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Grandma’s Marathon: looking ahead to this summer!

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Grandma’s Marathon 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!

Grandmas Marathon has been on my racing bucket list for sometime. But for one reason or another the timing has never worked out. I have wanted so badly to run the point to point course that runs alongside of Lake Superior! And while heading to Minnesota is still not in the cards for me in 2021, I will still get to participate virtually! Virtual races are gaining popularity and I enjoy the flexibility they provide!

Grandma’s Marathonhas also has a way to bring the course to virtual runners using the Run Better app! You can run part or all of the course for either the half or full Marathon. You tell the app what speed you are running on the treadmill and it tells you what incline you should put the treadmill at. I see this really coming in handy for training!

Once you select Grandma’s Marathon you can choose which portion of the course you want to run!
The Run Better app then tells yon what to set your treadmill to mimic the part of the course you are running
This is what it looks like while you are running!

I think this app is pretty cool and plan to start using it for training! I hope to eventually run the course for the marathon in increments while training!

There are 3 options for the virtual race:

1. Competitive Division: proof of finish time required

2. Recreational Division: No awards, results listed separately. from competitive division

Incremental Division: complete your race in segments and submit cumulative time

Ready to learn more and take on this virtual race with me? Head toTo this registration link to get signed up and use code BibRave2021 for 10% off!,

Follow Grandma’s Marathon on social media to learn more!

Twitter @GrandmasMara

Instagram @grandmasmarathon


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Disclaimer: I received an entry to the virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis 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!

I ran my first AllState Hot Chocolate Indianapolis Race on March 24, 2018. I had been a runner for about 2 years at this time and was excited to experience a new race that I had never run before and tackle my first 15K. Plus who can resist the promise of chocolate at the finish line right? Well as Indiana weather often does, it threw us a big curve ball! A big snowfall ( I wish I could remember the actual amount of snow we got that day but it was significant) was scheduled to start during the run. The race directors made the decision to drop all racers down to the 5K distance. I was bummed at this decision but would later be thankful for that call!

We lined up in cold conditions with light falling snow. It was so beautiful under the downtown lights in Indianapolis. In fact it is the beauty and peace of that morning that stuck with me the most. I remember doing a lot of praying at the start line. Praying for a family member that was in the hospital, praying for a safe run, praying not to fall. And again I remember a feeling of peace coming over me.

The race itself was pretty uneventful. The snow fell heavier over the 28:05 that it took me to complete the 5K. My family (always the most supportive) was there cheering for me at the finish despite the cold and snow. And as promised there was so much chocolate at the finish line!!! After the race we headed to the hospital to visit family and one of our children left the back car door open without our knowledge. I’ll share the picture of what we walked out to later that day. It’s funny and shows the amount of snow that ended up falling that day!

When your kid leaves the car door open in a snowstorm

This year the AllState Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Indianapolis race will be held virtually on 10/10/20. I am excited to again experience the beauty of running in Indianapolis! I will be running my virtual 15K around the canal while enjoying some of my favorite Indianapolis sights. I love running past the Indianapolis Zoo and through White River State park. I am already thinking about where to grab that post run bite to eat too! But with so many yummy choices it’s gonna take some work to narrow that one down! I may even be able to talk the hubby into a post run paddle boat ride on the canal, what do you think??

My medal from 2018! I love that we still received the 15K medal…. It helps tell the story of the craziness that year!

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Virtual Races: A Good Alternative for 2020

By now I would safely bet that almost every runner who has registered for one of their favorite races in 2020 has gotten the news that it has either cancelled, been postponed, or moved to a virtual race. I try to run several races per month and I have received email after email from race directors making the sad announcement that their race has had to switch to the virtual option. And while everything in me hopes that these races are able to happen in 2021, the truth is that we just have no way of knowing what next year is going to look like.

Hospital Hill Virtual Run

Before I even heard the words, corona virus, virtual races were not something that I had ever considered. I had done one or two because I really loved the medal, shirt, or other swag that was offered, but never counted these toward my “official count” of races completed. In my mind they just were not “real races” and I was basically purchasing the swag and getting a training run in. Now I have a much different view on virtual races. The whole world has had to change what “normal” is over the past several months. From how we work, how kids learn, and wearing masks in public, things sure look different. And running and races were not immune to these changes. I know that if we could, we would all choose to get back to running races in person ASAP, but until that time comes, here are MY top reasons for choosing a virtual race!

