I Need Your Input!

As you know, my mom and I have our online Etsy shop where we make pillows, bags, and more. Well, we’re looking to expand and create something for runners which I think is cool. But I need to gauge if I’m the only one who thinks it’s cool/useful – so I need your input on this idea we are working on.

We want to make lightweight, square pieces (made from Dri-Fit material) that you can customize with your name or quote.

You know how before a marathon you write your name on your shirt? Or something on the back? I love doing that because then everyone yells my name and it gives me a boost. But there are 2 main issues here:

  • If you write on your shirt or use iron on letters, you can’t wear that shirt again. Unless you rip the letters off, but don’t you want to save your marathon shirt? :)
  • If you use tape, it looks fine…but it could look way cooler if you used actual letters.

That’s where our idea came from. What if we created something you pin on your shirt. You can customize it however you want (letters, background, letter cut-outs, images), and it won’t ruin your shirt. Then, you can also re-use them on shirts for future races as well.

Another great thing about being able to customize it is that if you’re running a race for someone or a cause, you can add in an image (such as a family photo or the charity logo) and add in whatever text you want. We have a special process we will be using that makes this possible, and have already teamed up with a manufacturer.

Along with being able to customize, we’ll also have pre-made options in case you don’t know what to make ;)

Here are a few examples I came up with that I may use for the Philly Half coming up:





I loved wearing a quote on my back for both my NYC Marathons…I got lots of comments! My first shirt I wrote “Is this the way to Central Park?” and the second was “Why is everybody following me?” Gotta love the corniness of race shirts and signs ;)

Anyway, if you could please leave me feedback in the comments I would really appreciate it!! Could you answer these 2 questions:

Would you pin something on your shirt as opposed to writing it on?

Do you like the idea of customizing something to wear on your shirt for races, whether it’s 5K, half, marathon, triathlon etc.

Thank you!!


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 14 + 5K Recap

It’s almost here! My training has been going well and last week was probably my “peak week.” I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in Philly. My PR is 2:08, and if I DO PR I’m not expecting it to be by a lot – but any PR is good! This week is my last week with workouts, and then my running coach has be going in to taper mode…yes!

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Easy 4 miler. Ran naked! Without a watch that is ;) Felt good to run by feel and not worry about pace.

Wednesday: Long run – 10 miles. This is our last double digit run before the race. I wanted to throw in some tempo miles, so we did a 3 mile warm up with 5 miles at tempo, then 2 mile cooldown. Tempo pace was average 9:40-9:45. Felt really good!! I was nervous about trying to run around half marathon pace but surprisingly I felt really strong.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Thursday: Easy 3 mile recovery run. I used to take the day off after a long run (still do sometimes if I have a nagging pain), but after using Hansons Marathon Method, I really liked the idea of doing a recovery run after a long run. Helps you get used to running on tired legs and also does help your muscles recover.

Friday: 6 miles total (track workout). We did this run indoors on the treadmill and it was tough! Not so much physically, but mentally. Time goes by so slow!! We did 8×800 repeats after a 1 mile warm up, then a 1/2 mile cooldown. The 800s were done at “threshold” pace, which was 8:40. 

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 5K race! And season best time! 26:46. I ran this course last month and ran it in 28:35 with 2 walk breaks. No walk breaks this time! I knew going into it that I could probably run around 27 minutes. But I was nervous about this one huge hill in mile 1. No joke it’s a 12% incline – I checked on Map My Run. But I got over it and tried to get my pace back down.

I  missed all of my mile splits because I didn’t look down at my watch on time. I also haven’t figured out yet how to upload from my Garmin to my computer (and I’ve had it over a year now haha).

Mile 1 was probably average 8:10 until the hill. Once I got to the top of the hill I saw my pace dropped to around 10:00. I thought crap. I wanted to stop and walk so bad but I talked myself out of it. My thoughts were, “Shut up. You’re not actually tired. Your brain is just trying to convince you to walk. You’re breathing is good. You’re legs feel great. No shin pain. LET’S GO!” And I sped up.

