Friday, November 25, 2016

RACE REVIEW:PHILADELPHIA MARATHON

"Believing in others is easy.  It's believing in yourself that's the real challenge."
~ Giuseppe Bianco

Fair warning, this is a lengthy one.  You might want to grab another cup of coffee before you sit down with it.  I'll start by reminding you that I had intended to run the Wineglass Marathon on October 2nd.  I won't rehash the story but, as you may already know, I was not able to race due to a freak accident involving my foot and a metal door.  I cried a lot and felt sorry for myself for a day or two afterwords and then I moved on because that's what we do.  A few days after that, I assessed my situation, re-set my goal and started over.  Because, that's also what we do, especially runners.  Six weeks later, I was gearing up for the Philadelphia Marathon.  I was not as ready as I'd been for Wineglass but, given that I wasn't even sure a fall marathon would be happening after my injury, I was fine with it.  I just wanted to race.  First and foremost, however, I would be focusing on my high school girls XC team as they would be running at the MA State Championship meet the day before Philly.  Do I realize how ridiculous it seems to work a marathon in around the biggest meet of the season for my team?  Yes, yes I do.  I was going to have to get creative to make it work.  Instead of riding the bus, I would need to drive to the meet, which would be starting at 12:30pm.  The girls would race, we'd wait for the results and then instead of sticking around for the boys' race and the awards, I'd have to head straight to the airport to catch my flight to Philly which was at 4:20pm.  It was not ideal.  But, the girls were totally on board with my plan as they knew how important this race was to me after having gone through the whole Wineglass debacle.  I'm a very lucky coach.  The LHS girls team hadn't won a State title since 2001.  This particular crew, however, had been running incredibly strong all season, especially during the weeks leading up to this meet and we had a very good shot and placing somewhere at the top.  It would take me a totally separate post to describe the race but basically the girls threw it all down, ran their hearts out and took the win (watch the post-race interview here).  It was beyond awesome and I can't even attempt to put into words how proud I was of them.  Not surprisingly, we went totally nuts when we found out, celebrating for a solid thirty minutes afterwords - screaming, jumping, hugging, crying, laughing, dancing - all of it.  When it was time, it was really hard for me to pull myself away from the celebration and say goodbye but I had a plane to catch and my own goals to chase the next day.

LHS GIRLS XC 2016 MA STATE CHAMPS

I made it back to Winchester easily and scooped up my good bud/running partner Kirsten who would be coming to Philly with me and running the marathon "for fun".  Yes, that sounds weird.  But it's true.  She wanted to get another marathon after Wineglass, which she'd raced while I cheered, and was ready and willing to be my wingman again.  Go TEAM BACON!  After a relatively painless flight, we landed in Philly and grabbed a cab to our hotel.  As we'd been doing regularly for the past few days, we checked the forecast to see what we'd be dealing with the next morning.  To our dismay, though not to our surprise, the forecast for Sunday had not changed and it was looking grim.  No rain, which was good.  But wind starting early and picking up throughout the day.  For the race start at 7:00am, the winds would be steady at about 15-20 mph.  Then around 9:00am, conditions were predicted to get much worse with gusts between 40-50 mph.  Maybe they'd be wrong, Kirsten and I hoped.  They weren't wrong.  When we got out of the cab, as if on cue, the wind picked up and hit us dead on.  Note Kirsten's hair below.  The wind machine effect is great for a photo.  For a marathon?  Not so much.

Super model wind hair

We were trying hard to stay positive but it wasn't going well.  We went to two different restaurants before we finally found a place to eat.  Everyone around us was talking about the weather to anyone who would listen.  Are you worried?  How bad do you think it's going to be?  Are you as nervous as I am?  I'd been almost stupidly excited to come do this race after all that I'd been through.  I was not as excited anymore.  After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for bed.  We'd arrived so late that we hadn't had time to get our bibs from the expo.  Fortunately, my dear friend and Oiselle teammate, Sue, had picked them up for us the day before and dropped them off at the hotel.  She rules.  We laid out our gear for the morning, taking a minute every once in a while to glance out the window and see the flags whipping madly.  We couldn't help it.  We went to bed nervous and full of dread, not the ideal mindset for the night before a big race but kind of unavoidable.  Our alarm was set for 5:30am and I popped out of bed a little early because the guy at the front desk had told us there would be coffee ready at 5:00 sharp.  I crept out of the room and beelined it for the breakfast buffet.  I'm sure you can imagine my devastation when I learned that the coffee was not, in fact, ready as they had promised. 

