like, all the Body Glide I can possibly apply on my thighs and armpits to fend off sweaty-chafing issues.


I do like to wear a visor to keep my hair out of my face and sun out of my eyes. (I find a hat holds in the heat too much). I really like my Orange Mud visor. I just received a BOCO visor, so I will give some feedback on that once I have a chance to test it out.

I am sort of hit and miss on wearing sunglasses. My prescription sunglasses broke, but I do have several pairs of regular sunglasses. Sometimes I have issues with glasses pinching behind my ears, so I end up stuffing them down the front of my sports bra. (Which makes for really gross glasses when I am back in my car!) I actually just received a pair of polarized sunglasses from XX2i. I will be taking them for a test “run” this weekend , but so far, for everyday use, I really like them (now that I am getting used the the “polarized” lenses). Review on that coming once I have really had a chance to train in them.

Finally… a sort of girly topic. Hair. I have long hair, so I am always trying to keep my hair off my neck and out of my face. Putting hair in a ponytail all the time can cause breakage. (If you only put it up for training, you might be OK). I have been working on managing my hair without the ponytail pulling. Lately I have been twisting my hair up into a bun and securing it in place with a couple bobby pins. (And it actually stays put!) If I am feeling fancy, I even braid a little section before pulling it up. If I am feeling frisky, two little baby buns are kind of fun. I have done braids a few times, and that is actually easier to fit a visor or hat over. Just throwing that out there since my hair becomes a nasty curly rats nest if I don’t keep it under control in humid weather!

Notice: I am an ambassador for Nuun, Rabbit, and Orange Mud but I was not provided any free products or paid for my opinion. All opinions are my own!

Global Running Day

Happy Global Running Day! Look at all the great deals popping up on social media! I will keep adding to this list throughout the day as I see more!

Honey Stinger – 20% off gels and free water bottle with code RUNDAY

Jasyoga – Yoga for Runners Collection available for free until June 11.

Hospital Hill Half, KC – Retro pricing + brining back original 7.7 miler.

KC Marathon – Original pricing for all events

Rock N Roll Marathons Discount on all races

Sparkly Soul – 20% off with code “RUNDAY” and free shipping over $50

Race Report: Hospital Hill Half 2017

Whew what a weekend! Let’s talk Hospital Hill, shall we? The 44th annual Hospital Hill Half was held over the weekend in downtown KC. As always, the race was HOT and HILLY! (Although as a slogan, that would probably dissuade people from signing up. )


The expo opened on Thursday, but I didn’t visit until Friday. I was having total FOMO with all the pictures of cool swag popping up on Instagram. Hospital Hill has the best swag I swear. The first year I ran it, we got backpacks. The second year, we got blankets. This year was beach towels! And PJ bottoms instead of t-shirts!! (The jammie pants are amazing and get even softer after you wash them!)

The expo is held at the Crown Center Sheraton convention center each year, which makes for a really good-sized expo. All the usual vendors were there with discounted race entries, cool running gear, and wellness products. My favorite part of the expo is always the big archway with the giant course map.


2015 Course Map 

Since I visited om my lunch hour, I made it a quick in and out. (Nice to know that you can make a speedy pick-up if you don’t have time to linger). I picked up my bibs and then stopped by the service desk to switch my Re-Run 5k + Half to a 5K + 10K. (I just knew my body was not going to cooperate. My new medicine has made the last month really awful for me, and I hadn’t run in a month.) They were super friendly in getting me switched over. And OMG. The bibs! So cute! A rabbit for the 5K and a magic hat for the half!

On my way out, I checked into my room at the Crown Center Sheraton. They made a group of rooms available at great discount rate. (It was half the cost of the room I had originally reserved on my discount travel site). They had a special line set-up just for runners to check-in, so I had my room key and was back on my way to work.


I took advantage of the free KC Streetcar to go back to my office at Power + Light District. (I really should have taken it to the Expo. By the time I was back at work, I was sweaty and my feet had blisters from walking 1.5 miles in my sandals. Bad plan.)

After work, I took the street car back to the hotel and changed into my outfit for the 5K. Friday night was hot and I knew that I had overdone it with all the walking earlier. Since I have poor-heat tolerance with my lupus, and was really feeling iffy, I decided I would just enjoy the race by walking it.

The start line had so much energy! As usual, they played “Kansas City Here I Come” as we took off. (Some of us slower than others! Ha!) Right away, we were rewarded with a view of the Western Auto building, one of my favorites.

The 5K course was unrelentingly as hilly as always. They changed up the course a bit, and I feel like it was slightly easier by not having that one massive hill right away. Just know – Hospital Hill is never “easy” and even the 5K is no exception.


The volunteers were so cheerful, so it was actually nice to be able to properly thank them as I went by, instead of the usual hasty “thanks” as I run by.

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Those hills are no joke! 5K, 10K, or Half!

Soon enough, we descended the final hill and made the left turn to the finish line. There was a huge crowd cheering, and it took everything in me to just keep walking and not break out into a run. I received my medal and headed for the post-race party.


