American Dreamers + a Free Tee for You!

I received this tank for review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve written a few times on here about the American dream. It is a concept which makes me both a little bit uncomfortable and a little bit hopeful all at the same time. I suppose it has to do with the perspective with which you view the phrase “American dream.”

It started out all hopeful so many years ago – people coming to the United States to freely pursue their dreams. Most of these people just dreamed of providing for their families. Some had bigger dreams. All associated the American dream with hope, joy, freedom.

Somewhere along the way, the American dream became something to chase. Instead of holding on to our own hopes or pursuing our own dreams, we started to compete and compare. This is the world we live in right now.

The American dream has drove many of us to despair, but I want to be a different kind of American dreamer.

American Dreamer Square

Hope. Faith. Generosity. This is my dream.

American Dreamer Tee Outfit

I don’t want to earn more money to get ahead. I want to bless others out of God’s abundance.

I don’t want to cram my calendar full with things that make me look “good.” I want to leave time and space in my schedule to love others well.

I want to care more about people than stuff, more about service than recognition, more about Kingdom than earthly treasures.

The typical American dream floating around out there leaves me with anxiety and pressure, but the dream God has placed in my American heart fills me with joy and freedom. That’s what the American dream was all about in the first place, right?

American Dreamer Tee Square

This American Dreamer tee from Cents of Style has me all fired up about living out this dream again and I love getting to share a sale on it today! It is the perfect tee to wear for the Fourth of July and spark some discussion about living out a new American dream.

Today only, get this tee FREE when you make a $30 more purchase from Cents of Style! How fun! The Fashion Friday collection is FULL of great pieces to share your American pride, so buy $30 worth from that collection (or anywhere else on the site) and get your American Dreamer tee FREE! The tee comes in navy v-neck or white crewneck! Did I mention shipping is always free, too?!

Just place a Cents of Style order of $30 or more today and the American Dreamer tee is yours for free!

The FREE shirt will be offered with a pop-up upon checkout with any purchase that is $30 or more. This offer is not valid with any other coupon code or promotion. Limit one shirt per order/customer.

Now, please tell me about YOUR American dream!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

When You Don’t Know What to Pray

I like to spend time with Jesus when I run outside.

This morning, my heart was aching for three women who are very dear to me. Each is going through her own personal tragedy right now and I can’t get them off of my mind. I’ve been praying for them for weeks and months, but today, words failed me.

The heartache for each women is reaching new depths this week and I felt led to pray for them, but I didn’t even know what to pray. Everything that came to mind seemed so trivial, pointless, not enough. I was so frustrated, but God is so good and He reminded me of a truth I need so desperately at that very moment.

IMG_3592

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. -Romans 8:26

That’s exactly how I felt: weak. I can’t really do anything physical to help these women right now, so I thought prayer would be my way of “helping.” When I couldn’t even come up with what exactly to pray, I felt weak and helpless.

God met me in my weakness.

I prayed this very thing, “Lord, I don’t even know what these precious ladies need right now, but you do. I lift them up to you right now and ask for You to hold them close. Amen.” I know He heard me and I know the Spirit did the work where my words failed.

When you don't know what to pray

There are so many reasons we might not know what to pray: an unspecified prayer request, a prompting from the Lord to pray for someone without any other details, an unfamiliar situation, or a tough decision with no clear right answer.

I find myself in this place often. Sometimes I try to force it and come up with prayers that sound pretty good, even though no one but myself is hearing them. Not today. My sadness and frustration was too deep and that’s where the Spirit shows up.

We don’t have to have the right words. The Spirit knows our hearts and knows the needs of our loved ones. This is the time and place for us to recognize our weakness, rest in His strength, and let His power take over. Our friends and family are safe and loved in His hands.

Don’t give up on praying because you can’t find the words. The Lord gives us the Spirit to intercede for us and He fills in all the gaps.

If you need prayer for yourself or a loved one, please let me know in the comments. No details necessary – the Lord knows your heart and it would be an honor to lift your name and needs to Him.

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Sweet Meets Spicy with the New TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® Pods!

This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review.

