Monday, October 1, 2018

This Changes Nothing

Last week, I decided to sit down and write my first blog post in almost two years.  Not having the time nor desire to fully recap all the events (races, training, work, family, etc.) of the last several months, I focused on my most recent marathon experience and touched on what I have coming up, which of course is the Chicago Marathon just a few short days from now.

My original plan for this next post was to recap my training over the past 17 weeks and what my plans are heading into next week and my goals for the race.  But an announcement last Thursday caused quite the stir in the running community, especially within my own running tribe.

The Boston Marathon is pretty much like the holy grail of marathons for many of us passionate distance runners.  It's one of the most prestigious and storied races, and requires a qualifying time to participate.  Once there, from what I've been told, it's an experience like no other.  From the strong and fierce field of competitors, to the challenging but beautiful course, to the unparalleled crowd support, it doesn't get much more epic than Boston.

But like I mentioned above, in order to even toe the line at Boston, you must first prove you are worthy with a qualifying time (based on your age and gender).   For as long as I have been running marathons, the standard qualifying times have remained the same.  But with more and more people participating in the marathon distance, the field has also become increasingly competitive.  Since the BAA takes the fastest of the fast in each bracket, it has caused getting into Boston, even with a qualifying time, even more competitive.

This past year, the cut off time for acceptance was 4:52!  So for example, my standard qualifying time was 3:40, which meant I would've had to have ran at or below 3:35:08 in order to actually get into the 2019 Boston Marathon.  Recognizing how competitive the field has become, the BAA announced that week that they would bump all standard qualifying times down 5 minutes.  Which makes complete sense in my opinion, but now my BQ time is 3:35.

This shift in qualifying standards sent many a runner who had been training hard all summer for the original standard into a panic.  Rightfully so.  I will admit, my heart sank a little when I initially heard the news.  I received multiple text messages and a couple of phone calls from friends either concerned for themselves and/or for me.  One dear friend went as far as to completely go out of her way to come visit me that very evening to see how I was holding up after the big announcement.

But as the shock soon wore off, I realized that it actually changes nothing regarding my goal and what I feel as if I am capable of running this Sunday.

When I started training this summer I set my goal for 3:35.  This is 3 min faster than my best race (from 2016) and about 7 min faster from my last Chicago later that year, and what I felt to be enough to secure me a spot in the 2020 Boston Marathon.  As I've busted my ass all summer, I came to realize that not only was that goal attainable but I may even be short changing myself a little with it. So I even found myself setting my sights higher with a "best case scenario, all systems a go" goal of sub 3:30.

So yeah, the new qualifying standard eliminated my perceived "wiggle room" of running up to a 3:38ish and still hoping to get into Boston.  Of course that, I now know, would not have been enough.  So sub 3:35 it must be and sub 3:30, I'm keeping you in my sights this Sunday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Oh Hello Again

Oh hey there old blog of mine!

It has been eternity and so much has happened since I've last posted, I don't even know where to begin!?!  So bear with me as I try to piece together the last year and a half or so plus what I'm working on for the future.

It was actually my husband who prompted me to do this.  Recently, he said to me, "you should start blogging again, I miss your blogs!"  Although I appreciate his undying support and encouragement, I figured since he, my mom and possibly 1-2 other people where the only ones who actually read this, it was rather pointless to get back at it.

But with my next marathon just days away and me pretty anxious about my goal, I thought I would search through old posts for inspiration and motivation from the last time I had a really solid race with a big PR (which coincidentally happens to be the last time I blogged consistently).

While sifting through old blog posts, I realized that though yes, less than a handful of people may take the time to read what I have to say, one of those people is actually one person who can really get a lot out of reading through my experiences.  That person, of course is me!

Reflection is a great way to so how far you have come and how you can continue to learn and grow.  Unlike using social media to say a few things about how a specific workout went, blogging gives me the opportunity to really "put it all out there."  It's good to be open and honest with ourselves and this gives me a chance to get things off my chest but to also look back on.  I enjoy sharing my excitement and accomplishments as well as my fears and doubts, so here they go...

