chapstick with coffee in the background

Something I'm always forgetting about is applying chapstick. I either forget about its existence for months or I remember to put it on every day because my lips get so chapped that my chapstick can't be ignored, there's no in between. I was reading Sophie's 2019 Beauty Favorites the other day and she mentioned a cleansing balm which then translated into my mind to lip balm which then translated to chapstick, and uh here we are. Now, if you've been here long enough, you'll know that I get curious about the history of just about everything - from sidewalks to paperclips. So, let's get this fun innovate history ride of chapstick going!

Who invented Chapstick?

That would be a physician, Charles Browne Fleet who had an interest in pharmacy in the early 1880's.

I know I can't be the only one wondering what he was doing in the chemistry lab to end up with chapstick, and how chapstick as a concept entered his brain. Like was he just chilling on a nice cold day and suddenly his lips were *literally chilling* and then into the lab he went? Well, anyways, one thing you should know is the Charles had that entrepreneurial spirit.

Were people instantly waiting in line to purchase?

In Charles' dreams, maybe. Ok, but on a serious note, Charles from Virginia really wanted that to be his reality. Who wouldn't want something to save them from chapped lips? Well, apparently everyone. You know that scene from movies where it's a desert and there's just that circle rolling in the distance? Yeah, so that's the equivalent of the amount of people who wanted to purchase it. No one wanted to buy it from him and do you want to know the reason why? It looked like a candle without a wick and was wrapped in tin foil. 

So after not making all the riches he probably thought he would make, he sold the recipe of Chapstick for $5 to his neighbors, Mr & Mrs.Morton 

Now here's the interesting part.

Mrs.Morton believed in the idea of chapstick but knew one thing: the packaging of it needed to change. So, in her kitchen, she added pink coloring to the recipe. Now, instead of white, it was a nice pink color. But that's not all his neighbors did. The whole tin-foil wrap had to go. She used brass tubes to mold the chapstick into sticks; so when they dried they would be in that stick-form. We love innovative women, I'm assuming the husband watched his wife in the corner because in all the articles I've read they mention Mrs. Morton doing everything and some of them mention Mr.Morton helping. 

Once they finished drying, the Morton's cut sticks molded by the brass tubes (so they were y'know normal looking size that someone can have in their bag) and placed them in containers to ship out to what they hoped would be the customers that Charles dreamed he had.

The Morton's were successful and founded a whole company called Morton Manufacturing Corporation based on their sales of the Chapstick.

Same product, different look = hello money. All I'm thinking about right now is how Charles must have been sitting there like he could have had it all, the riches, the fame, the everything but the way his product looked like and was packaged had people walking the opposite direction and purchasing actual candles with wicks for late night reading. Like, he was probably standing out in the rain without an umbrella wondering where his life went wrong.

So literally speaking Charles invented Chapstick but technically speaking Mrs. Morton really invented the chapstick we know and use daily (okay, maybe not daily but when we don't forget) because without her innovative thinking of changing the color/having them in tubes instead of white and in tin foil we probably wouldn't have chapstick right now.

So, as much as Charles invented the recipe of Chapstick, Mrs. Morton invented the look of Chapstick which - as I mentioned above - was all that needed to change to make chapstick a hit.


So, whatever happened to the Morton Manufacturing Corporation? Are they still making chapstick today?

As much as I really wanted this to be a yes, they actually sold the rights to chapstick to A.H.Robbins Company. At the time, the flavor of chapstick was just a regular no-flavor one that looked pink. The A.H.Robbins Company wanted to change that. In 1971, four new flavors were added in! So, now there was variety to flavors which means business was booming because who doesn't like flavored Chapstick! 

In 1981 A.H.Robbins Company had another idea: Chapstick Sunblock 15.

It seemed like the A.H.Robbins Company had it all figured out, they had all the flavors and even had one that protects from the sun, so obviously this meant they weren't going to be selling the rights to Chapstick anytime soon. But the people who owned the A.H.Robbins Company changed in 1985, they were bought by the American Home Product Corporation.

In 1992, the amount of people wanting to buy chapstick was increasing and the people at American Home Product Corporation were like okay! we need something new with it but not changing what we have!