I had my first chai latte in college. There was a place just off campus that started making them in the fall. Several of us music majors stopped in their one day between classes and saw a chai latte on the menu. I think I remember the barista raving about it, so we all decided to give it a try. Oh my goodness. It was heavenly. We called it “Christmas in a cup.” Any rough day could be cured by a chai latte with its perfect blend of sweet and spicy deliciousness. Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger…ahhh…

I’m sure there are many coffee shops that still make them, but I hadn’t had a chai latte in years. The memories of that first chai latte are still fresh in my mind (many, many years later!), so I was absolutely delighted to learn I could make one at home with my Keurig® and the new TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® Pods!

TAZO Packaging

Have you ever tried chai? Chai is a black tea blend known for its combination of sweet and spicy tones that originated in India. Mix that with the creaminess of milk and you have a drink that satisfies all your tastebuds!

TAZO Packets

How do you make this delightful drink for yourself at home? It’s an easy two-step process with the TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® Pods:

TAZO Step 1

STEP 1: Pour the powdered milk packet into your favorite mug. You can choose from classic or vanilla caramel. Both are delicious!

TAZO Second Step

STEP 2: Place the mug under your Keurig® and brew theTAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pod into your mug.

TAZO Mug

STEP 3: (Ok, yes, there is a third step) Stir well and enjoy!

I know you will enjoy the creamy, spicy, sweet taste of this made-at-home chai latte! It may be the middle of summer, but with the first sip I was thinking “Christmas in a cup” all over again. There were lots of happy sighs coming from this mama!

Adding to your wonderful chai latte experience,TAZO® has partnered with New York Times Bestselling author and host Padma Lakshmi to bring us some amazing recipes to pair with this delicious drink! Padma grew up with the flavors of tea and chai, so her recipes come from a lifetime of experience and memories and they are fabulous. The cinnamon tea cookies are my pick for an afternoon chai latte date with girlfriends!

TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods are popping up in stores now and you can find out what stores are carrying them by clicking here! Grab some and enjoy your own sweet, spicy, creamy, wonderful chai latte in the comfort of your home!

Which of Padma’s recipes would you love to try with your chai latte?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Three Ways to Wear Your Cowboy Boots This Summer!

I received complimentary product to review from Tecovas Boots. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

It’s the Boy Mom/Girl Mom Style Challenge! Shannon – mom to four girls – and I – mom to three boys – will be posting a style challenge twice a month and we want you to join in!

IMG_3300

Each #BMGMStyle challenge will have a theme. You just need to post a pic on Instagram following that theme and use the hashtag #BMGMStyle to be a part of the challenge! Shannon and I will pick our favorites to feature each week and one participant per month will win a giveaway from the month’s featured companies!

Are you ready for #BMGMStyle Challenge #4?

IMG_3543

My love for cowboy boots began only a few short years ago, but it grew very quickly. Now, even as a “city girl,” they are a must-have item in my closet. I will never, ever be without a great pair of cowboy boots ever again.

The very best classic cowboy boots I’ve ever seen come from Tecovas. You’ve seen the shorter style – the Penny – around here often and they still wind up on my feet all the time. Today, I’m sharing my love for the Jamie, a classic western boot that has stolen my heart.

Here’s the deal: boots get a lots of love in the fall and winter, but they don’t have to go away when the summer sun comes out to play! I’ve found my cowboy boots to be the perfect pair of footwear for every single season, including summer. I’ve got a few ideas of how to wear them for all your fun in the sun!

with a shorter skirt or dress

IMG_3641 3 IMG_3656 3

This is the perfect summer option to keep you cool while LOOKING cool in your boots! I paired my Tecovas Jamie boots with a dress for a trip to Nashville earlier this spring and it was just right for the warm weather. You could just as easily pull off this look with a sundress or a skirt and tank top. So many options!

with a midi or maxi dress

Tecovas Boots Dress

IMG_3962

I already shared this look with you on a previous #BMGMStyle Challenge, but I just love it so much! Because of their versatility, cowboy boots can be worn with a longer dress – show as much of them or as little as you want! Midi dresses, like this one, are very popular and I love how the classic cowboy boot pairs with them.

with distressed skinny jeans

Tecovas Jeans Look 1

Boots + skinny jeans is one of my favorite looks of all time. We can make it work for summer with a flowy, sleeveless top and distressed skinnies to keep you cool!

