Tuesday, August 18, 2015

bibravepro spotlight: caroline

Hello and welcome to the second installment of BibRavePro Spotlight! A little bit behind the series if you missed the first one
I'm excited to introduce a new series on the blog – BibRave Pro Spotlight! Each Tuesday (or at least, most Tuesdays) I'm going to feature a different 
BibRave Pro. The program is thriving, and new Pros are joining the team everyday. I've loved my almost year of being a BRP, and have gained some great friendships through it. It's super awesome that so many new people are being added, but with a large group, it can be hard to get to know everyone as closely as I'd like. Hence, the idea for a blog series developed. I'm thrilled to get to know each Pro a little bit more, and hope you enjoy it too!

I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Caroline in person yet, but we don't live TOO far from each other, so hopefully we'll meet at a race someday soon :) She is super sweet and full of life. We are quite similar in the fact that we both love to read, though she's kicking my butt in numbers this year, as you'll see below. 

Some other things we have in common are our love for Nuun and Clif Shot Bloks! She always has beautifully painted nails, and I wish she would come over and paint mine each week ;) She has a fantastic reason as to why she started running—I think you'll get a kick out of it. She has a great outlook and perspective on life, and it's a joy to get to know her even better with this post. Without further ado, here she is!


Caroline at Rock 'N Roll Chicago.

Name: Caroline
Location: The Midwest!

When did you start running and why? 
The story of how I started running is pretty great. To make a long story short, one night I had a dream that I was running, and it felt fantastic. When I woke up I thought that if running could be anything like that, then I needed to give it a try. I went on my first run that day, and made it 0.75 of a mile before almost passing out. I had to lay down in someone’s front yard for awhile to get my vision and hearing back to normal, and then I shuffled home feeling defeated. My brother encouraged me to build up slowly (I had been diagnosed with POTS, a chronic illness, many years earlier, and that makes exercising really difficult), so my next run I ran 30 seconds followed by walking 4 minutes, and just slowly built my way up. I learned to absolutely love it! So, essentially, I’m ACTUALLY living out my dream :)

What is your favorite race distance? 
My favorite race distance is the half marathon, although I think that 10k or 15k is probably what’s best for my body. I wish they had more races of that length!

What are your top 3 races (these can be running, triathlons, whatever you want)? Why?
  • Monumental HalfMarathon in 2014. I had been training for this race with Team in Training in memory of my grandma, and then ended up with shin splints about 5 weeks before the race. I thought for sure I was going to PR that race, but in that moment I thought it was all over, and I hoped I would just finish the race. I ended up setting a new PR and cried across the finish line. It was an epic final mile of the race and I still get goosebumps when I think about it.
  • Carmel Half Marathon: This race was not only run fantastically on my end, but I met my best running friend during mile 1 of the race! I found BibRave through her!
  • My first triathlonin 2012. This race got me back on the bike after 11 years of not riding, and I found a real love of biking because of it. A friend had died just a few days before the race, and I chose to do it in memory of him 

(I, Heather) Love this photo! Caroline at Monumental Half Marathon 2014.

What's the toughest race you've ever done, whether because of weather, distance, mental fatigue, etc.? 

There were a few races that popped to mind immediately, but I think I’ll stick with the Indy Women’s Half Marathon in 2014. It was ridiculously hot that day, and with POTS I can’t cool myself the way that I could before POTS. At mile 12 I started shivering and got goosebumps. It was rough. Here’s the recap.

Do you have any race day traditions? 
I’ve been told I have way too many, but I love them. In an ideal world, this is what happens: The Sunday before a race, I make two specific dishes: a pasta dish that I eat every dinner, and a quinoa dish (quinoa, sweet potato, salt, craisins, sliced almonds, cinnamon, and turmeric – it smells like Thanksgiving!) for lunch. It’s a perfect mix of carbs, protein, anti-inflammatory things, magnesium, calcium, sodium, etc… The days leading up to a race I watch a running movie. I used to watch Spirit of the Marathon but now that it’s off Netflix I’ve switched to “Pre”. Ideally I paint my nails gray or silver, and I try to wear my green t-shirt that says “We run for love not fear. #indylovesboston”. The night before the race I have a bit of oatmeal with almond milk and cinnamon. Before a race I drink 8 ounces of orange juice, and eat one banana and 1 granola bar. That pretty much sums it up!

The most important lesson running has taught you? 
I can do so much more than I ever thought possible. With my chronic illness, I never thought that running and biking like I do was ever possible, but I worked up slowly over the course of many years to where I am today. We can all do hard things when we put our minds to it!