Spring 2018
Earlier this year, as I continued on my seemingly endless (and hopeless) quest to BQ, I recognized that I would need to make some significant changes to my training if I ever wanted to reach my goal.  It was hard convincing myself of this because I had had so much success with that I had been doing, plus I felt I was at capacity with all that I had going on in other aspects of my life (work, kiddos, social life, etc.).  But as I hit a plateau and even regressed heading into the Twin Cities Marathon last Fall, I figured it was time to make a decision.

That decision started with a race that was "just to finish."  I hadn't done that since pretty much my first ever marathon and it just seemed like something that would be good for the soul.  So when I learned of a marathon in my father's home town of Eau Claire, WI, to be held on what would've been his birthday this year, it was a no brainer, I'd have to do it!  I wrote my own plan, with an emphasis was on speedwork (which is my strong suit) as well as working towards increasing my mileage.  I had to make quite a bit of adjustments for work and travel, but I got through it and felt really strong towards the end.  The cool temps that time of year and running with a group were game changes for some solid long runs.  Though my goal was just to finish, I actually considered going for it because how good I was feeling.

I flipped flopped with the BQ attempt idea for a few weeks leading up to the race.  It was not a part of the original plan and not what I had trained for.  I felt good but was I prepared to fight out there if that's not how I'd been training!?!  My original goal was to run a race that was good for my soul, to soak it in, enjoy the ride and honor my father.  So when I toed the line that morning, with tears welling up in my eyes and still not 100% sure what to do, I made the decision at the complete last second and stuck with it throughout the entire race, not regretting it for a second.

Having my family there meant everything!  And we all got to celebrate my dad together later that day!
I finished the race with my mom, sons, Aunt and Grandma all cheering me in in a little over 4 hours.  With some tough hills and unexpected heat, the course itself was tough.  But with the friends and experiences I made along the way, having my family see me through the end and honoring my dad, it was hands down one of the best race experiences I have ever had.  It was damn good for my soul!

So sweet when it hits your lips

Summer 2018
I had already signed up to do the Chicago Marathon, mostly out of FOMO since several of my runner friends signed up too, but also with the intentions of training for a BQ.  However, I had become so callused by all my past failures, I found myself cutting myself short even before training began.  Not only is summer marathon training brutal because the heat and humidity, but having the kids out of school for summer, plus the increased work load at the gym adds to the challenge.

They don't mind coming to the gym with me, the kids care has video games and basketball!
So knowing if I was going to give this thing a real shot, I needed to identify my areas of weakness and really work to develop those this training cycle.  After some soul searching, it came down not so much to my physical strength but rather my mental.  Yes, I needed a tougher training program that would better physically prepare me for the distance.  But where I was consistently falling short in training and on race day was in my mental game.

Recognizing what I needed to work most on, I hammered out what I felt to be a challenging but effected training plan that would last me 18 weeks.  I also ordered several books on training as well as mind set and got to work in early June for what would be one of my toughest but strongest training cycles to date.

{up next, a review of my Chicago Marathon training...}

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tips For Building Muscle While Distance Running

I am often asked by fellow runners what is my secret to building muscle while running so many miles?  It seems like an anomaly to many a runner, but I can assure you, it most certainly can be done!  Just like achieving any other goal you have in running (like a new distance or a big PR), it takes some hard work and dedication.  But with consistency in a well rounded strength and conditioning program, as well as proper nutrition and realistic goals, any runner can build strong, lean muscles while logging in high mileage.

Here are some tips that have worked for me as well as the athletes I work with...

Lift Heavy
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to runners, especially female runners, is what type of weights to lift...if at all.  I have encountered so many athletes that use the same light weights for years wondering why they are not getting results.  And I've also encountered many an athlete who shy away of weights altogether, and are wondering why all the running, squats and push ups are not building the body of their dreams.

The only way to build lean muscle mass is to challenge your muscles. They only way to challenge your muscles is to get a little physically (and mentally) uncomfortable and push yourself in the weight room.  I tell my athletes, the last few reps of any set should be bit of a struggle, if it's too easy, then you're not going to get results.  Of course form is always key, so do not compromise form for an insanely heavy weight, but do not be afraid to go up in weights when you're no longer feeling challenged!  (And I wanted to add because it's always asked, the chances of you bulking up and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger is slim to none, so don't worry!)

