my journey with the athlete’s palate

The focus of The Athlete’s Palate, run by registered holistic nutritionist Julie Sparkes, is to help athletes learn how to use food for their best performance.

Oh, I suppose I am an athlete, huh? And while I do try to eat healthy, I know I can do better. When I saw The Athlete’s Palate was looking for Ambassadors, I jumped at the chance to apply. I’m thrilled to have been chosen to be a part of the team!

I’m just in the early phases now. I’m starting journal my meals and snacks to share with Julie, and we’ll work together to come up with the best plan to fuel my racing and training.

I’ve already been able to fix some of my problems (sinus and skin) by eliminating dairy (most of the time). I’ve always wondered if there are any other things I’m eating that are working against me. I’m excited for this chance to work with a pro!

Our team has some great sponsors, so please check them out.

Sponsors, thank you for supporting us!

since i’ve been gone

Oh, whoa. My last post here was July 2015. I missed more than a year!

I realize nobody’s following me anymore, but I want to try to start documenting my life and races again. Even if it’s just for myself.

There’s no way I could write up race reports of everything I’ve missed, but here are some highlights:

October 2015: Ironman Maryland

My first Ironman! Our race was originally scheduled for October 3rd, but storms/hurricane threat caused them to cancel. Fortunately, they were able to reschedule two weeks later, and we raced on October 17th. Choppy waters delayed our start and caused our swim to be shortened to two miles. It was pretty cold and windy all day. Tough for sure, but I loved it!

October 2015: Marine Corps Marathon

I should have had three weeks to recover, but due to the rescheduling, I only had eight days. That’s still probably not enough, but it was the 40th anniversary and my 5th time running MCM, so I didn’t want to miss it. I did a run-walk, and amazingly didn’t feel that bad.

November 2015: Philadelphia Marathon

Yes, another marathon a few weeks later! My friends were going, and this race had been on my bucket list. I was a little tired, but ran reasonably well and enjoyed the course.

Another marathon done. And my medal rings! #runchat

A photo posted by Lauren (@mostlyirun) on

January 2016: Dopey Challenge

So maybe it was a little crazy to run four races in a row just a few months after my first Ironman. Well, a bunch of my friends were going, and I did Goofy in 2010. I was dying to go back and tackle the Dopey Challenge!


June 2016: Eagleman 70.3

Similar to the IMMD course, I did Eagleman as a training race for my next full Ironman. It was HOT and my run was slow, but I managed to get a 70.3 PR.

3rd 70.3 done! That was a slow hot run … but overall PR so I’m happy!

A photo posted by Lauren (@mostlyirun) on

July 2016: Ironman Vineman

Yup, I did my second Ironman less than 10 months after my first. It was a new race to the Ironman brand (and turns out, will be the ONLY Ironman Vineman. The course is moving for 2017 and is now Ironman Santa Rosa). This was much more difficult than Maryland. Weather was beautiful, and wind wasn’t really an issue … but there are hills! I was quite a bit slower, but I still had a great time. Two friends raced with me, and we did a bit of wine tasting post-race!

October 2016: Chicago Marathon

Once again, I was back to running once Ironman training was over. I loved the Chicago Marathon — great course and amazing spectators! My time was kind of slow, but it was a beautiful day, and I had fun.

October 2016: Patapsco Valley 50K

And then I did the Patapsco Valley 50K two weeks later. That kinda hurt, but I (just barely) made the time cutoff, and I (just barely) wasn’t last!

November 2016: Disney Wine & Dine Lumiere’s Challenge

I had some time left on my parkhopper pass after Dopey, since we were too tired to go into the parks every day. And Disney created a new challenge, so I had to go back! Only a 10K + Half Marathon this time, so at least it wasn’t quite as exhausting as Dopey! But I spent quite a bit of time on my feet in the parks so I was just as tired!

Half Marathon done. At least some of you are awake by now!

