Visit Louisville and Run the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in 2022

Disclaimer: I received a Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Louisville to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

I am excited to say I am running the 2022 Hot Chocolate 15K in Louisville on April 2. I completed the 2021 race virtually, and really enjoyed everything from the race management communications to the swag. (There is also a 5K option for those wanting to join in the fun but not ready to tackle the 15K.) Don’t want to run? That’s okay, you can walk!

Here are 4 reasons why you should visit Louisville and participate in the race:

  1. The Charity – This year’s race will support St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.
  2. The Chocolate – Need I say more? The chocolate is everywhere, including at the post-race party, where you will receive a finisher mug that includes fondue, dippables, and your very own hot chocolate!
  3. The Swag – All finishers receive a very cool medal and finisher’s jacket, along with the post-race party goodies! BONUS: this race is timed and you get FREE high-res race photos.
  4. The Location – Louisville is such a fun city! There is so much to do – come in early and experience all that downtown offers, including The Slugger Museum, historic Churchill Downs, and the Bourbon Trail are all “must-dos” while you are in Louisville, just to name a few.
My medal from the virtual race in the Spring of 2021!

You can register here – don’t forget to use code “HC21” for a free Buff!

I can’t wait to see you in Louisville in April!

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 28: “Run with Your Heart” with Madeline Rivera

Stephanie sits down to talk to Madeline Rivera in this latest episode of the podcast. Maddie happens to be a BAMR that has finished race distances from 5K to 100 miles. She tells us a little bit about when she started running (later in life), gives new runners some great advice (spoiler: consistency is key), and talks about the importance of volunteering/giving back to the sport of running.  Maddie also happens to help her husband Will Rivera manage a local running store, Running Soles, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I hope you enjoy her story and find some motivation to run with your heart, no matter where you are in your running journey.

Show Notes

Running Soles

Running Soles on Instagram 

Listen to the episode here.

Honor Veterans – Run the Honor Run Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a registration to the Honor Run Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

As you consider the remainder of your race calendar for Fall 2021, have you considered a race that gives back to those who served our country? The Honor Run Half Marathon in Florence, KY on Veteran’s Day (11/14/2021) is the perfect race that fulfills this objective.

The Honor Run Half Marathon started in 2014. All proceeds from the race are “donated to Honor Flight Tri State to help send our local Veterans who have served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Washington DC for the day to see the memorials that they have earned.” Since it’s inception, the race has donated over $240,000 to Honor Flight Tri State and has served 434 veterans.

I first heard of the race in 2018 when my friend Corey raced there. His review of the race was amazing. I decided to make the short trip to Florence in 2019 to see it for myself. You can read in detail my experience here; needless to say I am making the trip back in 2021 after the race went virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Other than an amazing cause, I am looking forward to these aspects of the race:

  • The atmosphere: I love that so many people running this race are running for a family member, friend, neighbor or loved one. I personally ran to honor my father-in-law and pinned a photo of him onto my hydration vest. I also carried a written list of friends’ veterans in my pocket, as a way to honor so many others who served.
  • The course: If you like rolling hills, you are going to love this course! There is also a small portion that is “out and back” so you can cheer on/support other runners in passing.
  • The finish line fun: There is music, great food and lots of cheering on runners and they come down the finisher’s chute.

This race is top-notch! Don’t believe me? In 2020, The Honor Run Half Marathon was named in the Top 10 Half Marathons of the Decade by the BibRave 100.

Race Details

Sunday November 14th, 2021

Florence, Kentucky


13.1 Mile Half Marathon 7:00am


10K and 5K Run/Walk 7:45am

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 27: “Enjoying the Gift of Running” with Lorri Roberts

Lorri Roberts identifies as a runner, artist, and coach, but she is also a BAMR. In this episode, Lorri talks with Stephanie about the start of her running journey, the day she knew she was a runner, and her love of the Louisville running community.  Lorri is a head coach at Fleet Feet Louisville and she credits this group for keeping her accountable and enthusiastic about running. She also talks about her feelings on body positivity and how important it is to be “comfortable with the skin you are in”.  

