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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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Knockaround Sport Sunglasses Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Sport Collection Glasses 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!

My current Knockaround collection!!

My daughter recently told me that I have too many pairs of sunglasses. Let me tell you….I had to quickly set this girl straight!! You can never have too many pairs of sunglasses!! Am I right?!?!?!?! So when given the opportunity to review a pair of sunglasses from the Knockaround Sport collection I knew I wanted in!

I was first introduced to Knockaround sunglasses by a friend last year. Since purchasing my first pair, I have added 8 more pairs of Knockarounds to my collection (and may have another pair on the way!) Not only are these sunglasses super cute….they are also super functional! When in comes to sunglasses for running there are a few things that I need from my sunglasses! I need them to stay put, be lightweight, to not fog (especially when worn with a hat) and to not scratch easily (because I often take them off and stick them in my hydration vest or pocket if not needed. Knockaround sunglasses check ALL of these boxes.

Although I have several pair of Knockaround sunglasses, this is the first pair from the sport collection that I have owned. I received the Fast Lane sport sunglasses in Aquamarine/Fuchsia and they may be my favorite color combination so far!

Isn’t this color combo the best??

I have ran in these sunglasses a ton over the last few weeks and they are truly my favorite sunglasses! I even wear them out doing errands or hanging by the pool outside! They are so comfortable that they can be worn all day and the fun color combos make them fun to wear for any occasion! Also you can customize a pair if you are feeling creative! I’ve seen some pretty awesome designs posted from people who have customized their Knockarounds!

I am not the only BibRave Pro hyping these sunglasses! Check out their reviews linked below to see more Knockaround love!

Coach Fischer:
Gear Junkie:

Knockarounds are crazy affordable to begin with but you can try a pair for 20% off with discount code BibRaveKnocks5 today!!

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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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Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge 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!

If you read my blog post published on December 31st you know what the 465 Virtual Challenge is and why the participants were challenged to run, bike, walk, etc 53 miles. (If you missed that blog post you can read it here.)

I have to admit, in the past I have never been a huge fan of virtual races. I enjoy the atmosphere of a race, especially the camaraderie and support from other runners and the crowd that comes out on race day. The idea of a virtual challenge was very intriguing to me. This challenge ran for 2 months (1/1/20-2/29/20) and the goal was to get 53 miles in the time frame. You could achieve Looper status by completing 2 or more virtual loops around 465 so 2 loops would equal 106 miles and so on. My goal for this challenge was to obtain Looper status and the result was increased motivation for me to log miles even when I didn’t necessarily feel like getting out there!

I even made my kids run some of the miles with us!

And I did not have to miss out on any of the camaraderie or support that is my favorite part of race day! Hands down the best part of this challenge was the 465 challenge Facebook group! The other participants in this group were so supportive! Anytime I posted an update on my mileage or about a run that I had done, within minutes I would have several comments and likes from other members of the group. I felt like this group also helped keep me accountable. I posted in there that I had a goal to complete 2 loops by the end of the challenge and I felt like I needed to stay true to my word! How is that for motivation!

My husband also participated in the challenge and the two of us had a lot of fun with this. We did some races together to log some miles and helped push each other to get our miles in. It was also fun to interact with several of my friends that had signed up for the challenge in the Facebook group! I can confidently say that I made some new friends as well!!

Love this swag!! The shirt is super soft and the medal is so fun with a car that moves around the loop!

I will be watching for future virtual challenges from 465Challenge as this is definitely a challenge that I would do again! Hopefully I will see you in the next challenge group so we can virtually cheer each other on!

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The 465 Virtual Challenge: something for everyone!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Virtual Challenge 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!

Indianapolis. It’s where I grew up. It’s where I learned to drive. And now it’s the closest big city to us and where we travel most often to participate in some of my favorite races. Interstate 465 is one I know well and while I have never driven a complete loop around the city without stopping (although I’ve always secretly thought that it would be fun!), I’ve been around the entire loop at some point or another. So when I learned that the 465 Challenge would give me the chance to VIRTUALLY run the distance of the loop I-465 makes around Indy (53 miles!) I was so excited.

Here’s the stuff you need to know about the 465 Challenge!