A photo posted by Lauren (@mostlyirun) on

Phew! And that’s not even all of them. I just really enjoy races!

review: BrightLife Go for all your compression-sock needs

I was contacted a few months ago by Catie at BrightLife Go to let me know about their new site selling compression socks, sleeves and stockings, for both athletic and everyday use.  In exchange for a review, I was sent my choice of socks or sleeves. I’m a huge compression fan already, and already own socks and sleeves from many of the popular athletic brands they carry, such as CEP, Zensah and 2XU.

I decided to try something both functional and fashionable, and chose a new-to-me brand, Sockwell. I chose the Chevron Sock in Teal.


I love the colors, and the design is so cute. They are a blend of Merino Wool, Bamboo Rayon, Stretch Nylon and Spandex. I’ve only just worn them around the house right now, but I imagine they’ll keep me toasty warm in the winter.  I actually had to postpone this review a number of weeks — my air conditioning was broken all summer, and I couldn’t give a proper evaluation. Finally, many thousands of dollars and a new HVAC system later, it is now chilly in my house.

I’ve had a chance to test them out a couple times now. I like that they offer two sizes for women’s socks, Small/Medium for sizes 4-7.5, and Medium/Large for 8-10.5. As a size 6, one-size-fits-all socks often have extra material at the toes, or the heel doesn’t line up in the right place. These are a perfect fit!

I haven’t tried running in them yet (it’s too warm for that!), but they seem like they should be suitable for active use as well. It was definitely a touch choice picking socks, as there are so many great styles at BrightLife Go. Check out the cute VIM & VIGR everyday compression socks!

Want to win a pair of Sockwell socks for yourself? BrightLife Go will give one of my readers a pair of Chevron Socks too! (Your choice of color / size).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a pair of socks for free in exchange for my review. Opinions are my own.

catching up, again

Whoa, it’s been awhile. I fully intended to write a race report about my first race of the year, Phunt 50K, that I ran nearly six months ago. Oops!

Well, I still would like to share an abbreviated version.

It was kind of cold (upper 30s) and a double-loop course. It started to rain as I neared the end of the first loop. The course got sloppy. Many people dropped to the 25K distance. I feared missing a cutoff once I learned they had them (uh, as I started the second loop) — and came really close. In fact, a volunteer at the last aid station asked me how I was feeling, and said he was supposed to start pulling people one minute ago. He asked if  I thought I could finish within the eight-hour time limit. Glad he let me keep going, I had plenty of time!  (07:42:31)

Phunt 50K
During the first loop, when it was still dry.
Photo courtesy of RunningMadPhoto

I was nearly last (only five people behind me), but I think most of them I managed to pass in the last few miles. There was at least one person who got pulled at an aid station (I saw it mentioned in a Facebook comment), and a lot called it quits after one loop. I’m proud of myself for pushing through. And the finish time is EXACTLY the same as my NorthFace 50K a couple years ago. Crazy!

Phunt 50K
Ah, here’s the mud! Photo courtesy of RunningMadPhoto

After Phunt, I took a little race break except for a 5K in February. But I was working on bigger things …

Like running a marathon on my birthday!

B&A Marathon
Around mile 19, after we’d been running into a headwind for 12 miles. Ouch!

The B&A Trail Marathon (right up the road from me in Severna Park, MD) originally would have been a race where I tried to run fast (for me). But after Phunt, I had a fracture scare (shin). Turns out it was muscular, but I took a few weeks off as a precaution. So I went into this marathon a little bit undertrained (only made it to 17.5 miles in training). It worked out fine, though. My friend Dan was much more undertrained and was looking for a race buddy. (He’s a seasoned ultrarunner, though, and knew what he was getting himself into.)

We took it easy and stuck together the whole race, which otherwise would have gotten quite lonely. It’s a small race with a 1,000-runner limit for both the half and full marathons … but only 300 do the full marathon. It was a beautiful, though chilly, day, and I was happy to start my new age group with my 13th marathon finish!

That ended up being my last long run before my next big adventure race.
Big Sur Mararhon


More on that later. Hopefully it won’t take me another six months for a race report!

where have i been racing?

It’s been awhile since I did a race report. A lot has happened since Raleigh 70.3 on June 1! I should have my first 2015 race report written up soon, but wanted to fill in the blanks before I get to that.