My pace was continuing to drop according to my watch and by mile 2 I was back down to 8:20-8:30ish pace.  Mile 2.5 – mile 3 is a steady incline. Which is tough after going back down that 12% incline hill. My legs felt like jelly but then Work, Bitch by Britney came on my iPod and that motivated me. So corny I know but I was like YES YOU GOTTA WORK BITCH! I was running next to this girl the whole time and then imagined I was Shalane Flanagan and tried to “surge” ahead of her. I did for a bit but then she caught me and passed me right before the finish. I tried to keep up but my legs were going as fast as they could. Whatever, I still finished 2 min. faster than my last race on the same course, and 1 min. faster than my last 5K!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I’m feeling really good going into this half marathon, but as I have said a few times, getting a 5K PR is my real goal. I will try one last 5K on December 6 and hopefully drop 1 more minute to get that PR. We’ll see though ;)

It was also my friend’s first 10K. She did great and finished in 1:07. She had told me she thought she would finish close to 2 hours – I was like no way! I almost did the 10K because it’d be good practice for the half, but I really wanted to test my 5K fitness. 

Did you race this weekend? Any upcoming races?


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 13 + NYC Marathon!

Can’t believe I’ve been training consistently for 13 weeks now. I’d say that I’ve only missed a handful of runs and have generally been feeling good minus my shin issues recently. It’s weird to write that I’m training for a half and it’s been 13 weeks, but as I’ve said, I’m mainly training to be consistent, nail a 5K PR by December, and hopefully feel strong in this half marathon! :) I plan on taking a week or so off after the race then getting right back into it. My main goal is to get faster over the next few months and have a strong fall marathon in 2015…we’ll see…

Anyway, here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Went to a local park with all intentions of running 4 miles but only ended up doing 2. Why? Because my shins were hurting with every step. I knew I had to do 11 miles on Wednesday so I decided to just call it a day at 2 and spend more time stretching. Sigh.

Wednesday: 11 miles! My mom felt fine as always, but I struggled for the first 5 or so miles. My shins hurt a little but it was mainly a mental struggle. Ever have those days where you just feel sluggish and like you won’t be able to finish? That was me. But at mile 5 I told myself to snap out of it because I HAD to finish regardless. Once I hit mile 6 I was feeling good and then felt like we were just cruising along until we hit mile 11. I’d say it was a pretty good run! We finished in 1:54, with average pace of 10:22.

Thursday: Easy 3 mile recovery run. 

Friday: Track workout time! Except this time we decided to go to our local park (and cross country course) to do 5x1K repeats. I wanted to try running it on a different terrain since races are never on a flat, nicely marked course like a track. It was weird to not know my exact pace like I would on a track (I like to glance at my watch every 200 meters to see how I’m doing), but overall it went well. We did a 2 mile warm up, then the goal was 6:33 per 1K (8:45 pace). You’ll be able to tell by my splits which part of the course was a bit easier ;) Splits where: 6:23, 6:27, 6:09, 6:27, 6:13. Felt really good…I think I’m a fan of 1K repeats! Here’s a picture my mom took on our cooldown:


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Saturday: There was a Rutgers football game (though it was a pretty bad loss), and I meant to wake up early but come on…we all know I’m not a morning person AND that meant I’d have to be up at like 5:30 AM. So instead I just sucked it up and ran when I got home around 7. I was soaked and tired from the rain but you gotta do what you gotta do! Ended up just doing an easy 3 miles.


I can’t tell you how much fun it was to cheer on runners. It was my first time being a spectator as opposed to running and I loved it. Though after walking around Central Park going from different places, I give mad props to all you spectators and what you do for your runners. It’s exhausting!

We were right before the mile 25 marker and I loved seeing people smile at me or give me a thumbs up when I was yelling their names. I got lots of compliments on my sign too (and one lady asked for a picture of it) that my sister made me last year for the marathon:

nyc marathon

We were at the finish to see all the elites finish, then walked over to mile 25 after getting lunch. I was really inspired by all the elite athletes! I feel bad for Kara because she didn’t have the race she wanted, but I’m sure so many of us runners can relate to that. It sucks training for something for months and then not having it go the way you’d like. But I believe she’ll have a great comeback…I mean look at Meb! He finished 23rd last year and then ended up winning the Boston Marathon in 2014…and he’s 38. He is seriously awesome.