Show Notes:

Fleet Feet Louisville Coach Bio

Find Lorri on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/turtlegoesforarun/

Lorri is a 2021 Urban Bourbonite – register for the UBHM and use her code ROBERTS2021 for 10% off

Click here and listen to the episode now!

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 26: “We are Made to Run!” with Jaimelee Steurer

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Episode 26: “We are Made to Run!” with Jaimelee Steurer

Stephanie sits down to talk to fellow BibRave Pro, Jaimelee Steurer in this episode. Jaimelee started running early in life and then took a hiatus when she had her children. In 2017 she returned to running and she talks with us about balancing running, work and family. Jaimeelee takes the time to share some fun stories and encourages listeners to give themselves some grace as they (re) start their running journey. Enjoy!

Show notes

Read Jaimelee’s blog at http://therift40.com/about-us/

Find Jaimelee on Instagram 

Learn more about the Air Force Marathon (use code AFMBR21 for 10% off registration) at https://www.usafmarathon.com/

Hotter than July Trail 1/4 and 1/2 Marathon 

Listen to the episode now – click here!

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Mini Episode 3: Returning to Running after a COVID-19 Diagnosis

The Bluegrass BAMR Podcast Mini Episode 3: Returning to Running after a COVID-19 Diagnosis

In this episode, Stephanie shares a little about her experience with COVID-19. Specifically, she talks about her recovery and return to running.  

You can read more about her experience with COVID-19 here.

If you have COVID-19 or are recovering and experience feelings of sadness or despair, please reach out to Stephanie or any of your friends/family to talk. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Click here now to listen to this latest podcast episode.

Supporting Immune Function with SIS Immune Tablets

Disclaimer: I received Science in Sport Immune Tablets to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Let’s face it, living during a pandemic, much less training during one, can be a challenge. Putting your body through a training cycle, along with additional stressors that wouldn’t normally be present absent a pandemic may compromise your body’s immune response. Just in time, Science in Sport (SiS) has developed a product to help support our immune systems! When I was given the option to try out their new Immune Tablets, I jumped at the chance (if you have read my other blogs, you already know I am a huge SiS fan). I am also interested because I was ill with COVID-19 in 2020 and I want to do all that I can to protect my immune system. Science indicates heavy training can actually suppress the immune system. It is important as I continue to add to my training load to keep this in mind and use resources like SiS to keep me healthy.

Read more about the Science Behind Immunity from SiS here.

Some things to know if you are interested in SIS Immune Tablets:

  • SiS Immune contains 200mg of vitamin C and 2.5mg of Iron
  • SiS Immune includes key electrolytes (no need to mix with SiS GO Electro or Hydrate products)
  • SiS Immune tabs are 9 calories/serving, vegan-friendly and Lactose/Gluten/Wheat/Nut/Soya Free

I received 2 tubes of SiS Orange Immune Tablets (20 tabs in each tube) to review. They were packaged securely and the tablets were intact when I opened the containers. I immediately put one container in my fuel drawer and the other in my car for easy on-the-go access. Directions were simple-drop one tablet in 500 mls of water and let dissolve, then enjoy!

I really like the orange taste; I would describe it as “zesty” orange. When the tablet goes into the water, it fizzes, but once the tablet is dissolved the drink is still. All in all, this tablet experience falls in line with all of the other SiS products I love in the 1) taste and 2) ease of use categories. I highly recommend adding SiS Immune Tablets to your hydration regimen.

Use code “SiS-BibRave-21” for 15% off at Science in Sport

Read reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros on SiS Immune Tablets:

Karen

Joe

Make Your Miles Matter – Run the National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run

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

Are you looking for a virtual race with an amazing charity behind it? Look no further than the 2021 National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run. The mission of this race is to “be in solidarity with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), Girls, and Two-Spirits, grieving families, and individuals working on the frontlines to end this epidemic of violence against Indigenous people.”