Virtual Illinois Half Marathon
  • These races often give back! Most live races that have had to make the tough decision to go virtual this year were supporting a charity or foundation through their live event. The opportunity to hold these events VIRTUALLY gives the race directors the opportunity to continue to support the causes and charities that the live event would have supported.
    Other virtual events are organized with the intention of supporting a certain cause. You can search a cause and virtual race and find a race that will allow you to support just about any cause that is important to you.
  • Facebook groups/SM support: Joining a virtual challenge or choosing the virtual option of a large live race usually will give you access to a Facebook group of other people who are completing the same race or challenge virtually. Nothing is more motivating than seeing posts from others that are out there, with positive attitudes, getting it done! Just seeing a few posts in this group will want you to get your miles completed as well!
  • The SWAG! Switching to the virtual option of a race means you can still earn that swag that you have been drooling over (oh that’s just me?) since you registered for the race!
    There are also some new virtual races and challenges that are coming from the changes the country in facing and some of these have really upped their swag game! Check out my Insta/TW @lish_loves_life for some of these races and challenges!
  • Allows you to set a goal! I don’t know about you but I stay more motivated and consistent in my runs and workouts when I have a goal! Having races on my calendar, even if they are virtual, keep me motivated! I still want to share that post race pic and race experience and treating virtual races just like a live race allows me to have just as much fun!
  • Allows you to explore new places…..wait what? So yes, a virtual run can be run anywhere, within a specific race timeline. After taking part in several virtual runs already in 2020, I decided that I needed to find new places to explore on my runs. So I have found places to run in other towns and have a list of other towns to try as well. Use these virtual races as a way to explore places close to home that you haven’t seen before or would like to see again!
Virtual Flying Pig Marathon

As you can see, I believe that there are a lot of benefits in taking part in a virtual race! Next time you are looking at your empty race calendar for the rest of 2020 or another email from a race director informing you of your options because they can no longer hold the race as a live event, consider a virtual option. There is so much to gain from a virtual race and you will be just as proud showing off that race bling on #medalmonday!!

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BUFF® Pack Run Cap Review

Disclaimer: I received a Buff Pack Run Cap 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!”

One thing I am not sure that I have shared on my blog yet is the little hat obsession that I have. If you follow me on social media though, you may have noticed that I am almost always wearing a hat, especially in the summer. Hats are great protection from the sun and can also help hide a bad hair day! When I learned that BUFF® has a summer pack run cap that is as cute as it is functional, I knew I wanted to try it out!

Let me get to the point…. over the last few weeks this has become my absolute favorite hot weather/summer running hat!!! I have worn this hat during a virtual half marathon that went from humid to misting rain, a 4th of July trail race that was so hot I thought I would melt, and a race literally called the Meltdown which was 3 back to back 5k races that featured temps that went from warm to hot to scorching! Thanks to the BUFF® pack run cap the sun was not in my eyes, my sweat didn’t drip in my eyes, and it even kept the misting rain off of my face!

So thankful for my BUFF® Pack Run Cap during this 4th of July run! It kept me cool and the sweat out of my eyes! It helped me claim 3rd place in my age group for the 15K!

This hat is also so lightweight and breathable. I honestly forget that I am wearing it most of the time that I am running. That is a huge plus for me! I don’t want to have to fuss with or keep adjusting my running gear while running and luckily with this run cap I don’t have to! And can we talk about how cute these hats are!?!?! I am a huge fan of the pink and blue colors in the hat but BUFF® has several colors available in both the Pack Run Cap and also a Pack Run visor (which will be my next purchase!)

The Meltdown: 3 back to back 5K races in July! So thankful for my BUFF® Pack Run Cap! So lightweight that I forgot I was wearing it! It kept the sun and my sweat out of my eyes!!!

Other features of the BUFF® Pack Run Cap include:

  1. Exceptionally lightweight, weighs only one ounce
  2. Packable design with crushable brim that regains its shape for reliable sun protection
  3. 4-way stretch fabric for comfort
  4. Upper panel provides UPF 50 protection*
  5. Fastwick fabric side panels wicks away moisture and improves breathability
  6. Low profile sweatband keeps perspiration out of eyes
  7. Adjustable elastic cord at back for a secure fit
  8. Reflective tab on back, logo on front add low-light visibility

Head over to and sign up for Buff® emails to receive a 15% discount code for Buff® products! Grab your very own pack run cap or visor! It will quickly become one of your must have pieces of summer running gear!