Tecovas Jeans Look 2

Tecovas Boots Up Close 2 Tecovas Up Close Boots 1

All of my reasons for loving Tecovas boots still apply: handmade with excellence, classic details, and an affordable price! Can we also just talk about the gorgeous color of this pair?! The Jamie in Desert Calf is my dream boot.

Check out Shannon’s styling of cowboy boots for summer over at The Simple Moms today and then, because we love you, enter to win a $100 Tecovas gift card to get some amazing boots for yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

I Ran a Marathon

I ran my first marathon on Saturday.

It was not at all what I expected and I mean that in the best way possible.

The panic and fear didn’t really set in until the week of the marathon. Every negative scenario that could ever happen in a marathon was on a loop in my head – bad weather, nobody to run with, intestinal problems, leg cramps, hitting the wall and not getting past it, the race being canceled, and a million more horrible ideas. The forecast for Saturday was not helping at all – high of 82º and sunny, also known as a marathoner’s worst nightmare. Hot = BAD. We had a nice long drive on the way up for me to really freak out about all the “what ifs.”

Pre Race Jitters

The Fargo Marathon is unique in a lot of ways. First of all, it starts and ends in a dome. This is GREAT for chilly mornings when you would normally be shivering at the start line, and it is really cool to run into the dome to cross the finish line with everyone watching from the stands. Fargo also has participants from all 50 states and a large Canadian presence, so the race starts with the singing of both the Canadian and American national anthems. The race also starts with a prayer (I TOTALLY needed that) and the finisher medals have this inscribed on the back:

Let us run with perseverance the race that is before us. -Hebrews 12:1

The Hubby and I dropped off our bags at gear check, then walked hand-in-hand to the floor of the FargoDome. He gave me one last kiss after I found my pacer and headed up closer to the front (where the fast people are). I knew I needed The Hubby’s hand leading me to the start because he has been my #1 supporter through my entire running journey and has believed in me 100% as I trained for this marathon, even when I had no faith in myself at all.

IMG_3353

As my hubby taught me, so much of running a marathon is mental. I knew I would need to be focusing outside of myself most of the race to not let my mind get the best of me. This is one of the main reasons I decided to join a pace group – not because I really wanted to finish in 4:15, but because I wanted to be with other people who had approximately the same pace as me.

Once in the starting corral, I quickly found a few other women who were running this marathon with a similar mindset. There were four women I ran and talked with throughout the race. They were a huge help in calming my nerves before the start and quickly found many things in common besides being crazy enough to run 26.2 miles! One had flown in from California and was running her second marathon. Another was a medical student from my hometown in South Dakota, and another was a mom from Omaha who shares my love for the Run Like a Mother community.

Because the internet is a crazy, awesome place, I was introduced to Andrea by my friend Crystal. Crystal knew I would be running my first full in Fargo and saw Andrea mention the same thing. We found each other at the start and had the best time running 15 miles together. I was lost in great conversation with her and the miles just clicked by. I am super thankful for those 15 miles because I know they kept me from freaking out about the warm weather and many miles that still lie ahead.

Between mile 15 and 16, I ended up on my own. I was so terribly worried about this very thing happening, but I was in such a good mood that it didn’t phase me like I thought it would. Here’s the thing that I REALLY didn’t expect for my first marathon: I couldn’t stop smiling.

Run Happy

The whole race, I had a goofy smile plastered on my face. I can only give you two reasons for that smile in the middle one of the most grueling things you can put your body through:

  1. I had been training so hard for this day and it was finally here. I was actually running a marathon, not just thinking and worrying about running a marathon. This brought me so much relief.
  2. The joy of the Lord. You know those things you just can’t explain? That’s what this felt like. I had prayed that God would help me enjoy the race no matter what happened. I wanted the memories of my first marathon to be joyful ones and God answered that prayer abundantly.

I received so many comments in the last ten miles about how happy I looked and that is exactly how I felt.