People might question why I am running this race, especially as I am not Native. I do not need to be Native to understand that there are serious issues with the statistics below and we as humans can all be a part of the solution.

Murder is the third-leading cause of death among native women. 

Native women face murder rates at more than 10x the national average. 

MMIW USA

The National Crime Information Center reports that, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the US Department of Justice’s federal missing person’s database, NamUs, only 116 logged cases.

Urban Indian Health Institute

After reading the Urban Indian Health Institute report as well as other reports on MMIW, I realize that this is information that needs awareness. The first thing I can do is support the National Day of Awareness virtual event.

How does the MMIW mission virtual event work?

  1. Sign up here: 2021 MMIW Virtual Event
  2. Wear the 2021 MMIW Run Shirt or the color red on the day of the event (Every registration comes with a red t-shirt; register by 4/20 to get the t-shirt by 5/5)!
  3. Run, walk, hike, or any movement of your choice for any distance May 5-May 8th.
  4. Share a picture on social & speak on why you are participating.
  5. Use hashtags #nativewomenrunning #MMIW #MMIWG2S #MMIR #timetofly and tag @nativewomenrunning on your social posts.

Are you ready to make your miles matter?

Register now at: https://runsignup.com/Race/MN/Anywhere/2021MMIWVirtualEvent

Read fellow BRP Vanessa’s blog about this race.

Returning to Running after a COVID-19 Diagnosis

It’s taken me almost 20 weeks to post this blog.

I tested positive for COVID-19 in Fall 2020. As I sit here and type this, it still feels surreal to even read it back to myself. It seems like it was forever ago, but it wasn’t; it was almost 6 months ago.

I won’t go into the details of how I believe I contracted the virus as I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy. I will say I know how I contracted it, or at least I can assume how I was exposed, to the best of my knowledge. I say this because COVID is a funny, sneaky thing you can’t see. Because you can’t see it, you also can’t assume to know who carries the virus…you also can’t assume people think the way you do or will reveal if they are potentially exposing you to the illness. Lesson learned. But, I digress.

I have made a promise to myself to not be resentful or angry regarding the circumstances in which I contracted COVID, although I know it could have been avoided. What I can’t wipe away is the fact that there are emotional and physical effects that linger now. And, in case you are wondering, it took me eleven weeks to recover from the virus and be cleared by a physician to run again.

Below you will read an abbreviated timeline of my illness. Keep in mind, I an an avid runner. I am in my mid-40’s, have no underlying conditions and am generally healthy. I have not had any heart or organ issues to this point. I have a high tolerance for pain (no pain meds during labor and delivery for this lady and I am an ultrarunner) and discomfort. Yet, here I was with COVID-19. (Feel free to skip past all of these details and get to the recovery part if you would like; I placed them here as many people have asked what it was like.)

Timeline of Symptoms

Day 1: I wake up with sinus pressure/pain. I have light sensitivity and cannot get rid of my headache. I have ear pain and could tell there was fluid on my ears. I wanted to believe I had a sinus or ear infection. I found out I was exposed. I make my husband move out of the master bedroom.

Day 2: Here comes the fever; Tylenol doesn’t take it away. I am irritable and in pain with that headache most of the day. When I brush my teeth, the toothpaste tastes like metal. YUK. I sleep most all day in a fever-induced haze.

Day 3: Went in for my COVID test. My vitals were normal. No fever but that headache was still there. The NP stated although I had fluid on my ears I did not have an infection of any type and it was most likely “something viral”. I purchased Allegra-D and that took care of the headache. I can smell but noticed my lemonade tasted weird. Now I wait for test results. I am tired. I sleep most of the day.