In mid-July I did the 45-mile Tour de Keuka bike ride in Western NY with one of my college roommates as part of an unofficial girls reunion weekend. At the end of the month, I ran the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon marathon. Did you know there was a Grand Canyon in PA? Neither did we, so naturally we had to run it. It was really hilly and hard!

In August I went to Ireland to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin half marathon, and spent a week touring the country. I also did the Iron Girl Columbia triathlon for the seventh time.

September I headed to VA Beach for my 10th time running the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon there. Our favorite end-of-summer trip (that just so happens to include a race). The following week I headed to Dover for the Amish Country Bike Tour. We did the 50-mile ride this time. I hadn’t ridden in awhile and it was a little uncomfortable, but at least it’s flat!

The end of September was the start of a challenging fall race season. A friend and I headed up to Philadelphia for the Sloppy Cuckoo 12-Hour race. The race is on a 6.55-mile trail loop, and you run around it as many times as you can (or choose to) in 12 hours. We made it around six times for an official distance of 39.3 miles, but ran out to a milestone marker to round it up to 40 miles for the day. Holy cow, that’s far!


Today is my 1/2 birthday. 6mo to 40. Yesterday I ran my birthday miles! #runchat #ultrachat #bestfoot


A photo posted by Lauren (@mostlyirun) on

 I had some IT band issues following that race, but sought help and kept moving! The first few runs post-race were a bit painful, but I made it through the Baltimore Half Marathon comfortably in mid October. At the end of October, I ran the Patapsco Valley 50K with a group of friends. That was an interesting experience! We started at 6 a.m. in the dark with headlamps. Patapsco Park is full of challenging trails, and I was still babying my knee/IT, so I took my time and enjoyed a gorgeous day.

Another ultra done. Great race & perfect weather! #runchat A photo posted by Lauren (@mostlyirun) on

Patapsco Valley 50K Finish, photo by my much-faster friend Jimmy
Patapsco Valley 50K Finish, photo by my much-faster friend Jimmy

I wasn’t done with the distance after that race, I was just getting started! That was my last long run before the JFK 50 Mile Race — my first 50-mile attempt. Emphasis on attempt. Going into the race, I knew I was super slow on trails, and that the 12-hour time limit was going to be a challenge. But only the first 16 or so miles are on trails, the rest canal towpath. My strategy was to do run-walk intervals once I hit the canal to keep an even pace.

Off the trail and on to the towpath! Photo by my friend Kit, who ran all over the course to support us!
Off the trail and on to the towpath! Photo by my friend Kit, who ran all over the course to support us!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t run/walking fast enough. And I didn’t realize how far behind I had fallen until it was too late. The checkpoints along the way required different paces to meet the cutoffs. I got through the hard part with nearly 30 minutes to spare, but just barely made the mile 27 cutoff. I was technically 10 minutes late to the mile 34.4 aid station, but they didn’t seem to care. I kept moving, skipping many of my walk intervals to try to make up time … but how fast can you really move after 34+ miles? I stayed hopeful as I inched closer to the next cutoff time, wondering where that 38.4 aid station was … and when I finally got there, I was six minutes past the cutoff. But this time they cared. My bib tag was pulled, my race was over. DNF.

In a way, I was kind of glad to stop. I was tired! But I also knew I could have managed another 12 miles in the nearly three hours left before finish line cutoff. It was heartbreaking. A lot of people were pulled off the course at that station. The man next to me on the shuttle bus was only two minutes late.

38.4 miles is still really far. I’m still proud of what I accomplished. I loved the race, and I will be back to finish what I started. Probably not this year, but definitely in the future.

I finished out 2014 with a few shorter races. The Thanksgiving day 10K just five days after JFK was pretty slow and painful, but I recovered well enough a couple weeks later to place third in my age group in a local 5K! The Celtic Solstice 5-miler in Baltimore is always a fun time. And the last race of the year was my running club’s 15K anniversary run. Not a great race day for me, but I got it done.

On to 2015!