Amp Up Your Cardio
So I know this sounds a little silly.  You're distance runner, how could you possibly do more cardio!?!  I'm not necessarily suggesting your run more days, miles or even do more cross training.  What you do want to consider incorporating into your regimen if you're trying to build lean muscle mass is more challenging cardio like interval training.  Interval training (short hurts of high intensity followed by recovery) is what really kick starts your metabolism, burning fat and building lean muscle mass for up to 36 hours after a workout!

Yes, you are getting some interval training if you are doing speed work, but it is strictly through running.  Our bodies adapt to what we constantly do and we need a variety in order to achieve results.  Some ways you can amp it up include taking a spin, kickboxing or boot camp class, try a HIIT or MetCon workout, or simply just add in things like jump rope, squat jumps, mountain climbers, etc. at the end of your lifting sets to shoot your heart rate up.
KB Swings are a great exercise that builds strength and power while getting the HR up
Don't Be Afraid of Carbs
When it comes to building lean muscle, protein gets pretty much all the love.  Understandably so, protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscles and body.  Without them, it would be impossible to build, repair or even maintain muscle tissue.  But in order to get energy for anything from running to lifting weights, to day to day activity, you need energy.  And that energy comes from the glycogen stores you get from consuming carbohydrates.  Since carbohydrates and protein work hand in hand (they work together to fuel and repair muscles), you should consume and equal amount of both (1:1 ratio).

As awesome as it would be to fuel up on chips and beer, not all carbs are created equal.  In order to achieve great, healthy results, you will need to take in good, natural carbs.  Some sources of good carbs are from fruits and vegetables, beans and legume and whole grain.

Consider Your Goals
We all have our own personal reasons why we run.  Some run for fitness in an effort to lose or maintain weight.  Some run to relieve stress and/or just stay active.  And some run to really push themselves and chase big PR's.   Regardless of your reasoning to run, you still most likely have some sort of running-related goal you are looking to achieve in the near future.  So if you're looking to build muscles for ascetic purposes as well, you will have to consider what is your bandwidth for training and your ultimate goal.

So what I tell my athletes is to train for performance and not for perfection.  You are first and foremost a runner and you have goals you want to achieve in that realm.  Yes, you want to look good and you certainly can and will.  Building muscles doesn't mean you have to ditch your running goals and focus on strictly weights, but you are going to have to carve out time during your week to dedicate to lifting, which will make you stiff and sore at times.  So why not make that time work for not just your appearance but more importantly your performance.

Having a well rounded strength and conditioning program in your training regimen will help to make you a better runner who is stronger, leaner, less likely to get injured and an over all better athlete.  The lean muscles you build from that program are then the added bonus!

Don't Be A Slave To The Scale
Along those same lines of training more for performance than just on how you look, is to not be so caught up on a number on the scale.  We have heard that muscle "weighs more than fat."  The truth is muscle is more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space than fat while weighing about the same amount.  So if you're adding strength training into your routine but not seeing the scale budge, do not get discouraged.  If you're being consistent with your training, taking in the appropriate amount of nutrition and pushing yourself, you are going to achieve results regardless of what the scale says.

These results will be more of how you feel and look, not so much your weight.  You may notice some muscle definition starting to show or your clothes feeling a little looser, and your running pace getting more effortless but fore the scale even (or ever) moves!
I weight the EXACT same in these two pics!
Get Some Direction
There are several ways you can incorporate strength and conditioning into your routine in order to build lean muscle mass while running, ultimately making you a better athlete.  Body weight exercises are a great place to start, but as I stated above, you will need to learn to challenge yourself.  Taking group exercise classes and/or adding in interval training is also a great to get stronger and leaner.