  • The challenge starts 1/1/2020 and ends 2/29/2020
  • You can walk, run, bike, swim, skip, crawl, somersault (ok you get the point) Log the miles however you want! Or make it a combination of different activities! Just get out there and be active!
  • There are 2 registration options: Premium and Basic. The PREMIUM registration includes: 465 Challenger Super Soft Finisher Shirt, 465 Race Car Slider Finisher Medal, Super Cool Bumper Sticker, Training Program, Motivational Emails, Virtual Bib, and a Certificate of Completion The BASIC registration includes: Super Cool Bumper Sticker, Training Program, Motivational Emails, Virtual Bib, and a Certificate of Completion
  • Access to the 465 Challenge Facebook group where you can connect with other challengers
This medal is EPIC! I can’t wait to slide the race car around 465!!!

Want to add a little more to your challenge? Become a Looper by completing the 53 mile “loop” as many times as you can from 1/1/20 – 2/29/20 or join the 24 hour club by completing the 53 miles in 24 hours!!! My goal is to be a Looper and complete the Loop 2-3 times over the course of the challenge!

We have a little debate going on at our house concerning this challenge! My husband who is also taking the 465 virtual challenge says he thinks the two of us should only count outside miles as I-465 is outside. (Remember this is a VIRTUAL challenge – No miles should be completed on the actual interstate!) I disagree!! I plan on switching up my miles between running, elliptical, the bike, etc!! Our differing opinions highlights the coolest part of this challenge – whether you are a runner that only logs outside miles or someone that would rather get out on a bicycle or even someone who wants to mix up the miles in a variety of ways – it all counts!!!

We are taking on the 465 virtual challenge together!! Who will you take the challenge with?

Ready to join the 465 Virtual Challenge?? Join today and start logging those miles! Register at and use code Bibrave for 10% off of your registration!!!

Learn more by checking out the 465 Virtual Challenge on social media!

All the details!! Register today and start logging your miles on 1/1/20!!!

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Tour de La Porte Race Recap

The Tour de La Porte is a walking, running and biking event that benefits patients with cancer in La Porte, Indiana.  According to the race’s website the event started in 2002 and has raised $709, 348 and has helped 1,095 cancer patients. I had the opportunity to meet the founder of this race, Larry Noel, as I was sitting at a picnic table Friday night recovering from the 5K trail race that I had just run.  He told me about starting the event as a biking event and how it had grown over the years.  He expressed gratitude that we had traveled over 3.5 hours to participate and then gave me 3 rubber Tour de La Porte bracelets to give the kids.

Tour de La Porte

Talking with Mr Noel made me want to do a little more research on this event and how it got started. I read an article that was shared by the event, that gave a little bit of background and then highlighted stories of a few of the participants.  Read this story from La Porte County Life here.  I also found an article from 2012, also from La Porte County Life, that tells more of Mr Noel’s story and why he felt so strongly about helping those with cancer (he had several family members affected) and why he chose a bike riding event (that later added a 5K, 10K and half marathon).  It’s a great article. Check it out here

My conversation with Mr Noel Friday evening is a good illustration of how this event captured first the attention of my best running friend, Mindy, and then my attention when she invited me to run it with her the second time she returned. As I mentioned, La Porte, IN is approx a 3.5 hour drive (longer with kids) and with a 6:30 am CST half marathon start time, staying overnight is a must.  The fact that the event also offers a 5K trail run the night before the half marathon makes driving up there Friday afternoon and staying overnight a fun trip! The kids also love swimming in the indoor pool at the hotel, so it really is like a little mini family vacay!

The 5K trail race on Friday night is not chipped time. It starts in the grass on the side of one of the roads in the park where all the events start and finish, runs across the sand on the beach of the lake, and then heads into the wooded trails.  The event organizers do a good job of marking the trail with colored banners and have spray painted the roots in the path with the same color paint making it easy to follow the course. This was particularly helpful as I ran alone this year and tend to get lost easily. The lead pack of runners took off and I lost them pretty quickly after entering the woods but I was still ahead enough of the runners behind me that I was alone for a good portion of the course.  The trails are beautiful in this part of the state and there are definitely some good hills that left me pretty breathless going up them. There was one water stop on the course and several volunteers at places on the course where someone may make a wrong turn.  The only negative thing is that the course is not truly a 5K (this was the same last year) and my  watch states it was 2.78 miles but being out in a park in the woods it is also possible that my Garmin’s measurement of the distance was not accurate as well.  I only stumbled once on the course and was able to catch myself (all the core work I’m doing!) without falling!  Zero falls on a trail run is a pretty good day for me, but then as I was sitting recovering and chatting with Mr Noel, I heard my name called as the 3rd place finisher in my age group! That was definitely a pleasant surprise!!