Thumbs Up

The race was not without its struggles. During mile 17, without anyone to talk to, I started to think too much about how my body felt and how many miles were left. Bad idea. Thankfully, I had a plan in place ahead of time for just such a struggle. I was running this marathon to raise awareness and financial support for The Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya. Although I wasn’t wearing my “Miles for Mercy” shirt (because it was WAY too hot), I knew I wanted to pray for the women and children at The Mercy House and all those responsible for its existence and continued service. For the next two miles straight, I prayed for the founders, the staff, the supporters, pregnant moms, new moms, and moms transitioning to a new way of life.

Those two miles were both extremely meaningful and important to me, getting me through what could have been a very rough patch. That time of prayer led me right up to mile marker 20. The mile marker I had been so scared to face. My longest run during training was 20 miles, so every step after that mile marker would be the longest I had ever run. TERRIFYING. Except it wasn’t. On race day, I passed mile marker 20 and felt invincible because I could feel God with me. My joy was still bubbling over.

The last 6.2 miles were also amazing thanks to the spectators. Fargo really comes out to support all of the runners. I especially love running through the neighborhoods: people out on their lawns, music playing, funny and inspiring signs, kids giving high fives. The atmosphere is always so great, but I had two new favorite things this year.

In the later miles of the marathon, there were official water stops, but there were also lots of unofficial water and fuel stations. I took some Kleenex from a spectator early on (lifesaver) and I grabbed an orange slice to suck on twice in the last six miles. Those orange slices were GLORIOUS. Sticky, but delicious. And the stickiness wasn’t a big problem thanks to my most favorite thing from the local spectators: WATER.

Fargo residents, thank you for turning on your sprinklers and hoses and setting up misters at the curb. I’m sure your water bill from that day will be insanely high, but myself and every other runner around me just loved you for it. Oh, and my favorite, the group of kids with water guns who (with my permission) absolutely drenched me sometime after mile 20. Kids, I love you.

A lot of things happened in those last few miles and I can’t remember exactly when they happened. Miles 21 through 25 are a bit of a blur. One of the most uncomfortable moments was somewhere between mile 22 and 24 when I dumped water over my head and ended up with salt from sweat in my eyes! It took me a good mile before my eyes weren’t stinging or blurry at all, but that water sure felt good on my head!

People have asked me if I “hit the wall” and the answer is yes, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I’m not sure why, but it could have been because I walked through every water station through the whole race, kept myself fueled with my Honey Stinger chews, and made sure I didn’t let my thoughts go negative. My legs started to feel heavier, but there was never a point where I thought I couldn’t keep going. Praise the Lord for that! 

Then it was there in front of me: the FargoDome, with lots of people lining the way and the glorious finish line waiting inside. I was grinning from ear to ear, but I also felt the emotion start to well up, especially as I passed mile marker 26. Just .2 to go. I also knew from watching my husband finish this marathon three times that there would be a camera just outside of the dome filming runners and showing us up on the big screen inside the dome so our friends and family would know we were coming.

I entered the FargoDome with no one else around me. I’ve never been alone entering the dome or crossing a race finish line. It was surreal. I spotted my best friend amongst all the other spectators before the finish line. She had finished the marathon relay an hour before me and was snapping pictures and cheering me on. As if I wasn’t joyful enough already, this made me smile even bigger.

Crossing the Line

Just a few steps later, I crossed the finish line of my first marathon with a time of 4:21:28.

VictoryBW Finish

As I crossed, I heard my husband yelling my name and saw him with the biggest smile on his face. The tears came quickly. I sobbed behind my sunglasses, but they were all tears of joy. I walked right over to him for biggest hug, kiss, and congratulations. He was beaming with pride and I was overflowing with joy and gratitude.

Getting the Medal 2 Getting the Medal 1

I had to keep walking or I might have fallen over from exhaustion. I also had to keep walking to get my medal, get to my husband and friend, and get to the food! My medal around my neck, my favorite people next to me, a banana in my hand, I left the floor of the FargoDome as a marathoner – tired and sore and a little bit in disbelief of what I had just accomplished, but overwhelmingly happy and so extremely thankful.