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Virtual Illinois Marathon Recap!!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Illinois I-challange (5K and Half Marathon) 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!

Nothing beats the anticipation of race weekend! As runners we train for months to run a distance or pace and as that date on the calendar gets closer the anticipation and excitement (and maybe nerves!) grow with it! By now we all know that anticipation was halted for just about all running events starting in March and most events have had to find alternatives to hosting in person races.

The Illinois Marathon is held yearly in Champaign/Urbana, IL and was originally scheduled to be held April 23-25 2020. This was to be my first in person race as a BibRave Pro and boy was I hyped. Champaign/Urbana was a place that our family had visited several times in my youth and I was excited to tour the town on foot. (I recommend going to the races YouTube channel and watching the video of the course preview. It is absolutely beautiful!) Another thing that drew me to this race is that the 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon all finish on the 50 yard line at Memorial Stadium! I have never ran a race that finished on a football field and I was really looking forward to this!

Due to Covid, the Illinois Marathon made the decision to go virtual for 2020. Runners had the option to complete their race virtually or to defer their registration to 2021. Choosing to run a race virtually that you had planned to run in person is a great way to support that race during these difficult times but also helps the race directors continue to support the charities that they support with these events! Personally it’s also a great way to stay disciplined and motivated to keep training. (And while I may find that I am not as competitive during these times, I am finding that I am enjoying running and training in new ways!)

I ran my virtual I-challenge on June 26th and June 27th. (I didn’t run it immediately after the cancellation of the April date because there was some thought that the race may be rescheduled for the Fall but ultimately that was not able to happen) I ran the 5K Friday evening staying true to how the challenge timeline would occur in person but I did run this race on the treadmill because the temperature outside was 91 plus humidity! Luckily in Indiana where I live, gyms have been open since May 22nd with social practicing guidelines in place. My 5K time was 27:14 which isn’t a PR but compared to some of my recent times it is a very good time and I’m very happy with it!

The next morning I set out to run the Illinois Virtual Half Marathon. I don’t know how many other runners got their very own bike escort my my sweet husband rode his bike along with me and also ended up carrying my hydration vest as well. I normally wear it without issue but it was just so humid and everything felt heavy. As the miles ticked off, there did seem to be more of a breeze which made things better and it threatened to rain so many times! I would feel misting of rain drops here and there and really the rain would have felt good at any point but the skies waited to open up until we were safely back on our front porch. How is that for timing??

I tried to imagine myself on the course (I went back and watched the course video on YoutTube before running!) and finishing on Memorial Field! I hope that in the future I get to experience the course in person and the whole family gets to join me! I know the kids would love to get to run on the field as well and the Illinois Marathon offers a kids run that would allow them that opportunity!

After completing the 13.1 miles, we were still a mile from home. Anybody else have to get their shoes off pretty quickly when they are done running? I usually have a pair of sandals etc in a backpack that my husband will have at the finish line for me for the walk back to the car but bc I assumed the finish line would be our front door (I a misjudged the distance) I had to make the walk back home in my socks!

I should be receiving my Illinois Marathon swag soon and I will be sharing all about it on my social media pages so make sure you are following me on Instagram and Twitter at @lish_loves_life because you are not going to want to miss that!

I know this is not how any of us runners saw our 2020 race season going and with NYC and Berlin announcing the cancellation of their 2020 marathons this week it’s something we are learning to accept. But it is also something we are learning to adapt to. When we can’t race in the way we are used to we are finding ways to make the best of the situation. I keep telling myself that these times will make the comebacks even sweeter and I truly believe that!

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Hospital Hill Virtual Run

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hospital Hill Virtual 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!

The Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City has been on my run bucket list for awhile but due to distance and timing I haven’t had the opportunity to check it off yet. Like so many others, I have had my share of disappointment from cancelled races, but learning that this particular race went virtual gave me the chance to be part of this race in 2020! There were 3 distance options when registering for this race (5K, 10K or half marathon). I am usually all about the half marathon distance because it is my favorite distance to race, but due to several of my half marathons going virtual I decided it was best to stick to the 10K distance this time. I also still plan to get to Kansas City for an in person Hospital Hill race in the future and I can’t think of a better way to tour a new city than on foot for 13.1, and that is another reason why I chose the 10K distance for the virtual race!