My conversation with hotel the staff member who was standing by the breakfast table:
Me: Good morning, Sir.  Where's the coffee?
Him: Oh, let me check on that for you.
Me: But, wait...I....they told us.....(my confused mumbling continued as he walked away)
Him: Ma'am, the kitchen said it would be ready at 6:00am
Me: No, no.  That won't work.  The race is at 7:00 and we need to leave by then.
(for the record, I was not the only one stressing and crying out in disbelief over the situation)
Him: (smiling) I'm sorry.  It's just what they told me.  I wish I could help you.

I didn't cry, but I came close.  Back up to the room I went.  Kirsten was in the process of waking up and I asked if I could turn the light on so I could use the Keurig.  We made some weak, nutty flavored coffee and sucked it down as we got ready to leave.  At 6:00, I let her know that I was going to go back downstairs for coffee and she could just meet me there when she was all set.  When I got to the lobby the coffee was set up and I ran over and and poured myself a cup, finally able to sit and relax a bit.  For like five minutes, actually.  Because, as I sipped, I noticed that there was only one bus out in front of the hotel which I thought was odd because there had been a long line of them only minutes before.  I went outside and asked the driver when the next bus was coming.  His response?  There are no more buses, Ma'am.  This is it.  And we have to go.  WHAT??!!  I told him I needed to grab my friend and my stuff and I'd be right back.  He was shaking his head NO as I spoke to him.  Sorry.  We can't wait for you.  Then we'd have to wait for everyone.  We've gotta leave now.  OH SHIT.  I called Kirsten and told her she needed to book it down or we wouldn't be getting a ride to the start which was over a mile away.  Just as she made her way through the lobby, I watched as the bus pulled out.  We bolted through the doors and made a run for it, hoping to catch it at the light.  I sprinted with my coffee in hand, which was spilling all over me though I refused to ditch it.  It was a ridiculous scene which we laughed about only minutes later.  I wish I had a photo for you though if Kirsten had taken one at the time I probably would have killed her.  We didn't get the bus, so we hopped in a cab and told him to follow it and we finally caught it at the next hotel.  Again, the bus driver told us to hurry up; that he wouldn't wait for us.  Good grief! I was searching madly in my bag for money to pay for the cab and was coming up dry.  Finally, I just looked at him in desperation and said something like  I'm sorry.  I can't find my cash.  PLEASE!!  We have to go or we're going to miss our race.  He rolled his eyes and said Ok, JUST GO!  We jumped on the bus and sat, both of us in utter disbelief about the events that had just unfolded.  I guess we got our warm up, I said to Kirsten.  Funny, kind of.

GOTHAM CITY

Minutes later we arrived at the start.  Sadly, the meteorologists had nailed it with the forecast.  It was windy and cold.  It was also dark and spooky out.  Kirsten and I agreed it felt a lot like doomsday in Gotham city and decided it was worth pausing for a photo before we moved on.  I had an elite bib for this race, which was a treat as they gave us a special tent with a heater in it so we could wait comfortably.  Not that I really needed it as by the time Kirsten and I hugged and said goodbye it was about 6:45 and already time to head to the start.  I found Sue when I lined up and reached over the rope for a hug which was an instant lift to my spirits.  She wished me luck and told me to get after it.  Okay, I thought, it's now or never.  Let's do this.