Day 4: No fever or headache today! I can barely taste coffee or food unless it is salty. I am very, very tired. I make my family stay away from me; no one is allowed in my room or bathroom. My husband comes in to check on me from time to time and we both mask up. He stays a good 10 feet from me even when he checks on me. At some point this day, my sense of smell and taste evaporate into thin air. It’s like someone waved a wand over my face and made it disappear. It scares me. I wonder if I will continue to get worse at this point.

Day 5-7: I woke up on Day 5 feeling positive. The NP office calls to say my test is positive. They give me instructions and tell me a contact tracer will contact me soon. I am tired and want to sleep right away but get up and take a shower and try to stay positive. All I want to do is sleep. I also want to hug my children. I am struggling with not being able to go check on them, help them with school work or just in general be a mom. I want to hug them. They come to the outside of my door and whisper, “Mom, are you okay?” and they tell me they love me. I miss them. I thought I was better Day 5, but the setbacks on Day 6 and 7 really put me in a bad emotional place. My heart rate spikes while doing nothing. I can’t sleep. I lay awake at night thinking about all of the things I won’t tell anyone about. I won’t write about it here, but let’s just say my anxiety was at an all-time high.

Day 8: I wake up and feel human. I go into the bathroom and spray air freshener; I can smell it faintly. I still can’t taste things. I sneak out the back door with my mask to take a walk. It was a mistake. My heart rate is high and now I am exhausted. I can’t rest. This sleeping all day has my days and nights mixed up. I binge listen to podcasts until I can’t stay awake anymore.

Day 9: I light a match and I can smell the sulfur and the candle. I scream upstairs to the boys “I can smell this candle!” while I am in tears and I am pretty sure at this point they think I’ve completely lost it. I go back to bed. At this point, the CDC recommendations are that I stay in self-isolation for 10 days. One more day to go. I wake up the next morning tired, but jump into the shower and then out to hug my children, who I still wear a mask around because I don’t trust this virus at all.

Recovery Phase

Let’s just say, I took daily notes on my symptoms and the above is just a “Cliff Notes” version. I figured after Day 14 I would start to improve quickly. Four weeks into the experience and most of my smell and taste had returned. However, I was still congested and my heart rate was erratic. One night, I wake up to a squeezing feeling in my left bicep down my arm and into my leg; I have pins and needles in my left side and I am light-headed. Am I having a heart-attack? I don’t know. I cry in the dark until it goes away.

A week later, I have so much chest tightness when I breathe out! I can’t even walk around the block without feeling tired. What is happening? Will I ever be able to run again? I cannot even go up and down the stairs without my heart rate getting higher than I’ve ever seen it. I decided to make an appointment to see a physician after reading about several runners having cardiac episodes when they returned to running post-COVID.

Six weeks after my positive test, I see my doctor. After telling her everything I’ve mentioned above, she explains she has tried to read up on COVID and endurance athletes/runners, but there “just isn’t a lot out there”. She also tells me one goal she has is to rule out that I am a “long-hauler”. It isn’t until then I realize how serious this really could be for me. She runs several blood panels and does an EKG in the office. She states my EKG doesn’t show any signs of a heart attack or cardiomyopathy. She wants me to go home and wait for the lab results to come back. They do come back abnormal; in particular my liver and kidney enzymes are not normal and she is hoping this is only due to inflammation still in the body. She explains that COVID-19 has an impact on the hard organs that she is still learning about and wants me to take it easy and come back for more panels in a month.

I return in one month (10 weeks post-COVID diagnosis) reporting that I am completing interval (walk/run) segments. I am tired but I a hopeful. My labs are drawn again. My physician tells me if my labs return to normal she will clear me for running and weight lifting, albeit gradually. I receive the phone call the next day my labs read normal. I am “free” to run again. I don’t feel free. I feel exhausted and abnormal carrying around the weight of it all.