Then it was back to the hotel for swimming, dinner and bed as Saturday’s wake up call was going to be early. (Little did we know how early as our son had his watch alarm set for 4:30 am which happened to be 3:30 am in a different time zone, but that’s a story for another time)  The start line of the half marathon is on the street that turns into the park and offers beautiful views of a Pine Lake (and it was gorgeous watching the sun come up!).  The route is marked by signs and coordinating colors by race. It was announced several times that the half marathoners were the ORANGE route but honestly there was adequate signage and so many volunteers that I never needed to rely on the colored markers on the street, although I did see them!

One thing that has stood out to me about this course the last 2 years that I have done this race is the hills.  They aren’t huge mountain hills or anything, I think I would call them more like rolling hills, but they just seem to be on every mile of the course.  I am certain we ran some flat areas but there were so many times when I got to the bottom of one hill just to find that it was time to start climbing the next one.  Again these are not the types of hills you find in some other races that are known for the big hills, these are completely runnable (if that’s a word) but they were definitely noticed!  There were aid stations about every 2 miles just as stated by the guy with the microphone at the start line, and I also carried my hand held water bottle with me.

La porte elevation
Elevation and with pace overlay

The course runs through what I would consider more of a residential area, although not a neighborhood – the roads were more like county roads, no sidewalks, etc but also no farm land to be seen, just beautiful houses with nice big yards in what seemed like it would be a quiet place to live.  Then I would guess somewhere between mile 3 and 4 we made a right turn and headed out further on to county roads where there were some cornfields sprinkled in with the houses.  The course was mainly closed to traffic but the people that lived along the route needed access to and from their homes (I totally get that) and so there were a few instances where you would hear people yelling from behind you to get over because a car was coming. Never did a feel that the drivers of these cars were impatient and I felt like they carefully maneuvered through the runners with safety in mind.

La Porte route
Half Marathon course map

This part of the course makes a circle that connects back to the first part of the course around mile 10 and then takes runners back to the park on the other side that gave us the opportunity to run around Stone Lake which was also very beautiful!  This lake has the beach that we ran on during the trail run and also has a playground where I later found out my kids were playing when I came around the lake and could see me running from across the lake.  The finish line is at Cummings Lodge where there was cold water and lots of food waiting! I felt a surge of excitement coming around that lake to the finish and felt like I finished strong.  I found a nice place on the curb to sit after I finished to catch my breath and drink some water and was able to catch the award ceremony for the 5K, 10K and half marathon.  The overall winners took home golden shoe trophies that looked like a legit running shoe that someone had spray painted gold and mounted to a base.  I’m sure my description isn’t great but it was one of the coolest awards I’ve seen. I will share a picture posted by the race photographers, because I’m pretty sure you guys will love them too. I am nowhere near fast enough to earn one of these, but I sure can admire them!

la porte finish 4
Finishing strong!

Finsh line La Porte
Resting after finishing!

Golden shoes
Awards for overall winners! So cool!!!

After the last runners from the half marathon finished, it was time for the mini fun run that was a race for kids ages 4-8 that cost $1 per kid!! First of all, how awesome is that? Most races that offer runs for kids have a cost that is more like $10-$20  per kid and with 3 kids that really adds up.  The kids ran by age group which means Sawyer and Stella ran together and man was I impressed! They were in it to win it, taking 2nd and 3rd place!  Every kid that ran got a cute little medal, beach ball and sand bucket with beach toys.  So cool!  After the fun run we started to head back to the car and we were approached by a La Porte police officer (I recognized this guy because he had been at an intersection on the course and was very interactive with the runners, yelling out encouragement!)  He took the kids to his car where he gave the boys each a football and Stella a teddy bear (which she still sleeps with a week later)! I did not catch this Officer’s name but his kindness will always be remembered.