READY, SET....
(photo by Sue)
THE RACE
Miles 1-6 (6:47, 6:41, 6:38, 6:49, 6:54, 6:38)
I was so eager to get going that when they finally sent us off I was almost giddy.  I was also nervous about the wind so I made a conscious decision to bank some faster miles up front while it wasn't as bad as it was predicted to get.  It's a huge marathon, about 30,000 runners.  We ran through the city for the first couple miles and the crowd was thick so the wind wasn't a major factor yet.  I was cautiously optimistic that things might go okay so I tried to settle in at my goal pace (6:50) or a little faster and just glide along.  After all the stress of the travel and the crazy morning that we'd had, it was nice to just zone out and run.  My body was happy.  I was happy.  I felt good.  I enjoyed these miles a lot.

The hills

Miles 7-14 (6:36, 6:53, 6:34, 7:00, 6:53, 6:47, 6:54, 7:00)
Mile 6 was uphill but Sue and some other Oiselle gals were at the top and their cheers and smiles got me super fired up.  Mile 8 was up again and this one was long and steady but I was still riding high and feeling good so I just dug in and kept at it.  Somewhere in this section I had linked up with a gentleman who was running a similar pace to mine.  We ran step by step and hit a steady groove for a while so I just stopped looking at my watch.  Bad idea.  He was a really cool dude, offering me water after he got his own, checking in on how I was feeling, even looking to make sure I was still with him if I was out of his line of sight.  After a couple miles, I asked my new partner what his pace goal time was.  I'm going for a 2:55, he told me.  Uh oh.  This isn't good, I thought.  I truly believed I had a shot at a decent time, maybe even a PR, but given the weather, I was 100% sure that a sub-3 hour marathon was not in the cards for me and that I should definitely not be running with this guy anymore.  So, I backed off and let him go.  I told myself three things at this point: run your own race, reset your head and try not to panic.  My average pace was still hovering around 6:50 but the damage was done and I would pay for it later.

Cool running guy

Miles 15 - 19 (6:56, 6:57, 6:56, 7:05, 7:25)
Miles 15-19 were along Main Street and as I headed toward the hairpin turn at mile 20 I watched as the elite athletes passed us on the other side of the street.  I was both inspired and envious and really, really tired.  The wind, which had been steady but bearable, was now a much bigger factor.  It had picked up and was coming at us from all directions.  Each big gust was a major mental and physical blow.  

Pain train in the wind

Miles 20-22 (7:45, 7:38, 7:33)
My legs were now feeling heavy and my energy starting to deplete rapidly.  At mile 20 my battle to the finish began.  I was giving myself lots of pep talks now.  Come ON, Rebecca.  You've run on tired legs.  You've got to stay strong.  You want this.  Let's GO!!!  And while I still had some fight left in me, my legs were making some other, very different, decisions of their own.  At mile 22 I saw Kirsten.  At this point I knew my PR goal (sub 3:04) was long gone.  I was struggling big time.  And everything hurt.  But, still, I smiled because I thought it would help.  And between her encouragement and the change in my mental state, I managed to power on.


Mile 23-26.2 (7:36, 8:11, 8:09, 7:55)
The wind was at full force now.  As I ran, I specifically thought of my daughter when she was learning to ice skate at age 2.  She was using a crate for support and while her little legs were moving as fast as they could go she wasn't actually getting anywhere.  This is exactly how I felt when the wind bore down on me.  I had used up almost all my energy during the first 2 hours and had run several miles at a pace that was just too fast for me to hold so I had absolutely nothing in reserve.  This was it.  But, as I shuffled along, I knew, at the very least, that I would be able to finish.  All my training, getting through my injury and then ramping back up again; all the mental and physical hurdles that I'd gotten myself over to get to this day.  Those were pulling me through.  I was able to cross the line with a smile on my face.  And while I wasn't thrilled with my time I was really proud of my effort.

Final time: 3:08:29

I headed straight for the tent to grab my bag.  It was so cold that my teeth were chattering and all my limbs were shaking.  I found my bus and settled into a seat happily soaking up the warmth.  Kirsten texted to let me know she was about to cross the line and that she'd meet me at the hotel.  For the record, she rocked her 9th marathon and truly enjoyed herself from start to finish.  So awesome.  I sent a note to my coach with my results, letting him know that I had been worried about the wind and taken a risk early on and that it hadn't played out as well as I'd hoped.  I told him that I was bummed with my time but happy that I had been able to fight it out until the end.  His response was this:

"You went for it and if the wind was down early, I don't have any issue with you going for it as long as you could.  I don't think you had a realistic chance of a PR let alone sub 3 in that weather.  You should feel good about the effort and that you had the courage to go for it."