Sticks, squeezable tubes, and jars have entered the chat. So they added options on how people wanted their chapsticks to come in. I can 100% say I've had all three versions, from sticks to jars (okay as shown in the photo it's more like a lil tin? Charles is going to rise from the dead like excuse me is THAT TIN AS IN MY TIN FOIL)

In 1996 American Home Product Corporation were living their best money life because chapstick was bringing in $63 million in revenue.

I'm starting to think Charles was regretting selling his recipe for $5. Can you imagine inventing something and getting none of the money from it's success because you thought the idea was the problem and not the product packaging? 

I don't know about you but I'd be that melodramatic person and just stare out a glass window thinking of the life I could have had if I didn't sell my recipe for $5 and instead changed the look of the product from candle without a wick to in a tube chapstick.

And there we have it! The long history ride of chapstick in which we learn one thing - product presentation is everything because no matter how good a product is, if it's not presented properly you could very much end up like our boy Charles over here who sold his genius idea for $5 to his neighbors and they got all he success he dreamed of because they changed the way it was packaged and sold. Same recipe, different look.

Before anyone points it out: Salve's can be used like a chapstick! 

Now, to close this out, have you used your chapstick today?

Sahara holding a foam roller and resistance band

Recovery is just as important as getting in those speed days even if we sometimes feel like we should be doing some sort of workout on our complete rest days. I'm the type of person who sees someone running while I'm on my rest day and wish I were out running like I don't train 6 times a week with only one day off for rest. I'm honestly happiest when I'm running or working out because every week I get stronger and the whole progression of getting stronger is just mind-blowing to me. Consistency is the key, always.

My general schedule used to be 3 days running [ Track workout, tempo run, long run]  and 3 days core strength and leg strength + stability workouts. Now, I run 2 times a week [speed workout + temp run/long run) and do core strength and leg strength + stability workouts 4 times a week. This change is mainly because me being on my job search means I feel like I had to run less to focus more on it. Anyways, so what am I doing when I'm not running or doing a leg strength workout that has me waddling like a penguin after?


I try to stretch as much as possible, the worst thing is sore muscles and feeling stiff. Do I sometimes neglect my night time and early morning stretching? Yes! Quite literally as I'm writing this I feel my Hamstrings and IT band calling my attention like excuse me, where is my extra lovin'? So here are a list of stretches I do to aid my recovery - I try to do them daily but as I mentioned sometimes I get a little lazy with my stretching, but! I'm going to try to get better at it one day at a time.

Nighttime Stretching

Now, once it hits nighttime we definitely just want to sleep but hold on a second! Your muscles need some attention, especially if you've just had a hard workout. Even if you've had a light workout, it's really important to take care of your muscles all day every day. If you're coming from my training tips post, you'll most likely remember the name Chari Hawkins. She talks a lot about recovery and shows some of what she does on her Instagram. I personally need to get back in the habit of doing this, I do some stretches daily but I could be doing more!

Here's a nighttime stretching routine I screen recorded from her instagram stories: Night Time Stretch With Chari 

long bnd resistance band around ankles

Resistance Band for Warm Up

Who here has been neglecting their resistance band? Same, welcome to the club! Are we going to change that today? Well, I am. I am planning to do all these recovery videos once I finish typing. I personally have one long resistance band and then loop it to make it like a smaller one - it's like a 2 for one deal! Mine is from BN_D in the Khaki/Medium. Now if your glutes are in need of some help, this warm up is for you - all you need is a resistance band and loop it above your ankles - and I'll let Georganne Moline take it from here.

Here is a Monday Pro tip she gave in July (ya girl is very dedicated to screen recording every tip I come across on Instagram to watch back when in need if you haven't noticed): Glute Warm Up with Georganne Moline

Also in July, Chari Hawkins mentioned she always makes sure her Glutes are activated and showed how via Instagram: Activate Your Glutes with Chari Hawkins

~ a brief intermission ~

Okay I don't know if this video can be considered recovery but does strengthening legs with jumping so you have stronger legs as you're running count? It's something I've been meaning to add into my training days so I suppose it's not really recovery but.... enjoy: Jump with Chari (you need no equipment, just yourself and an open space to jump around in!)

Knee strengthening and stabilization, Glute Help, and ankle strengthening

If you have runners knees, I think this next video will be helpful.  Chari went through her routine and explained 3 stretches, some of which are also great for your hamstrings as well! -  Knee & Ankle Strengthening with Chari

She also went over releasing your glute - we have a lot of tension in there @ my running fam - with the Hyprice hypersphere however! you can also just use a regular tennis ball. Role on the tennis ball on your IT Band/thigh, it won't feel great but trust me, future you will be glad you did that. She also shows a good stretch for your hamstring too - Glute and Hamstring Stretch.