But one of the best ways to take the guess work out of the how, what, when, where and why of strength and conditioning is to enlist the help of a coach.  A trained professional, like myself, can design a program specific to your goals and needs while considering your run training as well.  For more information on my training services, check out my services page and/or contact me today from a free, no obligation consultation.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A New Reason To Run

Project Purple
I have ran marathons for several different "reasons" over the years.  Of course the majority of them have been in effort to catch that elusive unicorn, but I have also ran them for fun, training miles and of course as a pacer.

My first marathon experience, back in 2010, was essentially just to see if I could even do it.  I had no time goal, I just wanted to cross that finish line.  So I chose a race that would have a special meaning for me (in case I never did another one lol) and ran the Marine Corps Marathon.  My parents were both marines and I had lost my father a few years prior, so this race would hold always hold a very special place in my heart.

Fast forward almost 7 years and 8 marathons later, it has been quite a distance running journey to say the least.  One filled with every emotion from pride to disappointment, happiness to heartbreak, and defeat and perseverance.  Though I have yet to reach my ultimate goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (I've come super close), I press on and continue to find new meaning and reasons to run.

This Fall, I had planned to run a marathon like I do every Fall.  Realizing it would be my 10th marathon, I wanted to make it an extra special experience because, well 10 seems like a pretty exciting number to celebrate.  Feeling a little burnt out on all this BQ chasing, I wanted a different perspective on a training cycle and a race.  I thought what better way to do that run for charity!?!

The thought of running for a charity always interested me.  It seemed like a great way to give more purpose and meaning to a race than just running for a PR.  When you have a special cause you hold near and dear to your heart, why not support that cause through your passion.  So my mind was made up, running for a charity would be how I would spend training for and running my next (and 10th) full marathon.

It was pretty quick and easy for me to decide on a charity.  Of course there are several great causes out there and if I had not had my heart set on one already, it would have been rather difficult to decide which cause to choose from.  But I already had my mind made up on one particular cause that has affected my family, and I wanted to honor an incredibly special person and run in memory of him.  That of course is my dad, who lost his battle to Pancreatic Cancer in 2003.  He was such an amazing and loving husband, father and friend, who's life was cut too short but such an ugly disease.
Daddy and me, circa 1983
I ran my first marathon in memory of him when I chose to run with the Marines, and I'm dedicating my 10th marathon to him as I work to raise funds and awareness for the awful disease that took his life 14 years ago.  I will be taking on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul as I run with Project Purple at the Twin Cities Marathon this October.  My hope is to not only exceed my minimum fundraising goal of $1000, but to also raise awareness for this deadly disease and of course make my family proud as I run in memory of my dad.

And one of the best parts about running in the Twin Cities is that my dad was originally from that part of the country and some of our family will be there to cheer me on race day!

To learn more about my father's story, my fundraising efforts and how you can donate to help me reach my goal, please check out my Project Purple page.  Feel free to share and spread the word.  I, of course will be continuing to post on my marathon training as well as fundraising efforts in the coming months, so stay tune!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Actually Excited About My Time Off

I always say I'm going to scale back and take break.

"After this race, I'm done for a while..." are my famous last words.  Then when I miss my goal, I'm rushing to the computer, pulling out my credit card and signing up for my next one.  And just like that, when I said I had enough, I'm lacing up to go for another 20 miler training run the next weekend.

My husband would just roll his eyes whenever I tried to convince him (and myself) that this race would be my last for a while.  But who was I kidding, I already had another one in mind shortly thereafter.

What can I say, it has become an addiction.  There should be a support group for people like me but I'm sure we'd spend the whole time talking about our favorite races and agree to run them with each other.

In the past almost 10 years, I can only think of two times I have actually taken a full blown break from the pressure of training and racing.  The first was during my back to back pregnancies (my sons are 14 months a part).  Though I ran throughout and shortly after both, I did not race or do long distances for close to two years.  It was strictly to stay active and healthy, I obviously wasn't trying to PR at anything while preggers.  The second "break" I took from training was when I was injured about a year and a half ago.  I had to take about 6 weeks off of running, but was luckily able to swim, bike and lift during my recovery.

So yeah, pretty much other than that, I have been go go go.  Except for now...

I'm (FINALLY) taking a bit of a break and you know what, believe it or not, I'm perfectly ok with it. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm already having total race FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, in case you didn't know), and some anxiety over "losing" my fitness (which I know will come back).