After deciding to join the virtual race, I quickly joined the Hospital Hill Virtual group for runners on Facebook. This group was full of other runners preparing for and completing their virtual runs. It was a good place for information (questions were answered quickly by the team!) and to interact with runners across the country! This was an unexpected perk of running this race virtual but ended up being one of my favorite parts. I love the social part of running and that is one thing that I have been missing with most races going virtual. Being able to see how others were preparing to run and then completing their races was super cool!

I ran my virtual race on June 11th one morning before work. Being June I wanted to get out of the house early to beat the heat! I ran at a local park that has a nice paved trail that is beautiful. Being before 7 am on a weekday, there were not many others out on the trail but I did see a deer hiding behind a barn. I tried to get a video of the deer running across my path but hit the button wrong and got a video of nothing instead. So you will have to take my word for how awesome it was to see out on the trail! The weather was in the mid 60s but did get a little warm as I was running and the sun started coming out but overall it was a beautiful morning for a run!

The deer that I saw on my virtual 10K!

I completed my 10K with a time of 1:10:16. Nowhere near a PR for me, but that isn’t the goal with these virtual runs. For me, they are a good way to motivate me to keep running and training when it is unknown which if any of our races will happen in 2020. I am choosing to focus on the things that I can control and getting involved in virtual races has been a good way to stay connected to other runners. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to join the Hospital Hill Virtual Run.

Now lets get to the most important part: THE SWAG! My swag arrived a couple weeks prior to the day that I ran the virtual race. The package contained the 2020 Hospital Hill race t-shirt which is oh so soft and race bib. I also received my race medal that is super unique. It highlights that this is the 47th year for the race and has a blue transparent background that catches the light in the most enchanting way. It is one of my favorite so far for 2020!

If you are interested in taking part in this Virtual Race you need to be registered and have the race completed by July 1st, 2020. Registering is super easy! Just head to and register for the distance of your choice. Use code BIBRAVE1for 15% registration. Don’t forgot to post pictures of your run to social media and tag Hospital Hill Run!!

Follow Hospital Hill Run here:
Facebook group:

Also head over to to read reviews of this virtual race and leave your own review once you have completed your selected distance!!

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Review of the ROADiD Sidekick

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

Running is very social for me. If given the choice to run alone or with someone else, I am going to choose to run with a buddy. Not only do the miles seem to tick by more quickly with a friend but I also feel safer than when I run alone. But let’s be honest, even before the terms social distancing and quarantine were so prominent in our vocabularies, it was difficult to find times to coordinate schedules with my best running buddies so that we could get all of our training runs in…..together. So that means if I want to keep to my running schedule and get my runs done in a timely manner I need to suck it up and run alone.

Now don’t get me wrong….I don’t hate running alone. A good solo run can clear your mind and allow you to dial in and focus on your training. Safety is something that needs to be on every runner’s mind but especially if you are running solo. Personally, I will make sure that my husband knows when I’m running and has a general idea of what my route will be. I wear bone conduction head phones that allow me to hear what’s going on around me and I take extra caution when crossing streets, parking lots, etc.

Solo Run finisher photo…. Running solo has become a new way to stay safe, ROADiD offers peace of mind when running solo!

Even with all of these precautions, accidents can happen. If you have followed me for any time on social media you will know that I can be a little clumsy and somewhat of a hot mess. I have fallen (during a race and even during packet pick up!) and once during a trail race I slipped climbing over a guardrail and managed to slice my leg up pretty badly (I still have the scar from that one!) Luckily, I was not alone when any of these accidents happened and was able to get help when needed. But what if I had been alone? What if I am unable to provide basic information about myself and my emergency contacts??

My leg bandaged up after I tangled with the guardrail

As an ER nurse, I also understand how important it is to have all the information that you can when caring for someone. If someone is not able to be identified, it is impossible to know any medical history or allergies they may have. The healthcare team needs this information to provide the safest care. Having a ROAD iD means not only can you be identified and previous medical records can be reviewed if available but an emergency contact can also be called and they can provide additional information. This information can be life saving!