As I'd told my own athletes to do just the day before, I, too, had stepped up to the line with no fear.  I'd trusted my training, as broken and weird as it had been after Wineglass, and I truly believed in myself.  And because of that, I finished.  The marathon throws out all kinds of challenges beyond the race itself.  We can do everything perfectly leading up to race day but we can never be 100% prepared.  It's the nature of the beast and why, as my coach always reminds me, more people don't do marathons.  It's also why, I'm now fully convinced, I keep coming back for more.  In the end, the challenge is the reward.  No matter how it plays out, good or bad, there will always be another battle waiting to be fought.  And I'm nowhere near ready to put down my sword.  EN GARDE.


Listen to this:
Escape - Tongues.

Friday, November 18, 2016

NO FEAR


About three weeks ago, my high school XC team had their Middlesex League Meet, one of the last and most important races of the season.  We were coming off of a tough loss to Woburn, our biggest rival, and we were eager to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that we were still strong, if not stronger, and ready and willing to fight.  Before the race, I told the girls that it was okay to be nervous.  Nervous was good, even.  But fear?  There was no room for fear.  I let them know that they'd worked all season to prepare for these final three races and because of that they were ready.  I told them to trust their training, have faith in their teammates and believe in themselves.  And, finally, and most importantly, I encouraged them to go out there and run with their hearts.  I was 100% confident that each one of them had what it took to have a killer race, both as individuals and as a team.  And, that they did.  They completely blew it out of the water.  They gave it their all.  And then they gave it some more.  They took the win, which was amazing.  But the true joy for me was seeing all their hard work come to fruition, sitting back and watching (or running around and screaming, but you get my point) as they dug deep and tapped into that next level, the one they'd all been working so hard to find.  Needless to say, it was an epic day for all of us.

Middlesex League Meet Champs

Two weeks later, our team headed out to Wrentham to race at the EMASS Divisional Meet, another biggie.  This time, we were coming off the high of our league meet, still nervous, but really, really excited.  The girls needed to place top four in their division in order to earn a ticket the State meet the following weekend.  And they wanted it.  We all did.  We made our way to the line and once again I told them that it was okay to be nervous but there was no room for fear.  I reminded them, as I had at the league meet, that they'd been working their tails off since August to get to this point in the season.  I don't want to hear "what ifs" or "maybes", I said, it's time to execute and you are more than ready.  And, finally, I asked them, just as they had done two weeks before, to let go and run with their hearts.  And that they did.  They pushed harder mentally and physically then they had all season.  They put it all on the line.  And it paid off.  And because of this, it was yet another unbelievable day for our team.

EMASS Division 1 Champs

Tomorrow, we will head to Wrentham for our MA State meet.  It will be our final race of the season and by far the most intense.  They will be running against the best of the best.  They'll need to work harder than they've worked all season, if not ever, at least from a running standpoint.  If they want to win, and I know they do, they're going to have to take a risk, to go outside their comfort zone and it's going to hurt.  But it's going to be worth it.  It always is.  And they've heard it now several times, but I will tell them again....they have to trust their training, have faith in their teammates, believe in themselves, and leave their fear at the door.  If they can do this, as they have so successfully done for the last few weeks, than anything is possible.