But I am REALLY looking forward to this much need little break, and here is why...

I Need It
I really just need a damn break.  I need a break physically from training.  I need a break mentally from all the stress and pressure I put on myself.  And I need a break emotionally from the disappointment of continually missing my one big scary goal (to BQ).  My body, mind and soul (as well as pocket book) will appreciate me taking this much needed break.

I'm Doing Something For ME
I am not ashamed or embarrassed to discuss why I will be resting over the next month.  It will be a little obvious when it's all said and done any way.  After losing and gaining close to 70lbs in my teens and 20's, then back to back pregnancies in my early 30's, my body has been through quite a bit of changes to say the least.  I have worked very hard on my fitness and body throughout the years and am very proud of how far I have come.  With that being said, we all have insecurities and I have chosen to do something about one (well a pair) of mine.  I've been wanting to do this for a while now and I am excited to be going through with it.  Plus now I have a great excuse to head over to Lululemon for some cute new tops and bras!

There's An End In Sight
Unlike an injury or illness, I know my timeline for recovery and when I can return to workouts.  Granted I will have to re-introduce running and lifting slowly back in, and it most likely will be a little humbling at first, at least I know when I can do it.  I should be (hopefully) back to my old self before I start marathon training this summer.

I Plan To Come Back Stronger
When I started racing again after having my sons, I was faster and stronger than ever before.  I made huge strides in such a short period of time and felt unstoppable.  Then a few years later, I endured my first major setback when I suffered an injury.  After almost two months off of running, it was a slow and daunting process to build my fitness back up.  I felt like I would never get back to where I was then BAM, I went out and rocked my first race back and every subsequent race after that Spring!  I was back again and this time stronger than before.  Keeping those two comebacks in mind, I'm heading into this rest period hoping to come back stronger than ever!

I Will Have Time To Prepare
I have been very open about my desire to BQ and how difficult of a journey it has been for me.  With ever failed attempt, I am left heart broken and defeated.  Yet I never seem to make any significant enough changes to my training plan, nutrition or even mindset in order to accomplish my goal.  I know that I am capable of so much more, I just can't seem to figure out how to make it happen.  Well now that I have some time to take a step back and reflect on my past, I feel I will be able to better prepare for the future.  So with three whole months before I began training for my next marathon and seven months before the big day, I have plenty of time to really focus on what it's going to take to go out and crush it this time.

Ya'll Will Get FREE Stuff
Since I won't be able to make all my obnoxious, self promoting gym mirror selfies, double thumbs up shots or runfies, I figured I would stay active on social media with running and training tips, throwback pics and of course GIVEAWAYS!!!  So stay tuned if you like free stuff!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dealing With Pre-Race Jitters

My aunt was down visiting this weekend.  We rarely get to see each other but she is a lovely person and we pick up right where we left off every time we do.  The last time I saw her was in Chicago.  She had planned to come watch me race to begin with, but when a hurricane came to Orlando, she was gracious enough to let me come stay with her a few extra days to avoid getting stuck down here in the storm.  This was the first marathon weekend she had ever experienced with me, or anyone for that matter.  So I'm sure it was quite interesting for her to say the least.

I'm planning on heading back up that way this Fall for another marathon and was discussing with her if I should come spend time with her before or after the race.  She (politely) insisted that I come see her after, that way I would be "less stressed."  I think that was her nice way of telling me she didn't want to deal with me before the big day. <insert laughing cry face here>

Makes sense though.  I'm typically a bit of a mess leading up to a race.  I could see why someone who's not used to that not wanting to deal with me.

Let me say I am not ALWAYS a total wreck (in my opinion).  Like when I'm pacing or running a race for fun with no major goals.  But other times I can be a bit of a disaster, like when I travel out of town for a race and/or have a big scary goal in mind.
No matter how many races I do and what I'm doing them for, one thing holds true there is guaranteed to be some pre-race jitters to some extent.

So here are a few things I like to do to help alleviate my insanity in hopes to have an enjoyable race weekend and of course, a great performance...