Can you tell why this is a race that is worth the drive? It has a very small town feel but both years I have felt very supported as a runner! Next year I think it would be fun if we stayed an extra day and Justin did some miles on his bike!  Then we could have the whole Tour de La Porte experience!!!


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Beaver Chase Urban Trail Race

Do it for the post run selfie!!!!

There are 2 things that I think that the readers of this blog should know about me. The first is that I like to challenge myself to do hard things and the second is that I can be talked into just about any race is they are offering the right kind of swag. These two things are what led me to find myself at the start line of Beaver Chase Urban Trail half marathon earlier this month. Racemaker, the company that hosts the race, has hosted several races that I have done in the past and they always do a fantastic job. Once I saw the participant shirts and finisher medal’s, I knew this is a race that I wanted to participate in.

Beaver Chase Urban Trail race participant shirt and medal!!!

The issue with this race is the course. It is on two cross country courses connected by the Urban Wilderness Trail and also has about a 1K section that runs through a wooded path. So the course is all grass, sand, and crushed limestone, with several “obstacles” such as logs, rocks, concrete barrier things and a couple pretty huge hills. There was not one step of this course that was on pavement. I have actually ran on this course before (during last year’s Turkey Trifecta) and knew that it is a tough course to run on. For me personally it seems to be particularly hard on my ankles and knees,

This race consisted of a quarter marathon (6.55 miles) loop that the half marathon runners ran twice and the full marathon runners ran 4 times. My first loop went fairly well. I started by twisting through a cross country course that ran toward the wooded section. Once I ran down the hill into the wooded section I hit a path that was mostly sand. I felt like I was still able to keep up a pretty good pace through this area but did have to slow down a little to climb over a some pretty large logs. Once leaving the wooded area I met the first large hill that I needed to climb. I had to walk up this hill as it was pretty steep. Once at the top of the hill, I found myself back on the course country course and made my way back toward the start line. Once I got almost back to the start area, the course then went back down a hill similar to the size and steepness of the one I had climbed coming out of the wooded area.

This picture was taken by my hubby while I was on the first cross country course. This was the flattest and most even terrain of the course!

At the bottom of the hill was the Urban Wilderness Trail. This is mainly crushed limestone but did have some challenging areas that included some large rocks and other uneven surfaces. I found myself on this trail for a good little while (don’t ask me the mileage haha) until finally I found myself at the entrance of the second cross country course. This course had ground that was a lot more uneven than the first one and also had a couple hills (although nothing like the first one that I had climbed!) There was a spot on the course where I could see the water station at the entrance/exit to the course and thought I was close to returning to the crushed limestone and start heading back to the start area, only to find that the course made another turn and went out further than I had thought.

I did finally make it out of the second cross country course though and made my return to the start area on the Urban Wilderness Trail. This is the part of the trail that I struggled with most on both of my loops. We ran this same trail on the way out to the course and so I don’t know if running to right side of the way back to let others pass made the return trip back tougher but the ground felt super uneven and I felt my foot landing in holes, etc. When I made it back to where I could hear the finish line and knew I was close, I was met with one more large hill to climb up. I finished my first loop in 1:10:28 and set out on lap number 2.

Sometimes the hill wins!

My second lap was pretty uneventful and I finished it in 1:24:50. In the last two miles I found myself arguing with myself in my head because part of me really wanted to walk but the other part of me just wanted to keep running so I could get to the finish line and eat something. I carried several gels with me and intended to take as I do for most half marathons but I never really felt comfortable enough to take my attention off of my footing because I did not want to fall (and ya’ll that know me know that I am good at falling when I run!) My official finish time was 2:35:19 and I am thrilled with that time especially with the difficulty level of this course!!! I have some fast friends too and my friend Heather placed 1st in our age group! It was great to see so many friendly faces out on the course and that has become one of my favorite parts of being part of the running community locally!

No matter how challenging the race is, you still gotta rock that finish line
Running is always better with friends and photo bombers

So while this course was challenging and one that I was not super looking forward to tackling, I have to say that it wasn’t as bad as I had thought and the race swag and miles earned were well worth it!!!