Future me is editing this post - I actually just finished doing this video and wow, my glutes are well loved. They've been sore since an intense leg workout the other day and this was just what I needed to massage my glues and hamstrings!

Hip Help

Who here has gotten hip flexor pain before? I once got really bad hip flexor pain and it wasn't even from running it was because I tried skateboarding and left my pushing leg behind - how does one leave a whole limb behind you ask? I have no the slightest clue. Clearly the only sport I should be doing is one that involves no equipment whatsoever. ANYWAYS - when that happened, I was out of running for literal weeks. All I knew was when I got better - and wasn't in pain - I had to strengthen my hip or do something so it wasn't so weak!

Georganne Moline did a Hip Opener on her Instagram Stories that I should really do again soon: Hip Opener Stretch

Chari Hawkins also did something on her Instagram story for hip flexors, quads, and hamstring stretches: Hip Flexor Stretch

Chari Hawkins also gave some stretching tips on her Instagram for your IT Band: IT Band Help.

Future me editing this post again: I just finished doing all three of these videos and my legs don't feel sore? They feel great? Like this was just what I needed? You can take this as your daily reminder to do at least some of these stretches daily/nightly so your muscles feel well taken cared of and not sore!

foam roller on yoga mat with on running sneakers, cloudswift

Shin Splint Help

And we're back with another Chari Hawkins Tip - do toe taps as you're sitting down relaxing etc. I personally have been doing this and between icing and this I like to think me and shin splints won't be meeting up for tea soon - Toe Taps with Chari.

Lower Back Pain and Stretches That Can Help

And we are closing out this recovery post with another Chari Hawkins Instagram Story - there are some hamstring stretches as well as glutes in this video - Helpful Back Pain Stretches.

And there we have it! Recovery tips from my two favorite Team USA athletes that I follow over on Instagram. I personally know I need to keep doing these stretches more often (I've been slacking a bit!) because I know that when my muscles feel stiff, these are the stretches I need to do to not feel so stiff! As I'm typing this, I just came back from a run and my IT Band is in need of some stretching, which reminds me, we have one more section.

Soreness Section

Right, I like to think we've all been in the sore neck life. I did the below YouTube video for a solid week every morning (2 times) and during the day heat pad, and then did the video 2 times at night. If you have a sore neck - I'd recommend changing your pillow, and also going on your back and resting the back of your neck on your foam roller if you don't have a muscle machine like the Hypervolt or the Theragun (I wish I had one of them, they sound like a blessing for sore muscles but my wallet laughed at the prices).

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Physio Neck Exercises Stretch and Relieve

What stretches do you do for recovery?

sahara end logo

sahara mid-run
old photo hence old running sneakers!

My training is a lot of me reading, trying, learning, and then going back to the drawing board to see if whatever new thing I've added into my training schedule for the month has been helpful in getting faster in my races. If not, bring something else in to the training schedule and see what happens, and repeat.

If you've been keeping up with my racing life, I recently went from running a 5K on November 2nd @ 8'09 pacing to running an 8K on November 28th @ 6'36 pacing. That is a massive time jump and to be fair I was extremely surprised when I finished racing how well I'd done, but I also thought of the changes I've made since the November 2nd race - as well as things I've been consistent in! - without those changes I wouldn't have jumped from an 8'09 pace to a 6'36 pace.

So I'm sure you've probably skimmed straight through those two paragraphs so let's get onto the changes I've made so if you also run, you can see if perhaps your own training needs some tweaks!

Core Workouts

I've mentioned I did Stacey Irvin Jr's 10 min ab workout every day for 30 days a few months back and did it every other day since doing it for that one month. Since I've grown stronger core-wise the workout started to seem too easy. Even if I did on loop twice, I felt like I needed a change of movement for core workouts.

Enter, Chari Hawkins USA Heptathlete.

She is primarily on Instagram (@_charihawkins) and more recently Youtube. She did a 10 Day Ab Challenge and I decided to tag along - doing her 10 Day ab workout in addition to my running workouts I had planned. The first time I went through the days, I did each video only once - even the videos that seemed a little on the ~easy~ side for where I was ab wise. I didn't know what she planned for the next day(s) so was pacing myself with what she was doing.