It's Totally Normal 
Whether I'm racing or pacing, if it's in or out of town, or it a marathon or 5k, I am not immune to race day nerves.  No one I know seems to be either. Getting the jitters before a marathon (or any other race for that matter) is totally normal.  So don't feel weird or bad because you find yourself a little on edge the days, or even weeks leading up to a big event.  Recognizing that it is normal to be a little frazzled helps remind me that I am not completely losing my mind and that I will be ok.
Seriously about to cry, barf and scream all at once while picking up a race packet. That poor guy helping me!
Use Them To Your Advantage
No matter how prepared I am for a race, nerves always creep up on me some point during the taper and of course on race day.  But I tell myself "the nerves are there because I care."  I've trained hard for this and it means a lot to me.  I put in the work and I want it to show on race day.  Like I said above, race day nerves are normal, so why not use them to your advantage.  Of course you don't want to be balled up in a corner rocking back and forth talking incoherently to yourself (not normal).  But feeling your heart racing, needing an extra potty break or too, and wanting to screech out in a nervous excitement are all good.  Those nerves mean this is important to you.  Let those nerves fuel your adrenaline when you toe the line and throughout the race!

Trust Your Training
It's as simple as it sounds.  I tell myself and all my athletes this before every race.  You've trained for this, you are prepared for anything and you will give it your all.   Don't let your nerves overshadow all the handwork, dedication and recuperation you put in during your training.  Trust you are ready and go prove it.

Reference Your Training
Speaking of training, tap into some of your best workouts throughout your training.  What was it that made those particular runs click for you?  I like to scroll back through my old posts (blogs and Instagram) to remind myself of those times.  How I was able to power through a particularly tough workout, what it took to get through and how proud I was to accomplish that.  Reference those workouts to help remind yourself that you are capable, you can do it.

Seek Help 
No, I'm not suggesting you need professional help for your pre race jitters, but some "group therapy" may do you some good. Seeking the advice, help and comfort of fellow runners can help ease your mind heading into a race.  I have a few friends I met through my MRTT group who I probably drive a little crazy leading up to a race.  They are my sounding board and the ones who talk me off a ledge when I fear I may lose it with my nerves!  I also always like to try and make a new friend or two while at the event.  Small talk with a stranger, learning about their running journey and experiences as well as getting to share yours is a fun way to take the edge off.
My MRTT chapter helped me and everyone else to calm our nerves before the Space Coast Marathon.
Find A Mantra
When I ran Chicago last Fall, I had to leave three days early to elude a category 4 hurricane, leaving my family, home and business in its path.  This meant flying into a different state to stay with family for a few days, then make a 7 hour drive down to the race weekend.  I.Was.A.Mess!  But my husband kept reassuring me that everyone was ok (fortunately they were) and to give the race my all.  He told me in one particular text he sent that I was UNSTOPPABLE, and boom there it was, my race day mantra.

One little word or phrase can make all the difference in a race.  Having some words that hold a special meaning to you to repeat to yourself when your nerves get the best of you can really give you that extra motivation to push you through.  Find something that really resonates with you, write it on your arm, order a bracelet with it, and/or just repeat it to yourself when the going gets tough.

Just Breath
Yoga is a great form of exercise for runners of all levels and distances, at any point during training. But yoga also offers some great mental benefits leading up to a big race.  The breathing and relaxation tools are tremendously helpful during taper madness, not to mention the great stretch your body needs to relax too!  Consider taking a yoga class or two (in a studio, live stream or dvd) during your taper and of course use those breathing techniques on race day to help calm your nerves.

Enjoy The Ride
And last but certainly not least, have fun!  We're not professionals, this is not our career, we will not lose a sponsorship or contract if we do not PR.  Don't get me wrong, our races mean something to us and we want to do well.  We use running as an outlet in our hectic lives.  It is our escape, our "me time" and a great way to push ourselves and test our limits.  But don't let the pressure of it all get the best of you.  Running and especially the races are so much fun.  The crowd, the energy, the camaraderie, the pure awesomeness of it all is an experience like no other.  So soak it all and enjoy the ride!