Some of your favorite running products - either for while running or for recovery and why are they your favorite? 
  • Compression sleeves: I wear them every run! With POTS my blood easily pools in my legs, so wearing compression sleeves both during and after work outs helps me avoid getting dizzy and helps my recovery time!
  • Clif Shot Bloks: I eat them on long training runs and during races. My favorite flavors are cran razz and margarita (extra sodium!).
  • NUUN! It’s so important to stay hydrated, and with POTS I need to be consuming extra sodium and extra fluids, and nuun electrolyte tablets help me accomplish this!
  • My UV buff! I just did a review of this product, but have fallen even more in love with it since then! It’s great to block UV rays on runs and rides, it helps catch sweat from dripping in my eyes, and it’s great for hiking as well! I LOVE it!
At Pikes Peak - you can see that UV Half Buff right there.
And how cute is her hair?!

What are you currently training for? 
I’m currently training for a fall half marathon, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on actually signing up for one yet (I’m debating between two right now!). I WILL be toeing the line this fall though!

Are you a morning runner? Any tips for those of us (i.e. ME) who have trouble getting it done in the AM? 
I am absolutely a morning runner most weeks, as I love to try to beat the heat or get my long run out of the way so I still have a lot of my Saturday. I try to go to bed earlier on Friday’s, and either scheduling a run with a friend or scheduling something late morning really is helpful.

You also do a lot of cycling, would you say that's your favorite form of activity? 
I’m not sure that I have one favorite; I enjoy various activities for different reasons. I absolutely love being outdoors, so doing a 4–5 hour bike ride gives me a great reason to enjoy the peace and quite in nature for many hours. Cycling is a great form of cross training!

Other than running, what are some hobbies you enjoy? 
I also love walking and hiking (again, excuses to be outside!), reading (I’ve finished 55 books this year), writing, and spending as much time as I can with friends and family members. I also love traveling, and have managed to squeeze in a number of trips this summer!

Badlands, South Dakota.

You were diagnosed with POTS quite a few years ago. Can you explain briefly what that is, and how it affects you (in life, running, cycling)? Does exercise help?
POTS is basically abnormal functioning in the autonomic nervous system. So for me, the things that are regulated by this system (brain, eyes, stomach, intestines, blood flow, heart, etc…) are all malfunctioning. I’ve had it for almost 12 years now, so it impacts me less than it did. At first I felt overwhelmingly sick most hours of the day, was walking into corners and walls, had migraines almost constantly, and was in so much pain I could barely stand or eat. Obviously it’s not that way as frequently now, although I still have at least some moments of the day where I am impacted by those things. I’ve had a constant headache since February of 2004, and get migraines regularly from that. I get really dizzy and some days I feel like I have tons of energy and some days I have almost no energy. It’s really frustrating, and while it deeply impacts my life daily, people don’t see that. People see the smiling girl who loves her job, her friends, and all sorts of exercise. While all those things are true, they don’t see my invisible illness. It impacts exercise because I not only feel sick or “off” at points each day, but I get injured easier, it takes longer to recover, and I can get dizzy easily. Exercising is a critical component to managing POTS, but it’s the exact opposite of what your body on POTS wants to do. That being said, exercise has ultimately been really helpful. If you’d like to read a bit more about POTS, you can find some more information and my posts on it here: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/pots/

How long have you been a BRP? 
Since December of 2014!

What's your favorite thing about being a BibRave Pro? 
The people that I have met! I honestly love the community of people, and find a lot of encouragement from their posts, tweets, etc. If I need some running encouragement, I know I can count on them.

Any fun tidbits about yourself, running, etc that we should know? 
I LOVE running but think it’s important to be balanced about exercise, so I try to bike, walk, do pilates, and sometimes even weight lift during the week (I want to lift regularly, but it’s hard on my own!). I just spent the last 10 days hiking out west, and I feel really sad that I don’t have great places to hike around me- talk about a great form of exercise!

If you aren't following her blog or social media accounts, the info is below. She's adorable and inspirational and honestly, just a delight. So follow her already!

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Make sure to join us tonight for #BibChat tonight at 8pm CT – follow BibRave on Twitter and use the hashtag BibChat to join a conversation about running, food, motivation, music... really, we discuss it all. It's always a fun time, and the hour flies by. The sponsor for tonight's (August 18) chat is the Honolulu Marathon! If you are interested in registering, use code TOMPRO for 20% off! BRP Sarah ran it last year and it looked AMAZING. I wish I could go.

Interested in becoming a BibRave Pro? Fill out an application here.

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