The variation was just what I needed. After doing one ab video on loop for so long it, it was nice to have a change.

Want to know the best thing?
Each video is only 10 minutes. Get all the intense ab work in 10 minutes.

What I do now that I've completed the original 10 day Challenge- is: Go in order again but do it ever other day instead and do each workout video twice (depending on how I'm feeling - some were easier than others.)  and then the next time I go through the order again see if I can add an extra repetition of the video based on the previous week.

By having 10 different 10 ab workout videos to rotate between from, I'm constantly doing a different ab movement not just the same movements as I was doing previously.

Speed Workout Mile Increase

This is something that's been the most help: Make sure your speed workouts are either equal to the distance you're racing, longer than, or near it. My speed workouts (which I do with the Nike Run App) used to always come up at around 1.5 Miles, 1.8 Miles, 2.5 Miles. So now, I opt to choose their tempo runs and longer speed workouts. Since doing this, I've noticed I was more confident maintaining my pace for a longer period of time.

The way I run up and down a hill

I learned this tip from one day going to a local running club! I only went once (I know I know, I should probably make more of an effort to attend but it's a bit of a distance away from me) but anyways I was chatting to a runner for 7 miles and she mentioned this tip to me.

When you're going up a hill: keep your arms in that runner-bent way as you normally would.

When you're going down the hill: lower your runner-bent way arms to your torso, KEEP THOSE ARMS BENT!

How does this help?
It's to ensure you're not wasting your energy. You can kind of think of it similar to driving a car up and down a hill. When you're going up a hill you need gas - in running when you're going up a hill, you have your arms bent and level with your chest-area. When you're going down a hill with your car, you're pressing the breaks a bit - in running when you're going down a hill, you should keep your bent arms level/near your torso to conserve your energy.

Running on high elevation for all workouts

So I no longer have specific days for hill sprints in my schedule. Now, I make sure that all of my runs have some sort of incline/hills sprinkled throughout. What I noticed was that by having hills sprinkled throughout my run rather than having specific days for it, I was more prepared come race day when a random hill appeared on a relatively flat race course.

All of my runs - including easy runs - are now run on 150/180 - 200+ elevation.

sahara smiling at camera

Taking my training runs easy

This is easier said than done, I KNOW. But here's what I learned by only doing easy runs and tempo runs leading up to the 8K Championship race: run them comfortably and relaxed. All of those runs done leading up to the race were done at 8-9 pacing per mile. My body is relaxed and comfortable at this pace and come race day, I knew I had a lot of energy. I've been saving all that energy, all that speediness, for the race.

I came across this on twitter a couple of days ago - Joanna did easy running and zero speed work for 5 months, come race day for her half marathon and she was flying! Take a look at her tweet to see her times! Almost all were in the 5 minute per mile range, and her last one was a 4:55.

Building my leg strength without a gym

Now on my blog I've mentioned there were times when I was able to go to the gym, when I'm not able to and right now we're back to not having a gym membership (I'm pretty chill with this, actually). So, how does one build leg strength without a gym?

Well, here's one way.

Chari Hawkins recently did a few takeovers of her sponsor On Running where each week she'd give new tips/workout! Now, me being me, I screen recorded all of them so I could do the workouts continuously.

Sadly her takeovers aren't available as a highlight, however, here is the screen recording which I saved to a google drive because we're all in this together: Chari Hawkins Leg Workout.

The great thing about this workout is that it's buildable. The first time you do it, you'll feel you've gotten a great workout done, two weeks later your body will be strong enough to do the entire workout twice! Trust me! You'll love doing it and feel your legs getting stronger!

Be sure to give Chari Hawkins a follow over on Instagram, she's always giving tips on recovery/stretching etc.!

Foam rolling pre workout

I don't think I even run without foam rolling anymore, it such a game changer to roll before running to get your muscles ready for the workout. I think of it as a massage for your muscles. There is a specific warm up routine I do which I screen-recorded from Chari Hawkins one day - Warm Up With Chari Hawkins.

It's reallllly sped up, so you just have to keep pausing it. I tend to do 12-15 reps/hold a stretch for 15 seconds.

Letting the distance come to me rather than chasing the time

So I learned this tip after watching Chari Hawkins Instagram story (if you haven't taken the hint yet, I really think you should follow her, she's amazing!) Someone sent in a question saying they're trying to run a distance in 12 minutes - so she gave this tip: At the end of every week, set your phone/watch to run for 12 minutes (no more, no less), let the distance come to you in that time frame, don't chase the distance instead let it find you.

So for me, I'd like to run a sub-20 5K in the very near future - so every week, I should (ya girl is slacking okay!) set my phone to 18 minutes and run to see how much distance I can cover. You can kind of think of this as a speedy tempo run!

Icing every day

Recovering is the queen in this household, without recovery you may as well be a walking injury. I always ice my calves because shin splits are very much almost always 3 seconds away from entering my life on loop. I opt to use ice cups, and ice blocks for my calves. If I'm doing an evening workout, I ice my calves the morning for 20+ minutes and then after the workout I ice again. If I'm doing a morning run, I ice after.

Ice Cups: Fill a paper cup with water and put it in the freezer. When frozen, you rub it on your calf and keep pealing away at the paper cup until you've finished the ice.

However, there are also a few other alternatives to ice cups/ice bags:

Recoup Fitness - CRYOSLEEVE  | $89.99

I saw this on Georganne Moline - you can get this for your calves as well as your arms too. Here's how it works: You place it in the freezer for 2 Hours and it's guaranteed to stay cold for 1 hour. As is in the name, it's a bit like a sleeve you put your arm/calf through, think of it as compression and ice heaven.

Here's their full description on their website:

The Recoup Cryosleeve combines ice + compression for up to 1 hour of cold relief. Use on multiple body parts with sizing for leg and arm. The Cryosleeve + Boa® Fit System provides micro-adjustable compression while forming to the area. Great for reducing inflammation, speeding up recovery, and general pain relief for injuries such as carpal tunnel, shin splints, golfer's elbow, knee injury, etc. If you are in between sizes, size UP as the BOA Fit System can compress your sleeve down to size.  

I don't personally have one but wanted to share it with you all if you're looking for an alternative to ice bags/ice cups.

If you're looking for a more budget friendly one, I saw Chari Hawkins talking about this one:

Freeze Sleeve - Freeze Sleeve Black | $49 - $75

Depending on your size, the price changes. So if you're a small it's $49! I wasn't able to find out how long it stays cold for, but Chari mentioned they are great for shin splints!

Doing specific sprint mechanic drills to make sure my foot is hitting the ground the way it's supposed to

I mentioned earlier that Chari Hawkins did a takeover on On Running for a few weeks, one of those takeovers was this track warm up drill. There's A-Skips, B-Skips and something else I don't really know the name of but was actually the most beneficial one.

Here is the screen recording to that on my Google Drive: Sprint Mechanics With Chari Hawkins

It really solidified - well for me it did! - how your foot should be hitting the ground as you run.

sahara smiling at camera

Strengthening my arms with planks

So let's bring you back to the 10 Day Ab Challenge I did With Chari Hawkins. Throughout those days there were also a lot of planking involved which let me know that my spaghetti arms are in need of some help. Planking - the standard one as well as some different variations like side plank and back plank - really helped my arms get stronger.

You may or may not be wondering: Why do I need strong arms if I'm a runner?

Your arms guide your run, trust me when I say moving your arms front and back does a lot more than you think. Strengthening your arms with your own body weight will make your running be that much faster, trust me!


And drum roll please, the last section! Let's talk jump rope and box jumps without actual boxes. As you probably already guessed, during Chari Hawkins takeover she did a jump rope week which I myself do 2 times in one day and should really up it to 3. The thing jump rope teaches you is coordination and thing jump rope gives you is strong calves, hamstrings, and Glutes and! it's great cardio!

Here is the screen recording of jump roping with Chari: Jumprope with Chari Hawkins

In terms of box jumping without an actual box - this is a lot of fun and challenging. Just find something high off the ground and jump up with your two feet off the ground at the same time. It's harder than it looks but! great way to strengthen your legs!

And there we have it my top training tips at the moment that helped me move from an 8'09 pace to 6'36/mile!

There's also something else I've been doing a lot of: recovery and stretches. Next up will be my top recovery tips / stretches paired with of course the videos I use whether that be from Instagram or Youtube! From night time stretching, Glute warm up, IT band help to ankle strengthening, I've got you covered!

How's everyone else's training going?

sahara after 8K race - thumbs up standing in front of trees and leaves

I mentioned over in my last race recap that I was racing towards the end of November - so for the first time racing 2 times in one month! - and was racing in the 8K (5 Miles) distance rather than my usual 5K's (3.1 Miles). This wasn't just any race though, it was a USATF 8K Championship race. I've never raced a championship race before. They had a pamphlet for this 8K race at the 5K race I raced earlier in the month and I just happened to look down at the stack of pamphlets near the bagels and picked one up. Smart of them to place the pamphlets by bagels.

I originally was thinking of not racing it about a week before the day of the race - or as I like to mention this as: the day before the price hike happened to the race price. I usually go to my races with my mom or sister and as this race was happening on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28th!) I didn't want it to be an inconvenience for my sister to come along on her day off. But my dad encouraged me to sign up for the race anyways, and that everything would fall into place as the day got closer.

So, let's get started on this recap!

What was the day before the race like?

Now, I am only including this section because my neck felt like acting up really randomly. I should really get some sort of special pillow. In the evening my neck/shoulder area started to feel stiff? And I was like oh no no no no no THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR THIS. I ended up icing the area for a couple of hours (didn't want to waste a heating pad that lasts for 8+ hours when I was going to sleep soon!).

My sister was sitting next to me like so does this mean you're not racing? (Translation: Does this mean I don't have to wake up early on my off day?) And my response no no, I'm racing, I'll be fine. And she was essentially like how can you say that, you don't know that? And to that I responded Inshallah (As God Wills) I'll be fine for the race tomorrow when I wake up.

What did I eat the day before the race

When I woke up - I felt A-OKAY! THANK U GOD. Last time I was racing, I decided to not have pasta to carb-load, this time around pasta was the queen in this household™. I ended up making whole wheat pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, and garlic. If you're like me and always mess up the order to actually put all of that in a sauce pan so everything turns out okay:

Before we start the recipe - As you put your pasta in a pot of boiling water, put olive oil in a pan and make sure said pan is a bit of a deep one to fit everything!

What you'll need:

1 Small Onion
15 Cherry Tomatoes (a handful/however much you'd like!)
5 Pieces of Garlic (or however much you'd like!)
1 Large Mushroom


1. Chop the onion - this goes in first. Wait until soft-ish.
2. Slice handful of cherry tomatoes in half  - this goes in second. Wait 1 minute.
3. Cut the Broccoli in however chunks you'd like - this goes in third. Mix everything together and wait a couple of minutes. (or more specifically, 2-3 minutes)
4. Dice your garlic - about 5 pieces- this goes in fourth. Mix everything together. (no waiting time between this and next step after mixing!)
5. Chop up your mushroom in large chunks - I used just one massive one - put this in last. Wait 2 minutes.
6. Don't forget your seasonings! Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion powder - all that good stuff, sprinkle a good amount in!
7. Once your pasta is done boiling (I had mine in for 9 minutes because that's what the box said and who am I to argue) strain your pasta and put said pasta in the deep pan with all those vegetables.

Mix around the pasta for a good 2-3 minutes.

And there we have it, a nice bright plate of pasta! It's honestly so tasty, like how I made this off the top of my head is a miracle.

If you're in need of some food bloggers - I'm going to direct you to Sophie from GlowSteady and Romina from Romina's Little Corner because they both are masters in the cooking domain while I am like.... the definition of inadequate at best.

sahara with white nike hijab, black nike long sleeve and green running pants standing with her phone armband
this arm band thankfully didn't slip too much on my arm!

What did I eat | drink the morning of the race

Similar to my previous race, sunny side up eggs was on the menu for race day! I drank a small cup of water not 16oz though because I didn't want to have to keep running to the bathroom. But in the end did I end up running to the porta potty about 3 minutes before the race began, yes yes I did.

How was the race location - was it easy for parking?

HAHAHAHA no. So my sister and I were trying to find parking - several roads were closed for the race, so we had to ask some volunteers where parking was etc. as it wasn't really marked. They sent an email for where to park but once I got to the town, and started typing the places they mentioned in the email in my Maps app nothing showed up - as if the location they sent was not what I was supposed to be copying and pasting into my Maps App. In the end my sister had to drop me off near the starting area so I could grab my bib and get to the race itself on time while she searched for side parking.

How was getting ready for the race?

* Before leaving the house I did a 10 minute stretch with my foam roller because warming up is important! *

There were 2,933 people racing this 8K Championship race. By the time I got my bib, I had 7 minutes until the race actually started so I was sprinting to get to the starting area before my bladder alerted me of its existence. Even though I drank the smallest amount of water to feel hydrated, I'm just going to assume bathroom dashes before a race are going to be the norm with me.

sahara standing with wind blowing behind
love this wind - the leaves kept flying on us runners

So, I made a dash towards the porta potty's that were near the starting area and there was a line. A LINE. I looked at my phone, 7 minutes until the race started. Based on the website, they'd be starting right on the dot. So after I managed to go to the porta potty, I had 3 minutes left before the race started. The issue? I was given one of those free long sleeve tops, and my sister had only just found parking so was only starting to walk to the race area. I was on the phone with her, and I had two options:

1. Put the long-sleeve on top of the long-sleeve I was already wearing. (not ideal)
2. Leave said long-sleeve by a 'Do Not Enter' sign and hope that my sister found this specific sign to grab it.

I ended up choosing to leave it at the sign, leaving it on a ledge of greenery there and let my sister know where it was. (granted I was 90% sure she wouldn't find it).

The race started at 9 on the dot and let me bring you back to the amount of runners: 2,933. So we were all lined to start and there were so many runners that by the time I actually got to the starting point (where the chip would begin to track me) I actually ran nearly a mile. I was a mile away from the starting point because of how many people there were and when we all started running once it was 9 on the dot, I had to run to the literal start line that was 0.91 miles away from where I was.

How was the race mile by mile?

I'd have to say this is the first race where I was visibly surprised every time my Aftershokz headphones told me my pace per mile.

I didn't realize my mileage (due to that additional mile I mentioned above) was off until I was about mid-way through.

Mile 1: THERE ARE TOO MANY RUNNERS I CAN'T EVEN RUN. This the first race I've ever done where there were so many racers - to the point where it was congested - that even running for this first mile was a challenge. It was a lot of maneuvering through openings of people. The roads were all closed for us, but since there was practically no room for runners to actually run because there were too many runners some of us ended up jumping onto sidewalks from time to time to freely pass groups of people without having to maneuver through said large groups of people.

I clocked in my first mile @ 7:30. Granted I had to keep finding openings to pass through to get to my actual racing speed, I was happy to see a 7 in there.

Mile 2: About mid-way into mile 2 runners started to spread out so it wasn't too much of maneuvering now, more or less the only maneuvering I was doing was if I was on a sidewalk on the left hand side to pass people, and I noticed that we had to turn right I'd hop off the sidewalk and start making my way through groups of people to turn over to the right.

I clocked in my second mile @ 6:40. Now, when I tell you I was shook at even hearing such a time I'm not joking. I did a double take AT AIR while I was running like I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I've never run a 6'40 mile ever, in speed workouts sure but in my casual,  tempo run, race, and easy running days? Never.

Mile 3: At this point, after hearing my pace was 6:40 I was giving myself all the pep talk you can maintain this pace, keep this pace, you can do this - I spoke before on the Aerobic + Anaerobic running styles on here before, and with Anaerobic it's like you have to train your mind to be comfortable with being uncomfortable at the high speed you're running at because your body can maintain this pace, it's the mind that wants to push the brakes a little.

I call this mile the pep talk mile - I clocked in @ 6:41. Did I do a double take AT AIR while I was running again? YOU BET!

sahara standing with armband in one hand and the wind blowing behind her

Mile 4: This mile I was focusing on my breathing - I felt like I was losing my control over it. In out. In Out. The way I think of it is if you have control of your breathing, you have control of the run. If you don't have control of your breathing, you don't have control of the run. I was gaining my control back on my breathing for this mile.

I clocked in this mile @ 7:27. I was okay with this because I used the time to get my breathing back under my control and could now push off faster for my next mile in control of my run. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up, and that's okay.

Mile 5: At around mile 4 & mile 5 I was able to notice that whenever my Aftershokz let me know I completed a mile, it was a bit off with the mile markers they had in place. I didn't realize the reason until after I completed this 5th mile. There wasn't a lot of inclines for this mile, it was in one phrase: Fun & Speedy.

I clocked in this mile @ 6'38. I got my speed back, now to bring it home. At this time, the 8K distance itself was complete and my app let me know I completed it in 35:01 with a 6'36 pace!!!!! Speedy me was ready to conquer on this Mile 5 like Napoleon Bonaparte.

0.91 that shouldn't exist but did because it took me 0.91 miles to get to the start line itself:  I was like oh really I'm not done GREAT. The fun part about this mile is that there were two lanes. On my right side was the finish line and on the left was all all of us runners who had to loop around way ahead to find ourselves on that right side. I was able to see the place we started and happened to notice my long-sleeve top I left by the Do Not Enter sign - glad to see no one took it!

This mile ended with a very small incline - but at this point my legs were like excuse me we have been running AT THIS SPEED for a while - but I pushed through and managed to finish just about 6 miles in 41:28. I clocked in this last 0.91 in 7'07.

Sahara smiling after 8K race in white nike hijab and trees in the background

What was my ending time

If we're talking 8K distance itself, that was done in 35:01. I was aiming to finish in the 35 in a bit of a wishy-type-of-way, I didn't expect myself to actually finish the race in 35:01 - those miles in 6 pacing were truly insane, I still can't believe I raced as well as I had. It's absolutely mind boggling. (Thank You God)

3 Mile Mark (the 5K distance that I usually run is 3.1!): 20:55! A WHOLE 5 MINUTES FASTER THAN MY 5K I DID 3 WEEKS AGO! So I technically have a new 5K PR at around 21:30? Does this count as a PR? I think it does?

8K Distance: 35:01

5.91 Miles based on my Phone: 41.28

5.91 Miles Official Time: 41:43.

I'm honestly still in such shock at how well I raced, I didn't win anything medal wise (maybe if I came earlier and actually started way in the front and didn't end up running a whole extra mile to get to the start line due to there being 3K runners this may have had a different outcome!) but overall I've honestly never been prouder of myself. My long time 5K (3.1 miles) PR time is 21 minutes, I was close to breaking into 19 minutes for 3 miles by 56 seconds. Still can't get over that!

What I Learned

The race in the beginning of the month where I was upset with my timing had to happen for me to make the changes I needed to end up running a 35:01 8K with a 6'36 pacing! I've made a lot of changes throughout my training and this really showed to me that they were the right ones - and with the path I'm going, I may actually see myself at my end goal.

I do plan to write a massive post with all the training changes and tips next week so if you're also a runner you can progress too if you're in need of some tips - keep an eye out for it!

The main thing I learned during this race is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. (In relation to running ok thank u!) On November 2nd I raced a 5K @ 8'09 average pace. On November 28th (this race) I raced an 8K with 6'36 average pace. That is a massive jump I did not think I'd be seeing at this race at all (perhaps in my dreams yes yes that jump was there but in real life?! I was shook).

sahara with white nike hijab, black nike long sleeve and green running pants with wind blowing behind her

The thing about the 8K distance is that leading up to this race, I actually only ran a 5 mile run once in those 3 weeks leading up to it. And I ran it as an easy run @ 9'13 pacing. The other two weeks - on one week I had to take it easy and not run my 3 times a week / do a lot of strength and conditioning because I got a cold. On the other week, I was still transitioning my speed work to road so wasn't running high mileage in my speed workouts so I could settle in to running on road compared to speed days on the track.

The main thing that was different going into this race is that I've never raced this distance before so my expectations - although they very much existed - weren't as solid as say they would be if it were a 5K if that makes sense. I was just like if I make it in 35 minutes that's cool if not, that's also fine because I've never raced this distance so no need to stress on what'll happen - my mindset was very much: as God Wills, strap in for the ride of 5 miles in whatever time you're blessed with.

And I think this is the mindset I need to bring back to my 5K races: Push the expectations aside, and run to enjoy the distance. Usually, what I've realized, I allow my expectations to stress me out and in the end underperform. What this race taught me is sometimes the best way to meet your expectation(s) is to forget that you're supposed to have one.

At the moment I don't have a race planned for December - hi my legs are currently in ice heaven because they are sore - but one thing I did want to ask you all is if you also run - what are your favorite post run snacks to make? Ones that'll give some y'know, energy? Anything filled with protein to energize me back to life? I'm usually STARVING and want to eat anything and everything so if you have any tips on snacks to make and bring let me know!