Three Musketeers Post Race Blog

I’ll save those thanks for another post because this is already the LONGEST BLOG POST I’VE EVER WRITTEN (appropriate since this is the longest I’ve ever run!), but I had to process all the feelings and remember every moment of the biggest accomplishment of my life. If you read this all the way to the end, you deserve a medal, too.

IMG_3288

I ran a marathon and, call me crazy, but I can’t wait to do it again.

Official Finisher Photo

Marathon finisher. Boom.

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

The One Way I Know How to Be Brave Today

I received the featured product to review from Cents of Style. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I feel just about everything except brave today.

I felt brave seven months ago when I decided I would train for my first marathon the following spring.

I felt brave when I filled out my registration for the Fargo Marathon and sent it in.

I felt brave as I started my marathon training plan in February with my eyes set on conquering my next running goal.

I even felt brave as I finished my 20-miler a month ago, the longest run I would do during my marathon training.

Today, the day before my first marathon, those brave feelings escape me, so I’m writing this now to remind myself of the brave moments that led me to this one.

I’m also writing this to remember that I am not brave on my own. I am brave because my God looks at me and says, “You can be brave because I am with You.”

Be Brave 2

We’ve taught our boys since they were little to approach life and the things God calls us to with faith and bravery. Joshua 1:9 is a key verse we refer back to often:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

This is a lovely promise, but it’s not just that. This is a command. A command WITH a promise: be strong, be courageous, be brave BECAUSE the Lord my God is always with me. 

Be Brave 1

The feelings of bravery will come and go a million times before I cross the starting line and every step of the 26.2 miles, but God is not that wishy-washy. Unlike my feelings, He is steady and true. He will never leave me or forsake me and that is the source of my bravery today, tomorrow, and every day of my life here on earth. Standing in this truth is the one way I know how to be brave today.

I’m wearing my Be Brave shirt from Cents of Style today as we drive north to Fargo for my first marathon. It is just the encouragement I need running through my head as the time to run (a REALLY long way) draws closer. Be brave – embrace it with me (and maybe pray for an extra does of it for me?!) today!

What do you need the push to “BE” today? Cents of Style has an amazing Be Series with messages for each of us: be brave, be still, be true, be kind, be bold.

COS Be Series

This beautiful collection of shirts, hats, and jewelry from the Be Series is 50% off with the code BEYOU today! You also get free shipping! Choose your word and grab your favorite styles before they are gone!

One last thing: I’m running this marathon tomorrow in support of The Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya. I need less than $100 to reach my fundraising goal, so every little bit helps! Would you consider making a donation of any amount to help us hit $262 before the race starts? Thank you so much!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Ending the School Year Strong!

We did it! We made it through our first non-homeschooling year of school for the boys!

Last Day Mom Boys

It was an incredibly successful year of transition for us – not perfect by any means, but full of great learning experiences for education and life. Friends were made. Conflicts arose and were resolved. Homework was forgotten, but not much because that lesson was learned fast! They went on field trips, competed in the spelling bee, brought lunch from home (except for pizza days), celebrated birthdays, and so much more. They had wonderful teachers

We are all very pleased with how the year went and know God was with us every step of the way, as He always is. The kids loved school, but they are also equally ready for a summer break!

Whether your school year has ended yet or not, a lot about how the school year ends for our kids can be impacted by our behavior as parents. The way in which we end a school year can help our children see the big picture of how they grew over the past nine months as well as help them to actually look forward to the next school year, even if summer is all that is on their mind!

I have a few fun ideas for ending the school year strong as a family and you can use them whether your kids were out a few weeks ago or still have a few weeks left! Find three of my favorite ways to end the school year strong over on the Tommy Nelson blog!

How do you celebrate the end of the school year as a family?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

The Best Statement Necklace + A Summer Date Night Look!

I received complimentary product to review from The Jones Market. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

It’s the Boy Mom/Girl Mom Style Challenge! Shannon – mom to four girls – and I – mom to three boys – will be posting a style challenge twice a month and we want you to join in!