One of the benefits of being a runner myself is that I can relate to my athletes on every level.  Each day I feel the same exhaustion, the same doubt, the same elation, and the same fear.  And, despite the fact that I'm significantly older than them, my own experiences with racing are no different from theirs.  On Sunday morning, (yes, the day after our State Meet) barring any issues (funny, but not really), I will be lining up at the start of the Philadelphia Marathon.  Six weeks ago, I wasn't sure if this would be possible.  I had 11 stitches in my heel and it hurt to walk.  I took it one day at a time, focusing on what I could do for just that day, a strategy I tell my runners to use all the time.  It was a painful, frustrating and scarily short training cycle.  But somehow I managed to get through it.  Now, it's time to practice what I preach.  On my race day I will leave my fear behind and channel my nerves into positive energy.  I will trust the process, have faith in my coach and believe in myself.  I will run with my heart.  Because what I ask of my athletes should be no different than what I ask of myself.  Let's do this.

Listen to this:

Friday, November 11, 2016

RWR:MEET DAVE of JANJI + XSHADYSIDE GIVEAWAY



"(With Janji) we're all about exploring new places--which is exactly what music allows us to do."
~ Dave Spandorfor

Today I am really psyched to introduce you to Dave Spandorfer, owner of Janji, fellow runner and avid music fan.  I stumbled on Janji back in 2013, shortly after I started this blog.  Dave and his co-founder, Mike, design high performance running apparel that, when purchased, helps make a difference in the lives of others.  Specifically, 10% of the sale of each piece goes toward helping clean water projects in areas that need it the most.  Back then, I wanted to work with them in any way that I could so I reached out and asked if I could profile the company on RWM.  They got right back to me and we put something together - they're really cool like that. (see post)  I kept in touch with them through the years, regularly seeing one or both of them at race expos and chatting with them via email; particularly Dave and often about music.

w/ Kirsten & Dave at the Mohawk Hudson race expo

Fast forward to last week.  On Halloween, a representative from a gym down in Pennsylvania reached out to see if we could work together.  A bit strange, I know, but I was intrigued.  After doing a little research, I learned that XShadyside 24 Hour Gyms Pittsburgh is a one of the leading fitness centers in their area and they are dedicated to providing the best equipment and overall experience for their customers as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle in general.  In a nutshell, they asked if we could do a giveaway on RWM together.  They would provide a gift card for the retailer of my choice and in return I would promote both the gym and their message.  Given his passion for both running and music, I've been wanting to profile Dave from Janji in my RUNNERS WHO ROCK series for a while now.  XShadyside Gym's timing was perfect as I could couple Dave's story with the added bonus of a Janji gift card giveaway for you, the RWM readers.  I'm all about promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle so I was more than willing to give a shout out to XShadyside for the awesome contribution.  The way I see it, everybody wins here - we now know more about Dave, we also know about an fabulous gym down in PA that we should check out if we're in the area, and we're giving back to those in need with the Janji gift card.  It's a grand slam, really.  All right, so first, let's meet Dave, a runner who rocks.  Then, go ahead and enter to win a $50 Janji gift card courtesy of XShadyside Gyms.  Woo hoo!

RWR:DAVE SPANDORFOR

Name: David Spandorfer
Where you're from: Philadelphia, PA
Where you reside now: Somerville, MA (right outside Boston)
Age: 28
Occupation: Co-founder, Janji
Blog/website: RunJanji.com

What do you love most about running? 
It’s an outlet, a stress reliever, and something that you strive for daily.  If life can sometimes feel stuck on a treadmill, running (yes—even on a treadmill) propels you forward.  It gives you clarity to questions, big and small.

What do you love most about music?
I’ll quote Mark Ruffalo’s character in Begin Again on this one: “One of the most banal scenes is suddenly invested with so much meaning.  All these banalities—they’re suddenly turned into these… these beautiful, effervescent pearls.  From music.”



DAVE'S FAVORITES:
Band: (current, all time or both) Been true since 7th grade—Radiohead.  But, since 22, A Million came out, I’ve been on a Bon Iver kick.
Album: (current, all time or both) All time is Kid A, by Radiohead.  Recently it’s been 22, A Million.
Race venue: Loved racing at the Armory, an indoor track in New York.
Music venue: Hands down, Cambridge’s Sinclair.  It’s a great, small venue that attracts wonderful bands.
Race distance: Half Marathon. Not too fast, not too slow, and not too painful after.
Show you've seen live: Top 3 have been 1) Radiohead’s In Rainbows tour 2) Bon Iver’s post-Bon Iver album release tour 3) The National’s post-High Violet Tour.
Ice cream flavor: Coffee cookie dough




THIS OR THAT
Sweet or salty? Easy. Salty.
Live or recorded? Live if it’s truly live. But can’t say I like recorded live shows.
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or winter? Summer. Who picks winter?