I feel behind on work (I ended up taking off about 50 hours from work time); I feel like I have missed some of the boys’ schoolwork and of course, I have been absent as a wife, sister, etc. I feel like I will never catch up. I feel like I am a shell of what I was in terms of physical fitness. I am sad. I am angry. I am trying my best to be grateful. It’s all difficult.

Almost twenty weeks after my positive test, I am writing this to report I am running again. It is slow-going. It is like starting from scratch; I had forgotten what it was like to be a new runner. I am (sort of) caught up with work and life. I do not feel like my former self. I am still tired easily. My brain is foggy-I think of a word but it doesn’t come out of my mouth correctly (for example, I mean to say car, but say bus instead, knowing full well I mean car.) For the most part, my sense of smell and taste is back but for whatever reason I cannot drink milk. Milk tastes sour; I can’t smell milk or cheese, which is weird. Did I mention I am tired most days?

I am also happy to report I am also fully vaccinated. Oddly enough, having COVID put me in a higher risk category and I was able to get vaccinated right after my 90-days was up. I still mask up in public or in spaces where non-vaccinated people may be; I want to do my part to prevent the spread.

The wild thing about COVID-19 is the variance in how it impacts people; I do not want people I know and love to have to experience what I did and no one really knows how it’s going to impact them until they have it. I’ve heard so many people say “It’s just the flu*” and for people that haven’t had COVID (or had a mild case), I can see why they would say this. However, I can’t see why they don’t see other people who have had the experience of struggling (or worse yet, dying) from this disease and not understand the damage they are causing with their dismissive words and actions. COVID has really opened my eyes to people; I find actions speak louder than words, but some people’s words are still ringing in my ears.

I had much time to reflect in my recovery period. During self-isolation, I read about and chatted with others who experienced COVID-19. I barely knew of anyone who tested positive before my own test. Once I felt good enough to let people outside of my family and work know I was sick, I found out there were many people who had went through what I went through, but they weren’t really talking about it. There is definitely a stigma attached to this virus. Once I started talking to other people who had symptoms, I started to feel like I wasn’t alone and that some of my fears and anger were typical. I also felt relieved to know others had experienced what I had; crazy, right?

As I type this, I know of two otherwise healthy runners who are now in the long-hauler category. I think to myself: that could be me, or you, or people we care about. I also try to focus on the positive-I am still here with my family. I didn’t have to be hospitalized. I still get to run. I am at the point where I have decided I may be a different runner than I was before COVID. I may not ever be as fast or be able to run as far as I did, but I am still healthy enough to do this thing that I love and for that, I am forever grateful.

Of note: It is hard to understand how COVID-19 effects your body and your mind unless you experience it. If you have COVID-19 or are recovering and experience feelings of sadness or despair, please reach out to me or any of your friends/family to talk. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

*Since December 2019, COVID-19 has killed more people in the U.S. than influenza has in the last five years. 

My Recap of the 2021 BibRave Proud Virtual Summit

Many of you know that BiBrave.com is THE place to find race reviews and recommendations. Did you know that BibRave also has an “active, enthusiastic, and savvy social media influencers who help spread the word about BibRave and BibRave-partnered races and brand“? Those influencers are called the BibRave Pros (BRPs) and I am proud to be one of the many runners in this amazing community.

Each year, the BRPs get together for a summit-it is a time to network, learn and strengthen the BRP community. Due to the pandemic, this event was virtual in 2020 and again in 2021. Our event was sponsored this year by Knockaround and Science in Sport!

  • Knockaround – Check out these amazing custom blue-light blockers in the pick below; the quality is amazing. I love the lightweight frame and the fact that they can help reduce eye strain really is amazing and a must during these virtual times.
  • Science in Sport – As part of the weekend, we were able to try the new SIS gels-both the Turbo+ and the Sleep Plus. I have to say, these may be the most interesting products I have tried from Science in Sport so far! The Turbo Plus has quite a kick of caffeine and that menthol, wow. This gel was created for indoor use and the menthol helps to improve your ability to tolerate heat stress-cool, right? I have not tried the Sleep Plus yet, but it is formulated to assist in sleeping better and recovering fast, which all athletes need help with from time to time.