IMG_3300

Each #BMGMStyle challenge will have a theme. You just need to post a pic on Instagram following that theme and use the hashtag #BMGMStyle to be a part of the challenge! Shannon and I will pick our favorites to feature each week and one participant per month will win a giveaway from the month’s featured companies!

Are you ready for #BMGMStyle Challenge #3?

IMG_3226
I have been DYING to share my favorite new addition to my jewelry wardrobe with you and today is the day!

Jones Market Necklace 1

The Jones Market is a dream shop for mamas. They are all about creating non-toxic, lightweight, tuggable (a.k.a. kid-proof) jewelry that is absolutely stunning. I have so many of their gorgeous necklaces on my wish list, but this green beauty won over my heart the instant I saw it on Instagram.

Jones Market Close Square 1

This is the classic single cinch style and I love everything about it. It is bold, but I almost forget I’m wearing it because it is so light! AND IT IS GREEN. People, you know how I feel about green. All the love. I wear it no less than three times a week – no joke.

Jones Market Full

While it is a great everyday necklace (check out how Shannon styled it for day), a necklace from The Jones Market can easily be worn for a fun night out! I have lots of black and neutral outfits for date nights, so they need a good pop of color! This single cinch necklace is just the perfect fun addition to this romantic summer look, don’t you think?

I know you are just itching to get your hands on your very own necklace from The Jones Market (I’ll take about five more), so let’s do a giveaway! Just enter below to win a $30 gift card to do a little shopping for yourself!

We would also love to see how you style your favorite statement necklace, whether it is from The Jones Market or not! Just tag your statement necklace style photos with #BMGMStyle on Instagram so we can see your fabulousness! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Race Day Essentials: Post-Race

This post contains affiliate links.

We’re wrapping up the Race Day Essentials series with the things I need after the race is over. It took me a while to figure out what my body needed after a long or hard race, but that ended up being due mostly to not hydrating well enough in the days leading up to the race. Now that I have that part of the puzzle figured out, my stomach isn’t as sensitive and I’m not quite as picky about what I can eat.

Not included in this list is the MASSIVE amount of food that can be handed out at the end of a race. I usually eat 90% of this food and have ZERO guilt. I love when races have salty things like pretzels and chocolate milk – not necessities, but definitely favorites.

The lists have been more about food and products I use on race day, so I also left off a few experiences that must happen post-race: lots and lots of pictures, a long warm shower, wearing my medal everywhere we go, and maybe even a nap! There really is nothing like the runner’s high after a hard-run race!

Here’s today’s list:

MY POST-RACE

Banana – Some people like a banana before the race, but I prefer mine after! I think the banana has become a healthy post-race comfort food for me and they are usually available at the finish line, so I never have to look far for one!

Water – Again, this is a no-brainer.

Deep Blue Rub – We NEVER leave for a race without packing Deep Blue Rub. It is a MUST MUST MUST for us. The natural cooling and warming combination is just what our legs need after a long, hard race. I apply it to my problem areas (calves, quads) after a long, warm shower…sigh… I don’t sell essential oils anymore, but if you’re interested in this rub, you can get more info from a trusted friend of mine here!

Calf sleeves or compression socks – These get put on right after the Deep Blue Rub. As The Hubby once said after he put on his very first pair, “It’s like they’re giving my legs a hug!” He was totally right. And my legs are SO much happier with me the rest of the day (and for days afterwards) if they get a nice post-race hug. I don’t prefer one over the other, but use them in different situations, depending on the weather and what I’ll be wearing the rest of the day. I love these “Run Happy” calf sleeves from Brooks Running and Pro Compression makes my fave compression socks!

Bzees shoes – My feet are the most hurting part of my body after a very long run and the last thing they need is to be squeezed into an uncomfortable pair of shoes. I tried flip for a while, but I often get a blister between my first two toes, so flip-flops went bye-bye quickly. Then a pair of Bzees entered my life.

Bzees originally sent me a pair of shoes to review last year, and those shoes have been packed for every single race since. My feet need some support, but also some room to breathe. My Bzees feel like clouds from heaven for my feet. In the above photo is a new pair they sent me this year and my feet loved me for packing them on my trip to Nashville a few weeks ago for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Yes, I got these shoes from the company to review, but I would buy them again with my own money in a HEARTBEAT. They work in any weather with almost any outfit I might choose post-race. My love for Bzees has no bounds. For reference, the pictured pair is the Sparkle Sling Back and I also own the Relax Slip-On – they are all machine washable!