MORE MUSIC INFO
Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could?
Beck. One of the most talented artists ever… and still have never seen him live.

Which band or artist (wait...but no longer alive or playing together) would you go see tonight if you could? Beatles, of course. I don’t think I’m bucking some opinion by calling them the most talented band ever.

Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could?
Tough question.  There’s a lot of weird artists who are interesting, but probably challenging to connect with.  I’d love to have dinner with Bruce Springsteen.  Seems like a relatively normal guy who has some seriously incredible stories to tell.


Fitz and the Tantrums

Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Probably Fitz and the Tantrums.  I’ve had the pleasure of running with the drummer of Fitz and the Tantrums, and when a band member (especially a percussionist) gets running, you want them to be playing off your emotions during the run.  Start off slow, and keep me energized as my own energy fades.

LAST ONE: 
Today, I feel like….(complete the sentene): A rock star. Love the fall.

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both?
These categories often overlap, so here are some of my top energetic running songs from the past year:

Huarache Lights by Hot Chip
Humbug Mountain Song by Fruit Bats
Anna by Will Butler
Johnny by Basement Revolver
Cold Light by Operators

Last 5 Songs you listened to today?
Every month I make a monthly playlist and have now done this every month for the past 6 years. (follow me on Spotify to see—I’m the only David Spandorfer out there).  Here’s what’s starting off November 2016’s playlist:

Birth by Rari
Some Sunsick Day by Morgan Delt
Lump in Your Throat, Andrea Bignasca
Chemicals by The Notwist
Wonderful by Francobollo



***** WAIT....DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY ******
Enter to win a $50 JANJI GIFT CARD courtesy of XShadyside 24 Hours Gyms Pittsburgh.  To enter comment below.  Tell us what you'd buy with your Janji Gift card (so many good choices for women and men).  Or, tell us your current go-to pump up song.  Or, tell us what and when your next big race is.  That's it.  Winner will be picked via random.org on Friday, November 18th.  Many thanks to Janji and XShadyside for helping me put this together.  Good luck!

Listen to this:
Some Sunsick Day - Morgan Delt

Friday, November 4, 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW: FITSPI & LEVELSLEEP

Over the past couple weeks I've been testing a couple of really cool products.  Today I will give you the low down on both.  The first is running apparel by Fitspi and the second is a mattress by LEVELsleep. Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, why would she review two totally different products in the same post?  And you're right, they are different.  But that said, both the individual products and the companies themselves actually have quite a few similarities, too.  In general, both of these products are innovative and smart, both are geared toward enhancing the lives of active people and more specifically runners and, having worn and used them now for a solid period of time, I can honestly say both are game changers.  At least they are for me.  If you're a runner who appreciates comfort, convenience, and high quality, I'm going to bet that you'll agree.  Fitspi and LEVELsleep have created products that you can trust, that will enhance your performance as an athlete and that in some ways might even make you a better one.  So, what are they and what do they do for you?


Full disclosure, I wore, ran in, and love the Fitspi tights.  But, I also handed them over to Grace, a senior on my cross country team, to give them a go.  Most of the runners on our team are often carrying or using their phones before, during and after practice, so I thought, who better to test the Fitspi product than one of them?  The review below is provided by Grace, who now owns the pants as she refuses to give them back.  Fair enough.


THE FIT
I loved the fit—super secure-feeling but also flattering. The drawstring ensures no slippage during intense physical activity.  The seam running down the legs is unique in that it curves to the front a little bit.  This subtle design choice makes them more stylish than your average pair of running tights. I sort of felt like I should be heading off to Soul-Cycle when I put them on. They’re that kind of awesome stylish/sporty.