Luckily, we are used to working in a virtual atmosphere, so it isn’t hard to convince us to all come together for a weekend full of everything BRP orange. How do you mean? Let me share some highlights with you.

Friday night was our Welcome and Happy Hour – As part of this, Team BibRave welcomed all of us to the weekend event.  We used the Hopin platform, a virtual event platform, and it was such a breath of fresh air to be in a platform we don’t normally use to maintain connections! Then we were able to break into small team cohorts. I am one of the six Team Captains for 2021 and I was very excited to see many of my team members in a smaller setting. We shared a little about ourselves by bringing a visual aid to represent our hometowns/where we live now.  Most everyone had a fun story to share about their cities, regardless of the locale.

The fun really started on Saturday with a Virtual 5K Scavenger Hunt on RunKeeper. This was really cool because as I was running, fellow BibRave Pros would pop-in and give me items to find and take photos of on the run.  You can see my scavenger hunt finds below.

We then were able to come back to brunch and AMA (Ask Me Anything) with BibRave Co-Founders Jess & Tim.  It is always nice to hear updates on our mission driven projects and also think about the future of BibRave and what that might look like.

The Social Media & Content Creation session was very popular. I loved hearing tips and tricks to enhance (or change) some of the ways I am representing BibRave partners on social.  We then had a variety of learning sessions run throughout the day- I enjoyed the Vlogging and Peloton groups for sure! It is amazing to hear the depth of knowledge other pros have and I have some great take-aways from the sessions. And last, but not least, we had Team Trivia Night for an hour – my team (BRP FIRE) didn’t win, but we had a lot of laughs. Lesson learned:  Study up before the next trivia night.

*Keep in mind, we were all busy in between sessions posting about all the fun on social. You can check out #BRPROudSummit for all of the fun deets.*

Sunday was a great day – we were able to hear from the DEI Council members and the work they hope to achieve on the council.  Last, but not least, we were able to say Farewell and see the Zestie award recipients. Zesties are the BRPs that have been around for 5 years. It’s pretty amazing to see how our community has grown! Not-so-secret secret: I hope to receive a Zestie one day.

As we wrapped up, I was sad to see the sessions end, but was also renewed with new ideas and hope as we continue through 2021. The pandemic might have changed the way we were able to conduct our annual event, but it has not stopped our community from supporting one another and growing. I can’t wait until 2022 and more fun with the BibRave Pro community.

Special thanks to the BibRave Team for putting this event together! And, we cannot forget the sponsors which helped make this event happen- Knockaround and Science in Sport. Make sure you check them out on their respective websites.

You can read more about the weekend from some of my fellow BRPs below:

Samantha

Sherry

Cellulite Warriors

Cellulite Freedom

Turtle Goes for a Run

Let me share my passion for running with you, one step at a time.

Pancho runs

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The Pinay Ajumma

just sharing

Mike & Sherry Do Stuff

We like to do stuff. We run, we tri, we hike, we eat, and we drink. Follow our adventures!

Scootadoot

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Angie Runs

3.1 - 6.2 - 13.1 - 26.2 - 50k

Miles and Medicine

Adventures in medicine, triathlon, and ultrarunning

runningdoornbos

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My Feet in Motion

On the run with a dietitian

thedihedral.wordpress.com/

Climbing, Outdoors, Life!

Running with Ken ROCKS!

@kenstandsonthings

TMilesAndRunning

Follow my running journey as I train for upcoming Races, coach some great runner, and review some of my favorite products along the way.

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I'm a Slacker with a running problem, wait, maybe that's backwards

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Running things and eliminating caloric deficits. Usually with pizza. And beer. And donuts.