It was a great day and I’m excited to go back to NYC (hopefully) in 2016 and run it for the 3rd time. In the meantime I have to figure out what fall marathon to do in 2015. Chicago? Marine Corps? Help!!

Oh and a huge congratulations to all the finishers! You all braved some serious conditions for 26.2 miles…way to crush it!

Did you watch the NYC Marathon yesterday? What were your thoughts?


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 12

Another week down. I actually had a decent week of training minus 2 days missed due to some pain which I’ll get into below. Here’s how things went last week:

Monday: Lifting. I hadn’t lifted in like 2 weeks so after this session, I was SORE. My glutes were sore for days. I did this leg workout.

Tuesday: Track workout! I really do look forward to “Track Tuesdays.” I love running on the track and feeling fast (well, fast for me). My mom and I warmed up with 3 miles, then did 6×400 at 2:00 min. per lap. That was the goal, we actually did: 2:01, 2:00, 1:56, 1:54, 1:57, 2:01. I think I could have gotten the last one in sub-2 as well but it got dark out fast so I actually was just following the white lines and also didn’t want to sprain an ankle. It’s the first time I have consistently been able to do several 400s under 2!



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Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 mile group run at FitBlogNYC. This event was put on by Fitness Magazine and was awesome! So many goodies given to us bloggers, including sneakers. Will definitely be going back next year. We ran 3 miles along the West Side Highway. It was great meeting a bunch of new fitness bloggers!

Friday: 9 miles. This was a decent run. Didn’t feel amazing but didn’t feel awful. Just felt tired starting mile 5ish. Average pace was 10:33 per mile. I’ll take it.



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Oh yeah, so the pain I told you about…that’s the reason I didn’t run Saturday and Sunday? Well, after my 9 mile run, I walked around to cooldown, then sat down to stretch for 10 minutes. When I got up, as soon as I took a step with my left leg, there was this really sharp pain on the side of my foot. I couldn’t put weight on it. I was kind of scared I broke a bone in my foot or something. I took a shower but it wasn’t going away. Took some Tylenol and then after an hour it subsided a bit.

Now it is not hurting me when I walk around but it hurts when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or something, and hurts when I first wake up. I decided to give myself two days off to rest it and hopefully it’s nothing. Has anyone experienced anything like this before?? I wear orthotics in my left shoe (it’s my left foot), and sometimes the outside of my foot hurts a bit, I guess because of the arch support – but it has never hurt that bad. Hmm…

Anyway, tomorrow is another track workout so I hope my foot is fine by then!

How’s your training going? Have you ever felt pain and immediately assumed the worst?


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 10

Wow I’m at week 10 already! I realize that my training recaps will be longer than a usual half marathon training program. That’s because training for this half isn’t my only goal. Marc and I started working together with the goal of breaking my 5K PR and getting faster…and hopefully running a half marathon PR too! I’m recapping the weeks of training that lead up to this half, but it isn’t necessarily a half marathon training plan. Does that make sense?

Okay here’s what I did last week:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 5×2:30 min. at 5K goal pace (8:00-8:10) with 2 min. jog in between, 1 mile cool down. This was tough but felt really good! My mom and I did this on the track so we could keep track of our pace and distance better.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Ran an easy 4 miles with a friend.

Friday: 8 miles. Longest run since last November!! We felt really good even though it was a hilly route. Averaged 10:15 per mile. I sped up the last mile and ran in 9:09. Great fall run :)



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I did my long run on Friday because Saturday I had a XC meet in PA, so our bus left at 6:30 AM. Once I got back I went right to Rutgers for the football game against Michigan. Our first Big 10 win!



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So yeah no running on Saturday.

Sunday: Didn’t run. I had felt a tickle in my throat on Friday and by Sunday I was just feeling pretty sick and congested. Well, I still am because I took a sick day today.

At least today is a “cross training” day so I don’t feel as guilty skipping it. I just feel so stuffy and tired. My eyelids feel so heavy. I’m all about resting when you need to – no need to force in workouts.

How was your weekend? Anything fun? Next weekend is me and Dan’s 6 year anniversary :-O!


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 4

Okay so…training hasn’t been going exactly as planned.

This past week I’ve been moving and it took up more time than I had thought it would. For some reason in my mind I thought you just move a bunch of stuff in, take a day to organize and you’re set. NOPE.

So I haven’t gotten a ton of runs in. But here is what I did last week:

Monday: Upper body strength training + 20 min. bike. I’ve been doing a strength training routine with my sister and her goal has been to get stronger at bench press. It’s crazy how your body gets stronger every week. The first week she could only do 4-5 reps of just the bar, and in this 4th week she was easily doing 10 reps of just the bar for a few sets and then adding 5 lbs.!

Tuesday: Off because of 5K on Wednesday.

Wednesday: Impromptu 5K (here’s the recap). I found this on Monday. It’s a local 5K and it was only $10 so why not?! It’s just a bunch of runners who get together to run on an XC course. I forgot how tough it is to run cross country. My mom and sister came too. I felt strong throughout but finishing in 30:44. That’s faaaarrrr from my PR of 25:43…but I’m hoping to get back into that kind of shape with Coach Marc


 Thursday: Off (moving stuff, cleaning, etc.)

Friday: 3 mile run. I found a lake in my area that is a great place to run – I’m excited to go there more often. 1 loop is 2.6 miles which is perfect! Good for doing a short 3 miler or a longer run too.


 Saturday: 30 min. XT (swimming). Went to the pool with my mom to swim laps. I did a 2 laps with the kickboard and 3 laps normal swimming. I really don’t know how all your triathletes do this because I swim from one end to the other and need a break to catch my break! Added in some pull-ups on the diving board for some strength training :)

Sunday: Was supposed to do 4.5 miles but was out all day buying supplies and what not for my apartment. Sorry Marc!

Oh I also got new sneakers this week! Is there anything better than getting a brand new pair of running shoes?


 I love my New Balance shoes. My last pair was the first time I’ve bought NB and I don’t think I’m going to switch again. I have absolutely no issues with them. Please, please, please do not do an upgrade and totally change them!

What is your favorite brand of running sneakers?

Do you prefer trail running or running on pavement? There are some trails by me now but I’m kinda nervous to run on them!


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Philly Half Marathon Training: Week 2

So I’ll admit right now that this past week of training wasn’t the best. A few skipped workouts…I hope Coach Marc won’t be too mad ;)

My uncle has been visiting from Paraguay so we have been showing him around. On Wednesday, we took him to the beach and spent the day there. That afternoon we had a memorial service to go to, so it was a busy day. Nonetheless, I did swim in the ocean for about 20 minutes – that counts as cross-training right?

One thing I’m proud of is the fact that I got up Friday morning and ran! I woke up, did my warm-up, and was out the door for an easy 3 mile run.


Okay, I’ll admit it was nice to have my run done before work. I may try to start doing this more often but no promises on if I can drag myself out of bed in the AM.

I did lift two times last week too. My sister has been lifting with me and her goal is to get stronger in the bench press – and she has! Isn’t it amazing how fast your muscles adapt and get strong? But let’s not talk about how fast you get out of shape too…because running wise I have been feeling so out of shape!

Okay this week I will do better. Here’s the plan:

Monday: upper body + cycling

Tuesday: lower body + 3 mile run

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: upper body + 3 mile run

Friday: lower body + 3 mile run

Saturday: 35 min. swim

Sunday: 4.5 mile run

Even though I’ve been running more consistently, I still can’t imagine running a half marathon in November yet. I know I’ll get there but right now 3-4 miles is tough. I mean I can do it, but I feel winded and slow as molasses. But I guess you gotta start somewhere!

Do you have a hard time getting back into shape after a break? 

Who’s running any races soon? I’m looking for a 5K race to do in the next few weeks!


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