THE FUNCTIONALITY
Considering that they’re designed to carry a phone, it’s no surprise that they’re perfect for that. There is a long pocket running down the outer right leg with an edge that cinches to keep the phone from falling out if for some reason you need to be upside-down. This pocket is great for carrying a phone because it feels very secure, but it’s probably better for more casual/around-town wear. The better phone pocket for running is the one that is stitched into the left-back hip, so sneaky that I didn’t even notice it was there when I first tried them on.  It’s very convenient for running because you don’t have worry about the phone falling out or deal with a jiggly running belt that will inevitably ride up.


Though I didn’t listen to music on the several runs I wore them for (though I know Coach Trax did), these tights would be great for that. You can put the phone in the back hip pocket and even run the earbuds up through your shirt for an especially hands-free experience.  When you're doubting whether or not to bring your phone with you because you don't want to carry it, you no longer have to think twice.  And the upside?  Not only is your phone ready if you run into something so picture-perfect you’d otherwise be kicking yourself for forgetting a camera, it is there in case of emergency and you need to call someone.


All in all, these Fitspi tights are great for runners of all abilities. They are comfy and have a flattering cut. They are also attractive enough to wear in public pre or post run. They have awesome pockets for your phone (or money, keys, SNACKS, or anything else you might need).  If you’re looking for fashion and function in your next pair of running tights, look no further!

The good folks over at FITSPI (link to site: here) are offering a 30% discount on all of their products for RWM readers.  Just enter the promo code RUN123 at checkout and you'll be good to go.  Smart.  Safe.  Snug.  FITSPI.  Go get yours!

As a runner, sleep is one of my top priorities, if not THE top.  There is no way I could train or compete at the level I do without good quality sleep every night.  Now, granted, this doesn't always happen.  But, I do my damnedest to make it into bed for a solid 8 hours of sleep as often as possible.  Why?  It helps with recovery, it prevents me from getting sick, it makes me more productive the next day, really I could go on, but you get the point.  Bottom line...sleep is critical and without it, I am a mess in all areas of my life, particularly in running.  What I didn't realize, though, is that what I'm sleeping on is just as important if not more than how many hours I'm getting.  

Enter the LEVELsleep mattress.  This brilliant product was founded by inventor Roger Sramek who was driven by his desire to help people sleep better and wake up with more energy (yes please).  His original goal with this concept was to promote better sleep for everyone.  In looking at this challenge, he arrived at a simple but effective concept: If our bodies are curved, why are we sleeping on a mattress with only one level of support?
Traditional Mattress

LEVELsleep Tri-Support mattress


Unlike all other standard, boxy mattresses (the ones I've slept on all 41 years of my life), the TriSupport mattress focuses on zones, not layers. That is, its three zones accommodate the body’s different weights and shape, reducing pressure on shoulders and hips and lessening pain and tossing.  So, basically, there is a spot carved out for all the key areas of your body (back, shoulders, hips) and when you sleep on this mattress, the different needs of all three of these critical parts of the body are met.  I have a kind size bed and I'm currently sleeping on the Tri-Support Topper which is a three inch pad that sits on top of my mattress.  



Thus, I'm getting all the benefits of the LEVELsleep mattress without having to toss my mattress completely.  It's been about two weeks since I started sleeping on the Levelsleep and I'm already noticing the benefits.  I'm waking up more well rested, significantly more relaxed and feeling noticeably fresher and more energized.  It's worth noting that the mattress feels very different than a regular mattress so it took me a couple days to get used to it.  It's also worth noting that my husband, who suffers from a bad lower back, not only noticed the difference in his sleep from day one, but can no longer imagine sleeping without it.  There is so much more information on their site that you can feel free to explore at your leisure.  Honestly, I can not recommend this product highly enough.  Why not try for yourself with their 110 day guarantee.  Or just trust me.  

The LEVELsleep crew are generously offering a 10% discount on any of their mattresses if purchased in the next 10 days.  Simply use the code use the code RunningMusic10 at checkout.  RUN HARD. SLEEP WELL.  LEVELsleep.

Listen to this:
Royal Teeth - Kids Conspire