You could also add to this list food, food, and more food, especially a nice burger or steak and some frozen yogurt, but that all just depends on the race and the day!

And that is the conclusion of the Race Day Essentials series! If you missed them, check out my pre-race and race-time necessities and share your favorites!

What do you need or love to have after a race?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Race Day Essentials: Race Time

This post contains affiliate links.

The “Race Day Essentials” series continues today with the items I must have during the actual race. If you missed day one, you can check out my pre-race essentials here!

One of the best pieces of advice about running a race is, “Don’t try anything new on race day.” This is especially true for me during the race. I don’t want to eat, drink, or wear anything I haven’t trained with, so my list is pretty specific. These are the items that have passed the test for my race day!

As I said in my previous post, these are the items I use and must have on race day, but your list may look very different. The posts are meant to give you ideas, not something you should copy exactly. Try lots of things and go with what works for your body!

Here we go with what I must have during a race:

MY RACE-TIME

The perfect shoe – Before I begin on my love for Brooks Running shoes, you need to know that running shoes are a very personal thing. Do NOT go buy a pair of shoes because someone else really liked them. If you are serious about running, you need to go to a good running store and have your feet measured and gait analyzed to get recommendations for your feet. I’ve tried a few brands and models, and Brooks shoes are the only ones for me. My race day shoe is the Ravenna and I’ll be wearing those awesome animal print ones for my first marathon! Side note: do not run a race on brand new shoes. Plan ahead to break them in before the big day!

Balega socks – Just the right amount of cushion, very few blisters, fun colors – Balegas are a winner for both The Hubby and me!

Arm sleeves – I obsess about the weather and what to wear for races. I don’t want to be cold, but I absolutely can’t stand having too many layers on and getting too warm. Arm sleeves are a fabulous solution for those races that start out chilly, but warm up fast. I can wear them with a tank top and push them down or even take them off if it gets too hot! I pack them for every race, just in case.

Honey Stinger Chews – I mentioned the Honey Stinger Waffle in yesterday’s pre-race post, but the chews are the first thing that got me hooked on this brand. They are soft, naturally sweet, and come in several yummy flavors. I have tried MANY kinds of fuel during a race, but I’m not looking back. Honey Stinger is the one for me. I particularly love Pink Lemonade, Cherry Cola (with caffeine!), Fruit Smoothie, and Pomegranate Passion Fruit.

SPIbelt – How do I carry those Honey Stinger Chews with me? I’m glad you asked! It took me a long time to figure out the best way to carry things with me because I HATE to carry anything extra during a race. I doubted I would find a fuel belt I really liked, but the SPIbelt totally won me over. It looks so small, but stretches to fit whatever you need to fit in it. You’ll have to experiment with how you like to wear it and how much you will carry, but I’ve found it to be handy, versatile, and comfortable. It always carries at least my fuel and phone, both which take up a good amount of room!

GPS watch – During a race, I need to know how I’m doing with my pace. Enter the GPS watch. Sometimes it helps me hold back at the beginning of a race. Sometimes it reminds me I need to push myself a little more. I try not to obsess over it and mostly just check in at each mile. I would go crazy racing without it. CRAZY. I have a very basic Garmin Forerunner (mine is older, but most like this model) that does everything I need and The Hubby has a model with more functions and details.

Pace band – I can get “running dumb” during a long run or race. Trying to calculate where I should be time-wise in the later miles is almost impossible. Pace bands do all that work for me. My next half-marathon goal is 1:55:00, so I have a pace band that tells me what I want my time to be at each mile. For the marathon, my goal is to finish, so I picked a pace band to help me keep steady and hold back a little. When I pass a mile marker on course, I check my watch and my pace band to see how close/far off the times are and adjust from there! The Hubby and I also use these when we pace races.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this series with what I need to recover right after a race! See you back here for the final installment!

What is always with you during a race?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook