This Runner's Trials

Illumiseen LED reflective belt review + giveaway

Posted by runnerstrials

If you run at dusk, dawn, or overnight, I have a great product to share with you today! This is now my go-to illumination device on morning runs.


Illumiseen contacted me awhile ago to review their LED reflective belt. Once I read a little bit more about the belt, I jumped on the opportunity to try it.

I regularly run at dawn. When I was marathon training last summer, I started some long runs hours before the sun was up, so I literally ran in the pitch dark. Since then, I’ve tried a few reflective products to help me see or keep me illuminated. One thing that really caught my eye about the Illumiseen belt was that it comes with a rechargeable battery.


I just plug it into my USB charger and volia, it’s charged! This is huge. I love some other illumination products I’ve tested, too, but the batteries die so often that it’s a pain keeping up with them (I’m talking about you, Knuckle Lights).

I also love how bright this belt is. It makes me glow from all angles.


From the manufacturer's website:  “Thanks to the 3M Scotchlite™ reflective material and custom-designed fiber optics it reflects oncoming light AND gives off a powerful beacon in the dark.”

In the above picture, the LED light is turned off. With the switch of a button, you choose if you want to run with it off, completely on, or blinking on and off. I usually run with the light off since I start my runs only about 20-30 minutes before the sun rises. It’s not that dark, so I don’t need full illumination.

Here’s a comparison of what the belt looks like off vs. on:


It’s really bright!

I was most nervous that this belt wouldn’t be comfortable. I do not like running with things around my waist or shoulders – I have never found a fuel belt that I like – so I didn’t know how I’d do with the Illumiseen belt. But it surprised me! The belt is adjustable. At first, I adjusted it to fit around my waist, like in the above picture, but it bounced around too much there. So, I moved it lower to around my hips. The snug fit bothered me for a couple of minutes, but then I quickly got used to it and forgot it was there. I’ve worn the belt on runs up to 6 miles so far, and it’s always been comfortable.

If you don’t like it around your waist, you can also drape it across your shoulder. Or double up with two belts!

Green and Red

photo courtesy of Illumiseen.

The Illumiseen belt comes in three colors: green, red, or blue. It comes with a money back guarantee, and can be purchased on Amazon. Or you can win one right here!

Illumiseen has generously offered to give one of you guys a belt! Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 11:59 pm Eastern. I will contact and announce the winner next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2015 Charlotte Racefest 10k race recap

Posted by runnerstrials

On Saturday, I ran the Charlotte Racefest 10k. I only decided to run the event a few days ago, and I’m so glad I signed up!


I ran the half marathon at Racefest back in 2012, and I remember the race being a lot of fun and really hilly. But I surprised myself and set an unexpected PR. Spoiler alert: that’s basically what happened this year, too!

This was the first race that I’ve ever gone to alone, which is crazy. Jeff offered to bring the kids and come cheer me on, but with the 7:30 am start time, I planned on leaving at 6:15. I also planned on leaving immediately after the race so I’d be home to feed Hadley by 9. So, it just didn’t make sense to wake the kids up so early and set them up to be exhausted all day long.

I arrived to the race site, Southpark Mall, around twenty to seven. I had no issues parking. Racefest and the Southpark Turkey Trot that we do every year both start and end at the mall. I love it because there is so much parking, and you don’t have to arrive too early.

I picked up my packet at Dick’s, headed back to my car to get ready, and made my way over to the start to use the bathroom 40 times before the race began. It was actually nice being alone. I’m glad that I didn’t have to worry about the kids, and could just chill out. Since I had no goals for this race but to “have fun”, I was super relaxed as I waited at the start. The weather was also perfect. Mid-60s, overcast, and humid. I’d much rather run in hot than cold, so the weather was great for me.


10k runners started on the left, half marathoners started on the right.

Most runners were doing the half. I made my way towards the front of the 10k runners, and overheard a woman tell her friend that her goal was to run the 10k at a 7:15 pace. I had no pace goals before that moment, but I decided that I wanted to try to keep up with her as long as a I could.

All of a sudden, we were off!

I was really excited at the start and felt great. The first mile or so is down Barclay Downs, a really pretty street. I kept repeating to myself “keep it slow, keep it slow, keep it slow”. I typically do better when I start off slow and speed up. But today, I was definitely going out too fast. At mile 1, I heard my Fitbit app tell me my time and I cringed.

Mile 1: 7:07

Grrr. I knew I couldn’t keep up that pace the whole race, but I was feeling pretty good, so I couldn’t justify slowing down. The second mile was a little hillier, but not too bad. Towards the end of this mile, I passed my 7:15 pace “friend”. I felt like that wasn’t a wise move, but again, I couldn’t slow down when I felt fine.

Mile 2: 7:08

The third mile is when we turned onto Providence Road and the hills started to get to me. I know that I majorly slowed down on one of the steeper hills, and I debated throwing in the towel and keeping the pace “easy” for the rest of the race.

Mile 3: 7:30

But the nice thing about 10ks is that it’s such a short race! I was suffering, but I was also already halfway done. Once the road was flat again, I tried to push as hard as I could to make up for the time I lost on the bad hill during the previous mile.

I was also thirsty. I meant to carry a squirt bottle of water with me, but I forgot. I didn’t want to stop at any fluid stations because I usually walk through aid stations, and I didn’t want to take a walk break and lose my momentum. But I needed something. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade and tried to drink on the run, but it didn’t work! I was covered in Gatorade. Oh well.

Mile 4: 7:07

After mile 4, I realized that we’d be finishing the last two miles on the half marathon course. I remember those final two miles from the half I ran three years ago. They were so hilly, and I remember thinking that my legs were going to fall off. Ironically, the only other time I thought my legs were going to fall off was exactly a year ago this Saturday – when I was having leg labor with Hadley! I laughed out loud when I realized the timing. Why not try to make my legs fall off again, right?

Mile 5: 7:09

I knew the last half mile to the finish was all uphill, but I forgot about the humungous hill that happens earlier in the sixth mile. I was doing a fairly good job of pushing through the pain until that hill, but then I totally gave in. I walked for about 10 seconds. I was definitely succeeding in feeling like my legs would fall off! I told myself to regroup and finish strong up the final long hill to the end.

Mile 6: 7:25

When my Fitbit tracker spoke to me, it said “6 miles in 43:xx”. I did the math quickly and realized if I booked it, I could come in sub-45. A sub-45 minute 10k has been a goal of mine for so long. To be honest, I thought a 45:xx time was possible today, but I never imagined that I was in shape to break 45 minutes – especially on this challenging course. I ran as fast as I could to the finish and saw the seconds ticking. I knew I had it, my sub-45.

Last 0.2: 6:52


Time 44:46 (7:12 minute/mile pace), good enough for a PR and second in my age group!

I was so, so happy – and in so, so much pain! After not following a training plan since last fall, I could not believe that I set a PR. I’m so glad I did this race because it lit a fire under me to set some long-term running goals.

And, because I’m a cheeseball, I loved that my legs felt like they were on fire exactly a year after I had leg labor. It was the perfect way to end a really exciting year of postpartum running. I feel so fortunate for everything that I’ve accomplished on the running front this past year. A huge thank you to my sweet ONE year old (!) for making that possible.



Base race

Posted by runnerstrials

Isn’t time a funny thing? I feel like I have been in this non-training mode forever. I’ve been running, but I don’t remember the last time I “had” to run. Well, yes I do. It was back when I actually followed a training plan leading up to NYCM/ Thunder Road last fall.


Shorts weather!

I have this crazy idea that I want to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah marathon this November. I know. I said I was done doing marathons for awhile. But it’s amazing what some time off from serious running does for the soul. The itch is back. I want to run faster and longer. I want to train at daybreak on humid summer mornings and push myself. And, yes, I want to see if I could smash my PR by running a marathon on a flat course. My neighbor is running the race, and we run the same pace and trained for NYCM together, so it’d be really fun to train with her again.

But I also want to make sure I get my health straightened out and the whole work-life balance thing somewhat balanced before I commit to intense training again ( <-- thank you so much for all of the points to consider for nanny vs. daycare!). I feel like things are starting to fall into place, so I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be in a good place in a few months when I need to start training.


Speaking of time, she’s going to be ONE next week, and he’ll be 3.5 next month. How is this possible?

Anyway, back to that time thing. I told my husband last night that I need to run a base race first before I decide if I’m going for Savannah. Even though I haven’t been training, I feel like I may not have lost too much speed. But I want to know for sure. A base race is important to me because I need something recent to base my training paces on.

racefest 2015

Charlotte Racefest is this weekend. It’s a great race, and where I ran a 1/2 marathon PR when Wyatt was itty bitty three years ago. There’s a 5k, 10k, and half option. I would do the 10k. I asked my husband last night if it would be OK to race this weekend, and he assumed I wanted to run the half! I laughed hysterically. There is no way I could run a half marathon now. I haven’t run more than 7.25 miles in almost two months – which is forever in the running world. Then he asked me why I couldn’t base my race paces off my Dopey* times. I responded something like, “because Dopey was forever ago”. But no. Dopey was only three months ago! I cannot believe it. It seriously seems like years ago! It’s crazy how quickly we lose our running fitness, huh?

I just registered for the 10k and I’m really, really excited. I don’t expect a PR, nor do I have any time goals, which is actually pretty nice. I’m just super eager to get out there again!

Who else does a base race before settling on a training plan? If you don’t, how do you settle on goal paces for the plan? I’m really curious because my husband thinks I’m weird for needing to run a race first, but he couldn’t tell me how he picks goal paces!

*I owe you guys a Dopey takeaways post. I’ve had a draft that’s 3/4 of the way completed sitting for months now, and I promise to have it published before registration opens at the end of this month.

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