This is a really kid-friendly event with face painting and balloon animals. But I was just interested in the adult beverages. This year’s beer was “Hilltop Hops,” a peach beer from Rock and Run Brewery. My husband received my cup and said it was really good!

And that is really where my race report ends. I woke up the next morning and knew that trying to push myself to do the 10K would be a bad idea. I was too fatigued and it was just too hot. I was pretty bummed as I have had such great runs on that course – even snagging a PR the first time I ran it. I had friends who ran both the 10K and the half, and they had amazing things to say about the race on Saturday. I know for sure, I will be back next year for more swag, bibs, and beer!


Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hospital Hill race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

Murder on the trail.

I recently sat down for a chat with a local friend who has this awesome (and topically diverse) podcast called Iconoclast of Things. Each podcast has a “thing” to talk about. For that episode, the thing was the Indian Creek Trail. The recent string of murders on the trail made him wonder how female runners deal with fear, harassment, etc. The podcast episode is AMAZING and I hope you give it a listen here.

That said, I wanted to talk a bit about Indian Creek Trail and the string of murders that really seems to be serial killings but I don’t think have been labeled as such.

I have run Indian Creek Trail many times. I first learned of Indian Creek Trail from the races the Patriots Running Group puts on there. I have raced many times there. I also was interviewed by a local news station for a weather advertisement they made. (How people rely on reliable forecasts… and how I use the information as a runner). They shot some nice footage of me running over the bridge near “The Other Place” bar in Olathe.


Running Grass Skirts and Hawaiian Shirts race in -16 temps on Indian Creek Trail

Most recently, I was using Indian Creek Trail from long runs. I wanted something with some rolling hills, that was well-maintained… but mostly I was trying to avoid the bugs that I was encountering on my night runs on my heavily wooded trails. I reasoned that as a suburban paved trail, it  would have less bugs and would be pretty safe.

For the most part, I felt pretty safe. I would have a friend meet me every few miles to check in. It was OK. The 17 mile trail snaked through Overland Park, Kansas with most gentle hills and a few steep inclines.


Martini Madness 5K at Indian Creek Trail

There were sections that I was uncertain of. I felt pretty good running by golf courses and residential neighborhoods. But there were many times that the trail would cross the highway, and that meant running down into the underpass. This put me on edge. I told myself that in Overland Park, Kansas, there probably weren’t homeless people camped out. I would be OK. Just keep running.

After running there a couple times, I just couldn’t shake the fear I felt running under the highway. I started bringing my pepper spray along — not something I typically do. I usually save my deterrents for isolated trail runs, not running in town.

Looking back now, I am happy that I took those precautions to protect myself.

The fifth body was found along the trail this week, although this murder seems unrelated to the other four. It doesn’t fit the profile of the other four victims: older white men walking their dogs along the trail.

Walking their dogs along the trail. They were with their dogs. I have no idea what breed of dogs they were walking… but that is a thing we tell women to do to be safe. “Take your dog with you!” I began running with my dogs on the trails, pretty much every run, when I wanted some company. It was reassuring to have my dogs with me when I was running in the dark in the middle of nowhere.


Evening trail run with Atlas the Wonder Mutt

There just aren’t any answers yet. All I can do is to stay vigilant and protect myself while running. I will continue running with my very large dogs. I will continue to carry pepper spray or a stun gun. I will continue to vary my routine, and let my family know where I am. (Here is a post I did on how I carry all the gear with some pictures of how I load everything up.)

I recently learned of a group called “One Ear Out” which advocates for running with one ear uncovered while running. (Their daughter was struck by a train while wearing headphones.) This is an excellent practice as you should always remain aware of your surroundings. Another option might be the new bone induction headphones that rest on the cheekbones instead of in the ear canal. I did a review of one brand here, so you can see how they work, but there are many options with these as well.

Stay safe out there, friends.

Update: A couple people asked what products I use. Note that I am not selling anything – but am happy to make recommendations.


I have a handheld one that wraps around my hand with elastic and velcro. I don’t like things on my hands, so I push it up onto my forearm, and I practice pulling it down and getting my thumb on the trigger before each run. Mine is black, but here is a pretty pink one on Amazon. You can read about how they work and how often they should be replaced here.

Stun Gun

Stun guns are legal in my state, so if I feel I want to be extra cautious, I slip a small stun gun into the front pocket of my hydration vest. It is easy to access if I need it, and has a safety so I won’t zap myself if I fall down. I feel like even just pushing the button and making the big ZAPPPPP in the air would make someone leave me alone.

I have this one, but there are lots of other options on Amazon as well.

ID Bracelets

In the event of an emergency, it is good for responders to be able to identify you and have a contact number for your family. I have reviewed Road IDs here. They seem to be the most popular option for runners, hikers, bikers, etc.

All this gear fits nicely into my hydration vest, along with my phone, nutrition, TP in a ziplock, etc. Link to my vest in main body of post.