I have a ROADiD stretch bracelet that I had been wearing on my right wrist opposite of my watch. I wear my watch everywhere though and so I was excited to try out the ROADiD sidekick for my Garmin. This particular ROADiD fits on the band of my Garmin watch. They also have sidekicks available for FitBit and Apple watches. You can choose from three different faceplate covers (silver, gold, or rose gold) and I chose the rose gold, of course!

My ROADiD stretch bracelet. Super comfortable and comes in 3 different sizes so you can choose the size that is the best fit
Garmin sidekick! So comfortable and I love the rose gold!

The information on the faceplate is completely customizable so that you can put the information that you feel is most important to you on your ROADiD. I chose to include my name, birth date, my husband’s name and phone number and my favorite motivational quote, “Faith over Fear”. I was a little worried that putting a faceplate on my Garmin band would be uncomfortable and would make my watch feel too tight. I wear my watch all day, every day (except in the shower and when it’s on the charger) and I notice no difference in how my Garmin feels on my wrist. It’s super comfortable!!

While the information on my ROADiD sidekick could be important to first responders if something happened during a training run or race, I also know that my ROADiD could also be very useful if I were in a car accident or needed medical attention in my day to day life. Having my sidekick right on my Garmin that I wear all day, everyday means that I can have that extra peace of mind that if I am unable to provide this basic information for emergency medical care, my ROADiD can speak for me!

ROADiD offers a variety of different options to choose from including wrist iDs, shoe iDs, and even wearable iDs for your pet! Check out their website at to check out all the color and personalization options! Use code SAVEBRP when ordering to save 25% Peace of mind is priceless but saving a little money with it is even better!

Once you order a ROADiD get ready to stalk your mailman! This won’t be too difficult because they do an amazing job of keeping you updated about your iD and when you can expect it. I got emails telling me when my sidekick had been engraved and when it had been shipped that included tracking information. I appreciated being kept in the loop about my order! This excellent service paired with the fact that the engraving is guaranteed for life can’t be beat!

Every ROADiD comes with an adventure checklist!

Learn more about ROADiD by visiting them on

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Setting Big Goals in 2020 with the Madison Marathon!!!!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Madison Marathon 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!

Fall running is my favorite time to run! The temps are cooler and the the changing leaves offer beautiful views on most courses! This fall I will be taking my big goals to Wisconsin for the Madison Marathon on November 8th. As I sit here currently, I have never been to Wisconsin but this race will actually be my second in Madison as I will be running a half marathon there in August!

What makes this adventure even crazier is that I will be running a marathon in Indianapolis on 11/7/20. Yes, that is correct! I have committed to run 2 full marathons in one weekend! This is my biggest running weekend yet and I am scared and excited all at once!

I couldn’t take this on without the support of some pretty special people. Of course my biggest running supporter, my husband, is helping me work out all the logistics and I have no doubt he will make sure I am in the right places at the right time. I also have a best running friend that is from Wisconsin and she has also promised to make the trip to Wisconsin as well (to run of course!) I can’t wait to hear all about her hometown and get the inside scoop on the best places to eat after the race!

My biggest race cheerleaders and BRF from WI!

But even if I didn’t have a best running friend from Wisconsin, the Madison Marathon would still be high on my list of races that I would love to run and here’s why:

  • FREE RACE PHOTOS compliments of Madison Marathon presented by SSM Health
  • FREE runner tracking via the Madison Marathon App
  • 1 complimentary Michelob Ultra beer (for those 21+) and a Wisconsin Tailgate (mac ‘n cheese, chili or brat) at the Post-Race Party 
  • Premium soft-feel, long-sleeved technical shirt (gender-specific)
  • Awesome finisher medal
  • Pace groups for all speeds
  • Professionally timed and managed
  • Start & Finish on beautiful Capitol Square
  • Boston Qualifier

Now let’s be honest – I’m not a contender to qualify for Boston (even running a marathon on fresh legs that didn’t run a marathon the day before!) but there is something about being on a course with fellow runners that are chasing that BQ! One of my favorite things to do is to follow a races hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and cheer on others accomplishments after a big race!! You can follow the Madison Marathon and watch as other runners like myself train and prepare for the race in November!
Madison Marathon Facebook
Madison Marathon Twitter
Madison Marathon Instagram

Come join me in Madison on 11/8/2020 for the Madison Marathon!! You can save 10% on registration by using code BIBRAVE2020 !!!!! I would love to have a running buddy to explore 26.2 miles of Madison with me on foot!! Whose in?