Once you get rolling, it is INCREDIBLE!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Not All Water Is Created Equal

Despite living in Florida (aka the land of the endless summer) I have to admit I struggle to make hydration a priority and it often shows.  Don't get me wrong, I like water and I do drink it, just no where near as much as I should for my activity level, especially in this heat and humidity.

And probably one of my biggest hydration mistakes is assuming all water is created equal.

So when I was contacted by Eternal Water to take on the 24-Day Hydration Challenge, I jumped on the opportunity!  I took it as a sign to not only increase my water intake, but learn what a difference all natural, electrolyte water could make in my daily life and performance.

Before agreeing to the challenge and receiving my water, I was provided with the following information...
  • While other bottled water companies are artificially enhancing and adding electrolytes to their water, Eternal Water is 100% All-Natural with nothing added or removed. Therefore, no ingredient label is needed. Eternal Water was discovered not ‘made.’
  • Naturally Alkaline Water (pH 7.8 – 8.2) sourced from naturally alkaline underground springs (U.S. based).
  • Naturally Occurring Electrolytes including Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. Electrolytes are key to hydration and vital to physiological function and athletic performance. Electrolytes act as chemical messengers in the body carrying electrical impulses from the nerves, which control all tissue function and movement.  Having imbalanced levels of electrolytes are detrimental to performance and health
  • BPA Free, Phthalate Free 
So as you can see I learned quite a bit about the water and was excited to take on the challenge.

Like I said above, I had never really put much thought into the water I was drinking.  I just figured water is water and never realized all the extra junk most "electrolyte enhanced" waters had in them.  Plus I had heard about the benefits of alkaline water, especially for distance athletes like myself, but again, I always just drank whatever water was available.  So I figured it would be a fun learning experience for me OR my suspicions that all water is the same would be confirmed.

My water arrived about a month ago.  The timing was perfect because I had just come off racing a marathon and was preparing to pace another one.  Also, the temps had been unseasonably warm, so hydration was of the utmost important at this busy time of training.

The challenge itself was pretty straight forward...drink a bottle of Eternal water each day for the next 24 days.  The most challenging part was keeping my husband from stealing all my water, lol.  He LOVES water.  I have never met anyone who drinks as much water as he does.  So I had to get him some too so he wouldn't feel left out!  Plus it was fun to get to do the challenge together.

I had never tried Eternal water before and my just from my initial experience I was very impressed.

The Bottle- It's light and sleek, and looks cool.  It's a big bottle (1L) but with it slender through the middle, it's easy to grip and carry.  Plus it's BPA and Phtalate free, so that's definitely nice!

The Taste- This is when I was schooled that not all water is the same!  The taste is so clean, crisp and refreshing.  Honestly, it was unlike any other water I had tried.  It had absolutely no taste (unlike the almost metal or salty like tastes other electrolyte waters had), it was just pure replenishing water!

The Quantity- The 1L (33.8 oz) bottle was the perfect way to step up my hydration game.  My daily goal is around 80oz, and I'm typically lucky to make it to 60oz.  But having a bottle of Eternal water handy made it possible to meet and exceed that goal (plus the challenge was just a great reminder of the importance of hydration).

And of course, The Benefits-

After staying consistent with drinking the water for a solid week, I already noticed some changes.  I could feel my energy levels increase which showed in my training.  I made sure to bring a few bottles of water with me up to my marathon packing gig.  Drinking the water before and after the marathon made a huge difference in my performance and recovery.  I felt great!

As the weeks went on, I felt myself doing better and better with increasing my water in take thanks to the challenge.  I continued to see improvements in my energy.  I felt as if my skin was a little more clear and my veins weren't as prominent (a common dehydration problem).  I also noticed I felt less hungry and bloated all the time.  Most importantly, I just felt overall better, inside and out.

I am so glad I took the 24-Day Hydration Challenge and will most definitely continue my daily Eternal water drinking.  In fact, I have a bottle right next to me as I type this!

If you have not yet tried Eternal water yet, I highly recommend it.  Trust me, I now know that not all water is created equal and I can say from experience that Eternal water is proof of that!